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How can I prevent my 2-year-old from smearing feces all over everything?

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How can I prevent my 2-year-old from smearing feces all over everything?


It sounds as if your son has found a very powerful way to get your attention! As difficult as this is, keep in mind that most 2-year-olds are fascinated with their own productions and like to experiment with their own bodies. Warm, squishy, and smelly are all features that your young artist finds attractive in his chosen "media." Here are some ways to channel his creativity elsewhere:

  • Dress him in overalls or a one-piece outfit. That will make access harder.
  • Calmly put all BM's in the toilet, but don't flush until he gives you permission. Value rather than dismiss his productions.
  • Give him lots of warm and squishy play experiences, with play dough, water play in a tub or sink, sand play, and finger paints. See the play section of this site for ideas.

When, despite your best efforts, this behavior occurs anyway, give your son a two-minute time-out without saying anything. After the time-out is over, have him help you clean up. No discussion, wailing, or lecturing.

Try to keep your reaction in check, as an over response is likely to make this activity even more desirable. Calm, firm, and a little sad are the appropriate demeanors to convey. If you treat this behavior like any other unacceptable behavior, he will learn to stop it eventually. Believe me, this too shall pass if you don't make it seem too important.  

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