Poop: Lessons in biology, zoology and social grace

Baby V can have deep conversations on outer space, types of fossils and countries of the world, but her favourite topic that brings out her passion is poop! There, I said it! I’ve no idea where this fascination started but she loves talking about fart noises, bums and poop. In fact, when she goes and asks random people in the park if they want to do it, I send a silent thankyou to God that her Tamil word for poop isn’t easily understandable.

Poop: That gross but glorious thing that toddlers can learn from and about.

I was warned by a few people that her fascination with poop is not socially acceptable and I would need to discipline her. But hey, why should I discipline a 2 year old for being wonderfully curious about something, no? I figured that she was just getting aware of her own bodily functions and considering we don’t talk about the toilet as much as say, animals or food or books, she was just satisfying her curiosity. Plus, there are so many amazing things to learn!

Presenting a list of her favourite questions on this subject and where the subsequent conversations led us to. Please stop reading here, if you are the squirmy kind.

“Why do we poop?”

What a basic question but oh, what a beautiful learning opportunity! She asked this question when she was transitioning to the potty seat. Her routine had gone for a toss and there were days she would refuse to use the seat. She wanted to know why it was imperative to poop. Why couldn’t we just hold it in all day? Also, much to her dismay, why were we not able to hold it in all day?
We read a few books on the digestive system and she was shocked to know that this is where the undigested and unwanted food ended up. She also figured out on her own why it is red in colour on days she has eaten beetroot. Once it seemed like there was solid logic to it, she has been very eager to do her business in the morning, and then observe it.

“Why is animal poop so different?”

This is a fascinating book that I highly recommend to read up on animal poop- types, fun facts and uses

We visit the zoo very often, and V has seen animals discharge their bodily wastes with a lot of interest. She wanted to know why there was so much difference in animal poop. I highly recommend The Poop book to read up in detail on this topic.
From animals who at it, to those who use it as a camouflage mechanism, to those who are so lazy that they do it just once a week, this book is a fascinating read on all things poop. V was amazed that animal dung can also be used to make paper and write on.
V also noticed that animals and birds do not wear diapers, nor use bathrooms. It was a brilliant moment for her, when she realised that humans are different from animals, in yet another way. That has not stopped her from imagining pigeons in diapers though.

Toilet Learning

Questions like this are bound to arise during toilet learning, and it is a great learning opportunity to link it to our other bodily functions. After all, it is amazing that our body can do so many wonderful functions. And it is nothing short of magic, that in the larger picture of the world, every animal’s poop is useful.
Yesterday, V asked us a difficult question on where the poop that we flush, goes to. We spoke about the sewage system and the need for it before it is released into water bodies or soil. V is not yet fully convinced, and wants to read up more on it. We are currently talking about underground pipes, their connectivity and their uses. To be honest, I do not know much about this, and ironically, I’m finding it a little dry (pun unintended). I will update on how that goes.

Social niceties

This is still a work in progress, but we are trying to get her to understand that not everyone finds this topic very exciting to discuss. Especially not random neighbours in the park, or unsuspecting relatives who come to visit. We don’t expect her to understand it at all. But it is a great way to introduce socially acceptable behaviour.

I hope this is the end of our adventures on this topic. But, the fact that I managed to write a whole article on this, gives me hope, that we may be equipped to handle her future questions, after all.


    • R Balasundaram says:

      Instead of considering it a onerous chore or an unclean activity which has to be done, using it for learning is amazing.

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