Toddler Playing With Poop

Some children, when they are potty training, do play with their poop. It is not that uncommon to have this happen, especially when they have had an accident in their training pants or diapers and they are naturally curious.

Don't stress! Lots of toddlers do this.

Here are some common reasons they play with their poop:

  • Some children do become fascinated with the poop, since it is squishy and feels funny between their fingers.
  • The smell of it too can be something that interests toddlers as well as the color that it is.
  • Since sometimes it will be different colors when it comes out or the patterns it can make when it is played with. To children this is a form of exploration and it may even be a form of Play-Doh in a way.

However, sometimes playing with their poop can be related to stress in their lives as well. Many times a child when under stress will react with behavior that they have never exhibited before or by doing something that is very dramatic to get attention. This can also include hiding in places to pee or poop, as well as the playing with the poop too. These behaviors make the parents really notice what their child is doing and really notice their child too.

Stressors in a child life can be the cause of behaviors, such as playing with their poop to also have some control over their environment. It is their poop and so they play with it, since there may be a feeling of not having any control over anything else. This can be true of a new family member coming home, parents going back to work or school or anything else that has drawn the attention away from the child at that time.

A couple of ways to handle this behavior is to:

  • Make sure to stay calm and have very little reaction to the behavior. Becoming upset can actually increase your child's behavior of doing this, since there is a very clear and intense reaction to it. Instead, stay very calm and patient and recognize that it is only a passing behavior, as well as a time to teach your child for them to learn proper behavior.
  • Do make sure to let your child know very clearly that playing with poop or pee is not acceptable. That poop and pee only goes in a toilet. DO NOT drag this out, stay calm and remember that your attitude can seriously effect they way they feel about pooping (giving them a complex about pooping can cause constipation and more serious issues). This is also a good time to introduce the fact that when your child does this, they will have to help clean up the mess as well.
  • Having your child help clean the area, will teach them the basic ideas of right and wrong, as well as beginning to introduce consequences for their actions.
  • Reward good behavior! If you are not giving potty rewards when your child potties on the toilet, than this is a good time to start this as well.

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