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3-year-old intentionally pooping on the floor during "quiet time," then playing in it

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

That about says it.  It's happened 3 or 4 times now.  He's fully potty trained, his younger sister is a year old so it's not a new baby thing, and I am around to spend time with him all day every day.  I'm a stay-at-home mom, and my husband's work schedule changed a month ago so that he's also around a lot of the time.  I need the quiet time mid-day or I'll lose my mind (whatever of it I have left, that is nut.gif), but I don't know how I can leave him unattended in the back of the house if the result is two bedrooms and a hallway covered in poop.  He won't answer why he's doing this.  The first time, I didn't lose my temper--I acted remarkably calm and cleaned everything.  The second time, I amped it up a little so that he would know I was upset.  The third time I let my husband handle it.  We decided to take away any toys that he used to play in the poop with, and not give them back, even if we were able to sanitize them.  Today he did it again, and I completely lost it, yelling at him, trying to explain how much work it is to sanitize that whole area of the house, trying to get him to answer the fruitless question, "WHY?!"  To make matters worse, it's his birthday today, and we had plans for all sorts of fun stuff this afternoon, but because of the cleanup, and as a (hopefully not hopeless) bit of punishment, we've postponed all the birthday happenings until another day.  I'm flabbergasted, and I don't know how to get him to understand that it's not okay for him to defecate in the bedroom, or to play in it.  He has easy access to the potty, and he's been 100% successful (with the obvious exceptions) using it, including staying dry all night long, and when we go out of the house.  I have a suspicion he's railing against quiet time, so I recently switched it from an hour to 30 minutes, and told him that if he went on the potty instead of on the floor, he could come right out and watch a little bit of tv, but that if he went on the floor (on purpose) I would add 10 minutes to qt.  I'm really at my wit's end.  I've seen a lot of threads about 3-year-olds and poop, but none that involve playing in it afterwards.  Heeeeeelp....?

post #2 of 6
Our neighbor's kid did this when she was three. She was responsible for cleaning it all up with them, it took three hours, and I don't think she did it again.

What about having some special toys just for quiet time to keep his attention?
Or books on tape? Sounds like maybe he's bored and looking to create a little excitement of his own or let you know he's not digging quiet time...
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for the fast response!  I've had him help clean up pee messes, but with the poop I feel like I need to know that it's all clean, so I need to do it myself, and quickly.  My 1-year-old was in the next room screaming at the top of her lungs, so I there was no way I could spend 3 hours making sure he cleaned everything with me.


Books on tape is a good idea.  He probably is bored.  I'll look into that.  As for special toys, it's his trains that he's driven through the poop, and they've all been taken away as of today.  The last four were contaminated, and he actually handed them to me to take away when I went back there.  I don't get it.

post #4 of 6

It does sound like he is rebelling directly against quiet time.  My niece finger-painted the walls with her poop while she was supposed to be going to bed and her parents dwelt with it by a stern time-out, no dessert at dinner time the next day, and rewards system (m&m's) for going to bed the next few weeks without playing in poop or any other messy disruption each morning after. 

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

He responds well to time outs, which we did right after today's incident.  I wonder if he sees quiet time as a big time out?  Maybe I'll try explaining to him again why it's important to get a rest in the middle of the day.  He seems to grasp reason when we take the time to equate something that's happened with the way he sees the world.  But it's hard to find a parallel to poop cleanup!  


Someone on another thread mentioned small candies as rewards too.  I'm sure he'd be game for m&m's.  I'll try that!  Finger painting the walls with poop sounds disgusting.  At least it's creative?  Maybe she'll be an artist!  Thank you so much for your response.


We caved on the no birthday celebrations bit.  Didn't do the full-out thing we had planned, but doing nothing just didn't feel right.  We ended the day on a positive note, which was nice.  And we had a talk at bed time about it that went like this:


me: where does poop go?

ds: in the potty

me: not on the bed or the floor, right?

ds: right

me: we're not going to have that trouble again, are we?

ds: we're not going to have that trouble again, are we? [pause] No, we're not.


Fingers crossed he actually gets it.  

post #6 of 6

No guarantees, but I hope you find something that works for you and your son. smile.gif

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