ARRRGH! playing with poop! | Autism PDD


For some strange reason, whenever we are busy making dinner, or cleaning house, or anything else that requires five minutes of our attention, our son digs into his diaper and covers the room in poop!!!! So then we have to spend the next 4-5 hours cleaning.  This has happened 6 out of the last 10 days.  Has anyone been through this?  Any ideas as to why, or how to combat this? Yep both my kids did. My daughter stopped doing it. My son is 2  oes it and sometimes 3 times a day. He has cut back on it. I have a vaccum, cleaning supplies in the bath room by his room just in case.My son has Sensory issues.  I do finger painting and play-doh. Finger painting turns into hand and arm painting. I pay more attention to my kids than most parents do. I'm a stay at home mom.

 Oh by the way when I clean his mess up. I don't let him watch. I lock him in his height chair.
amberwaves39321.7926273148 Did and even painted my little infant br. and our hole room with his poop. My potty training idea is with a potty doll that has a potty chair with it also. Put your ptty doll on the potty so the kids see visually howq we use the pooty. For boys they need to see the aim in the toilet with pee. In the out of sink child her idea is stand the kid in front of the potty and use cheerios flootying and then pee in their. Help's with aim I guess.

With Devin, If you didn't get his diaper changed quick enough, he would reach in his diaper and LAUNCH POOP BALLS, he never seemed to do it when a messier diaper was involved

Grandma to Devin 3 yrs ASD / SID

Fortunately, my son never played with his poop (purposefully).  He does other fun stuff, though .

Anyway, have you tried "onesies" for his t-shirts?  It would make it very difficult for him to "dig".  Maybe something to consider.

If it is a sensory issue, maybe play doh could serve that purpose, or even finger paint.

I saw this episode of supernanny, where they just covered the walls in one child's room with brown packing paper (what brown paper bags are made of), and this child would just smear paint all over it.  I loved the idea, although all that paper was a little extreme.

If it is an attention seeking behavior, maybe try "over correction" .  It's a practice
that's used in ABA.  During Potty training (ongoing), his therapist said that everytime he poops his pants, have him help wash them. 
I guess the idea is to "gross them out" enough that they'll stop the behavior.

Good luck

I would show him how to use play doh and let him use that at a designated area.  Or even a sand table may be helpful (sweeping up sand is easier than scrubbing poop). We also used one-piece pajamas and put them on backwards.

Sounds like attention seeking behavior. To be sure take note of when it happens, what happens right before and after for a few weeks and see if you can find a trend.

If it is attention seeking you have to clean it up without giving him any attention. No eye contact no words nothing. Make the clean up process involve him to the best of his ability. Basicly it has to be worse for him to to smear it then to just wait.

This could also be a time for him to start toileting. There are a few great books I could reccomend or you could talk to your behaviorist and set up a plan.

When B did this...I gave him a teaspoon of coffee grounds in a small cup.  He was sense seeking and the strong smell of the coffee seemed to fill that need.

ETA: Still a little clean up involved...but much less than smeared poop.


Here are some resources on dealing with fecal smearing:

Tips from our forum:

You can find jumpsuits with back zips (including Halloween costumes) to prevent the behavior, and one mother on our forum uses duct tape to make a "super hero belt" to prevent diaper access and prevent smearing.

You can search on this forum for "fecal smearing" or "diaper diving" and find more tips.

Tips from an online newsletter:


There are two likely reasons behind fecal smearing:

1) attention (the child gains a large amount of attention albeit negative, but attention just the same)

2) sensory input (the child has something with a unique texture and a uniquely strong smell.

If it is undifferentiated when you determine the function then you can employ both of the following techniques:

1) Provide absolutely no attention to the child. Clean up the mess without giving the child eye contact or any verbalizations. Be sure the give the child plenty of attention during times when they are using appropriate behavior. (Especially if they eliminate in the toilet)

2) Start the child on a sensory diet for smells and textures. This would include many different types of putty and squeeze balls and essential oils that have strong odors.  Tea tree oil has a nice strong scent and is safe for them to smell.


Source: .pdf (p. 50)

Tips from


How to Manage Fecal Smearing

It is not unusual for children with autism to smear their feces on themselves, on the walls, on their clothes. Dr. Kroeger has some specific advice for parents finding themselves in this unpleasant situation. "Children do what they do for one of only four reasons," she explains: to get attention, to get something they want, to escape from something unpleasant, or to have or avoid a particular  sensory experience. So why are they smearing feces? What happens when they do it? Are they getting attention? Are they being allowed to escape a situation they don't like? Are they getting something they want? If they're not getting any of these outcomes, they're probably enjoying the sensory input they're getting.

Once you know why your child is smearing feces, you can fill their need in another way.  For example, you can give them attention and praise when they go to the bathroom without touching their feces.


Source: 9.htm

Jimmy and Billy both played with their poop, not Chris. It would be smeared everywhere! Thank God they finally stopped doing it, although Billy is not fully trained least he does not play with it anymore. I do not have advice, just wanted to let ya know, I have been there; I can relate. I hope that you can find something that will work. Good luck!!DS is begun digging into his diaper and showing off his poo or attempting to get his jollies on. Any thoughts ?

Oh, man..the smearing if feces thing--been there, done that. It is quite common and one of the first questions they ask when I have my yearly reviews for CDDO.

I found that, buying tighter diapers, and then putting snapping one piece underwear (like the ballet type) worked for a while, cuz she couldnt get in there. I also did the washable finger paints, and a paint easle in her room.

I am going through the "scratch and sniff" behavior now. Taylor and Colin both like to check their parts, rub them and sniff it. I have tried everything to deter this behavior, by even saying "big boys/girls dont' do that". Still is a problem but, working on it with as many ideas I can get. They have brought it up at school as well. So, if she wears a dress, I have to put some pair of pants on her under it--and with colin, snapping jeans or button jeans seem to stop the behavior.


God Bless,



My son used to find a way into his messy diaper even if he was wearing a onesie.  Two things happened that led to him stopping this behavior.  First of all, I stopped reacting after an incident.  This wasn't really intentional.  I just started accepting that he would always do this because he had autism so I stopped yelling at him when he did it.    Second, his health improved through biomedical treatment.  Now that his stools are normal and formed he doesn't seem to have any desire to touch his poop.We just had to keep Sam in clothes that wouldn't allow reaching into his diaper because nothing else worked. We started with onesies, then pajamas, then had to put the pajamas on backwards when he was able to unzip them himself. It's very frustrating to deal with, but it does end.