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How to Teach Children About Wiping Their Bottom

By Addison McKnight ; Updated June 13, 2017

Children reach the milestone of potty training during their toddler years. At this time, your child moves from diapers to underwear and should be praised as a “big girl” or “big boy.” Although the act of potty training should be completed around the age of 3, there is one aspect that often takes a longer time to grasp: wiping the bottom. With short arms, the inability to balance while on the toilet and a lack of coordination, wiping is one task that is difficult to achieve at such an early age.

Show your child how to wipe. Take her into the bathroom and explain that you want to show her how to correctly wipe her bottom. You can either do this when she really has to go, or you can tell her that you want to play pretend. Show her how to measure the toilet paper to the correct length, fold it into a pad and how to correctly wipe. Remember, girls should wipe from front to back.

Discuss why it is important to wipe. Explain that if she does not clean herself well when she goes to the bathroom, she may have an odor that her friends could smell and that would be embarrassing.

Tell her that if she has any problems wiping, she should let you know and should not feel ashamed. Help her with wiping, as it can take until she is 8 years old to correctly do so without help.

Visit your child’s doctor if issues continue. Staining or feces in your child’s underwear could indicate that she is impacted, meaning severely constipated. When a child is impacted, she may pass loose stool around the impaction to help relieve pressure. It may often appear as if your child is not wiping well, but in fact it is something that she cannot control.

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