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Other Suggestions for Treating Toddlers With Diarrhea

Besides ensuring that your toddler is adequately hydrated, other treatment suggestions for diarrhea in toddlers include the following:
  • Allow the gastrointestinal tract to settle for a few hours by not feeding your toddler.
  • If vomiting is also a problem, have your toddler sip small amounts of clear liquids, or suck on ice chips.
  • Do not give your toddler any diarrhea medicine until specifically recommended by your healthcare provider.
  • After several hours, gradually reintroduce food, starting with bland, easy-to-digest food, like applesauce, strained bananas, strained carrots, rice, mashed potatoes, or corn.
  • If your toddler is still on formula, after being given electrolyte fluids for four to six hours, you can begin him or her on full-strength formula. Offer it more frequently than you normally do. If your toddler is on cow's milk-based formula and the diarrhea is severe and has lasted more than three days, talk to your healthcare provider about switching to a soy formula for two weeks while the intestines have time to heal. Intestines that have been damaged by severe diarrhea cannot digest cow's milk.
  • If your toddler is still breastfeeding, continue to nurse. You should increase the frequency of feeding, though. If your toddler has signs of dehydration follow the rehydration suggestions above. If your toddler is too weak to feed, call your healthcare provider. Your toddler may need to receive fluids through an IV.
  • Withhold milk products for 24 to 48 hours during significant bouts of diarrhea. Milk products can be difficult to digest.
  • Don't forget the bottom. Diarrhea can cause all sorts of problems to your toddler's skin. Make sure to change diapers frequently. You can rinse the toddler's bottom with water, air-dry, and use protective creams, such as Desitin® or petroleum jelly. Also, cut down on baby wipes.
  • Since diapers can be a mess, use disposable "nighttime" diapers to cut down on cleanup time. Make sure that they have good elastic around the legs. This is not the time to experiment with a new type of diaper.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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