How to get baby not to poop in bath
August 7, 2010 12:37 AM   Subscribe

Baby pooping in the bath

Our 16 month old, completely un-toilet trained boy has started pooping in his bath almost every evening. It happened maybe a couple of times in the first year, but it now seems to be turning into a regular thing. 'In the bath - time to poop.'

He poops 3 times a day, normally, but the pattern is not that regular. It doesn't seem to make much difference if the bath is a bit earlier or a bit later.

Any tips on a) cleaning him and the bath (currently swiping him out as soon as we realise, and washing him standing up, then using antiseptic on the bath and any bath mat/toys, which smells and takes ages)
b) more importantly, getting him to stop
would be very much appreciated
posted by Marzipan to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried letting him be naked (possibly with a potty around) for a while before a bath? My daughter reliably pees on the floor if her nappy is off for ten minutes - this sounds similar.
posted by geek anachronism at 1:15 AM on August 7, 2010

Well, if it helps, we called these "Code Browns", as in we would shout "Code Brown! Code Brown!". And then we'd do the hose-down and bleach the bath and toys, pretty much as you descibe. They were a bit of a regular problem for a while, but then went away again.

So... this is probably not too unusual, and can go away of it's own accord.
posted by Artw at 1:16 AM on August 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

This is a phase. This isn't something you'll have to put up with forever. So while it's happening, go into damage control mode.

First thing is making the bath easy to clean, so stop putting mats and toys in until he's over this. Then you can relax on the disinfectant, as shiny bath surfaces won't retain enough poo to be worth worrying about.

Next thing is to make him easy to clean. Get yourself a hand held shower head with a rubber fitting that pushes onto the bath tap. Then, when he poops, you can just take out the plug to start the water draining, stand him up, bend him over a little and sluice his arse with warm water until he's clean. Don't bother swiping him out; just wash him, and let the poo go down the bath drain (it's connected to the same sewer as the toilet anyway). Poo lumps in the drain grate can get blasted with hot water at close quarters until they break up and disappear.

Next thing is the training aspect. Whenever he poops in the bath, bath time is over. Whip him straight out of the bath and sit him on a potty, then drain and sluice the bath, then sluice his arse, then you're done.

After doing that once, you can put the potty in the bath, with only an inch of warm water in the tub. Sit him on it, with his little feet in the warm water, and give him as long as it usually takes him to poop before taking it out and filling the bath properly. If he uses the potty, he gets his arse wiped and then a nice warm bath full of toys. The toys don't go in the bath unless he has pooped. If he doesn't poop in the potty, but does in the bath, he gets whipped out and sat, wet, back on the potty. He'll catch on pretty quick.

Finally, he gets to use the potty outside the bath before getting in it and your troubles are over.
posted by flabdablet at 1:32 AM on August 7, 2010 [7 favorites]

You could just give him a bath immediately after he poops, regardless of hour. Yes, that means bathtime may not be part of the bedtime routine any more.
posted by crazycanuck at 3:57 AM on August 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

Nth phase, will go away on its own. This is why so many bath toys are based on sieves.

(You really don't need to futz with the antiseptic or frustrate both of you by making a lot of efforts to DO something. Just scoop, rinse, relax.)
posted by kmennie at 5:49 AM on August 7, 2010

I agree with flabdablet that you should take out the mat and almost all toys until he's over the phase, then just rinse out the tub -- porcelain is as non-porous as glass, so you don't really need to disinfect, especially for a boy. But I disagree about the training aspect. It's possible that a 16-month-old could grasp the concept eventually, but it would involve enough discomfort and tears (interrupting his accustomed routine, plus going from warm bath to being wet on a cold potty) that I think it could run the risk of making him associate unpleasantness with bath and/or potty. You don't want him disliking his bath or the potty or both. An older child can more quickly grasp what you want from him and would be less likely to just associate the whole process with discomfort.
posted by palliser at 6:12 AM on August 7, 2010

He's getting lots of extra interaction when this happens. I'd express annoyance, as "Oh, ick, the tub is not for pooping." Remove most toys, which reduces bath funtime, as well as cleanup time. Add toys back for any bath with no poop. Use a towel as a bath mat, so it can go in the washer easily. A washcloth and a couple of easily cleaned toys are sufficient for tub fun. And, I'd let him try sitting on a potty before the bath, in case he happens to have early control. No pressure, just. Let's sit here and read this story for a minute before bathtime.
posted by theora55 at 10:38 AM on August 7, 2010

The warm water is also relaxing his muscles and making it easier for him to poop. His body language is also probably giving you indicators. I know my little one would scoot all the way to the back of the tub and sit very still. Watch your child closely for his tells. Then as soon as you see them, whisk him from tub to potty chair and give him lots of encouragement to poop in the potty. If he goes quickly, you can always put him back in the tub for some play time.
posted by onhazier at 4:19 PM on August 7, 2010

I've heard people at the pool talk about swim diapers. Maybe he could wear one while bathing until he gets over this phase.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:09 PM on August 7, 2010


Here's the secret of swim diapers:

It's not a diaper, it's a filter.

It basically catches the solid bits until they dissolve.
posted by Artw at 11:29 PM on August 7, 2010

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