The problem with judging other parents is; karma!
Do I believe in karma? Not exactly.
It does seem though, as if every time I judge a parent or a situation, it comes back around to me.
Once upon a time, I judged my brother who struggled with his child staying buckled in his car seat. Well, not too many years later, my son started doing the same thing and it was a frustrating struggle.
One thing my oldest never did was remove his diapers and smear poop. I have always felt sorry for the parents of toddlers who resort to that kind of entertainment and also somewhat judgmental, thinking what is wrong with that kid? Those parents must be doing something wrong.
Well, my 15 month old cleared that misconception up for me.
After a particularly rough night with him waking at least 5-7 times between 11 PM and 7 AM, I was enjoying my mostly warm coffee and chatting with my mom. She asked where my baby was and I happily said,
“Oh, he’s sleeping!”
Not too long after that I heard him calling and went to find him – naked in his crib.
His diaper was outside the crib and their was poop all over his bedding and crib railings and all over him.
I was shocked. He was amused.
It wasn’t as bad as it could have been and it didn’t take terribly long to clean him up. But I will never judge another parent for their child finger painting with their own feces when they’re supposed to be asleep.
I will forever wonder though, how they can stand the stench and what possesses them to use it, are they that lacking in entertainment? Or do they not smell it? Is their lack of knowledge about germs to blame for their willingness to smear their body waste all over themselves and the place that they sleep?
Dr. Heather Wittenberg says that this stage in young toddlers is perfectly normal. It may be a sign that your child is ready to potty train.
If your child continues to play with poop after 3 years old you should have a pediatrician evaluate your child. There may be other issues.
Tips to handle this stage
- Stay calm and don’t over react, yes it’s gross but it’s also normal.
- Use it as a teaching moment and let your child know we don’t play with poop, it goes in the toilet. We can play with toys instead. It might seem that your toddler is too young to understand, but they have a surprising capacity to understand very early on.
- Keep your child in onesies, zip up jammies or overalls that restrict access to their diaper.
- Change your child as soon as their diaper is peed or pooped in.
- You could watch for signs that they need to pee, holding themselves, dancing, struggle concentrating, etc.
- Let them sit on the potty frequently.
- Don’t push your child and don’t discipline for potty accidents. This is a huge learning curve for them and they need you to be understanding and patient with them through it.
Do you have any feces finger painting stories to share? If so, I’d love to commiserate! Leave a comment or send me an email!
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