Poop Psychology: My Nephew Plays With His Poop

l 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

Dear PoopReport,

My nephew will be three in February. My brother and his wife, along with the rest of us, have been trying to potty train him. But I have a concern about when he doesn't make it to the potty and we have to change him: he stiffens up and cries. Then, when he is playing in his room, he'll take off his clothes and his dirty diaper and play with it.

He doesn't really talk a lot, so we can't really ask him why he does it. I know that most children will talk or do other things when they are ready. But I am worried about him. I don't know if he has... I think it's called a fisher... or what has happened. But the only place that he plays with his poop is in his room when he's by himself for a few seconds.

I'm not a doctor of any form, but could there be a reason why he stiffens up and cries when we have to change him in that area? And why he only does it in his room?

Thank you,


Dear Charlsie,

Your nephew doesn't have to talk in order to understand that his behavior can't continue. It is normal for a child this age to be curious about just what goes on down there; kids that age are all little scientists. Unfortunately, it isn't okay or safe for him to continue to play in his own feces. Explain to him in simple (and not too graphic) terms that poop only belongs in one place, and when it is in other places, it can make him sick. In addition, the next time he engages in this behavior, try less rewarding consequences. Rather than a warm bubble bath with duckies and making a big fuss, try a quick, cool, fuss-free bath to clean him up. Ideally, he will associate this unpleasantness with poop play.

Also, whoever 'discovers' him in the act should avoid reacting to his situation, outside of cleaning him up. Seeing that he is able to get Mom or Aunt or Uncle all riled up is sometimes reason enough for a little guy to repeat a negative behavior!

It could also be an issue of the NUMBER of people trying to potty train him. If a shy little boy has Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, and Grandma all telling him different things, he might get a little confused or frustrated. Make sure everyone is on the same page as far as the potty training goes, and is being patient with him in all respects. Everyone needs to be consistent.

In addition, at two-and-a-half years old, he shouldn't be without supervision for long enough to get into that much trouble. In the time it takes for him to take his diaper off, he could be getting into something much more dangerous than his poop.

Naturally, you should discuss all of this with your pediatrician. If he is failing to meet developmental milestones (you mentioned he isn't talking much), this behavior could potentially be an indication of an underlying developmental disability.

Good luck!

Crapper John McIntyre is studying psychology at Indiana University. Got a poop psychology question for her? Ask it here.

11 Comments on "Poop Psychology: My Nephew Plays With His Poop"

wonderpance's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

good answer, crapper!

it'll be nice to get some psychological perspective on poop issues.
i love poop.

i love poop.

The Thunderous Crapper 63's picture
k 500+ points

Maybe his calling will be a sewer worker OR exterminator. They usually have to find the droppings to catch the little critters. This may NOT be a negative experience after all.


pnuttycorn's picture
k 500+ points

you could rub his nose in it like a puppy.
I crack myself up with THAT visual!!!!
I would never do that to a dog, I know better.
A kid however.....

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

pnuttycorn, I got my nose rubbed in poop once, my little sister twice. It was just the beginning.
...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

CrappJohn, great to see you on the payroll around here! I agree about the bath - from what I've read elsewhere on the site, a lukewarm/cool bath seems to have the best results with these little spoolunkers.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

phatmanxxl's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

Nothing wrong with a little finger painting...

Eoz's picture

Crappy John is a chick?

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points


The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

Artful Dodger's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorl 100+ points

Her parents couldn't name her Crapper Jane, because that's her older brother.

phatmanxxl's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

...Finger painting is art...

Dildo Baggins's picture
l 100+ points

Sounds like the little psycho is headed for Axe Murderer status to me._______
Here I sit, my cheeks a flexin', about to give birth to another Texan.

Look out for Number 1, but don't step in Number2

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