Let's Talk About (Kids) Pooping on the Trail

Let’s Talk About (Kids) Pooping on the Trail

Let's Talk About (Kids) Pooping on the TrailWe just returned from a mom-and-kids trip visiting my family in Alaska (where I grew up.) We got in some great hiking and sightseeing of places I am nostalgic for. When you live in the “Lower 48”, it’s not just super easy to get HOME. So, I did my best to fill up my Alaska tank.

Just a couple days in, we also happened to be two for two as far as hiking trails and kids pooping on the trail. Too much information? Maybe. But, seriously – I know I am not the only one who has to deal with serious crap in the most unfortunate of locations (though they do have a view).

So, after being on a trail that I couldn’t safely get off of more than a couple feet (warning – don’t go off trail on the Gold Mint in Hatchers) and then (the same kid) having an epic-beyond-belief blowout the next day, I am vowing to make some changes to the contents of my pack. And I am going to have to seriously regulate the raiding of the backyard raspberry patch in the future.

Let's Talk About (Kids) Pooping on the Trail

Luckily in both instances, I happened to be carrying a package of wipes (for the baby – who didn’t need them). But, no cat-hole digging device and no just-in-case plastic bags. Both will be added for the next hike. And maybe rubber gloves.

Any mom of young kids knows you just deal with what you have and clean it up and give yourself a gold star for surviving being covered in poop and wiggly kids and all that goes along with that combination. It’s not easy and not fun, but someone has to do it, and that someone very likely will be you.

All this pooping with a view (them, not me) got me thinking about how “normal” it can be, and how scary it can also be (for everyone involved).

I’m packing myself a “Poop on the Trail Survival Kit” and thought I would share the process just in case I’m not the only one out there tired of desperate trail situations.

Current contents:

  • Baby wipes for the bum
  • Action Wipes singles for everything else if needed (them and me)
  • Small trough for digging a Cat hole (I like the Ace of Spades one)
  • Toilet Paper (small sections)
  • An extra plastic baggie or two for removing used wipes and/or soiled clothing in a sanitary way

Outdoor Pooping Basics:

  • Do your best to make sure the pooping happens 200 feet off trail, campsite, or water source (70 steps), and out of the way of water runoff
  • Dig a cathole ~4-6 in diameter and ~6-8 inches deep
  • Poop inside the hole (aiming takes a little practice, but that’s where parents can help hold the child in a sitting position)
  • Bury the hole (and a small amount of TP) with the dirt you dug out of it originally
  • Cover the spot with grass, leaves, rocks, etc. to help return the area to “nature”
  • Clean up the child (and you) and be sure to pack out any wipes, soiled clothing or excess TP


So, while we certainly expect pooping to happen at some point while camping, I’m just a little prepared for any other time outdoors now too. Because kids – they’re so incredibly unpredictable!

I want to hear it – tell me your best Poop-on-the-Trail (PG-rated) stories!


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7 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About (Kids) Pooping on the Trail”

  1. For day trips, I always bring a poo kit with me. My child will go anywhere! Even in the middle of an urban park!! Our kit includes the following: Wipes, hand sanitizer, and two plastic garbage bags. I’ve taught my child to squat over one plastic bag where I “catch” everything. Then I bundle it all up with the wipes, put it in the second bag, and pack it out with me or find the nearest garbage can. It gets smelly but I can’t carry a trowel with me and dig a pit in the middle of a city park. Fingers crossed, I won’t be doing this when my child is 10!!

  2. I’m seriously LOL right now! We also just had a major explosion this past weekend on our first tent camp out since the boys were babies AND we had a pit toilet near by but no running water. Gold star for this mom and thankfully we had a couple TINY dog poop bags I was able to stuff the clothes into and a pack of baby wipes. Next time we will be more prepared on our camp out too!

  3. We just had this situation on the trail yesterday. After my daughter stripped down completely from the waist down including taking off her shoes I realized damage had already been done to her shorts. She walked back to the trailhead wearing my clothes and no underwear.

  4. We had a situation during a bike ride while my daughter was potty training. She had a pull up on but I wanted to encourage her initiative so I took her off trail where the brush wasn’t too thick. I didn’t realize until too late that if I had walked another five feet I would have hit the Appalachian Trail (which is heavily travelled in VA). In the midst of trying to get her to go, and try to contain it, three groups of people came by! We were already in the middle of the “situation”, it resulted in tons of laundry anyway, it was horrendous. it scarred me and I am resolved to not potty train the next two. (Partially kidding).

  5. Pingback: How To Help Your Kid Poop Outside - Tales of a Mountain Mama

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