Why do Toddlers Hide when they Poop? A Parent’s Guide

Potty training is a significant milestone in a child’s development, and it can be both exciting and challenging for parents. Toddlers are at a stage where they are beginning to assert their independence, and potty training is a crucial step towards achieving that independence. However, it is important for parents to understand the developmental stages of toddlerhood in order to effectively navigate the potty training process. So, why do toddlers hide when they poop? Let’s explore!

Understanding the Developmental Stage of Toddlerhood

Toddlerhood is generally defined as the period between the ages of one and three years old. During this stage, children experience significant physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Physically, toddlers are becoming more mobile and are able to walk, run, and climb. They are also developing fine motor skills, such as the ability to hold objects and feed themselves.

Cognitively, toddlers are rapidly expanding their language skills and are able to understand and communicate more effectively. They are also developing problem-solving skills and beginning to explore their environment with curiosity. Emotionally, toddlers are experiencing a wide range of emotions and learning how to regulate them. They may exhibit tantrums or other challenging behaviors as they navigate their growing independence.

The Importance of Potty Training and Its Challenges

Potty training is an important milestone in a child’s development as it signifies their transition from diapers to using the toilet independently. It allows them to gain a sense of control over their bodily functions and promotes independence and self-confidence. Additionally, potty training can save parents time and money by eliminating the need for diapers.

However, potty training can also present challenges for parents. Some common challenges include resistance from the child, accidents, and difficulty recognizing when they need to use the bathroom. It is important for parents to approach potty training with patience and understanding, as every child develops at their own pace.

Why Toddlers Hide Their Poop: The Psychology Behind It

Why do Toddlers Hide when they Poop

One behavior that parents may encounter during the potty training process is their toddler hiding their poop. This behavior can be puzzling and concerning for parents, but it is actually quite common. There are several possible reasons why toddlers engage in this behavior.

One reason is that toddlers may feel a sense of shame or embarrassment about their bodily functions. They may not fully understand the concept of privacy yet, but they may instinctively feel that poop is something that should be hidden. Additionally, toddlers may be exploring their newfound independence and testing boundaries. Hiding their poop can be a way for them to assert control over their bodies and their environment.

The Role of Fear and Anxiety in Poop Hiding Behavior

Fear and anxiety can also play a role in poop hiding behavior. Toddlers may be afraid of the sensation of pooping or the sound it makes, leading them to hide it. They may also have had a negative experience with potty training, such as an accident or punishment, which has created fear or anxiety around using the toilet.

It is important for parents to address these emotions and provide reassurance to their child. Creating a safe and supportive environment can help alleviate fear and anxiety and encourage the child to use the potty without hiding their poop.

The Impact of Parental Reactions on Toddler Poop Hiding

Parents’ reactions to their child’s poop hiding behavior can have a significant impact on how the child perceives and responds to potty training. If parents react with anger, frustration, or punishment, the child may develop negative associations with using the toilet and become more resistant to potty training.

On the other hand, if parents respond with patience, understanding, and positive reinforcement, the child is more likely to feel supported and motivated to use the potty. It is important for parents to remain calm and avoid shaming or punishing their child for accidents or poop hiding. Instead, they should focus on praising and encouraging their child’s efforts.

Strategies for Encouraging Your Toddler to Use the Potty

There are several strategies that can help parents successfully encourage their toddler to use the potty. First and foremost, it is important to establish a routine and consistency around potty training. This means setting regular times for the child to sit on the potty, such as after meals or before bedtime.

It is also helpful to create a positive and comfortable environment for potty training. This can include using a child-sized potty chair or a step stool to help the child feel more secure and in control. Additionally, parents can provide incentives and rewards for successful potty trips, such as stickers or small treats.

The Benefits of Positive Reinforcement and Praise

Positive reinforcement and praise are powerful tools in motivating children to use the potty. When a child successfully uses the toilet, parents should offer specific praise and encouragement, such as saying “Great job!” or “I’m so proud of you!” This positive reinforcement helps reinforce the behavior and makes the child feel proud of their accomplishments.

It is important for parents to be consistent with their praise and not to overdo it. Offering excessive praise or rewards can create an unhealthy reliance on external validation. Instead, parents should focus on praising the effort and progress their child is making, rather than just the end result.

The Role of Consistency and Routine in Potty Training

Consistency and routine are key factors in successful potty training. Establishing a consistent routine helps children understand what is expected of them and creates a sense of predictability. This can help reduce anxiety and resistance around using the toilet.

Parents should set regular times for their child to sit on the potty, such as after meals or before bedtime. They should also be consistent with their reactions and responses to accidents or poop hiding. By maintaining a consistent approach, parents can help their child develop a sense of routine and build confidence in their potty training abilities.

How to Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment for Your Toddler

Creating a safe and comfortable environment for potty training is essential for success. Parents should ensure that the bathroom is child-proofed and free from any potential hazards. This includes securing cabinets and drawers, removing any small objects that could be choking hazards, and ensuring that the child can easily reach the toilet or potty chair.

It is also helpful to make the bathroom a welcoming and inviting space. Parents can decorate the bathroom with their child’s favorite characters or colors, provide books or toys to keep them entertained while sitting on the potty, and use soft lighting or calming music to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Seeking Professional Help: When to Consult a Pediatrician or Child Psychologist

While most children will eventually become potty trained with time and patience, there are some cases where professional help may be necessary. If a child consistently refuses to use the toilet or shows extreme fear or anxiety around potty training, it may be beneficial to consult a pediatrician or child psychologist.

These professionals can help assess any underlying issues or developmental delays that may be contributing to the challenges with potty training. They can also provide guidance and support for parents in navigating the process.


Potty training is an important milestone in a child’s development, but it can also present challenges for parents. Understanding the developmental stages of toddlerhood and the psychology behind poop hiding behavior can help parents navigate the potty training process more effectively.

By creating a safe and comfortable environment, using positive reinforcement and praise, maintaining consistency and routine, and seeking professional help when needed, parents can support their child’s journey towards independence and successful potty training. Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so patience and understanding are key during this exciting and sometimes challenging time.

Originally posted 2023-09-01 10:31:38.

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