4-yr-old pooping on the floor: Cause for concern? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 08-03-2006, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been watching a 4-yr-old this past week and have discovered that she poops in various places throughout her home. She has been potty trained for over a year. Her mother has had conversations with her about it. It has been going on for at least 4 months to my knowledge. She also uses the toilet. I found some poop in the doorway to her parents' bedroom and behind the bathroom door this week.

I am a parent of two, but my oldest is 2 and a half. She is working on potty training and has done her share of pooping on the floor, but again she is in the process of training. How strange/normal is this behavior in a 4-yr-old? Her mother believes she is "acting out." Should I be concerned?

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#2 of 9 Old 08-03-2006, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#3 of 9 Old 08-03-2006, 11:28 PM
 
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What makes her mother think she is "acting out"? Have there been many changes for her? I'm not certain how normal/abnormal this behavior is but I would think that at 4 years old, she can understand that poo goes in the toilet, especially if she is potty trained. Has anyone asked her why she is pooping on the floor? Have you tried having her help clean up the mess she makes and flushing it? Maybe that will help her to realize that pooping on the floor isn't something she should do.
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#4 of 9 Old 08-03-2006, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, Janetann.
There have been a lot of events over the past year - several deaths in the family, and her mother had a brief hospital stay last week for an operation and there has been a lot of stress in general.

I couldn't convince her to cooperate with any sort of cleaning (toys, etc.) except bringing dishes to the kitchen counter.

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#5 of 9 Old 08-03-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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I would be concerned...health/sanitary issues are my biggest concerns. Has she gone on the floor while you're watching and if so, are there any signs that she is getting ready to poop on the floor? How does mom handle or react to the situation when she's behaving like this? Is it possible she's doing this for attention? Have you tried gently escorting her to the bathroom to sit on the toilet when she does this all the while explaining that poop needs to go in the toilet. Sorry I'm not more help. This really has me wondering though. Do they have a dog? Just thinking maybe she's pretending to be one?

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#6 of 9 Old 08-04-2006, 12:13 AM
 
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Something's bothering this child, that's for sure. She has a need (for love? understanding? more time with her mom?) that is not being met. My 3-yr-old DS has been urinating around the house (when we're not looking) for the past two months because he is upset by our spending so much time with baby sister. At least I know what is bothering him as he is very verbal about it. I am a SAHM and I am trying so hard to be really present for my son. Things are slowly improving because I'm trying not to get hung up on the 'bad' behavior and instead focusing on finding ways to make him feel more secure about the recent change that has rocked his world.

Is the mother not concerned? Talking to a 4-yr-old is not enough. She needs to address the underlying issue. Good luck finding out what it is!
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#7 of 9 Old 08-14-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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My 4 year old son will pee his pants when he doesnt "feel" like getting out of bed or stop playing to go to the potty. But not poop. Now my 2 year old, he did it twice, on his bedroom floor, but he took his diaper off when i wasnt looking and did it, and since then has been potty training. As for a 4 year old pooping on the floor, i suggest that you suggest getting them play therapy. Its for kids, that age, who are going through issues and cant really verbalize them or understand. I take my older 2, because since i got married their father has decided not to see them anymore, and they were acting out because of the changes. And it has helped remarkably. I would tell the mom to look into it.
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#8 of 9 Old 08-14-2006, 06:55 PM
 
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If the child is doing it intentionally then she definitely is "acting out." It's very common for children to do this when they're under a great deal of emotional stress and have no other way of expressing themselves adequately. It should be taken very seriously -- this child is crying out for help in the only way she knows how.

Children have very little control over their environment -- elimination, however, is one thing she CAN control. It sounds like there's been a lot of upheaval and chaos in her life lately. She needs some understanding and reassurance.

Talking to her about it is fine, but it's extremely important not to shame her. Ask her about the behavior, let her know that she's not in trouble but you'd like to know if you can do something to help because you know she knows how to poop in the potty.

I don't know how close you are to this child and her mother, but it's obvious she needs someone to pay attention. She may not confide in you, but letting her know it's O.K. to talk if she needs to will go a long way.

I hope her mom pays attention, too. Good luck!

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#9 of 9 Old 08-29-2006, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for your responses! I was visiting family when I initially posted, and have now returned home.
I am working on communicating with Hayley's mother about this - there have been so many major events (one of the deaths occurred during my visit) that I haven't had the opportunity to discuss this yet.
I will definitely discuss play therapy with her. That is a wonderful idea. I will post an update after I've gotten in touch with the family.

In the meantime, other thoughts and ideas are welcome.

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