My Convertible Life

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Strategery: When Your Toddler Poops in the Bath

One of my brilliant friends suggested that I create a periodic feature offering suggestions for what to do when the shit hits the fan (or the tub, in her case) and you need some parenting advice. Given that this friend a) reads my blog, b) thinks I have answers and c) has offered material for me to write about, who am I to deny her? Plus, you already know how I feel about the importance of being open with other moms about our parenting disasters.

So I present to you the first in my new series: Saturday Strategery. Read on for the stuff I'm making up wisdom gleaned from experience, post your commiserations or offer your own advice, then send me pleas for help suggestions for additional posts.

As you may remember, I've already dealt with poop smeared in the crib, but the accidental poop in the tub is a different scenario. Ideally you'd have another adult in the house when this happens so that you can do the hand-off (meaning you take the cutie-pie toddler and hand off the poo-filled tub to your partner). But I think we all know these babies have some sort of sixth-sense that enables them to make messes like these at the most inopportune times, so it's best to have a strategery plan for going solo.
  • Step 1: Swear under your breath. Drop the f-bomb if necessary, but do it quietly to avoid the need for more strategery (see also "How to Explain to Your Baptist Preschool Teacher Why Your Child Cusses During Chapel").
  • Step 2: Yank the toddler out of the tub and wrap her in a towel. Pretend you don't see the poop. If there's a sibling in the tub, get him out as quickly as possible and include him in steps 3 and 5 (this makes it extra tricky, but generally speaking you should help the youngest and/or most poop-covered child first).
  • Step 3: Dry, diaper and dress the toddler as you normally would after a regular, poop-free bath. Unless of course, said toddler has managed to smear into the poop -- then use as many wipes as necessary to clean the toddler, dumping all the wipes into the bath towel.
  • Step 4: Swear under your breath some more. Remember that although you are the only adult in the house, you are not alone. Mothers the world over are currently swearing right along with you (and if you think you're alone, take a look at this blog post with photos). Take a deep breath.
  • Step 5: Put the toddler somewhere safe, preferably out of sight. Depending on the time of day, you may want to proceed with bedtime/naptime. If not, dump her in the crib with books or park her with a video, depending on what causes you the least grief.
  • Step 6: Although you might want to close the bathroom door at this point and pretend the poop isn't in there, it's really best to go ahead and deal with it. Drain the water from the tub and use toilet paper to scoop up the poop, then dump it in the toilet. Continue to repeat step 4 as needed. It's okay to cry a little, too. Throw away any wipes from step 3 into the diaper pail, then rinse any poop on the towel in the bathtub (you don't want loose poo in your washing machine).
  • Step 7: Use your favorite cleaner (including the Clorox/Lysol kitchen cleaner you'd use after handling raw meat -- gross analogy, I know, but you get the idea) and wipe everything down. Rinse a lot, then wash your hands.
  • Step 8: Call a friend to complain about what you've just been through. If no one is available, write something witty and gross on Facebook.
  • Step 9: If necessary, retrieve the toddler and resume parenting. If toddler is sleeping, lie down on the couch and take a deep breath. Remind yourself that one day this incident will make for a hilarious story  to embarrass your child in front of her friends.
Okay, parents -- what did I miss? Help me out here -- I'm still new at this strategery business, and goodness knows we can all use the help.


  1. Step 10: Cry hysterically when you realize that the "My Little Pony" bath toys are now, not only covered in poop, but have poop tangled in their manes. No need for Clorox me, in this case, tossing them is the only solution. As far as the other bath toys are concerned, soak them in a bucket of water and Clorox and rinse. Ashley Jackson

  2. I don't have kids, but I loved reading this!!

  3. We have yet to encounter this but I know the day will come! Great advice!

  4. Girl, I have dealt with this more often than I would care to admit and usually the poo is not so solid if you catch my drift. I follow the same steps you outlined, except I usually look at her when said poo is discovered and say "Why?!?". Great post!

  5. Add dry heave as one of the steps. Also if he's not done or you scared him with your "no, no, no," put him on the big potty not the toddler size one because then you just have two different poo messes to clean up. I speak from experiencing this just two days ago.

  6. This just happened like 5 minutes ago... between steps 6 and 7 I think you should add "relieve your stomach of all contents and pray said contents make it to the toilet not the floor" because I am not kidding you, I threw up TWICE while cleaning the poo out of that tub then I had to go on to clean my own vomit from the floor an inch away from the toilet. I can handle it anywhere else but when I need to physically pick it up with my hands, regardless of if I'm wearing gloves or not, I lose everything in my stomach...

  7. It gets tiring to choose the right baby care products for my child since her skin is so sensitive. I stumbled upon this brand Maaté, that makes 100% natural baby care products, to suit the delicate skin of every baby. Do check out the amazing products here


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