What is poo?


My eldest child is fascinated by bodily functions, especially those that are a bit yucky or rude. Poo is something that everyone encounters on a daily basis and in our house, with a young toddler still in nappies, it is something that receives a lot of attention. But what is it?

Quite simply, poo is the bits of food that you ate but your body didn’t need or want and gets rid of. Poo also contains bacteria (and that’s why it’s really important to flush the toilet and wash your hands carefully after you’ve been to the loo – because some kinds of bacteria can make you unwell).

When you eat food, you chew it into little pieces which you then swallow. The chewed up food travels down inside your body to your stomach, where they are digested into a liquid – think of it as being a bit like a ‘food soup’. This liquidised food then passes through your intestines (a long, soft tube that zig-zags inside your tummy all the way from your stomach to your bottom) so that your body can take out all the nutrients it needs to help you grow and give you energy. The bits of food that your body doesn’t need or can’t use get squidged together and come out of your bottom as poo.

Here is a nice overview of how the human digestive system works.

Poo is usually brown but its colour can change depending on what you have eaten or if you are unwell. Did you know that poo can be grey, yellow, black, red, blue, silver, green or purple?!

Poo is smelly but exactly what it smells of depends on what you have eaten.

Diarrhoea is poo that contains lots of water and is usually a sign that you are not very well.

Fun fact: The average grown-up will do about 130g of poo every day – that’s about the same weight as a medium-sized apple!

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