Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bathing Troubles

R in the tub as a small baby: so innocent?
Warning: This is gross, but sadly babies and small children are gross. If you have a low tolerance for grossness, then maybe you should skip this post.

We've been taking baths with little R since she was very young (a few weeks old). At first it was just easier to bathe a slick, squiggly and surprisingly fragile baby when we were in the water as well; later it became a fun bonding activity. She has only taken a bath by herself (as in, no adults were in the tub with her) a few times.

R takes a bath almost every day: it's part of the night time routine. So by this point she's taken hundreds of baths with us. Up to a few weeks ago, she had only pooped in the tub once (when she was quite ill with diarrhea), and was seemingly pretty upset by it. It obviously was an accident and a complete surprise to her.

However, in the last two weeks she's pooped in the tub three times. This is so incredibly gross as the bathing parent (because the poop floats freely in the water, coating you, R, her bath toys and everything else in its nasty germs). It's also a huge hassle, because then everything has to be sterilized (and R and the adult have to be cleaned all over again in the shower, as R protests: she doesn't like the shower).

Over the last couple months, she's become a lot more aware of her bowel movements, and seems to have some control over them. She even usually gets into position  (squatting, in an appropriately secure location) before producing. When we were in Penang, she only pooped once (very unusual for her) and as soon as we got home, she pooped a very large amount (saving it for the safety of home, which I think is common even among adults).

So the fact that she is now regularly pooping in the tub seems suspicious. The first time I was surprised but figured it was just an accident; now, though, I feel like she's doing it on purpose for some reason.

The question is, why??? And what to do about it? She understands a lot of what we say, but I am not confident that there's any way to explain to her why/how this new habit is a bad idea. Also, what if it's not purposeful? Then I will just give her a complex. Does anyone have suggestions/experience with this?


  1. Did she giggle or show any sign of satisfaction after having done that? Although i am not a parent,I used to take care of kids this age and expereinced that 'no' or 'don't' to them means 'yeah' or'do it.' Maybe it's time to try pottytraining at bath time ;-)
    Do you know this website ? You may find some related articles.


    PS Little R baby pic is so cute. I can imagine all heads turn when Asian people see her red-hair cuteness :) I bet you get strangers coming and cooing with little R everyday!

    1. She is very popular. Whenever we go anywhere touristy she becomes a main attraction: last weekend there was a solid line of maybe 6 photographers snapping away as she played on the lawn. It's funny.

  2. Oh, i found out i have to use Explorer instead of Mozilla to get my comments to go through..

  3. My son had a bout of minor constipation once that seemed to be relieved by the warm bath and regularly started pooping in the tub too. We weren't in it with him though so I really feel your pain! She might just be conditioning herself to go because the bath feels so relaxing and safe---that fits with not going the whole time you were in Penang.

    What I did (and my son was younger than 1 at the time) was purchase a tiny potty chair. Be sure to get the kind that is lowest to the ground so it is the most natural crouching position for her. We started regularly sitting on the potty before the bath and to my surprise he actually started going regularly in the potty and I thought for sure he would be potty trained in no time. Well, I was wrong about that but the bathtime pooping stopped altogether. Now my son just turned two and while still not potty trained has a definite interest in the potty and is developing more awareness about when he needs to go. I recommend the book Diaper Free Before 3

    I know there is some controversy about early potty training

    I go back and forth about when to push him to actually give up diapers, but I have always heard that girls are easier so you might start exploring it with R now. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the helpful post. I don't think she is ready for potty training yet, but having a potty might be a good solution.

      I will try and see what happens!

  4. Oh, the things we have to look forward to! Nora has never pooped in the tub, but we don't bathe with her, so while it would be gross, it wouldn't be THAT gross. Maybe she thinks the tub looks like a giant potty?

  5. Two things: don't make a big deal out of it. Its gross, but part of the joy of babyhood is parents reacting. The other tip is that if she hasn't pooled in longer than usual, wipe her bottom - part of the problem could be that the water is stimulating. If shes showing signs of BM awareness, you could try a little late elimination communication. :)

  6. omg I want to know the answer to this - this is one of my fears, although, crossing my fingers, we haven't had a SINGLE poo accident yet.