• Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Other ways to add fiber are listed below. (Also see Fiber in the topic Nutrition in Related Information.)

    • Eat a bowl of bran cereal with 0.35 oz (9922.33 mg)of bran per serving.
    • Add 2 Tbsp of wheat bran to cereal or soup.
    • Mix 2 Tbsp of psyllium (found in Metamucil and other bulk-forming agents) with a liquid and drink it.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar.
  • Drink 2 to 4 extra glasses of water per day, especially in the morning.
  • Drink 1.5 qt (1.42 L) to 2 qt (1.89 L) of water and other fluids, such as fruit juice or noncaffeinated beverages, every day.
  • Exercise more. A walking program would be a good start. See Your Personal Fitness Plan in the topic Fitness in Related Information.
  • Set aside relaxed times for having bowel movements. Urges usually occur sometime after meals. Establishing a daily routine (after breakfast, for example) may help.
  • Go when you feel the urge. Your bowels send signals when a stool needs to pass. If you ignore the signal, the urge will go away, and the stool will eventually become dry and difficult to pass.

For Children under 12:

A nonconstipating diet is the best way to prevent constipation. If constipation develops, a nonconstipating diet will help restore normal bowel movements.

Nonconstipating diet for infants up to 1 year of age:

  • Breast-feed your baby. Constipation is rare in breast-fed infants.
  • Make sure you are adding the correct amount of water to your baby's formula.
  • For infants on formula only:

    • For infants under 6 months of age, give an additional 2 fl oz (59.15 mL) of water twice a day.
    • For infants 6 to 12 months of age, add 2 fl oz (59.15 mL) to 4 fl oz (118.29 mL) of fruit juice, such as grape, pear, apple, or cherry juice, twice a day. Also, give an additional 2 fl oz (59.15 mL) of water twice a day.
  • Make sure to add only one new food at a time, and watch for signs of an allergic reaction or food intolerance.

Nonconstipating diet for children age 1 year and older:

  • Make sure your child is drinking enough fluids.
  • Add high-fiber fruits and vegetables three times a day. High-fiber foods include legumes (cooked dried beans), broccoli, cauliflower, apricots, peaches, pears, raisins, figs, prunes, dates, and other dried fruits. Children over age 3 may be offered unbuttered, unsalted popcorn as a snack. To avoid choking, do not offer popcorn to children under age 3.
  • Increase whole-grain foods, such as bran flakes, bran muffins, graham crackers, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.
  • Make sure your child is not eating or drinking too many servings of dairy products. At age 1, a child needs four servings a day. Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese, or yogurt can cause constipation when a child has too many servings in one day.

Children beginning toilet training:

  • Encourage your child to go when he feels the urge. The bowels send signals when a stool needs to pass. If your child ignores the signal, the urge will go away, and the stool will eventually become dry and difficult to pass.
  • Set aside relaxed times for having bowel movements. Urges usually occur sometime after meals. Establishing a daily routine (after breakfast, for example) may help.
  • Make sure your child has good foot support while he or she is on the toilet.
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise throughout the day. Set a good example for your child by following healthy routines of eating, exercising, and going to the toilet.

Request a Refill

16 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.