Bowel Habits in Children

What you are looking for is a change in your child’s usual bowel habits. Diarrhea means that the child is having more stools and looser ones than usual. Constipation means that the child is having fewer stools than usual. Every baby and child has different bowel habits. What is “normal” for one child may not be normal…

Bowel Habits in Children

Bowel Habits in Children

What you are looking for is a change in your child's usual bowel habits.

  • Diarrhea means that the child is having more stools and looser ones than usual.
  • Constipation means that the child is having fewer stools than usual.

Every baby and child has different bowel habits. What is "normal" for one child may not be normal for another. In general:

  • Many newborns have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. By the end of their first week, they may have as many as 5 to 10 bowel movements a day. They may pass a stool after each feeding.
  • By 6 weeks of age, your baby may not have a bowel movement every day. This usually isn't a problem as long as the baby seems comfortable and is growing as expected, and as long as the stools aren't hard.
  • By about 4 years of age, it's normal for a child to have as many as 3 bowel movements a day or as few as 3 a week.

Anywhere in these ranges can be considered normal if the habit is normal or usual for your child.

Credits

Current as ofJune 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

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