12 answers

Teach 4 Year-old to Wipe

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!

This is actually a pretty funny coicidence for me. I am 5 years older than my brother so I remember a lot more of his potty training years than he does. We went to a full day school starting at age 3 where you had to be completely potty trained to enroll. So we were both fully potty trained at a young age. I wiped my bottom and he..."did" also. I remember him coming home and having wiped but not very well,no matter what my parents tried. They, like you (and wisely, I might add) didn't want to make him freak out about it. He was that type of kid that would have ended up spending all day in the bath room at school trying to make it perfect. He never got sick or was smelly or anything like that, but it wouldn't have been an acceptable wipe for seasoned potty-users like Mom and Dad =). I remember being in high school, I was a young because I skipped a grade but he had to be about 8, yelling for mom to come make sure he was wiped well enough. Yeah...He'd probably hate for me to tell you that. He's in college now, and I ASSUME that he can wipe well now. On the flip side. My husband was the opposite of most children, always impeccably dressed (by his choice, mind you)and perfectly cleaned and groomed. I still have not found him to ever smell bad, even after a work out or 10 mile run, which I'm quite jealous of, ha). We are in the process of trying to convince our son that using the potty is a really cool thing to do. And so, I asked my perfectly groomed husband when he was fully potty trained he answered that he was about 4 when he finally got the hang of it. Ok, I can do that. So then I asked him how old he was before he started wiping himself really well (which I actually make fun of him for) and he said "I was damn near in high school" and we laughed and then he said "No, i'm only half-joking". we laughed some more and I'm still not sure if he was serious or not. In the end, I think the best thing you can do is help your son the best you can. Explain to him why it's important to do a good job (you can get sick, etc.) I know that a lot of times in the area they are wiping, it's not even the right place on the bottom so try to help him know by feel where that is so he can consistently do a better job. Good luck. And if anything really works, shoot it back at me becase we're in the same boat. =)

We got the wet toilet wipes for kids and taught our son to get off the toilet and bend over with legs apart and reach under all the way to the back and wipe forward. Before he was trying to wipe while on the toilet and didn't do a very good job. This has worked very well. Good luck!


Try the Kandoo wet wipes. We've tried them with my son and they do better than just TP. He's a little on the lazy side so we still have to stay on him.

Hope this helps,


Melissa is right, try the kid wipes...they work better and I think they have more fun using them.


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