Child hiding behind the chair to poop while his mom looks at him
Courtesy of Caroline Hand

Hiding Behind The Chair To Poop: The Game You Must Play

We love games in our house — card games, board games, puzzles, crosswords, mazes, you name it. We have a closetful of board games, none of which my toddler son is ready to play yet, though I eagerly look forward to the day we can sit down as a family of four and play Catan Jr. or Clue or Sushi Go. In the meantime, we’ll be busy playing the one game my 2-year-old is a champ at; a game he believes he invented. It’s the game affectionately known in my house as “Hiding Behind the Chair to Poop.”

Shortly after he turned 2, my son initiated the game, which truly couldn’t be simpler: you announce that you have to hide behind the chair, you hide behind said chair, and moments later you emerge victorious with a diaper full of poop. The only variance in the game is your toddler’s willingness to verify that he or she has just in fact pooped.

Fear not — you the parent can also be an active participant in this game. When your toddler announces, smooth as silk like mine does, “I hafta hide behind duh chayuh,” it’s your turn to say, “Ohhhhhhh OK, honey, that sounds like fun,” while exchanging meaningful looks with other members of your family. “Hiding behind the chair is great, you should definitely do that,” we tell him, while nodding and winking at each other.

There will be a toy played with, so he can front like he’s not doing what we all know damn well he’s doing.

The first few times this happened, it was all my husband, 8-year-old daughter, and I could do not to bust a gut laughing from all the adorableness. It also brought back memories of six years ago, when my daughter created an almost identical game, though hers had a twist wherein my husband or I also had to hide while she did the deed.

The time my son actually spends behind the chair is usually brief. Occasionally, there will be a toy played with, so he can front like he’s not doing what we all know damn well he’s doing. When the game first started, he would reveal himself from behind the chair and announce proudly, “I pooped!” But recently, he has been silent, prompting one of us to ask him, “Boo, did you just poop?” “No!” my son insists. This is the newly discovered fun of the game, clearly. One of us then invariably winds up on our hands and knees trying to catch a whiff of what has taken up residence in his Pampers Cruisers. Very rarely is it empty.

The game can be played up to twice a day, or really as often as needed. It doesn’t offer the suspense of Clue or the strategy of Sushi Go, but it is rewarding in its own right. Plus, I look at it as a step in the right direction toward potty training. My son seems to know that pooping is done in private, in a special place and that it is to be announced ahead of time (I’m guessing he learned that from his father). In the book Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right, Jamie Glowacki writes, “If your child is retreating to some private place… this means your child is equating pooping with privacy, which is a natural and correct progression.”

So, until our son can play Candyland or Chutes and Ladders, we’ll settle for “Hiding Behind the Chair to Poop,” knowing that it’s a step in the right direction toward becoming a big kid.

For more pieces like this, visit Shiny Happies, our collection of the best parts of raising those little people you love.