How can I get my 2 1/2 year old to stop taking off her diaper and playing with her poop?

Amanda - posted on 10/28/2008 ( 22 moms have responded )

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When she is supposed to be sleeping she will take off her poo filled diaper and smears it and throws it everywhere. I already tape her diaper on, and she can take it off half the time, the other half she digs in through the legs. Any suggestions?

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[deleted account]

Ha! I say that, not because it's funny, but because it's nice to hear someone with the same problem! My son hasn't done that in quite some time. I was told by many it was a sign he might be ready for toilet-training, but he wasn't, though your daughter might be. I guess only you know that...



But, anyway, I found that he was more likely to do that kind of "digging" when he was bored, i.e. when he did not want to sleep. He stopped the messy expeditions when we changed his convertible crib to a toddler bed. That way, he was not confined to the crib and could wander freely around his room, if he so chose, until such a time as he was too exhausted to fight the sleep any longer.



I would suggest potty training, if she seems ready and interested, moving her to a toddler bed, if you haven't already, and otherwise trying to make sure she is not bored.



I guess I really just wanted to let you know you were not alone, since I thought it was the strangest, most disgusting thing when it was happening to me, and it is apparently more common than I thought.

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Jessica - posted on 02/22/2009

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So how is the potty training coming Amanda? We are dealing with this now too. Today at naptime my 2 1/2 year old son made poop balls and threw them against the wall. And it seems about once a week he pulls off his diaper and smears and paints the wall with it or smears it into the carpet. YUCK! Is the end in site soon? He goes on again off again in having interest in using the potty. When he doesn't want to he is very persistent about not doing it. Treats seem to work best but he still looses interest. I haven't been pushing it too much so he doesn't just fight back harder but this is very frustrating and disgusting!

[deleted account]

I would say, in response to suggestions for getting rid of the naptime, if your daughter still seems to need one, perhaps you can move it later in the day so that she will be tired enough to sleep (and also feel she has done enough exploring in other things).



I know we have had to move our son's naptime until later in the afternoon so he will actually go to sleep, but we cannot go without because he gets so grumpy, he won't even eat his dinner!

Bobbi - posted on 01/27/2009

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oh no! :)



My daughter used to do this with every diaper wet or poop and we ended up putting pull ups on her because she wasn't able to get at the sides as easily and wouldn't pull them down.



She's obviously aware, and probably uncomfortable,  that she has pooped so maybe its a sign that with some guidance she will start going on the potty for you.

Amie - posted on 11/06/2008

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HAHAHA I feel so much better knowing my kids are not the only one who went through this stage. It was very gross and we went through a lot of cleaner and ended up throwing out a crib and buying a new one because it was so bad the one day.
Ok onto our solution. If she is doing this at nap time I'd suggest removing nap time, it's a hassle and will take some getting used to. Your little one will also probably be cranky at having to get used to a new routine. When my kids were 2 we stopped napping them and they were very cranky the first couple of days but adjusted well. They now go to bed at 8 and are up by 9 (earlier for our one in school).
If this is happening at night time I suggest digging out the baby monitor again. You'll be able to hear what she is doing better than listening through the door. Also what worked to get our daughter trained at night was to wake her up between 12 and 1 a.m. take her to the potty then lay her back down. It didn't take her long. She learned to wake herself up if she had to go. And also the baby monitor will help if she's doing this in the morning before you wake up or get her as you'll be able to hear she's awake and know to go get her right away and take her to the potty first thing.
Our son was a horror who only today had his first accident free day. (he's 4) What worked for him was a book another mom recommended. It's called Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D., and Richard M. Foxx, Ph.D. It was a god send to us when all else failed. He's been an opposite child for us as he is trained at night but not the day.
Hope some of this helps as well. I saw a lot of mom's gave suggestions. =)

Jennifer - posted on 11/06/2008

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when you say "supposed to be sleeping" do mean nap time, bed time or both? if its nap time, maybe she is ready to stop napping and she is just bored?!!? if its night time, maybe you should get her to go to the bathroom before she goes to bed and maybe wake her up before you go to bed if she hasnt gone before falling asleep. my 33 month old has been trained for 13 months now (daytime) and hasnt had a poop in the night since she was like 6 months, so i am wondering why she is pooping in her diaper at night? you cant poop in your sleep unconsciously. if she is daytrained, then i am still wondering why she would poop in her diaper at all, she should know better. my older brother peed his pants sometimes till he was like 4, out of pure laziness and no matter what my mom did, he just kept doing it. she finally gave him a cold bath/shower and said she didnt want to waste anymore hot water on his laziness and he stopped! that does sound kinda mean, but it worked!

User - posted on 11/06/2008

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Hahaha...I just had to sit back and laugh when I read this. I am not laughing at you but with you. I have 2 year old twin identical girls and have gone through the same exact thing. With the exception that I have 2 that liked to play in it together. I have been consistently trying to potty train them, but with no such luck. They are scared of the potty. We have tried to make it fun but they just scream and cry. My pediatrician told me to lay off for a month and then try again. This mostly took place at naptime. I always changed and put on fresh diapers before I laid them down but it never failed at least once or twice a month someone would go poo after I laid them down. Everything would be all quiet and I would think everything was fine and dandy. Then I would hear the laughing, only to find them playing in poo and having a grand ole time, There was no rhyme or reason for this. In the mean time I came up with the perfect solution for a singleton. I took my girls old zip up footed sleepers (ones that where a little more snug) and cut off the feet. For the summer I cut the legs up to the knees and the arms off so they wouldn't be so hot. Then I would put them on backwards. They couldn't get the outfits off because the zipper was in the back and the legs were long and tight enough that they couldn't get their hands up them. Like I said before, this works for a singleton. My girls quickly realized that they could work together and unzip each other. GO TEAMWORK!!! Now I use the duct tape. I place it the whole way around the diaper where it overlaps in the back. No one has even attempted to try to remove a diaper anymore. Matter of fact when it is nap time or bed time they both are quick to remind me "tape mommy". They even will come to the baby gate of their room and yell "Mommy poo poo". We will be starting up the potty training once again this weekend.



Good Luck and I hope that the "Finger Painting" stops soon :)

[deleted account]

If she's doing it and knows it upsets you, it's got to have consequences for her. Otherwise, what reason does she have to stop? She needs to know that she has to listen to you, and she needs to know why.

Adriana - posted on 10/29/2008

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I agree with the last post. If she is potty trained by day, it maybe that she doesn't want to sit in her poop. Maybe have her call you when she goes so you can change her in the middle of the night, or go in and check on her. Maybe you may want to consider transitioning to a "big girl bed" so she can get out of bed and tell you she needs to be changed or use the potty herself. By taping her or trapping her she is still just spending the night in her poop.

Cheryl - posted on 10/29/2008

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If she is doing it at night, are you having to get up and change her at night, or are you greeted with it in the morning? I know, I wouldn't want to be sleeping in pooh, maybe she doesn't like the feel of it. If it is at nap time, maybe prompt her to do her business before she goes down for nap. Does it happen regulary or about once a week? Could you give her more fiber(fruit) at a different time of day to ensure her bm occurs earlier than at bed time? Finally, maybe she likes the feel of it: does she get to play with playdough, finger paint, sand & water? Maybe offer her an afternoon of play in one of these mediums if she doesn't paint with her pooh.

Carla - posted on 10/29/2008

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its a sign she is ready to be potty trained... i used treats for each time my kids went in the potty...

Amy - posted on 10/29/2008

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My son did that also when he was that age. When we would make a big deal of it he would continue to repeat his actions. Finally we just started ignoring him which moved him onto other things much easier to deal with.

[deleted account]

Can you give some kind of a repracussion? Like, offer her a treat after breakfast if she doesn't do it at night, or when she wakes up if she's good for her nap? Make it something reeeaaallly appealing for her? Sticker, bit of sweets of somekind?? Good luck! :)

Elizabeth - posted on 10/29/2008

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I would suggest overhauls. It worked for me. I like the idea of the footed pj's on backwards. But, the others are right...kids know when they are making you mad! Why is she sleeping in a dirty diaper?

Courtney - posted on 10/28/2008

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My now three year old di dthis when she wa about 18-20 months. She did not just smear it on things, but herself as well. My husband and I told her that if she did it again we were going to take a picture of her and show everyone how yucky she was. She loves pictures, but she also loves to look cute in pictures. She never did it again.

Sarah - posted on 10/28/2008

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When my daughter did that i always put a onsie or bodysuit on under her clothes, and if she starts to get through that put 2 on. it worked and she stopped after about 2 months of wearing one.

Carrie - posted on 10/28/2008

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OK - this worked for me... Get some Carter's footie pjs and put them on your daughter backwards (so they zip in the back). My daughter wasn't quite that old when we did this (she was probably close to about 15-18 months), but she never got them off. I realize all the other comments are probably right - get her potty trained completely - but in the meantime, I completely understand your frustration - been there!

[deleted account]

The calm thing really is true. A lot of kids think it's really funny to get mommy in a dither. And, I've been there too. Our oldest did the same. Yuck. I was lucky, though, as he never got the tape off (do you use duct tape?), and DOUBLY lucky he never thought to go through the legs.
But, yeah...Leave if you have to, if daddy or someone else is there at the time, maybe have them step in (really, it can wear you down, going through the same thing like that again and again, I know). For sure they like to push buttons, some more than others (0ur youngest doesn't do it nearly to the extent of big bro).
The only other thing I can think of, which may or may not work at her age, is maybe a sticker chart? Or an m & m when she TELLS you there's poop in her diaper and doesn't put it everywhere? Stickers work better for my youngest, m & m's for my older boy. Often, positive reinforcement can work....but you have to remember not to overreact on the negative. It's tough, and I wish you lots of luck.

Meghan - posted on 10/28/2008

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You say she does it because it makes you angry, and I'm sure I would be as well. I bought the book Nanny 911 and it has taught me sooo much! Kids thrive when you get angry, they know that it is pushing your buttons. At two and a half she understands more than you think. Try calmly talking to her and explain to her that when she does that you have to get rid of the things that are messed up. Or tell her mommy is very upset that you aren't being a big girl.Ask her why? (if she is talking enough to give and understandable response) The best thing the book has taught me is to speak calmly and listen to what your child has to say. Don't interrupt her and tell her that mommy needs to understand why she does it. I hope something works out for you soon. When you get angry, take a deep breath and remember that she likes when you get angry!

User - posted on 10/28/2008

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try putting plastic panties (like are used over cloth diapers) over the diaper before she goes to sleep. We, too, has a poo-poo Picasso! The end is in site if she is trained by day.

Amanda - posted on 10/28/2008

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She is toilet trained by day. She just does it cause she knows it makes us mad.

Amy - posted on 10/28/2008

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is your daughter toilet trained during the day yet?if not maybe it is a sign to start training her because she obviously doesnt like the nappies on at all by the sounds of it

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