We adults take the ability to clean ourselves after each bowel movement for granted, but kids do not see it that way.
Once your child reaches the age of around two years old, it is the perfect time for you to conduct potty training and self-wiping.
1. Explain to kids why wiping their bum is important
Some children do not understand why they need to clean their bottom after going to the toilet.
After all, they have known little of the world. Instead of getting mad at the kids, parents should give a brief lesson on the necessity of bum-wiping.
You can start by saying how “evil” poop is, as it contains germs that cause irritations for the body.
And the only way for kids to get rid of these “bad guys” is to wipe their butt.
You can also add how unhygienic and smelly it is for kids to leave the toilet without some proper cleanup.
In case you need a visual reinforcement, feel free to show kids a video on the detrimental effects of not wiping.
Once kids are well informed, they are more likely to take potty training and bum-cleaning more seriously.
2. Choose the right material for toilet papers
Toilet paper will come into direct contact with your child’s sensitive skin, so you have to be a bit picky here.
Do not go for recycled toilet paper rolls; however cheap they are.
Recycled toilet paper generally contains BPA – which is a leading factor that causes endocrine disruptors.
Some studies have shown a direct link between a lack of endocrine and cancer, as well as early puberty.
Another option to consider is to use wet wipes. Most of the wet wipes are good-smelling, which can be a bonus when it comes to bum-wiping.
However, the chemicals stored in wet wipes may cause irritations for your child’s butt, especially if they are still under five.
The safest option is to purchase toilet paper designed for kids. It might be a bit pricey, but it guarantees no infection or soreness to a child’s skin.
3. Notice the difference concerning the anatomy of girls and boys
One of the things parents have to pay attention to in bum-wiping is the direction.
The correct direction is from the back to the front. In other words, it is from the butt to the willy for boys, and from the butt to the lady garden for girls.
You might think that the anatomic difference does not matter much in practicing bathroom self-hygiene, but it actually does!
For girls, the distance from their lady garden to their butt is relatively short.
It means that germs from poop are easier to travel backward and contaminate other private parts.
If a baby girl accidentally smears a used toilet paper somewhere else their bottom, things can get messy.
For boys, it is harder for germs from poop to reach their willy.
But still, careless boys can unintentionally rub poop around, causing possible infections for the urinary bladders.
Understanding how your baby girl and baby boy differ can help you come up with better ideas on how to teach them to wipe their bottom.
If you want to include some basic sex education while teaching self-wiping, suit yourself.
Let’s kick off by telling your kids – both boys and girls – where their genitals are, and how important it is for them to tidy up the private bits.
4. Understand that small kids cannot perform certain wiping movements
Self-wiping is no piece of cake, especially for kids who have not matured physically.
If your kid is using a toilet bowl, then you have to be extra patient.
Most households do not have a separate toilet bowl for kids, which means they have to use bowls designed to fit the body of an adult.
Imagine how uncomfortable it is for your child to sit on such a large toilet seat.
And that is not to mention that they have to reach for the toilet roll, get the right amount of toilet paper, and struggle to somehow reach their bottom without touching their own poop.
That said, the motor skills of most kids do not fully develop until they become teenagers.
Certain motions take months – even years – of practice to be fully mastered.
If you see your kids doing it wrong, do not get riled up at them for no reason.
Instead, you should praise them for their efforts, and instruct children to perform it better next time.
5. Demonstrate the correct wiping technique
The best way for kids to learn something new is through imitation and visual support.
If you want your child to remember how to clean their bottom, you have to give a real-life example.
- Pretend that you are sitting on a toilet bowl by lowering your body in a similar position.
- Take the right amount of toilet paper, hold it tightly by three or four fingers.
- Slightly lean onto one butt cheek so you can reach your butt from behind with no obstruction.
- Apply the pressure onto the butt, then wipe gently from the front to the back.
- Repeat the previous step a few times.
- Throw away the used paper.
- Take a new piece of toilet paper, just enough to clean the area around your butt.
- Finish the whole act by using a wet wipe for an extra cleanse.
- Flush the used toilet paper and throw the used wet wipe into the bin.
- Wash your hands carefully with hand sanitizer and water. Do it slowly and carefully. It takes around thirty seconds for the chemicals to thoroughly wash the germs away.
Once you have demonstrated the basic technique for your kids, remind them of the two most important steps.
One is how you move your toilet paper. Remember, from the front to the back, not the other way round.
Since children may struggle to reach the back of their butt, sometimes they are inclined to spread their legs and wipe from the back to the front.
You have to make sure your kids do not establish such an unhealthy practice. As stated above, do not get any fecal matter near the genitals, or else children may suffer from infectious diseases.
The other step that is usually overlooked is the final cleanse by wet wipes.
Some parents believe that it is not necessary to use anything other than toilet paper when it comes to bum-wiping.
However, toilet paper is enough to get rid of the poop, but it does not help much with the smell or the itchiness.
In case you can afford a bidet in your bathroom, then you can give your children instructions on how to clean their bottom using the water spray.
If not, wet wipes are always a more affordable option.
Not only do they provide an extra layer of sanitation, but wet wipes also eliminate any remnants of odor or soreness.
6. Check up on kids here and there to see how they are doing with bum-wiping
A bowel movement and bum-wiping are two private activities, and should not be done under the presence of someone else.
However, you may want to discuss with your kids on a regular check-up to see whether they have mastered self-cleaning.
Let’s start by showing your empathy towards their feelings, and explaining why a check-up is necessary.
“I know you may feel uncomfortable if I stand in the bathroom with you, but sometimes I need to make sure you can leave the toilet without any skid marks on your underwear.”
Or you can strike a deal with your children.
“How about this? I will close my eyes through the whole process, and I will let you do everything on your own. Once you are done, I only need to have a quick look at your peachy. Is that okay with you?”
Either way, you must not storm into a bathroom where your kid is pooping, and demand to see them wipe their bottom.
Kids can get extremely embarrassed and may react in negative ways later on.
7. Make self wiping a fun experience for kids
Many toilet paper manufacturers now come up with creative ideas on how to make toilet paper eye-pleasant.
One of them is to print colorful illustrations on the paper surface. Not only is it more attractive to kids, but it also encourages the habit of self-wiping.
To make bum-cleaning more engaging, parents can also help by providing some small accessories.
- Place a horizontal ruler attached to the wall, around 30 inches under the toilet paper roll. This will help kids to measure the amount of paper needed.
- Buy a toilet paper holder for kids. Instead of looking at boring, stainless steel holders, offer your children a chance to make fun of the plastic duck swallowing a paper roll.
Teaching kids how to self-wipe after going to the toilet is no piece of cake.
However, as long as you stay committed, patient and encouraging, your child will master the practice of bum-wiping in no time!