How are regular toilet habits established in the treatment of pediatric constipation?

Updated: Dec 14, 2018
  • Author: Stephen M Borowitz, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

In many cases, long-term success in the management of constipation depends on the child establishing regular and routine toilet times. It is generally recommended that the child be encouraged to attend the toilet twice daily for 5-10 minutes, preferably after breakfast and after supper to take advantage of the gastrocolic reflex. For school age children, it is preferable not to expect the child to attend the toilet while at school.

When the affected child has passed bowel movements regularly for weeks or months without apparent pain, fear, or excessive straining, it is reasonable to attempt to discontinue laxative therapy. Inform the family that relapses are common, particularly with changes in the child's daily routine (eg, vacations) and during times of stress. Also inform the family that requiring intermittent therapy with laxatives into adulthood is not unusual.


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