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"Why Is Poop Brown, Mommy?"

by Cynthia Dermody on March 31, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Why Don't Your Eyelashes GrowC'mon, I'll bet you always wondered. At least admit that your toddlers have -- or will. And now you can make them think you are the smartest mommy in the world by giving them the medically accurate answer:

"When you eat food, it passes through your stomach, and intestines. Your liver secretes a substance called bile, which helps the intestines digest the food. Bile is made up of several different componants, one of which, is bilirubin.

As the bilirubin passes through the intestines, bacteria interact with it to form a brown pigment that makes your stool brown. If the liver is blocked by certain types of diseases, the bilirubin doesn't get into the intestines and the brown pigment is not made -- leaving the stools white."

(Can you imagine! White poop! You wouldn't be able to tell if your little one did anything when you peeked in the back of the diaper!)

Thanks to Dr. Beth Ann Ditkoff for this understandable translation. She just wrote a book called "Why Don't Your Eyelashes Grow?" featuring this and the brown poop question and about 150 more commonly asked kid queries about the human body.

Of course, you're going to have to translate even more for a toddler-aged child. But now that I know the real answer to the brown poop question, I can tell my daughter something like:

"To help your body eat up all the healthy vitamins from food, the body uses a special mixture -- a juice from your liver and bugs. You know how you mix one color Play-dough with another and it always turns a yucky brown? Kinda like that ..."

Ditkoff would explain it so much better, but I think my daughter will get the idea.

"Why Don't Your Eyelashes Grow?" sells for $11 at

What kinds of questions about the human body have your toddlers been asking lately?

Filed Under: health, learning


  • RanaA...


    March 31, 2009 at 5:12 PM

    You could also even include that eating things with a lot of bright colors (like frosting) or getting a lot of certain vitamins can change the color too (like too much iron makes poop green).

    I'm pregnant, and my son asked every question possible.  I let him see all sorts of things about the baby in the tummy, and even let him watch some unedited home and waterbirth videos with me, and answered any questions he had about those.  However, the "how'd the baby get in there?" got the chickens**t answer from me of, "I'll tell you when you're older."

  • pinky...


    March 31, 2009 at 9:07 PM

    my sons are named Crappy Joe and Polly. Polly is an 80 year old, and Crappy Joe is a 9 year old. no, i do not have problems. i am 29. check out my page!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  • lovin...


    March 31, 2009 at 10:39 PM

    oh i am totally gonna look at my 2 year old and hit him with that...that's like straight out of an anatomy i need this book to help ME with anatomy...

  • salty...


    March 31, 2009 at 11:28 PM

    That sounds like a good book!

  • Patty...


    April 1, 2009 at 12:05 AM

    that is very interesting!  if one of my grandchildren ever asks, I have the answer!  I need that book!!

  • DawnA72


    April 1, 2009 at 12:28 AM

    I have a carrot loving toddler in my home.  Orange deposits in the diaper are quite common.

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