Magnesium Citrate works quickly to produce a bowel movement and most children don’t mind its taste. You can also find magnesium citrates that aren’t in a pill if your 5-year-old child won’t swallow pills. You can get a liquid version that is bubbly like soda and comes in different flavors at your local drug store or you can get a powdered version.
Which Magnesium Citrate to choose for my 5 year olds constipation
My favorite magnesium citrate for children for constipation relief is Natural Calm Magnesium, which comes in child-friendly flavors like Rasberry Lemon or Cherry. (Amazon Link) It is a powder and you add hot water to it to activate it. Then add ice to make a drink for your child. Natural Calm is sweetened with stevia, so there are no artificial flavors and they use natural food colors instead of petroleum-based food colors. My son is very picky and he will drink this. He likes the Lemon flavored Natural Calm and we add a lot of ice and some cut up lemons and limes to camouflage the stevia taste. If you would like to know more about Natural Calm, please read my article Natural Calm Magnesium for Constipation Relief in Children. That article discusses dosing specific to Natural Calm. I like that it is a powder, so I can adjust the dosage until I find what works for my son.
If you are looking for the liquid magnesium citrate at the drug store, make sure to look at the ingredients and avoid any that contain PEG, Polyethylene Glycol 3350. Polyethylene glycol is the same ingredient in Miralax. My son had horrible side effects from Miralax. Over 25,000 reports of adverse events from Miralax have been reported to the FDA. For more information on Miralax and why I don’t recommend it, please read my article Is Miralax Safe to Give to My Child.
Dosing of Magnesium Citrate to Get Your 5 Year Old to Poop
Most children and adults are magnesium deficient so it can take more magnesium citrate to get your child to poop than you would expect. Start with the recommended dose listed on the product. If your child hasn’t pooped in 2 hours, give them 1/4-1/2 of that dose every two hours until they poop.
I have more detailed information on magnesium and how it works for constipation in my article Magnesium for Constipation.
Other Home Remedies to Get Your Child to Poop Quickly
Vitamin C is also effective at producing a poop quickly. If your child will swallow a pill you have many different options of Vitamin C. If your child won’t swallow a pill, a powdered version like Thorne Buffered Vitamin C is a good option. Vitamin C can make your child’s stool acidic causing a rash on your child’s bottom. The buffered Vitamin C is less likely to do that as it also has magnesium and potassium.
Coconut oil is an excellent option to get your 5-year-old to poop quickly. Some children will eat it right off the spoon as it is mild and almost sweet. I also have a super easy recipe for Chocolate Coconut Oil “Poop Candy” that kids love.
Senna is another option that will help your child to poop quickly. Chocolate Ex-lax is made with senna and is child-friendly and easy to get your child to eat. Senna causes muscle contractions in the intestines and moves the stool through the intestines. Because of how it works, it can cause uncomfortable cramping in some kids. Senna can cause dependence and make it harder for your child to poop on their own if used for long periods of time, so unless your child has
Enemas or Suppositories produce a bowel movement fast. Giving your child an enema or suppository isn’t the most fun way to produce a poop but they are both very effective. If your child has a hard stool in their colon, a suppository can lubricate the stool, making it easier to push out. If your child is impacted, you might need to do an enema. An enema will go deeper and will loosen a hard ball of stool. For more information on enemas, please read my article Stress-free suppository and enema use for your child.
What to do if these remedies don’t work
If you are using one remedy and can’t get a bowel movement out of your child, you might need to do the “Top Down, Bottom Up” method. With this method you give your child the supplement of your choosing by mouth along with using an enema or suppository until you break through the dam and get the poop out.
If your child has a hard ball of stool further up in their intestines, a suppository or enema might not go high enough to break it up. Giving them enough magnesium or vitamin C will bring in a lot of water to their intestine and will loosen the stool up enough for it to move. The enema or suppository will break up the hard stool at the bottom and help it to pass out of their body. For more information on how to do a cleanout for your constipated child, read my article How to do a Clean Out for Your Constipated Child.
What to do if your 5 year old has chronic constipation
If your child is constipated frequently, giving them a supplement to produce a bowel movement will help short term but it doesn’t get to the root cause of why they are constipated. Their constipation is a symptom of a bigger problem. Often the cause of constipation is diet.
Gluten is a very common cause of constipation. Many children with chronic constipation have undiagnosed Celiac or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Eliminating gluten from their diet will often end their chronic constipation. Dairy is also a very common cause of constipation. My son has celiac disease and was dairy intolerant. Both caused him to have chronic constipation. If your child was bottle fed and has had constipation from birth, dairy might be the culprit. If your child developed constipation when you introduced solid food, then gluten might be the cause.
Doing an elimination diet, where you remove foods that commonly cause constipation such as gluten, dairy, corn, red meat, bananas, or eggs, and then adding each food back in slowly to see what is the trigger for your child, is a good way to see if food is the trigger for your child’s constipation.
If your child has been diagnosed with low tone, or hypotonia or has exhibited signs of having low tone such as a non-traditional crawl like an army crawl or scooting across the floor instead of crawling. Articulation issues with speech, delayed turning over, delayed crawling and walking, poor posture, fatiguing quickly, increased flexibility and delays with gross motor skills are all signs of low tone.
When your child has low tone, the muscles that help push out the stool don’t work as well as they should. The stool stays in the intestines longer and dries out, making it bulkier and harder to push out. Your child can also be pushing as hard as they can but because the muscles aren’t strong enough to move the stool through, the child has a hard time getting the stool to come out.
You can work with an Occupational Therapist to help your child with low tone. Many schools will do an evaluation of your child if you suspect that this is an issue for your child. For more information on
Starting Kindergarten can be a trigger for constipation in some 5 years because your child might not be comfortable pooping in a public restroom at school and begin to hold their poop until they get home. Stool Withholding can become a chronic problem and cause them to develop constipation. If you think this is could be an issue for your child, please read my article on Withholding.
You can also do testing to see what is causing your child’s chronic constipation. You can test for food intolerances or allergies that might be causing your child to have chronic constipation. Undiagnosed hypothyroidism can cause constipation. For more information on what tests you might want to get your child’s doctor to run on your child to help you figure out what is causing them to have chronic constipation, read my article Recommended Testing for Constipation.
Tracking Your Child’s BM’s for Constipation Relief
Tracking your child’s bowel movements can help you to develop a regiment that helps you to find the natural remedy for your constipation. To get a free bowel movement tracker please click
I would like to invite you to join my Facebook groups People Against Miralax or Natural Constipation Solutions for more information on how to treat constipation and for support on your journey in helping your child.
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*DISCLAIMER, I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR MEDICAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. ALL IDEAS DISCUSSED AND DESCRIBED IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN AND ARE NOT MEANT TO TREAT OR DIAGNOSE. IF YOU HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION PLEASE SPEAK WITH YOUR DOCTOR.