There’s a wide range of what’s normal poop-wise for babies. Exclusively breastfed babies are rarely constipated, even if they go for days without a #2. However, if you suspect your baby has a chronic problem moving the bowels, consult a doctor to get the issue under the control before it becomes a long-term problem. When you introduce solids, start a diet of fiber-rich foods.
Stool retention occurs most commonly between the ages of two and five, just as a child is coming to terms with independence, not to mention toilet training. A sticker chart that rewards pees and poops can be very effective. Also, making bathroom time part of a regular routine – say, sit-downs first thing in the morning, after meals, when he comes in from school, etc – can also promote healthy bowel habits. Constipation can be embarrassing for kids, so treat the problem with sensitivity and patience.
Older children may also resist bowel movements away from home when confronted with an unfamiliar toilet. In order to prevent constipation from continuing into adulthood, now is the time – if you haven’t already – to switch to a healthy, fiber-rich diet.