Pooping in the Bathtub

Archived Q&A and Reviews

2-year-old in the habit of pooping in the tub

April 2007

My 2-year-old son, who has started potty training, has recently started the habit of pooping in the tub. My husband sees this as potentially a good thing - hey, he's pooping out of his diaper! Okay, yes, sure, I can buy that. But its not really a habit I want to encourage and he's currently pooping in the tub during EVERY bath and NOT pooping in the potty. In fact, he now downright refuses the potty. We don't force the potty, nor do we punish or even scold in any way the tub pooping. We are trying to get through this time positively, naturally, and going with his initiatives. Still, pooping in the tub is gross. Any advice? Jenny

He probably can't control himself. If he isn't full ypotty- trained, he doesn't have full control over his bowels. HE is probably withholding his pop, and then he gets relaxed inteh tub and out it comes. I would just wait it out and try to make him feel comfortable and confident about pooping in the potty, and maybe consider that he isn't ready to be trained. Gretchen
is he getting his bath right after dinner? most of the time my kids (5 and 2) have their bm's within a half hour of eating (but it varies which meal, or how many times per day, etc.). after a meal i usually try to give the toddler some time to poop before getting her into the tub, unless i know she went after the previous meal.

since you now seem to be in the midst of a habit, i'd try to watch closely during the bath, and put him on a potty if you see the ''poop face'' going on. keep a big warm towel handy, keep the bathroom warm, so he doesn't get cold and tense up. keep it ''light,'' and say how nice it will be that he can get all clean afterwards in the bath, instead of the usual wipes/rags on the changing table. if that's not working (he gets upset, resists, or can't go on thte potty and then it becomes a merry go round of in/out of the tub...), then maybe skip a few baths, or switch the bathtime to another time of day.
signed: i've bleached the rubber duckies a few times myself...

Couple of ideas. . . . Put the child-potty in the tub. He make just think that's wierd enough to use it there if you suggest it. . . . Or, cut out baths for a few days and go back to square one by getting him back to pooping in the diaper (make sure he doesn't get constapated). Then, he he will, in time, loose his resistance to the potty and start using it on his own. Good luck.

17-month-old poops everytime we give her a bath

June 2002

My 17 month old daughter has for the past three months been pooping in the bathtub everytime we give her a bath. The bath has been our nightly routine before bed and she really loves it. I am wondering if anyone has had this experience and if so how to handle it. I have let it go and not said anything negative so far, but I wonder if I should pull her out when she indicates that she's about to poop and place her on a potty seat on the toilette. I don't know if she's too young to begin potty training (Brazelton and other Dr.s suggest that you shouldn't begin until after two) and I don't want to upset her or give her a bad feeling about it. Any advice about how to handle this would be appreciated. Jennifer

Unless she has a negative reaction there should be no problem in trying out the potty when you think she has to go. We sit our 1 year old on the potty before every bath. Sometimes he surprises us and himself by going in the potty and then we show that we are VERY PROUD! Otherwise there's no pressure Susan
Swoop her out if you can tell a poop is coming, and hold her gently on the potty. It won't traumatize her and it may give you a little bit of a head start on potty training -- at a minimum, you'll save yourself a big mess. (You don't want any fecal matter in the bathtub, really!) As for the ''experts,'' lots of cultures potty train much earlier than ours does. I have a friend from Egypt who was trained at 9 months and her sister at a year. Fran
I also have a 17 month old who poops in the tub. since it seemed to me that bath time coincided with a normal bowel movement time I try and wait until she poos to take a bath and even encourage her by saying ''do you have to go poo-poo?'' but often she doesn't go by the time I want to get her bath started so I just wait for the poo face and then I pull her out and stick her on the toilet. she's been taking her morning poo on the toilet since she was one, thank to my mom's diligence, so the toilet isn't scary and she thinks poo-poo is really quite fun. plus we read books, brush her teeth, and do a variety of fun things while she sits on the pot. I wasn't too bothered by her pooping in the tub until she had a very loose bowel movement which then turned the tub to poop soup. I was literally gagging while cleaning it up and now would really like that to not happen again. at least on my bathing shift. gael
If you can determine or sense that she needs to poop, you should definately give her the opportunity to. I agree that no child should ever be forced into potty using, but disagree that all children should wait until they are 2 to start. My 8mo has been out of diapers since she was 5 weeks old. I have learned her signals and elimination needs and at 7mo, she fully understood the word ''pee'' and ''poop''. She has been able to hold her bladder drom about 4 months. Here is a link to more information, but please understand - the infant is NOT trained - it is the adult. http://www.babieswithoutdiapers.com/ Kathy (aka the EC freak)