Desperate..please help!Toddler playing with poop - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 01-07-2008, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I am so desperate that I feel like if we don't come up with a solution my husband and I are going to strangle one another. Adam is 2 1/2 and recently has been potty trained to pee during the day in his potty. He has gone poop twice but seems to hold it until nap or bedtime and then when we come in he has put his hand in his diaper and smeared it all over. We have tried EVERYTHING we can imagine but NOTHING has been successful:

1. one piece and long piece tight fighting clothing.
2. one piece footie pajamas with the snap over the button
3. turning above #2 around backwards so he can't take the zipper down
4. cool water showers
5. yes...I admit yelling at him in frustration
6. 3 layers of clothing that he can't get into (well...yes he can)

I don't know what to suggest anymore. My husband wants to spank him. Now I don't mind a swat on the butt if it is warrented but he means an actual spanking. I strongly disagree and won't allow it and it is causing us to get into really horrible fights over it. What do we do? I thought maybe we could try to limit his naptimes or at least check in on him every 30 minutes or so. Also, my husband feels he should be sleeping 2-3 hours for naptime but I feel like he has too much idle time on his hands when he wakes up and then that is why he gets into his diaper???? Please any help, suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.
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#2 of 7 Old 01-07-2008, 11:31 PM
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I couldn't read and not respond.

How many times has your son done this? Is it every nap or has it only happened a couple times?

Firstly, I'd lay off the spanking thing. I can't think of a more rediculous (and humiliating for your son) way to teach a 2 year old how to use the potty and not play in his "creation"

Secondly, There are no rules for sleeping. If your son feels well rested and doesn't seem tired (cranky/unruly etc) that even if he took a 30 minute nap, it would be sufficient. It sounds like your dh is the one who needs the 2+ hour nap. Many 2.5 year olds aren't even taking naps anymore.

Lastly, could you try letting him nap in the same room as you, or in the hallway? Is he somewhere that when he wakes he can come and get you? Can you get a video monitor so you can watch for when he wakes up.

Even though it's completely disgusting to us, the idea of playing in our own feces, that's really a learned thing. To your 2 year old, he's probably thinking "wow...I made that" combined with "that has an interesting odor" combined with "that feels neat" (now, you can't tell me you never enjoyed playing with mud!

If I were you, I'd really just try to catch him upon waking so he's not alone to do that. When it does happen, just remind him that it's not ok to play in his poop and help him get clean. In my opinion, don't shame the poor kid, he really doesn't know that what he's doing is gross to you and isn't capeable of entering YOUR mindset yet. Even though it probably won't curb his poop-play, you could start doing some real tactile projects with your son, maybe he just needs some of those types of, clay, mud, corn-starch and water, fingerpaints etc.etc.

good luck, hang in there, it's common!, this too shall pass.

Mama to girl (11), boy (7) and girl (4).  "Can't we all just get along?" joy.gif
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#3 of 7 Old 01-07-2008, 11:48 PM
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this sounds like a really tough issue, so sorry you're dealing with it! i agree, spanking would be a horrible response, so good for you on refusing that!

could this be a control thing? potty training is a huge transition. or maybe ds is enjoying creating such a big reaction from his parents? would it be possible to not get too upset over it (at least outwardly), just have him help you clean up, put sheets in the washer, etc instead of going to play right away?

not sure what you mean as far as the nap time limit of 3 hrs...are you leaving him in there after he wakes up hoping he'll go back to sleep? if so he's probably getting bored. try getting him up as soon as he wakes. or put some toys in there in with him so he has a distraction if he wakes up and it takes you a few minutes to realize he's awake.

maybe if you plan a fun activity for after the nap ds will look forward to that and alert you as soon as he's up, before he makes a mess. maybe he would enjoy fingerpaints- not to be gross, he could smear them which seems to be something he is enjoying experimenting with.
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#4 of 7 Old 01-08-2008, 12:12 AM
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Not sure what advice to offer, but just wanted to let you know that we dealt with this to. One of my twin girls did this.

Someone told me at the time it was actually a sign of high intelligence! Not sure if that is true....she is definitely my most curious child.

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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#5 of 7 Old 01-08-2008, 04:01 AM
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Just wanted to let you know that we are dealing with this too.
The dinosaur ate his poo the other day, so the dinosaur is now having a time out.
For us it happens almost on a daily occurance, as I am trying to get ready for work. I have no other option but to put DS in his room in order to shower. Putting him in the shower with me takes too long and I am already getting up 2 hours before work for what would normally take 30min. This is when the poo monster strikes.
DS also plays with his poo when I have not spent as much time with him actually playing, versus just being in the same room. I try and make more of an effort to do something fun each day, especially afterwork, playdough, paint, walk, etc.
We've also had alot going on with his Dad going through a huge surgery in November and being sick for the past year.

When DS does make a mess (he's made such a huge mess that we will be replacing the carpet) I try really had not to freak out. It does happen and I feel bad. I try to tell DS, how I feel and why I feel that way without adding stress on the potty issue. Example, "I'm angry/frustrated right now, because I have to clean up the poo. I don't like to clean up the poo." I then bath him and put him in bed with DH to watch cartoons while I clean up the mess.

My biggest suggestion is to look at the days when your DS plays with his poo. What did you do that day? Did he do anything "fun"? Was there extra stress, even if it was just between you and your DH? And also look at the days when he doesn't play with his poo. What was different than the days that he did play with it?

Megan ~ mama to the Mountain Man (11 years old)
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#6 of 7 Old 01-08-2008, 12:29 PM
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After yesterday I really should give anyone advice....but my dd1 has playing, painted in poop. My only suggestions is to give your LO time to play with acceptable goopy things...playdoh, baking etc. Also if you try (it is hard) to remain calm during the clean up it seems to help.
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#7 of 7 Old 01-12-2008, 03:49 PM
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Maureen, what a frustrating situation for you!! You have my sympathy!

I agree with the previous posters who have suggested inundating him with acceptable sensory play - playdough, silly putty, cornstarch and water, mud, water & bubbles, sand, fingerpainting with pudding, shaving cream, etc. It sounds like your son may need lots more sensory stimulation.

I'm amazed that your son can get out of a zip-up pajama suit that's put on backwards! How does he do that?
And have you tried a zip-up suit with a diaper pin pinning the top together, covering the zipper? Most toddlers don't have the fine motor control/strength to open a diaper pin. Especially if it's behind their back.

Also, I'd recommend involving your son in the clean-up process when he plays with his poop, to the fullest extent possible. If the clean-up process is boring and frustrating for him, so be it - it's a logical consequence of what he's doing.
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