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Is it possible for a younger toddler to _intentionally_ lie?

My 22-month-old "lied" about pooping. I asked her whether she had, and at first she said no. When I asked again, she said, "No, Mommy. Just a fart." But she definitely pooped. I even showed it to her afterward, but she kept saying "fart." Can a child her age intentionally lie? Or is she genuinely confused? I'm pretty sure she knows the difference between the two, but I don't think at her age she can understand the concept of objective truth based in fact without it being constant and experienced (like gravity). And if they can lie, where do they pick that up?

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Asked by SlightlyPerfect at 9:21 AM on Nov. 1, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 10 (473 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I think she is scared mybe that you would be mad, When my son was that age he would hide under the table to do number 2 lol. I think she does realize what she is doing , but perhaps is playing and doesnt want to stop. Have u tried picture books and letting her stay on the potty for a long time?. I know that helped with my son.

    Answer by lolly1976 at 9:26 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Yes, it is entirely possible. She did not "pick that up" but she was born with the nature to lie. She was also born with the nature to be rebellious, disobedient, and defiant. The biggest responsibility of parenting is to retrain this nature into one that respects authority, tells the truth, and complies with the rules. The earlier in their young lives you begin the process, the more peaceful and enjoyable will be your home. When you see the signs, it is the time to begin, and for you, I think that is now!

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:27 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Lolly, what do you think would make her think I am mad or would get mad if I never have been? You could be on to something, for sure, but I'm wondering what would make her think that.

    Comment by SlightlyPerfect (original poster) at 9:41 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • you don't have to teach kids to lie... people are born that way and have to be taught otherwise.
    and they start VERY young!

    Answer by elizabiza at 10:13 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • oh, and as far as her being afraid of you getting mad... I think kids pick up on the most subtle of signals. If you have ever been even a little annoyed when she pooped in her pants... totally normal and innocent stuff like saying "eww yuck, a poopy diaper..." or even the logic that if she is a big girl/good girl for going in the toilet then it must mean that she is a baby/bad girl for going in her pants.

    Answer by elizabiza at 10:16 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Yes! Totally possible! My 3 year old has gotten bad about the lying or should I say "fibbing" of little things. Sometimes I will catch her dumping her food on her brother's plate and then asking for desert, and she says "Mommy can I have some desert? I ate all my dinner like a big girl".. Grrr!

    Answer by Ctink8189 at 10:20 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • I think they can lie. I've heard of ALOT of children that lie about pooping. I think it's totally normal.

    Answer by Shanna84 at 10:55 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Yes thay can and do all the time. :) But they don't mean it in a bad way as older people tend to when they lie about things that could get them into trouble or such.... they just do it to kind of "test the waters" I think. They are seeing what happens when they say one thing but something else has occurred. It is the first step into knowing right from wrong. :) It is a stage that you work through, don't get angry (which I doubt you did) and just remember they are trying to figure this whole thing out. But if they get away with these lies now they can grow used to being able to fib and it works to get them out of trouble. :)

    Good luck!

    Just wait... you'll be called by your first name before you know it! lol, Then when they get a reaction out of it they take off with it! :)

    Answer by Memigen at 11:18 AM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • my 2 year old will poo and when i ask her if she did, she says no most of the time... i don't think she knows she's lying, i think she's just hoping to not have her diaper changed because it would stop her from playing for a few minutes... when she does say yes, i give her lots of praise for telling me yes...

    Answer by babymar at 3:19 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

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