Toddler Diarrhea

This page deals with the toddler diarrhea where a toddler always has diarrhea but is growing normally. For a sudden increase in your toddler's stool frequency or sudden loose stools (poop, poo), the problem is likely to be gastroenteritis - read more.


What is toddler diarrhea?

It refers to a benign condition in toddlers where they have loose frequent stools (poop, poo) most of the time. Toddler's diarrhea is not uncommon but luckily is not serious.

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What does the diarrhea look like?

It varies in consistency. Sometimes it is very loose and sometimes it is quite formed. Often you will see undigested vegetables in the stool (poop, poo).

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What is the cause of the diarrhea?

Often toddlers are drinking a lot and this combined with an immature gut system probably accounts for the diarrhea.

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How do I know it's not more serious?

Toddler diarrhea does not cause weight loss or poor growth, so if your child is growing normally, you shouldn't be concerned. Despite the fact that you are very aware of the diarrhea!!, your toddler will seem completely well.

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How can I treat the diarrhea?

You don't need to do anything other than reduce the amount of juice your toddler is drinking.

The only treatment I would advise trying if you want to treat the diarrhea is a probiotic, like Lactobacillus acidophilus - read more. Probiotics are also found in yoghurt with live cultures.

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How long does the diarrhea last?

Most toddlers "grow out" of the diarrhea by about 5 years of age.

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When should I see my doctor?

See your doctor if: 

  • your child is losing weight
  • your child is complaining of tummy pains, particularly after food
  • your child is unwell in other ways, for example is very tired and listless (lethargic)
  • the diarrhea is interfering with your child's social interactions

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Lissauer T, Clayden G. Illustrated Textbook of Peadiatrics. Mosby 1999.

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To read about How to Stop Diarrhea, click here

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Last reviewed 29 May 2011

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Dr Maud MD

Dr Maud MD (MBChB, FRACP, FRCPCH), a specialist pediatrician, provides health information and medical advice for parents of babies and toddlers. Read more about Dr Maud.

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