12 answers

Teach 4 Year-old to Wipe

Hi,
My 4 year-old son is great about using the toilet when needed. However, I always wipe him after he has a BM. I figured I should start teaching him how to wipe himself, before he starts all-day Kindergarten next Fall. Any tips for this process? I want him to do a good job, but not be obsessed about it.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It is hard for them to reach - but he'll get the hang of it!

Try getting some flush-able wipes. Have him wipe with paper first - them finish with the wipe. It can be folded over & over until the job is done.

I use them every day for myself - it's not just a kid problem!!!

More Answers

It is hard for them to reach - but he'll get the hang of it!

Try getting some flush-able wipes. Have him wipe with paper first - them finish with the wipe. It can be folded over & over until the job is done.

I use them every day for myself - it's not just a kid problem!!!

I'm having the same problem with my 5 yr old son, he cannopt reach the toilet paper, and does not do a good job when I give him the paper- I also wipe him when he has a BM, using baby butt wipes.
I'm going to look at your responses for help for us too. Any suggestions would be helpful. Good luck, and thank you. T.

Having traveled this road with three I can tell you what's worked for us. We have had the kids transition in to self-wiping. First we wipe and they "check wipe." We do that for a while (a week or more, depending on child) just so they get practice with the wiping thing without getting messy. Then we reverse roles; child wipes we "check." Finally, the child does the whole process on her/his own.

How long the transition takes depends on teh child. One of mine transitioned in less than a few weeks another took much longer. Just remember not to stress about it; you've got a long time!

Also, GET FLUSHABLE WET WIPES!! Limit their use to the "last wipe" but it will be sooooo helpful.

What helps my kids is we start them with very specific instructions. For a boy, roll the TP to the floor (no further), hold the top with one hand and rip off with the other, crumple LOOSELY (this takes practice and is a good thing because they can see their progress in learning the skill), reach behind, wipe firmly from front to back, look at TP to see how clean you are, repeat as necessary. During training, if they need it, I will step in and physically help them figure out how hard to wipe to be effective.

There are a huge number of skills to coordinate in this one "simple" task (not unrolling the toilet paper when they 'rip' it is one we've had the most trouble with)!

Good for you for seeing that you need to start him early!
Unless your school offers wet wipes, be sure to consider whether you want to use wet-wipes as an initial training and move to TP, or just start TP from the top. (Our kids' school has urinals in the boys' bathroom, and we were requested to train our 5 year old for that, which was a bit of a surprise, but luckily his dad is still very active in the kids' lives ;)!!)

I'm glad you asked this question, I'm in the same boat right now. My 4 year old son's teachers are making me feel like an idiot becuase he can't wipe himself very well yet. He DOES have a hard time reaching around! Anyway, I will be using some of the tips I read here! Thank you, C., for asking and also to all the other moms with the great responses!!!

Hi C.. I am sort of in the same boat except the pre-school that our twin boys go to now expects that kids are not only potty trained but that they can wipe their own bottoms as early as age 2.5. Our boys just starting going to this school and they are 2.75 and potty trained. I think expecting them to wipe their own bottoms is a bit much especially because I don't think they can even reach that far behind yet. they mostly poop at home (which is good) and I think we will keep wiping their bottoms for them for a while longer.

Once your son starts school, he will most likely start wiping himself. My son wouldn't even think about doing it himself - that is until he started pre-k this year. He knew he was a "big boy" and didn't want to ask the teacher for help.

Good luck.

I had the same issue with my daughter when I toilet trained her. I told her when she turned four years old, she would be old enough to wipe herself. So, on her four year old birthday, from then on, she had to wipe herself. It worked great! Since your son is already four, think of an important event, holiday, maybe the New Year, and say Big Boys that are four years old have to wipe themselves starting in the new year. And then on January 1, it's his turn!

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