Child is putting poop all over her walls

Ann - posted on 06/10/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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This has been going on for quite some time now. The past couple of weeks my daughter (2.5yrs) has been smearing her poop all over her bedroom walls during nap time. I've explained to her that poop goes in the potty, or she can tell me she pooped and I will come get her and change her bum. I've tried explaining that it's naughty, and it's not right to do so many times, in many different ways but im at my wits end. Because after I find her covered from head to toe in poop she obviously gets a bath to wash her all off and get her clean maybe she thinks if she keeps doing it she'll get a warm bath and play time in the tub. On another note I read that giving them a cold shower/bath instead of a warm one could help her stop doing it so she knows if she does it, she'll get a cold bath/shower. Could this potentially work? Or has anyone has this same problem and used that as a reprimand to teach the child it's wrong to play with their poop?

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Chet - posted on 06/10/2014

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I don't think it's a cry for attention - not unless she's experienced some sort of extreme emotional trauma or neglect.

I would try to find something that makes it harder to get access to her diaper than the onesie with pants on top. I've heard of people duck taping diapers or putting footless sleepers on backwards so they snap or zip up the back. Overalls slow some kids down too.

I'd also do checks every five or ten minutes when it's close to time for her to wake up, or find something you can close by to monitor her... like twenty minutes before she usually wakes up go sit outside her door and read a book or fold laundry.

Ann - posted on 06/10/2014

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I usually dress her in a onesie with pants on over top of that and i go in every 20-30 minutes to check on her to make sure she hasn't done it and it's been 4 days in a row now, but she's been doing it on and off for about 2 months now.

Like I bath her every other day and have kept up with showing her poopy diapers go in the garbage, and praise her when she does a poop on the toilet with lots of encouragement and rewards like stickers and a piece of candy. Just lately it's been really bad and I don't know if it's a cry for attention (negative/positive) but im trying my best to keep an eye on her, and I would start trying to take naps away from her but come 3/4 pm she's a cranky irritable mess without a nap.

Chet - posted on 06/10/2014

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How long as this been going on? How often does it happen?

Can you dress her in a way that limits access to her diaper, like something one piece that opens in the back?

Also, is it possible to catch as soon as she wakes up so she does have time to do this?

I don't think she's playing in the poop to get a warm bath. By 2.5 most kids are pretty good at asking for what they want. I think she'd just ask for a bath (unless her access to baths is somehow restricted). I think this probably has more to do with boredom, needing to learn about social norms relating to poop, interest in exploring textures and materials, etc.

Definitely make sure to continue underscoring that poop is dirty, poop is smelly, toilets flush poop away, we throw poopy diapers in the garbage, etc.

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