[highlight]The following blog post is beyond TMI.  If you dislike the words “poop,” “turd,” and “anus” then you will want to close the window.  And if you are wondering, this is about my son and not me.  Baby poop is fine to discuss, adult poop is not.  [/highlight]
A sad faced toddler

 

About every 5-10 days there is an epic event in the Rosas Household.  We call it “poop day” but that makes it sound normal and routine when in fact it is a major deal that has the whole family scrambling.  My youngest son Everett has “withholding” issues and doesn’t like to poop.  He holds it and holds it until he has no other option but to just let nature take its course.

We know it is “poop day” when he begins acting overly clingy and won’t leave my side.  He is moody, cranky, and not a fun toddler to be around.  His whole demeanor changes and the only solution is going to the bathroom.  When the blessed event finally takes place he runs to my side and wobbles side to side while screaming.  He wants to go but at the same time he doesn’t and he climbs up my body trying to hide from what is coming.

What comes next I can only describe as my son giving birth and me acting as his doula and midwife.  I take a seat on the stool in our bathroom and he leans on me.  While he cries in pain I speak slowly and softly with words of encouragement telling him that he can do it and that by letting it go he will be relieved.  Sometimes I tell him that the reward is worth the effort but in reality that only applies to me because the reward will be getting my son back to normal for a few days.

He leans on me and we sway and chant.  His face and body get soaked with sweat.  Finally it is time for him to go.  I get ready by grabbing toilet paper so that I can “catch” the poop and deposit it into the toilet.  His laboring position is always standing and he refuses the potty.

Most times his biggest hurdle is making it to “poop day” but the event is relatively uneventful once he is forced to go.  Then a few weeks ago things stalled.  Had we been in a delivery room lets just say the doctor would have declared that Ev either a. get an episiotomy, b. have a vacuum extraction, or c. use forceps.  Since I am playing the role of the midwife/doctor in this bathroom I had to think fast when I looked to see that he was giving birth to a turd too big for his little anus.  I ran for latex gloves and vaseline.  Then I found a sterile and brand new thermometer.  In lieu of forceps I had to help him pass this giant poop past skin that was being stretched and pulled outward.  I was terrified and honestly had no idea what I was doing but from reading many books on giving birth I knew that if a baby’s head is stuck behind the “lip” you can pull it to the side.  This seemed close enough.  I hoped that once this portion passed that there would be smooth sailing.

I was excitedly annoucing that it was “right there” and “so close” and even “PUSH!” as things moved past this skin and then the rest came sliding out quickly.  The euphoria in the room was like that of any delivery room.  Relief, excitement, the end of pain, it was all there.  We even had a terrible mess to clean up.  I felt as if someone should have passed out cigars to my husband and I and Everett to celebrate.

Even though in retrospect the entire scene of delivering a 6 pound 2 ounce baby poop is a little funny it certainly isn’t funny to Everett.  I cried with him during the entire process and shed tears of relief and joy when it was done.  It was terrifying seeing what pain he must have been going through and frankly I could relate after reliving my own births and that “ring of fire.”  How scared he must have been.  I completely understand why he continues to avoid pooping but the cycle is vicious and exhausting.

Our life revolves around his bowel movements.  I am always mentally counting down from the last poop wondering how long he will go.  What day will it fall on?  Will it make our trip to the park or a theme park miserable?

I’ve even gone so far as to give him a suppository on his birthday knowing he was due and wanting him to enjoy his special day.  “Happy 2nd Birthday Everett, now bend over and let me give you a special birthday suppository!”  

After consulting our pediatrician we have been giving him Miralax every single day with no results.  He is still breastfeeding and is now a picky eater but those good “fiber” foods have a texture that he doesn’t like.  He will try them but usually chews and then spits them out.  He doesn’t like juice and hardly drinks anything but water and breastmilk.  I realize his diet is not helping things but I can’t force feed him things.

I’ve had to give him a number of suppositories at this point and he even asks for them by pointing to the medicine cabinet.  This isn’t something I should continue nor do I want to but they have been the only thing to make him go and give him relief.

I would be overjoyed if he pooped every day.  I would happily spray out his disgusting toddler diapers if need be.  I haven’t had to spray out a diaper in months because he has gone standing up.  I have no way of knowing if constipation came before withholding or if it is the other way around.  All I know is that my little boy goes through a lot of pain on a regular basis and as a mother it breaks my heart.  I’m so worried that this will cause further damage and that he will run into a lot of trouble with potty training down the line.

At this point I am willing to try almost anything that is safe for Everett.  I know other parents have been through this and if you have, and know of solutions that would be approprite and safe for a 2 year old, I am all ears.  Chiropractors, Voo-doo, I’d try it.  In the grand scheme of things this is a small problem and so many others face bigger problems.  Still, seeing my baby scream in fear and pain is more than I can take and I need to make him comfortable and regular again.

***FYI I am planning on taking him back to the doctor if things don’t start moving soon with her method but I’d like to hear what others have done and run these by my pediatrician as well.  Also, my husband is going to kill me for posting this.  He doesn’t even like when I say the word poop.  Dear Everett, if you find this post in the Internet’s past, rest assured everyone who saw it has already forgotten it and you won’t be recognized in public as the boy who can’t poop.  I hope.  

75 Responses

  1. Poor little guy. My daughter has problems every so often, but not to that extent and not from not wanting to go. We’re tried warm hot water bottles, warm baths – which works great for her and some other things.

    I love you FYI! Every once in awhile I stop and think “oh what is she going to think about me posting this!” LOL. Happy Halloween.

  2. Poor boy. Can he not be prescribed solulable fibre perhaps? Or you include more fruit juice into your diet etc in a hope some gets to him through your milk?. I hope it gets sorted soon x

  3. Does he eat yogurt, grapes, prunes, oatmeal? I’d take out bananas, rice, potatoes. Adding yogurt and prunes and good fats like avocado to my toddlers diet always helps her if I notice impending pain. Have you tried having potty time each day? “Little one, let’s go try to potty, pick out a favorite book and let’s read it!” Then if he complies with the potty time set up a reward system. Then as his diet changes kick in, and he makes progress, step up the reward system, maybe? If he’s horrified of the potty, try putting his potty seat in the tub with warm water around him? May help ease the scary thoughts associated with the potty. Good luck, it is so difficult to work through this but he can get it down!!!

  4. My son had the same problem. My ped suggested a dose of miralax twice a day to get him in the habit of going regularly (once a day didn’t get it done for us either). It took a few weeks but he realized that it didn’t hurt anymore and wouldn’t hold it so much. We were able to stop the Miralax after about a month. Ex-lax and castor oil worked too, but castor oil is hard for them to swallow bc of the texture. Ex-lax is like candy (Chocolate) so he didn’t mind taking it. Also, dramatically increase his water/juice intake. As much as possible – it will soften his stools as well.

  5. My son used to have a lot of the same issues. He was put on lactulose. Poor kid I hope you can get some answers. Vicious cycle of it hurts to go so I hold it and then it hurts to go because I hold it. Will he eat prunes? My kids love prunes or maybe making treats with prunes. Like homemade Lara bars with prunes instead of dates? You can find recipes all over pinterest for them and they can be made with all sorts of yummy stuff added.

  6. Try Aloe Vera water. Just a couple of tablespoons in a drink/day. My daughter’s doctor put her on MiraLax everyday as well. It was occasionally successful, but I didn’t want her to be on it long term if the problem was to persist. The Aloe Vera worked even better! We also had to search for foods with fiber that she would eat. Mini wheats where a big hit! Goodluck!

  7. I’ve been there…and I know how horrible and helpless you feel.

    Our son ended up in the ER last August because his poo was compacted and causing him sever pain (because he would hold instead of pooping daily). The ER Dr’s said to do 1 glass of Miralax a day and it would soon pass, but to visit our Ped the next day. WELL, our Ped said at the one glass a day routine it would probably never fix the problem. SO the first thing he did was put my son on a “clean out” regime…8 glasses of Miralax for 2 days, then 1 glass a day there-after once the pipes were flowing again. Those first two days were tough. First, he felt like crap (pun intended ;-)…) and he didn’t want anything to drink, so I had to get very creative with what I mixed the Miralx with. In the end I did Juice mixed with some seltzer… He just loved the bubbles and we don’t do soda, so it was a nice “treat” for him. I bribed him to drink with everything I had….and eventually he did and we got almost 6 glasses down both days. Apparently that was enough to do the trick. Now, I never actually saw anything other then liquid exit him during this time, but the Dr said the liquid essentially disintegrated anything in his system as it moved through.

    Now we’re on a high fiber diet and 1 a day miralax routine. We haven’t had a problem since. Like you, my son is a bit of a picky eater, so I started grabbing foods that I knew he would eat (cereal for instance) that was fortified with fiber. Fiber one has a carmel delight that he just LOVES. It still didn’t seem like enough fiber for me though, so I added a fiber gummy supplement to his diet too. two gummy’s is the equivalent of 3/4 of the fiber he should be getting for a day.

    Put simply I will do anything to avoid that again!! Good look, and happy pooping :-)…

    Kristin

  8. oh Dear…you have just described a poop day in my home a year ago. We even had many waterbirths. My daughter did the same thing. Poop day was every 4 days. The pediatrician told me that at some point she must have had a large painful poop and since then did not want to have another.. yes toddler logic… so that’s how the with holding began. Overtime holding those large poops stretches the colon and allows the child to hold an even bigger poop. The only cure.. soften the poop so it’s impossible to hold. So we did the daily Miralax, increasing the does till the first notion of pooping ment RUN! She only missed the potty a few times and overall it helped. unless i fogot or risked missing the daily does to see if she could handle a firm stool. We continued this charade for 6 months. Visiting gastrointorolists and having x rays to see how much poo was still backed up inside her. It did get to the point where the daily does wasnt enough and she learned to hold the soft poop to the point of getting impacted. After a horrible dis impaction… manually by the dr. I cried, with my baby, and everyday gave her more medicine and other foods that caused loos stools. No more cows milk, no cheese, lots of juice and fruit lots of veggies. all the time reminding her that we didn’t want to have the dr help her poop again. They told me this was also a sensory issue. That somekids jsut do it.. that she’ll grow out of it, etc.

    Well it’s been about 6 months since she had a baby turd. We slowly weaned off the daily miralax to every other day. and now we jsut do it if she hasn’t gone in a few days. She and everyone in the house knows that we need to see what she poo’d… it’s become funny.. realy big ones… tiny ones… rocks… pebbles… soft serve.. everyone likes to come up with a new discription. She has also developed a need to be watched when in the bathroom.. she wont go alone. She will be 3 next month. I’m so sorry you are going throuhg this. It was hard on us. but we got through it. You will too. One day at a time. for now.. increase the miralax each day, twice a day till you are happy with the consistency. Good Luck.

  9. Try and hold back on the amount of cheese and other food that might cause constipation and encourage fruit especially prunes and grapes, and encourage lots of water also try prune juice he might refuse but you will never know until you try you might also try a hot cup a tee it might help his body relax and let it flow

  10. Oh, the poor sweetheart. As the mama of a couple “withholders”, I could just cry for him. I know what it’s like, and it can be pretty awful and last for years. Are you sure that you are giving him enough Miralax? I had to give that to one of my sons every day, because he’s had such awful constipation, and we were worried that he was going to do serious damage to himself. To the best of my knowledge, the worst that you’ll run into with accidentally giving too high a dose is …. a big mess. Know what I mean? It isn’t absorbed by the body, so it isn’t like you can O.D. him on the Miralax. 😉 When we were trying to find the right dose for our little boy, we ended up with a few crazy days, where we had to take him and a bunch of his things directly into the shower. Oops. At that point though, we at least knew the general amount that he needed to have every day, to be able to produce a passable poo every day, or every other day.

    When our daughter was younger, she became so terrified by constipation that she started withholding, and it lasted for years. This was before Miralax was available, so we spent a lot of time having her sit in a very warm bath, because it seemed to help a lot to get things moving. We tried those suppositories, but she complained that they burned a lot, especially since going poo ravaged her bottom so much. What made everything so much worse was the pain. Oh, the tears. After watching her go through so much, that was the deciding factor in working out the right dose of Miralax for our son, because I couldn’t stand to see another little one go through all of that- because going through the pain just extends the withholding. Our daughter couldn’t even start school with other kids her age, because her bathroom behavior was so unpredictable.

    I hope that you are able to find whatever it is that Ev is having a hard time with. I found that 2 of my kiddos can’t have dairy (not even in other food items). For my little boy, not only do we have to avoid some foods and beverages, but I have to dose him regularly with raisins and fiber-rich foods, just to help move things along. We were able to stop using the Miralax, but only after we found out what things he needed to have removed from his diet.

  11. I’d love an update if you get other suggestions and a good resolution. I’m worried my 2 yr old daughter is heading down that road. I’ve started adding a daily prune (“big raisin”) to her diet in hopes that she won’t be able to hold it multiple days and become more afraid.

  12. Poor little buddy! We have similar issues, though not to the same degree as Everett. My daughter goes every 2-3 days and it’s a big event when she does. I can relate to the birth coach idea. We get excited when I see the poop “crowning” and I say, “It’s coming! Keep pushing! You can do it!” We’ve tried dietary changes but it’s difficult to get her to eat the foods that she needs to eat to make her more regular. We’ve had some luck with replacing cow’s milk with coconut milk, and adding a daily probiotic. Good luck!

  13. Are there absolutely no fiber foods he can enjoy? I’ve noticed that Gerber First Foods prunes, carrots and squash all have a mild, sweet flavor that my daughter likes, and when we started having poopie issues, I decided we needed to eat at least 1 serving of these a day. We now get poop almost every day. To jump start her, I started giving her a product called Baby Move every day for a week. You can find it in the health and wellness section in front of your Walmart pharmacy. It’s an organic prune juice base with glycerin in it, and it’s taken internally. You can mix it with breast milk, formula… whatever you need to put it in to make him drink it. It might not hurt to see if you can work a six ounce glass of distilled water into his diet every day too, especially if he eats much cereal. Baby rice stopped up my girl, and these were the only things I could find that would fix it. Hope they help. Good luck, mama!

  14. My twins had the same problem when we started potty training but it was mostly 1 of them. We started potty training at 3 and they are now a little over 4 and finally using the potty to poop. I did everything – Miralax, suppositories, gentle words, encouragement, lessons on anatomy. What has worked the best is just time. I know it really sucks and I even once said to my MIL, “I’m so sick of my life revolving around bowel movements!” It will get better with time. Lately the challenge was that he would hold it so that a little would come out into his underwear unexpectedly and then we’d have to clean him up multiple times a day until he finally did the deed. I went back to the basics in the last couple weeks and started giving him m&ms if he went poop on the potty. Low and behold it worked and he’s been going on the potty to get a treat instead of in his underwear.

  15. I haven’t read everything, but a couple things that worked for us. It was almost 2 capfuls of Miralax…it took a lot. Also, there were these little liquid suppositories (almost like an enema) for toddlers that really helped move things along. I would use those by the third day to help her. I hope he gets some relief.

  16. I have never heard of someone else going through EXACTLY what my daughter and I go through….our life also used to revolve around her pooping, and me coaching her through it like a doula. I still do when we have an “episode” which is what we call it. She stands up, fighting it, just like I hear your son does…our doctor has termed it “fecal retention” and perscribed milk of magnesia daily. About 3 months ago we decided to try raw milk as we had heard it helped with bowel problems and I was desperate for a solution to the pain my daughter was experiencing. IT WORKS!!!!!!! After a few days of beginning the raw milk, no more episodes. She is now able to poop normally and every day, although I still encourage her to “get your poop out” when I know she is going. No more tears for either of us. If I could tell you a miracle solution this would be it. This is the link that I wrote on my blog that was published on Health Impact News.

    http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/how-raw-milk-healed-jane/

    Please read it and consider/research if raw milk would be an option for your family and your son. If anyone understands what you are going through it is us! Thanks so much for sharing because it is encouraging to know I’m not the only one thinking I should be a doula after all the many poop sessions!
    God Bless You,
    Claire

  17. Bananas cause constipation in my son and also pasteurized dairy. He LOVES prunes as they are very sweet and good 🙂 Squatting helps
    him tremendously. Here is a link to the “squatty potty concept” (Please
    note I am NOT endorsing their product, but I do believe the theory behind squatting
    to eliminate.) http://www.squattypotty.com/Articles.asp?ID=256

    Best of wishes to you and Everett!

  18. I have no advice but wanted to lend my support. Poor little guy. I hope you can find somethingthat works, and soon.

  19. They make fiber gummy bears for kids that my daughter takes. She is 3 with the same problem. She also takes Miralax, and she used to eat the fiber 1 brownies and granola bars(she has since decided she doesn’t like those). I feel for you. We have no signs of potty training AT ALL and it worries me terribly. She even looks like she is trying to go, but she is really trying to hold it in. Ugh. I’ll be watching these responses as well.

  20. Oh my I don’t have any advice but I am so sorry to hear this! I can’t imagine how hard it must be to watch your baby in pain. I hope you find a solution soon. Big hugs!

  21. We had a similar, though not quite so extreme, issue with one of my sons witholding as well. Several of the foods already mentioned by others helped us a lot – yogurt, frosted shredded mini-wheats and prunes. The prunes were really effective because the kids ate them like candy. We just started serving them some every day at breakfast. I also made a lot of pumpkin cookies around this time of year to get them to eat any type of fiber. We also switched our kids to almond and coconut milk for a few years because they seemed to be sensitive to cow milk, even just having a little in a bowl of cereal.

    I also keep peppermint herbal tea on hand for any of my kids who may have an off day and need a little help. They love the taste and the warmth helps things too. It’s really tough, but as you all work through it, the kids really begin to understand how foods affect their body and how to make wise food choices to help themselves rather than hurt.

  22. Thankfully we don’t have this issue at our house, but we have many other digestive issues that we are working on. As a result I am reading the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Natasha Campbell-McBride. It prescribes a healing diet for digestive tracts problems. At first I wasn’t interested because the book is touted to help kids with autism, ADD, and other psychological issues. After hearing about it again and again and the amazing results people had with it I caved an we are now on the GAPS diet. It is a lot of work initially but it’s a natural way to fix the problems without a ton of medicine or other chemicals. The reason I’m telling you about it is because I just read the chapter on constipation last night and she describes your exact situation. If you go to the book store to check the book out flip to the constipation chapter and start reading. I think that in itself would be enough to interest. She also talks a lot about picky eaters an texture issues with food. The constipation along with the texture issues tell me that your son’s gut flora is probably out of balance and fixing that can fix his issues. Good luck!

  23. My now 5 year old has this EXACT same problem and he has since before he was 2. I believe the constipation came first in our case because he started having frequent constipation starting at 4 months. Regardless, this has been a huge battle for us. At 2 years old he was not even on the growth charts. I finally took him to a different pedi for a second opinion. He was aghast! He said my son’s stomach was so distended that he couldn’t even feel whether he had organs or not. He sent him for an x-ray to determine if he (my son) had a tumor or if he was just THAT constipated. I was terrified. “Thankfully” it came back as just a whole lot of stool.

    We did the Miralax route to the point that within 5 days it completely flushed him out. The thing with Miralax (and you probably know this) is that it is only a softener. It will not make him poop, it will only make it softer for him so it doesn’t hurt.

    We switched pediatricians. I was so upset about this whole thing. The second pedi even told us….of course he isn’t on the charts, you wouldn’t eat if you were that “full” either. The previous pedi kept telling us it was just genetic and there was nothing wrong with him. 🙁

    By this time, it was just too “ingrained” in our son to withhold. So, our new pediatrician (I love her!) referred us to a pediatric GE. This guy was awesome! Here is what he told us:

    First of all, withholding is a HUGE deal and it is typically mental not physical. He said if he CAN poop then it is generally NOT a physical problem. In our case he told us that if we are saying or acting in anyway like pooping is a negative or bad thing, we have to stop it immediately! (The thing that stood out to me is you mentioned your husband doesn’t even like to say the word, ‘poop’?) in our case my husband was making a big deal about how “gross” it was when he had to change a poopy diaper on our son. And, I was asking him if when he would fart “Are you poopy or are you just a stinky boy?” I wasn’t trying to be mean, I just didn’t like the word fart so I thought I was making it “cute.” WRONG! We were both giving our son the idea that pooping was a nasty thing to do. I felt AWFUL when I found this out!

    So, that was step 1. Step 2 was we were giving him LOADS of Miralax a day (good news – you cannot overdose on Miralax. It is completely safe). The GE told us we want to get his poop to the point of almost being runny. He said that basically it should be no effort at all for our son to go poop. This would take the “pain” part away and help him start to feel comfortable with pooping again. We needed to keep it that way for a while.

    He explained it like this: |———–|————| <—– the first | = runny/diarrhea the second | = normal poop and the third | = hard/constipation. He wanted us to keep C's poop to the left of the middle |.

    Step 3 was that we were NOT to try and potty train until all of this was settled. The GE told us that the worst thing you can do is have a child associate pain with the toilet. They will not understand that it is the poop that is hurting them. It will be the toilet that is hurting them and then you have long term problems. But, he also said, when we do potty train that it will be easier for us because our son already had the hardest part of training down..holding the poop.

    That said, we followed this advice: We never made it sound bad again. We praised him ridiculously when he did poop. It was a good thing. In fact, I would tell him even when he wasn't pooping how it is good for us to poop. It is healthy and makes us feel better and everyone has to do it. We gave him Miralax 3 times a day, every day! It takes a couple days for it to kick in so if you stop then you are essentially starting all over. We did not potty train. Our son trained himself just after he turned 4. Yes, we went all the way to 4. But, it WAS easy. One day we ran out of diapers and I told him that we had run out of diapers and that I'd have to put underwear on him until I could get to the store but it was ok if he had to poop in them. He said "No, I'll use the potty" and he did! And he had maybe 2 night time accidents ever. It still took him a while to figure out the sensation of needing to pee so we did have accidents but it was no big deal. Easiest potty training ever.

    Sorry this is so long. It's just something close to my heart. Now at 5, he will still get constipated and it still hurts and it still breaks my heart. However, we also have him eat prunes (the baby food ones) everyday. This is just something that has always worked for him. If it didn't, we'd still keep him on Miralax. In fact, the GE said he could be on it for a year (he was) or more and it wouldn't hurt him and that it would only help him.

    I wish you all the best! If you have any specific questions, I'm happy to answer with our experience!

  24. Why don’t you use a little Mirilax to make it softer? If it’s easier to go then maybe that will help with his withholding issues. We’ve used it with my preemie son often since he came home from the NICU. When we started solids, he had some issues again. All it took was 1/4 tsp once a day for a few days to get things back to normal.

  25. I’m not sure how old he is, that you actually didn’t mention. And I’m right there w/you on the fact of having a picky eater. But whether your bf still or not. You don’t have to FORCE feed him…but you DO have to put your foot down and make him eat or even try things. Its a pain in the arse – but there is that difference. He won’t eat unless you make him. Granted…my daughter ate very few different things but I made sure she ate them.
    He could have a twisted bowel that a Chiro can help. Quite frankly they are far from being compared as risky as VooDoo. But what is worse is that not only could there be a issue to deal with but you’ll have the psychological and pain issues from what he’s doing as well. Honestly, it could very literally be his diet that is causing the hardness.
    After having my daughter I was on pain meds for about 2 wks before weaning myself off of them. The shift that caused in my stomach meant that I didn’t need softeners as normal women did right afterwards. So I didn’t think of it 3 wks later and it was like cement took hold. So softeners were taken but it was too late. And I had to take the laxatives. Nothing happened…I’ve never not gone for 6+ days. The general pain of that was horrible. The end result, excruciating. I can only imagine what your son thinks of this. But I will say, the aid was needed but also made things worse. It forced more pressure internally. I’d never had issues before birth but now afterwards things were completely different…for months I couldn’t get off the aid. And that with eating fiber etc. Turns out, my upper and lower intestines were twisted from my c-section. A simple adjustment from GOOD chiropractor {mine practices acupressure and cranial adjustments} fixed it and I could stop using all the different stuff to assist.
    Reason I say this…is my daughter had huge fear issues but she couldn’t withhold it more then a day or two. Being able to wait so long means there is other internal issues or it would be that he’s eating foods that would make his bowels cement in reaction to not having a constant laxative effect he’s used to.
    I remember a good friend of the family had a daughter w/very similar issues and its devastating for the family. But one of the hardest things I ever had to do was serve my daughter food she NEEDED to eat instead of what she wanted. It took 2 days of refusing the new platefuls for her to finally try it. And she had gone leaps and bounds ever since. I wish you the best…

  26. We had issues when my potty trained little man weaned. A lot more water helped. He liked it best in a straw camel back bottle. Oatmeal with flaxseed would also help. Will he do smoothies?

  27. has anyone heard of this Kung poo diapers? I looked on this site, but cannot find a review about them, any opinions, thoughts, reviews?

  28. We had the same issues with my oldest, we also called it poop day, and have something called the poop hug to help him go. I finally got him to go more regularly by giving him V8 V fusion. I know you said he doesn’t drink juice, but my son didn’t either, and he liked this. We also had a cup of water available at all times and that helped too. Good luck!

  29. We have the opposite problem. I’ve gone to the extreme, not giving the baby any fruits or veggies (other than applesauce) for the last week to solidify her diapers. During the big kid’s birthday party she had FOUR dirty diapers that we didn’t catch because someone else was holding her each time. Sensitive skin + dirties = horrible rash. It’s taken the whole week, but she’s almost healed. She’s had const. before too, and she cried, but she managed it without help. Poor babies.

  30. You could try adding flax oil to smoothies/cookies/cereal, I know of a few people that it has worked for. Magnesium oil rubbed on the stomach may help too.

  31. My daughter also had severe constipation. We found it was due to a milk/soy intolerance. I see you are breastfeeding. Maybe try (if you haven’t already) cutting out any dairy from your diet and his? Once we cut out dairy from her diet, she went back to having “normal” poops. Usually, a dairy intolerance will cause diarrhea, but in some cases, like ours, it was causing severe diarrhea. Good luck, I hope you find something that works for him soon.

  32. Same problem here!!! We do some prunes at every meal. But if he won’t eat them then that’s a problem. A lil prune juice in his water? Also millet really gets things going. In emergency situations I use a smoothie pouch (plum organics I think) that’s sweet potato, something, and millet! You can bake with millet. Maybe make a treat to give him every day?

  33. Well, I did not think this Halloween I would be talking about poop, let alone, my own. I had the same issues as a child, I would scream and cry and say “I hate you!” to the poop. I remember glasses of Metamucil and Citracel. All my memories of breakfast are of fiber cereals, not Captain Crunch. I am wondering if it’s hereditary. My son has been constipated pretty much since he started eating more solids. He eats a great diet of fiber and plenty of fruits and veggies. However, he only goes once a week and cries in pain. We cut out bananas and reduced the cow’s milk he is getting. Lots and lots of water too. It helped with the last bm. We tried prune juice, but he wasn’t a fan. What he did drink didn’t make much of a difference. Good luck, and I expect a post about happy poops in the future.

  34. I used to babysit a family member’s kid 4 days/week with similar issues. If dairy is NOT an issue, use the baby food prunes as an ice cream topping if all else fails. I know how heart-wrenching this can be, Good luck!

  35. You could check with your Doctor if it would be appropriate. I had terrible problems with constipation and I took Bluebonnet liquid calcium/magnesium. They have several berry flavors. I think it is the magnesium that helps relieve. I have also heard good things about flax oil and flax seed. On another side, the mental side. Some wrote about that and I think you should really look at it. I had a friend with a son who did te same type of thing, but never seemed to be in pain just held it till he could physically no longer do so. Then one day he pooped on the toilet and exclaimed to mom “It doesn’t hurt too poop!!!” Then he told me later the same thing. He was so proud he had pooped in the toilet and also just in wonder that it didn’t hurt. From then one there was no issue.

  36. Poor baby. 🙁 The GAPS diet might be a bit extreme for your case, but it couldn’t hurt to look into it. Do you give him probiotics at all? That might help to regulate things as well. Also, it may not be fun but you could try giving him enema’s. I’m sure you know how important it is to go. The body will start to reabsorb the toxins in the poop the longer its kept in there. Good luck!

  37. I used to take care of a little boy with motor problems due to cerebral palsy. They had to regularly give him suppositories because things would just not move along on their own. They also gave him Senokot, though, which is a stool softener. I wonder if this would help in addition to or instead of the Miralax, which I believe is only a laxative (which doesn’t help much if the kiddo has hard stools). Lots of water is good. Personally, I feel that it might be better to increase to suppository use in the short-term to get him to a point where he is more comfortable with bowel movements. The longer he goes between poop days, the more water the body reabsorbs and the harder it is to go, which can result in problems like megacolon. I hope that helps and things start to get better soon.

  38. When I was a toddler, my sister pushed me down the stairs and impaled me on a metal rod. It did not puncture my skin, but it did extremely damage my insides. It was weeks before anyone realized I hadn’t pooped in a while and that swollen belly was all of the back-up. I remember bits and pieces of the invasive procedure to remedy the situation. I remember crying. I spent 2-3 days a week until I was 6 years old at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital being examined from end to end to figure out why I just stopped going to the bathroom. My entire childhood was a parent led documentary of my bathroom habits – time, color, size, consistency. My parents were divorced when I was only a couple of months old, both remarried shortly after. The only thing they did not fight about were the conversations surrounding when I last went poop. I had lots of accidents growing up (I was fully potty trained by 16 months, but sometimes couldn’t wait to get to the toilet on poop days) and was even delayed starting kindergarten because of all of this. All of my meals consisted of some sort of disgusting fiber filled dish. Nights ended for me, not with a bedtime snack but with mineral oil and metamucil-like drinks. (I’d like to add that all of our meals at home were very healthy. Lots of fruits and veggies. No junk food at all. We only drank water, milk or 100% juice. So diet was ruled out as another cause of the issue.) It was days and days between poops. Sometimes even weeks. I developed quite a phobia of any bathroom that is not my own (since it was so painful to actually go to the bathroom and I always had a parent standing there waiting to check out what I had done). I learned how to lay while getting enemas so my stomach didn’t hurt so bad. I was terrified to go poop because every time I did it hurt excruciatingly bad. There was always blood. There were always tears. There was always such relief after the fact. I saw many, many counselors and doctors over the years for the problem. Though the accidents stopped by the time I was entering middle school I
    still withheld regularly. By then it was just how life was for me. I don’t know if any of those doctors actually helped or not because the problem still exists in my life from time to time 30 years later (for instance vacations are tough, I always carry something to help me relax enough to go just in case).

    One thing I can say after reading your article about your son is that it is most likely extremely helpful to him that you are there for him cheering him on and supporting him through the pain. I ran and hid when I had to go, which is when the accidents happened. My parents tried to keep on top of it, but just couldn’t all of the time (they all worked full-time, there were multiple kids in the house to watch over and it wasn’t the babysitter’s favorite thing to have to tend to when she was there so she tended not to). It was very embarrassing for me when those accidents did happen and cousins or friends found out. The ridicule was scarring. I still remember the taunts. Though I forgive them now it was hurtful then. It would have been nice to have had someone there for me when it did get bad to lean on and feel the relief like I did after the fact. Keep supporting him! Keep encouraging him to go regularly. Read lots of poop books to him. Continue to encourage him to eat and drink things that will help him to go more often. Continue to talk to him about all of it. You’re doing an awesome job! Keep your doctors in the loop. Do everything you are already doing because you are doing a wonderful thing for your little man. Some day it will just click for him and he will go, pain free, on his
    own. I just pray for you all that it is very soon for him and not years and years later like my experience. I hope that all of the comments below are helpful and encouraging for you and your family during this time. It is a hard thing to get through so having support is an amazing advantage!

  39. Children’s probiotic Suggested by my pediatrician, and worked wonders for my daughter’s regularity. you can mix it into food or drinks. not sure about water though. maybe try expressed breastmilk.

  40. Oh Kim. I’m so sorry little Ev is having so many difficulties in this department. It never is fun. I can tell you that it can take a month or more for Miralax to kick in and help Ev be more regular. You are doing a great job. Ev (and Fletcher) are lucky little boys. Hang in there.

  41. After struggling my whole life with similar symptoms, I was recently diagnosed with outlet dysfunction constipation. Unfortunately, there is not much information out there about this disorder, but basically it’s a type of constipation that does not respond to the typical measures used to treat constipation, like fiber, laxatives, etc. It has more to do with how the muscles are working/not working. I went to physical therapy to help me learn to retrain the muscles (to relax instead of tense up). Of course, I’m not saying that this is what your son has, but I wanted to mention it as a possibility. It’s definitely important to get this figured out as soon as you can, because all that straining can lead to lots of problems, like hemorrhoids, fissures, etc.

    Of course, having a good diet can help too. Will he drink smoothies? You can put lots of good things in there like spinach, flax seed, etc. You might think about buying a powerful blender (like vitamix) to make them super smooth for him. Also, if he will eat yogurt, you could try giving him one of the stonyfield flavors that have veggies in them (like sweet potato) and add extra of a similar veggie (I use canned organic pumpkin).

    So sorry your little guy goes through this. So far my kids do not suffer from these issues and I’m so thankful.

  42. Aaaww! We have lots of constipation issues at our house too and as an experienced mother (I have 7 from age 20 to age 5 months) I can tell you with absolute authority that it will cause potty training issues. Also constipation is one of the major contributors to extended bed wetting (unfortunately I’m an expert on that too). You are wise to work with your doctor to resolve his issues. Our urologist actually prescribed miralax for my 9 yr. old so that isn’t unusual. I think the smoothie idea from the previous poster is excellent. I make my boys eat a serving of prunes and raisins every day with breakfast. Hang in there! Hopefully nothing is wrong physically and this will resolve soon.

  43. Have you tried sneaking in high fiber food by giving him baby food pouches? The Happy Baby line has Happy Tot pouches that have TON of fiber in that tiny little pouch. My son immediately goes poop within an hour of eating one (but doesn’t have any of the issues your little one has – his bm schedule is about as opposite as possible).

    Just a thought of a non-intrusive way to give him more fiber. My son will eat these things like candy. They are also organic and very, very low in sugar. A great way to get veggies in to kids who won’t eat veggies.

    http://www.happybabyfood.com/ourproducts?page=shop.browse&category_id=10

    Sorry about all of these struggles. You are doing a great job!

  44. Well written and funny, I laughed out loud at some parts, but still it is sad to hear your baby boy is constipated. I’ve been lucky enough only to have experienced this condition once in my adult life and it’s awful. My sympathies are with your baby boy. As my little boy still has newborn runny poo I’m afraid I can’t offer any solutions. Hope the problem is solved soon.

  45. Maybe try incorporating smoothies into his diet. My 2yo doesn’t like apple or orange juice but loves smoothies. I add flax seed (great fiber) to them and always yogurt. And if your having issues with veggies you can put spinach or carrot juice inside!

  46. Do what you can to get him in a low squat position to go once his stools have been softened and encourage him several times a day to get in that squat position as just getting in the position could make him feel the need to go and hopefully will help. If you have a very short potty seat that will work, whatever it takes to get his butt lower than his knees. When I was a kid I had these terrible issues, although mom didn’t help me so I had to figure out ways to get it done on my own. Found that squatting down that low to go on toilet paper on the floor (I didn’t have a potty seat) made my body just do it on its own without much pushing and then eventually the pain from impacted poos went away and I could go normally.

  47. If your little one likes smoothies….give him a smoothie with kale in it and tons of fruit. My recipe is….banana, mango, strawberries, pinnapple, apple juice or coconut water, and kale. Yes, i said kale! It works wonderful! 🙂 and if u like you could add a probiotic yogurt drint to help his tummy.

  48. I had the same problem as a young child and remember having to take a fiber drink every day and had daily suppositories for a while until things started moving just and idea.

  49. Looks like you got a lot of good advice. I would second the probiotics, raw milk, magnesium (in the form of a flavored fizzy drink called Natural Calm that my kids love), and would suggest coconut oil every day wherever you can sneak it in. In our family we take these things daily to keep everyone happy 🙂 These should all help but I would highly recommend reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The book has helped our family so much. Good luck to your little man, I’ve been there (very constipated as a child and I’ve also had to extract poop from my children) and know how painful it is for both mama and baby!!!!

  50. Wow, that is so difficult! I can’t even imagine how horrible that must be for both of you. 🙁 I can’t offer much in terms of support, but I saw a suggestion for smoothies, and you can really pack a lot of fruit and fiber in those. Good luck and I wonder if you should stop breastfeeding and introduce solid foods. While I am very pro-breast-feeding, in your case, your son will have no other alternative than to eventually eat some solid foods which should help.

    You are doing a great job; you guys will find a solution!

  51. OMG, my daughter turned 2 in August and I felt like I was reading about her. Half a capful of Miralax 2x a day has helped somewhat….. but a teaspoon of mineral oil mixed with chocolate soy milk seems to help more. We limit dairy to 2 servings a day and she is only drinking soy milk, not cow’s milk. Last week on a whim I bought some gummy lifesaver valentine candy, individually wrapped. I told her that she could have one EVERY TIME she pushed the poop out. We have completely backed off from potty training and are strictly in diapers. For some reason, she really took to this reward, we made a huge deal about this special candy is only for her, and no one else can have this candy. It’s only for when she pushes out the poop or helps the poop come out. Sure enough, with the help of the Miralax, the first 3 days she pooped 2-4 times a day, and was rewarded with the candy. I didn’t care if she pooped in the diaper, in the tub, naked, I was happy.

    Needless to say, now she goes in the other room(like she did to withhold) and poops, and comes and tell me she wants her diaper changed and a gummy. I have not given her miralax for the last 2 days, and she is still pooping, but we did give it to her for 5 days straight. I hate drugging my kids but this was completely necessary. I can’t get veggies in her either, but i mix benefiber with applesauce or yogurt and that helps.

    We are in the middle of a learning process, but I have to admit it is nice to know I am not alone, but I wish that no one had to go through this!!!

    1. Since I wrote things things are much better. I hope they improve for you too!
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  52. My son as IBS )irritable bowel syndrome), and that is exactly what this sounds like. Honestly, it’s horrible…it has been since it started. My son was diagnosed with this at 4 months old…when even then, being only feed breast milk, he would still have hard stools. He has had a total of 5 normal BMs and that is it. Yeah, we have the Mirlax crap that doesn’t work. What actually FINALLY started helping (yes, this is going to sound strange) is acid reflex meds. His GI dr told us to try it and he is at least going once a day now! Yes, they are still hard…BUT at least he is going every day.

  53. We just got over this with our three year old. Exactly the same, daddy
    made a big deal about “stinky poop” diapers, and our ocd, insistently
    clean toddler took that to mean poop was dirty and gross and should be
    avoided. He started holding his poop in diapers. We did try potty
    training, and he succeeded, but would hold it for a week until he
    couldn’t eat, then there would be hours of terrified screaming while he
    had to poop on the potty while I sat and cried with him. He refused to
    use a diaper any more. A lot of patience, love, consistency, glycerin
    suppositories (every pooping day), and then graduating to some chewable pedia-lax and week by week we cut off a day between poops. Now he poops daily, and has finally started to go by himself.
    This was a horrible phase, and I thought he was the only child to have
    this problem. It broke my heart to hear him scream and see the panic in
    his eyes while he sat on the potty drenched in sweat. I really thought
    we would have the problem well into his school years, and his
    pediatrician had started to bring up occupational therapy. I wish you
    the best of luck, and definitely recommend mirilax and the suppositories.

    1. We went through both. The Miralax helped after a week but before starting we used suppositories when he got to that screaming point. Now he gets a fiber vitamin a day and this has helped. He is back to normal mostly and I’m really grateful. It was so scary and heartbreaking.

  54. My husband recommended nectar juice. We are going some of the same things too but my son has looser stools but he learned to hold them. He has several food allergies and is a very picky eater.

  55. My son suffered with this and I took him from doctor to doctor, all of whom insisted he was being stubborn….since he was 2 days old? I didn’t believe it. It wasn’t until he was almost 5 years old that a doctor said no, kids just aren’t that stubborn and ran a few tests. My son was diagnosed with “functional megacolon” and his colon didn’t tell his brain that he had to go. The doctor treated him with daily mineral oil (I think it was an ounce in chilled juice with tons of ice, helps it go down easier) and, if he didn’t go for 3 days, a fleet enema. I rarely had to give him the enemas. I remember the days of screaming and weeping when he finally went. My heart goes out to you and your son.

  56. My brother battled this for YEARS. My mom made cloth wipes out of old towels long before they were the “in” thing to do.
    I wish I could offer advice. All I have are hugs.

  57. I see this article is older but I would suggest avoiding Miralax and other laxatives because they are only effective for a shot time and have side effects after long term use. You need a long term fix so the best thing is to add fiber and more water to the diet. If you can find at least one food with fiber that he will eat and you can get him to eat it everyday that would be best, You can also add fiber powder to his milk or water if you need to. Also ask the doctor for a stool softener rather then a laxative because it will help make things more comfortable without causing diarrhea.

  58. I know you’re through it now, but just in case someone else is going through it, maybe my experience can help. My daughter had horrific constipation where she needed to be disimpacted several times. We noticed that bread and dairy were a really big problem. We also noticed that pasta was an issue too. We removed them from her diet and it got a bit better, and she was having tons of fruits and veggies, but sometimes she would be so constipated and it would be fibrous. So we ended up adding more fat to her diet and that was the final piece of the puzzle. Through all of this and researching we discovered the paleo diet. Now our whole family is paleo and all our poop issues are better (I had IBS)

    1. My youngest (age 2.5) had constipation trouble since he was an infant. He was also starting to drop on his weight percentile. We went the Miralax route for a spell but I felt like it had to be something else. I visited a gastroenterologist and he said it may be celiac. The blood test was negative but he suggested we drop gluten and dairy all the same. He also suggested juicing which pulls more water into the poop. After 3 weeks without any dairy and gluten, poop troubles are history and he eats a lot more now too. I tried adding them both back separately but both caused trouble. Since we are breastfeeding, that has meant I don’t have gluten or dairy either. It has been so amazing for our family!

      1. That is so great that you found a solution! It can be so stressful. He still has episodes now that he is potty trained but they are few and far between.

  59. It’s good to hear others struggle with this. My little man is only 10 months but btw 5-8 months and every once in a while now, I have to assist wih his movements. He never really gets much out on his own. Luckily, when he has to go he grunts and I have to take his diaper off and push his legs to his tummy. I can’t wait when I don’t have to be a “doula”.
    I did try a little miralax, but I didn’t want to do that on a constant basis.

  60. One of my grandchildren had this issue (I’m not saying who). They are now older (teens) and no longer have a problem. One of the things the doctor recommended was molasses enemas. So, between suppositories, trying to get good foods and enzymes in, doula work, and the enemas, occasionally it was even necessary to go to the hospital and spend a day on IV and laxatives. The problem is that the rectum becomes enlarged from being engorged, which leads to a greater mass backing up, which leads to a bigger leading poop, which leads to withholding, which leads to the poor child suffering. As unpleasant as it is, if enemas work, get on a schedule and just do it. He will outgrow it eventually and the enemas will give him relief and start training him to a bowel movement schedule while his rectum returns to a normal size. I wish you and your little guy the best.

  61. Just saw this post and it describes the story of my life – and I’m a long-in-the-tooth adult who still has the occasional flare-up that takes my breath away. I understand there is a psychological element to this that is to do with fear of letting go. And I have discovered that I have been holding on to the memories of certain traumatic events that happened to me in childhood – I’m not saying this is the case for your 2yo, but I just wanted to reach out and share, as you have done. I am so sorry to hear about your little boy’s pain but thank you for helping me see that in spite of my years, this kind of suffering is not unique. Thank you for reaching out. There are a lot of good tips here and I’m certainly looking forward to reading “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Natasha Campbell-McBride. We are what we believe! Best of luck to you and your son.

  62. Maybe stop being a freak and breastfeeding your toddler. Get him on regular food. Kids will eat anything once they are hungry enough, I promise he won’t let himself starve to death. You’re just setting a bad habit that will last throughout life. At some point you have to teach your children to grow up and start doing things they don’t necessarily enjoy.

  63. while this is far too late maybe it will help someone else. My pain meds cause very firm poops and so I take a stool softener called doculace. Perhaps his doctor can give him a toddler size dose. seems to soften things up and works for me. Pushing out a rock hard poop is painful and I don’t look forward to it either. Hope it helps others if you no longer have this problem.

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