How to Stop a Toddler's Diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea in toddlers are caused by viral infections. Bacteria, parasites, food allergies and medication side effects are other possible causes. Unless the diarrhea persists for more than 36 hours or is accompanied by high fever or other symptoms, home treatment is generally sufficient to speed recovery and ease your toddler's discomfort. Keeping your toddler well hydrated while the diarrhea runs its course is the most important consideration. Dehydration can occur rapidly in toddlers and pose a serious risk to health.

Offer your toddler liquids frequently to replace fluids lost due to the diarrhea. If his diarrhea is watery and frequent, give him a pediatric electrolyte solution per the package instructions. If he cannot keep this or other fluids down, call his pediatrician for advice.

Feed your toddler a regular diet if he has an appetite and is not vomiting. If his appetite is limited, focus on foods that can help bulk up his stools and shorten the duration of his diarrhea, such as bananas, applesauce, toast, rice, potatoes, and other starchy foods that contain complex carbohydrates.

Eliminate high-fiber and fatty foods until your toddler is fully recovered. These foods can worsen diarrhea. The American Academy of Family Physicians also recommends avoiding most dairy products for several days.

Give your toddler yogurt that contains live cultures of lactobacillus bacteria. Eating yogurt that contains live cultures may shorten the duration of his illness.

Change his diaper promptly after bowel movements and use plain water or a mild soap to clean his bottom. Apply diaper cream to the area to help prevent irritation.


Avoid giving your toddler soda, fruit juice and other sugary drinks while he has diarrhea. These drinks can make his symptoms worse.

Watch your toddler for signs of dehydration, such as lethargy, sunken eyes, dry lips and infrequent urination, and seek medical attention immediately if they develop.

Do not give your toddler over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications unless specifically instructed to do so by your pediatrician.