Once your child is out of diapers, and has been successfully potty trained, you might think that the messiest and stinkiest of your parenting worries are behind you. But sometimes, kids struggle with bowel issues that persist until healthy changes are made or they get help from a medical professional. 

We know that for kids, using the restroom isn’t always easy. And for parents, it can be tough to figure out how to help a child with diarrhea, constipation, or other bowel issues. So here are our best tips for how to relieve constipation in children naturally, reduce diarrhea, improve your child’s relationship with potty time, and when to consult a pediatrician for help. So, let’s dive into how to get them back to stool, before they head back to school!


We know that it can be tricky to get picky eaters to enjoy healthy foods! But a nutritious diet is often key to easing bowel issues. Do your best to encourage limiting junk foods as much as possible, saving high fat and high sugar foods for a treat rather than an everyday occurrence. Instead, try to increase foods to help kids with constipation such as fruits, vegetables, and high fiber foods like whole grains. For diarrhea, bland foods can help or try eliminating dairy for a few days to see how symptoms change.

In addition to eating, drinking more fluids can help flush the system and avoid dehydration. But not just any fluids will do the trick. Focus on increasing water. For constipation, fruit juices can also help soften stool. Just like high sugar and high fat foods should be avoided, this can be especially important when it comes to drinks too. So, minimize offering your child caffeinated beverages, whole milk, carbonation, and sugary drinks like sodas.


If your child is having trouble getting their bowels moving, getting their entire body moving might be just the fix. Exercise can actually help digestion and can be a very effective child constipation remedy. As the intestines naturally move to help food move through the body, exercise is a great way to help the body do the hard work of pushing food through the digestive system. Exercise can also help improve mental and physical health which can be especially important for children who are experiencing bowel issues due to stress.

So, next time your child wants to sit and play games inside or binge watch their favorite show, encourage them to make playtime more active. Consider an exercise video indoors or play a sport outside. All that movement can also help them feel more relaxed and energized to tackle challenges like toilet time.


A change in routine, like heading back to school, can mean fewer bathroom visits for kids. The confusion of a new schedule can lead to skipping going when they need to, especially if they aren’t comfortable. Constipation can occur if children are holding it due to lack of access to a restroom or not enough time to complete a bowel movement. Bowel issues can also be worsened by stress or lack of comfort with going to the bathroom. So, consider forming healthy routines an excellent child constipation remedy and perhaps even a defense against diarrhea.

Help your child develop a routine and provide systems that allow them to be more relaxed and prepared to handle potty time. Even if they don’t think they have to go, have your little one sit on the toilet at least twice a day after meals to try. Make sure they have enough time to get comfortable and decide if they can go. Usually this means at least ten minutes. One way is to encourage meals on a schedule. Try to get them to eat breakfast in the morning at least half of an hour before it is time to leave so they can get to the potty before they head to school. Then, talk to your child’s teacher about any unique needs and let them know if your little one needs additional potty breaks.


Using the toilet on a different schedule or in an unfamiliar place can be a little bit scary! Especially for little ones experiencing a bowel issue. If your child is uncomfortable with potty time, it can create a fear of using the toilet or even a stress response that has the potential to change their bowel movements too. Attempting to limit stress can be a great way to start figuring out how to help a child with diarrhea, constipation, soiling their underwear, or other related problems.

To help, talk with your child about using the toilet and how they are feeling when it is potty time. Work with them on how they can feel more comfortable. Avoid getting upset with them or using discipline surrounding potty time as this can increase their stress. Instead, try to create a positive experience. For example, if they are constipated, teach your child breathing exercises that they can use to stay calm and relaxed to help ease tension and promote a more comfortable bowel movement.


No matter what the symptoms are: mild constipation, diarrhea, stool soiling or any another concern, be sure to talk to your pediatrician. Keep them updated on the symptoms and assist them in monitoring for changes. Bowel problems can get worse or can be triggered by a larger issue that needs to be addressed before more problems arise. In any case, it’s important to get ahead of the issue at hand to make sure your child can develop a healthy relationship with toilet time.

Some symptoms are not normal. If your child experiences constipation that lasts longer than two weeks, fever, vomiting, pain, anal tears or swelling, leaking stool, weight loss, signs of dehydration, inability to have a bowel movement through pushing, or worsening symptoms, call your pediatrician right away.

While many families might find natural remedies helpful, your child might need additional help or treatment. Do not use any medication such as laxatives, stool softeners, or enemas without direction from your pediatrician. Instead, talk to them about a diagnosis and potential child constipation remedies that they would recommend for your little one’s specific situation. Visiting a pediatrician can help parents feel more relieved, knowing you are working towards solutions and helping your child receive the best treatment to ease symptoms and feel more comfortable.

At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, we know that helping kids get through bowel issues is not always simple. We hope these tips on how to help a child with diarrhea, constipation, or other potty problems are helpful. However, if symptoms stick around, it is always best to consult a doctor to help get to the source of the issue. Our passionate team of pediatricians is here to help your family find the best solutions for healthier, happier toilet time. To make an appointment visit us at www.coastalkids.com.