22 answers

10 Year Old Wont Use Toilet Paper

My ten year old has struggled to use toilet paper since she was toilet trained. Unfortunately when she was trained at 2 1/2, my mother babysit her frequently because I had to work. Nonny is not very concerned with cleanliness and hygiene, and I think that this attitude transferred to my daughter.

We have tried everything under the sun, calm explanations of the importance of being clean, encouraging her with pretty new undies, the grown up wipes, a sign in the bathroom, making her accountable to clean these pee and poo stained undies, showing her articles on how sick people get from not washing their hands after the bathroom, rewards for finding all "gently" used pairs when we do laundry, etc. She constantly does not wipe, and lies that she does. We even caught her throwing unused sheets of paper in the toilet and not flushing, which she admitted she did so that we would think she uses toilet paper.

I am at the end of my rope and am just utterly disgusted. In the next few years she is going to get her period, and that is just going to escalate the problem so much further if we can't get her to exercise good hygiene.

Any suggestions?????

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Have you asked her why she does not like to use toilet paper?

I have found that whenever i am at wits' end i have to start trying harder understanding the other persons/my childrens motives/feelings/thoughts/perceptions.

Maybe you will find a new base to start talking again. Good luck.
D.

My daughter is 2 so I have no experience with this issue, and really no authority, but maybe using the flushable little kid wipes like Kando would help? At least maybe she would be cleaner. and you could put some in her backpack for school, etc.
And they have a whole line of soap and other cleaning supplies.

As for the lying, I think you might have to have someone monitor her.

Have you talked to her about her period and all of that?

More Answers

ONe more idea, if you can walk through an area with homeless people and she can smell the urine smell from them, it may help her see that when people smell her, this is what they think of. Or perhaps take her to a dirty area...that has that odor..--Good luck.

C. W
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1 mom found this helpful

Oh my! I've never had that problem, but what if you take her to the pediatrician and let the doctor tell her. Sometimes hearing it from someone with authority like that helps. I know my son would not poop until he was close to impacted for a long time and having the Dr. tell him that it was a necessary bodily function helped alot. Not sure if it will work, but maybe worth a shot?

M.,
That certainly sounds like a serious problem. Have you tried having your pediatrician talk to her? the school nurse? I'm not sure they make pull-ups in her size, but you could take away her underwear and have her wear disposable diapers. They do come in a range of sizes for adults. Good luck!

I would have her do her own laundry if all the other things have not worked.Let her use stain remover and throw her own undies in the wash.I have had my 8 year old do his laundry when he decides to stuff dirty stuff back in his drawers and it workes like acharm.Good luck T.

I would definitely talk to your pediatrician about it, and maybe get a referral for a child counselor. The fact that she is trying so hard NOT to wipe, could there be another reason? (i.e.- painful to wipe, such as when one has hemorrhoids? Or maybe she is just so averse to the feeling of touching herself there, or touching something that seems "unclean.")If there is a deeper issue, maybe they may have some luck in getting to the reasons.

Maybe she is worried something will happen, have you asked her why?

i'm wondering why she doesn't use the toilet paper? there has to be a reason and it needs to be addressed. a counselor might be of help if she won't open up to you. the possibilities are endless. in the meantime, might i suggest she use panti liners to save all of you time and effort cleaning soiled panties. also, seems like she needs to be'potty trained' all over again. just like you do when toddlers are beginnng to be trained, do the same for her now. go with her to the bathroom, clean her afterwards, etc. until she's capable of doing it for herself.

Have you tried different brands of toilet paper? You've seemed to have tried everything else. I know personally, I get rashes and infections from any toilet paper that has perfumes or dyes. Even the "extra soft" stuff is very irritating to me. In my house we use Scott (the plain white kind that comes in the single rolls) or the equivilant store brand. Seventh Generation also makes a similar product if you're looking for something more environmentally friendly. Have you tried talking to her to find out why she doesn't like to use tp? Maybe having a discussion about "trust" and how you are disappointed when she lies to you about it. Let her know that if she continues to lie then you are going to have to watch her when she goes to make sure she's cleaning herself properly.

You could try adding a handheld sprayer to the toilet. My husband's culture uses water to wash instead of paper, so we have one toilet with a watering can by it, and the other, he installed a sprayer, just like the kind you use in the sink.

It actually wasn't hard, there's a place to hook it on in the stand of the toilet where the water comes from the pipes to fill the tank.

My youngest didn't do well with toilet paper for a long time, but she does the spray pretty regularly. And, as others suggested, now that she's near puberty, she's totally on point.

Is Nonny by any chance from some where in Europe Italy maybe?
I only ask because I heard Nonny is Italian for Nana & I know that most Europieans are not the cleanest people like we are here in the USA. They only shower what once every 3 days or once a week or something, they also only wash their clothes once a week & wear it several times in a row before that weekly wash, they also do not use deoderant & some do not use toilet paper! I am not just saying Italians of course so please don't be ofended I am stating in Europe like even England, Germany, ect. They also are famous for "bedays" (I know I spelled that wrong) you know that thing next to the toilet that squirts your butt with water & so they use that instead of paper. I would personally use paper first then the water. What about having her try those flushable wet wipes like the scott or cottonelle brand for your bottom?

She is 10!!! You are the parent. If she wants to act like a baby then put diapers back on her. Or, tell her that if she cant wipe herself then you will have to. Tell her that you will go to school with her and do this as well, until she can understand why its important. Dont be nice or gentle, be honest with her.

I really have to disagree with the responder who said to threaten her with and/or actually put her back in diapers etc. I think that would be very cruel and I doubt it would be effective at all. I would second the suggestion that you talk to her doctor about it. And fwiw, I'd bet that as puberty gets closer an interest in staying clean is going to kick in on it's own for her. It's not quite the same, but I can remember that I hated to shower when I was around her age. My mother would bribe, threaten & plead with me to do so every other day and I hated it. But then suddenly around 9 how I looked started to matter to me & it was never an issue again.

Have you asked her why she does not like to use toilet paper?

I have found that whenever i am at wits' end i have to start trying harder understanding the other persons/my childrens motives/feelings/thoughts/perceptions.

Maybe you will find a new base to start talking again. Good luck.
D.

I would discuss this with the pediatrician, the school nurse and maybe the teacher. If there is an odor around her, they can get involved and explain that it is noticeable. Also, they are not her parents so, frankly, their opinion carries weight! Also, if she goes in to the doctor for a checkup with stains or an odor, the doctor can address it right there, without it having come "from you." Obviously, alert the doctor or nurse ahead of time, but let the comments come from them. Your daughter will start to lose friends if she has an unpleasant odor in school. THAT might make more of a difference than "Mom doesn't like this" or "It's unhealthy to be covered in bacteria-filled poop."

It's also important to find out - in a quiet time - WHY she doesn't wipe. Is the toilet paper too rough? Is it hard to figure out exactly WHERE to wipe? Does it feel invasive to clean up inside the crevices of her body? Does she avoid the possibility of her hands touching poop or pee through wet toilet paper? It sounds like you've tried the thicker wipes which are not likely to shred or get a hole, but maybe she needs reassurance in this area. Once you get some answers, it will help you know where to focus.

I would not humiliate her, but I think you can take concrete steps to make it more of a hassle to clean up afterwards than it would be to wipe. If doing laundry and cleaning stained underwear is more difficult than wiping, she might shift her behavior. Do it matter-of-factly, that this is what is done when clothes are stained, particularly with body fluids. This is important for everyone to realize, but especially girls who will get their periods one of these days. If she starts hiding her underwear in her drawers or elsewhere, then EVERYTHING has to be washed, dried and folded. If she hides it in the bed, then she has to wash the sheets. She can't go out and play until the chores are done. If she has an allowance or money from Grandma, then it can go to pay for all the extra detergent and stain remover. Simple economics - YOU pay for normal laundry or true accidents (like spaghetti sauce on the shirt - but SHE pays for avoidable stuff that comes through her own behavior.

You could also consider putting a feminine pad inside her underwear to protect the clothing? It might keep things from penetrating her underwear, but also be uncomfortable enough - in a grown up way, rather than a diaper - that she doesn't want to deal with it every day. This can't be too punitive, because she will be getting her period one of these days and you don't want her hating products she will need at least a few days a month, but now she will need them all the time.

Good luck.

Have you tried having her perdiatrician talk to her? Or the school nurse? She may need to have someone outside the home cousel her.

If you really want to make sure that she is being hygenic, then you should treat her like a child & personally moniter her tiolet usage. Stand over her until she wipes correctly or do it for her until she can be trusted to clean herself properly. Dont let her return to her playing until you are satisfied that she is clean & has washed her hands. This may take more time for you, but it sounds like she needs to know that you are serious. She should also be showering or bathing daily considering the situation. Consistency is key.

Good luck.
B.; SAHM to a 3 y/o girl

Are you positive she isn't using the tp? Our son sometimes has constipation and will stain his underwear when that happens. I suspect you've thought of all this, though. Sounds like it's time for her to start helping with the laundry.

P.S. I just remembered something we did for our son when he was first learning to wipe himself. We had a small hand mirror in the drawer next to the toilet. When he needed to wipe, especially after a bowel movement, we had him put the mirror on the floor so that he could see what he was doing. That trick taught him to learn how to clean himself fully. He could readily see when he was clean and when he needed to wipe more. This technique might help your daughter.

Also, I like what the person above said. It may be an issue of not wanting her hands to get dirty. Our son had problems with that at first. I taught him to pull a strip of TP off the roll, then wind it flat around his hand. That gives him a better surface to wipe with than just a wadded up bunch of paper. In the end, he uses less paper. And encourage always washing the hands afterwards. (My husband is appalled with how many adult men don't wash their hands after using the bathroom in a public building!)

Lots of encouragement is my motto. Of course, one person's encouraging word may be another's annoying reminder. Ask your daughter what she thinks bothers her the most about wiping and what she thinks would be the best answer. Handing the ball to her might help you folks get to a new level.

My biggest struggle with just about anything with our son is when I make something my issue rather than letting it remain his. I want to teach him and guide him. But I'm told I overdo it sometimes. (Who me?!)

Good luck!

My daughter is 2 so I have no experience with this issue, and really no authority, but maybe using the flushable little kid wipes like Kando would help? At least maybe she would be cleaner. and you could put some in her backpack for school, etc.
And they have a whole line of soap and other cleaning supplies.

As for the lying, I think you might have to have someone monitor her.

Have you talked to her about her period and all of that?

Don't treat her like a small child as someone else suggested. There's never any sense in humiliating anyone, it will only separate the two of you.

If she is concerned about getting her hand dirty, let her know it won't hurt her unless she leaves it on her skin for an extended period of time (her skin could get dry, chapped, become raw and get a skin infection), or if she eats it. She probably has no intention of either. Then show her how to wash her hands properly and be sure to use lotion or oil afterward to keep skin soft and healthy:
http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/handposter.pdf
http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/HandwashActivity.pdf

Hopefully she won't have an obsessive problem with handwashing after that. Let her know that we all have germs on our skin but we need to clean off excess amounts so that we don't become ill or spread germs to others. Cleaning the skin and keeping it moisturized on the outside and on the inside will protect her from skin infections.

Good luck!
: ) M.

I have skimmed the suggestions not to repeat and I would try your pediatrician with a call of concern and NOT make her take the normal bath first or change the clothes she chooses to wear all day. If your pediatrician is prepared she will politely mention to your dd that the odor is a sign of bad hygiene which could cause more problems soon. Maybe even discussd a list the up coming problems.

Good luck - my dd has her own issues of cleanliness too. They will get there in their own time. We all want perfect!

Wow.. I feel for you. I guess since you have tried almost everything, sometimes counsel and information to your children is heard better by them if it comes from someone else. Can you get Nonny to give a talk about it since she caused the problem, or take her to her doctor and have them explain it? after that I would maybe try some peer pressure, maybe get her friends or cousins to tell her how gross it is. (Obviously that would have to be done delicately so as to not harm their friendships.) Stay strong, you are the best example to her, and learning from you, she will get it eventually.

I agree with one person's answer below: You should treat her like a child & personally moniter her tiolet usage. Stand over her until she wipes correctly or do it for her until she can be trusted to clean herself properly. Dont let her return to her playing until you are satisfied that she is clean & has washed her hands. This may take more time for you, but it sounds like she needs to know that you are serious. Also, buy a few different types of toilet paper and let her pick which one she likes the best. She seems like she might be using this as a 'control issue' so give her something she can control.

My now 18 yo had a problem with touching any part of her private area when she was 8-12 or so...it was frustrating but I gently reminded her of how important it was for her to take on this resposibility, bought wipes, tied letting her choose the tp and even offered to buy her disposable gloves if that would help her become more comfortable...I never had to buy the gloves...she did out grow this issue and I am sure your daughter will as well. I did discuss it with her pediatrician and when she had her annual check-ups they would discuss the hygiene issue, gently. It turns out she had an aversion to the thought of touching anything with germs.

Remember, this too shall passs and you are doing all the right things.

Blessings to you,

G.~~~
PS....I remember when my son was bedwetting and someone told me to remember that no one ever sends their child to college in diapers and he would grow out of it...and he did, he graduates this year from college! This will pass. ;-)

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