Q: When my two-year-old goes for his afternoon nap, he poops in his diaper and smears it everywhere. I tell him it’s naughty, change him, then get him to help me clean up the mess, but he still does it. How can I make him stop?
A: Many kids find going to bed a distressing separation from their parents and your son is likely craving some comforting. He’s learned that smearing his feces will get you back in his room quickly, so he’s using the one strategy he knows will work.
Try accommodating his desire to spend time with you by staying in his room longer and devise a soothing routine to help him fall asleep. Pay close attention to his waking and get him up before he has a chance to smear. Also, be vigilant about changing him, so he doesn’t have the ammunition to make a mess.