How long till stool softener or stimulant works?

Minimize stimulants. Docusate (per pdr) helps moisten & soften hard, dry stools. It is not true laxative, but facilitates natural defecation, usually within 12 to 72 hours. This is safe & available for children over 2, & assumes normal GI anatomy without inflammation, stenosis, extrinsic or instrinsic obstruction. Change in bowels is a "red flag", like weight loss or blood in stool, that needs evaluation if persistent.