Toddler’s diarrhea is the most common cause of chronic diarrhea in a child who is continuing to gain weight and grow appropriately. The amount of diarrhea the child is having can often cause parents to become concerned. However, children with toddler’s diarrhea do not complain about abdominal pain and continue to be active. Children with toddler’s diarrhea can have anywhere from 4–10 loose stools every day. Toddler’s diarrhea typically affects children between six months and five years of age. Toddler’s diarrhea is not a disease.
What Causes Toddler’s Diarrhea?
The exact cause of toddler’s diarrhea is unknown, but several factors contribute to the diarrhea including:
- Young children have digestive tracts that are still maturing, and this results in more rapid transit through the digestive tract without enough time for absorption.
- Children consume fruit juices that contain a high amount of sugar such as fructose and sorbitol. These sugars are not completely absorbed and act as laxatives in the digestive system.
What Are Symptoms of Toddler’s Diarrhea?
Common symptoms include 4–10 watery stools a day and undigested food particles in the stool.
Toddler’s diarrhea DOES NOT cause:
- abdominal pain
- blood in the stools
- oily or greasy stools
- weight loss
Toddler’s diarrhea can be diagnosed by your child’s physician after they look at a detailed history and conduct an examination.
What Is the Treatment for Toddler’s Diarrhea?
- Stop or limit fruit juice intake to 4–6 ounces per day
- Stop all soda and tea intake
- Increase the amount of fat in your child’s diet to slow transit in the digestive tract
- Increase fiber intake to add bulk to the stool
- Medications are not recommended and should be discussed with your child’s physician
Remember that there are other factors that may cause diarrhea in young children. Some of these include:
- Infections such as Clostridium difficile and Giardia
- Lactose intolerance
- Celiac Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Food allergies
Important Points to Remember
- Toddler’s diarrhea improves over time as the digestive tract matures
- Children with toddler’s diarrhea are healthy and growing normally
- Dietary changes may improve toddler’s diarrhea
- Medications are not needed to treat toddler’s diarrhea
Speak to your child’s physician if you are concerned that your child may have toddler’s diarrhea.