The Only Thing To Say To A Mother-In-Law Obsessed With Making Your Baby Poop Is ‘Stop’

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Baby-on-pottyThere’s always something new to learn on Reddit, and today it’s that some grandmothers love to make their newborn grandkids poop or pee on command by holding them over a potty and making grunting sounds. What’s even weirder is that it apparently works, so shame on all of us who have been using regular old diapers this whole time.

Under the headline “Should I be worried about making the newborn poo too many times a day?” a new mom asks the r/Parenting forum:

My mother-in-law likes to potty train our newborn as much as 2-3 times a day, ever since birth. By hovering the baby over a makeshift potty and making grunting sounds to encourage bowel movement, our daughter sometimes poops and pees successfully. Grandma does this when she’s healthy, constipated, or when she has diarrhea.

The reasoning behind grandma doing this is that she believes the newborn is constantly suffering from the need to poop and that assisting her poop will alleviate the suffering. I frankly don’t see any such discomfort in her facial expression, but this is what the grandmother apparently believes. The baby is capable of pooping on her own, and does so at varying, but heathy, frequencies. When the baby’s constipated, I explain that it’s normal and healthy for some babies to poop only once a week. However, she seems to want to make her poop regardless. The assisted pooping continues even when she’s having diarrhea and clearly not having issues pooping on her own. I’m worried that increased pooping while on diarrhea would cause dehydration, leading to lower urine volumes and unnecessarily increased demand for breastmilk. However, grandma’s counter-argument is that she is making the baby feel better.

I am not a doctor, but should I be worried?

First of all, can this grandma come over to my house sometime? Because this sounds like the greatest party trick of all time.

Second, according to a few of the commenters who replied, this practice is common in different cultures:

Yes, this method is called elimination communication, and it’s common in Asian cultures. It’s not harmful…unless your MIL is actually sticking something up your child’s anus (like a thermometer or something), it’s just coincidence that the child is pooping. However, eventually the baby will learn to poop on command with the sound. This could be kind of useful…I have a cousin who was able to teach her child this and eventually got to the point where she never had to change poopy diapers.


My sister in law is chinese, she and her mother (who has been there for all their children) did this with my nephews from days one. If anything, it’s opened my eyes to a great idea. Potty training the kids has been a breeze, and they have gotten them to poo before long car trips, bedtime, between diaper changes etc etc.. It saves a lot of effort and potential diaper discomfort on the kids part.

I wouldn’t worry about it unless she is attempting to force the child to poop physically or is mean upon failure to produce results.


This is all well and good – I know people who start potty-training their kids at a young age, and if it works for your family then god less you and your patience in wiping up pee all over your house. But the weird thing about this original post is the mother-in-law’s obsession with getting the kid to poop, even if the baby is straight up having diarrhea. As the original poster says in a comment, “I was worried when she tried this at two hours apart, knowing that the baby has diarrhea, but she’s gone to retract and redefine the poop as not diarrhea but just liquidy poop, apparently to appease me… I have to put up with a bunch of exaggerated claims that not doing this will cause great discomfort to the baby, which I know isn’t true.”

What a stressful, fecal-filled nightmare this is. Dealing with overbearing moms and mother in laws is a universal pain in the ass (in this case, we mean that literally). This post ultimately has nothing to do with pooping, and everything to do with someone trying to exert control over raising a baby that is not theirs. Not to mention, the woman writing is a new mom, so imagine the stress and anxiety she’s already dealing with, on top of a MIL who is constantly grunting at her baby and then commenting on how the baby’s surely suffering without her poop cues?

Grandma needs to do some serious soul searching on why she’s so obsessed with making a baby taking dumps. Or maybe just focus on her own bowel movements instead.

Real talk: Has anyone here had a similar experience poop-training a baby…and has it worked?