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Toddler's Diarrhea

What is Toddler's Diarrhea?

Toddler's diarrhea is a non-specific but chronic diarrhea affect children from 6 months to 5 years of age. Children may have numerous loose stools per day, tend to occur when the child is awake and sometimes immediately after eating food. The stool is typically watery but should not contain blood. Despite having large amounts of diarrhea, the child with toddler's diarrhea continues to grow and gain weight well with adequate nutrition, and maintains activity with normal appetite. Typically there is not much abdominal pain. Children with toddler's diarrhea "outgrow" the problem by school age.

What Causes Toddler's Diarrhea?

The exact cause is not known, but experts believe that food contents are moving quickly through the gastrointestinal tract, leading to less fluid absorption. Toddler's diarrhea is worsened by beverages containing sweets, such as juice, and also worsened by certain sweeteners like sorbitol or high-fructose corn syrup.

Tips on Treating Todder's Diarrhea

  • Avoid sweetened beverages, particularly those with high amounts of sorbitol or fructose. Limit to 4 oz if possible. Continue to give your child normal amounts of milk and water.
  • Fiber can be helpful to bulk the stool
  • Increasing dietary fats can slow the transit down leading to less diarrhea.

University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Division