3 Year Old Not Wiping After Going Potty

Updated on May 21, 2010
K.F. asks from Port Richey, FL
19 answers

I have been having trouble with my 3 year old not wanting to wipe after going potty. I've tried talking to her about how important it is to wipe and rewarded her if she does wipe without being prompted to, but this rarely occurs. She of course takes a bath every night and either my husband or I wash her thoroughly with soap, but I'm concerned that she could get an infection. She has, at times, told me that her vagina hurts, so we give her cranberry juice just in case it's a UTI, and it goes away by the next morning, but I don't want this to become a frequent occurrence. I'm not sure what I should do about this. Do any moms out there have some tips for me?

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So What Happened?

thanks to all for the advice! She actually flips out if she doesn't get her bath at night, but we always ask & if she doesn't want one, she doesn't take one (unless she's really dirty from daycare). Yes, I do wipe after she does, but she's now in a phase where she won't tell us she had to go potty until after the deed is done, if she even tells us at all. I think the problem (when she gets "owies" on her butt) stems from daycare not knowing when she goes pott & she doesn't get it all wiped off, if she's even wiping. I'm planning on buying some of those Kandoo wipes to see if that will help. Thanks, everyone!

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answers from Kansas City on

My daughter is 4 and we still have to wipe her. She is very prone to yeast infections and my doctor said to give baths every other day. Baths are one of the leading causes for infections in girls and women according to my ped. Keep helping her and she will get it one day!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Even if they're wiping themselves, it's never thorough. When my daughter's home, she wipes but then I wipe her afterwards. At school, who knows what goes on, all I know is that she has skid marks in her underwear. I would just keep wiping until she gets the hang of it.

Also no bubble baths, they are a cause of UTIs.

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answers from Chicago on

Even if they do wipe at three, they do a terrible not thorough job. Even at four. You need to be the wiper for awhile longer, I think.

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answers from Columbus on

I think you need to just give in and do it for her for the next couple of years. I don't recall my kids being independent until well into year 4 and beyond sometimes. You train them by doing, but you have to help.

Just telling her is not enough. You will be shocked, even as she gets older, she will fail to do what you say, and you will have to make sure she does these things. That is typical.


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answers from Honolulu on

That is young, to expect her to wipe herself... consistently.
Me and many of my friends, were still wiping their kids at this age.
It is not unusual.
And yes at this age, they don't always do it... nor are they good at it.

Teach her to wipe from front to back, although I'm sure you taught her that. And teach her why.

Also, washing her down there with some soaps, will actually be the cause of infections... bubble bath also causes UTI's in girls. So, don't wash too briskly down there... but use your hand or a soft cloth, but don't "rub" vigorously etc.

-yes, "baths' are more infection causing. Showers, are better. If she is at the stage/age where she can do showers. But probably not...

Also what can cause a sore red bottom, are acidic juices.

But yes, not wiping, can cause smells or bacteria build up down there/moisture build-up... and thus yeast infections and/or infections.

But still, you need to wipe her still. And after going poop too.
A 3 year old can't do that real well yet.
Especially after pooping. That is hard for even older kids, to wipe cleanly and without residue or skid marks being left behind.

good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Washing her with soap every night will cause an infection. Also, wiping from back to front can cause it as well.

It's best to clean her with water and to help wipe her yourself. Most, if not all children this age need help wiping.

"Bubble baths have been linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs) so experts recommend avoiding them until your child is at least 3 years old. Bubble bath formulas, as well as strong soaps that contain deodorants or potent scents, can irritate the opening of your baby's urethra (where urine comes out) if the soap is not rinsed off completely. "This makes it painful to urinate so the child ends up holding the urine and voiding incompletely, which can lead to UTIs," says Shelly J. King, a pediatric urology nurse practitioner at the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

According to the American Foundation for Urologic Disease, girls are more likely to get UTIs. In boys, UTIs occur almost exclusively in those younger than six months who are uncircumcised. To prevent UTIs in girls and boys:

•Don't let your child soak in a tub full of soapy water or bubble bath.
•If your child is toilet trained, encourage her to urinate after bathing, This will empty her bladder of any bacteria that could lead to a UTI."

from here:

Here is some helpful advice as well regarding uti's

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answers from Jacksonville on

We use the KanDoo wipes and my son loves them. To him it seems like a reward to get to use the wet wipe and flush it! Give 'em a try!

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answers from Seattle on

I belive this is age appropriate either. Most kids need help wiping until they are 4 or 5, even if they will do it themselves.
I would suggest that you keep encouraging her, but keep wiping her until she is better at it. Don't make it a big deal, just use positive reinforcement.

You may want to lay off the washing with soap though, introduced into the vagina or urethra the soap is the cause for her irritation and can cause infection... not the lack of wiping. Talk to your pediatrician about it...

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answers from Tampa on

I was always told it's not a big deal if they don't wipe after they pee when they are little. It is a big deal if she has a bowel movement and doesn't wipe.
My question is this: Why aren't you wiping her after she goes potty?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

My daughter is 3.5 and I wipe for her. I could trust her to wipe after pee, but not after poop. The teachers wipe for her at day care (3 days per week).
She might have diaper rash if she is still in diapers at night. Mine is. She doesn't pee in her diaper about 99% of the time, but she wears a night diaper (cloth). What our pediatrician suggested was to put a cup of white vinegar in her bath water for a shallow bath, adjust up for a deeper one, to adjust the pH, and let her soak in it and play. That has worked well for us. When you use soap and she soaks in the soapy water, it changes the pH and makes her more susceptible to diaper rash, so let her play and soak in the non-soapy bath water before you wash her. We used to wash with soap and then let her play, but we've switched it around, and now we have vinegar baths where she just plays and soaks and we don't use soap at all. Every other day and she should still be fine, although in the Florida summer we do find ourselves bathing and washing more often.

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answers from Miami on

I went through this with my daughter. First, I would say stop bathing her everyday. And when you do, just rinse her vaginal area, don't use soap. The body does actually produce things that help ward off infection and keeping her ultra clean washes those away. It also washes away natural moisture that keeps it from being irritated. Help her wipe when she goes and if need be, use a wet wipe on her before bed and have her change her panties. Or have her sleep in a pair of loose shorts to let air in. That's what I did with my daughter. I also got some diaper rash cream to put on her before bed if she needed it. Cranberry is a great idea, I take it myself. Just keep encouraging her to wipe, eventually she will. I think my daughter was 5 before she did it all the time alone. At some point you will probably have to watch out for over wiping. My friends girls did that. They would irritate their skin by wiping too hard to too much. She had to switch to gentle wet wipes temporarily.

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answers from Kansas City on

#1, she shouldn't need a bath every night but if that's what you're doing i see no reason to freak out about the wiping thing. someone else may be able to answer this, but doesn't bathing too much cause problems "down there" as well? maybe i dreamed that up. #2, my three year old (granted he is a boy) still gets "checked" (wiped) by either myself or my husband after he goes. and actually he's 3 1/2. even if i am standing there handing him tp (b/c other wise he will unroll the entire roll), he still doesn't usually get it all. i say check her. if you can't trust her to do it herself, it's something you still need to help her with.



answers from Melbourne on

My kids just turned 5 and I still frequently help them wipe. No biggie.



answers from Miami on

At 3 your daughter should be able to understand how to wipe if she has urinated but to wipe a bowel movement, she is not going to do a very good job. It's good to instruct them, tell them how to do, show them but to rely on a 3 year old to do it well, it is not going to happen. My 3 1/2 year old is eager to wipe the back side as he has demonstrated many times but it's messy and it ends up being more work for me. In a couple of months my boy will turn 4 and he'll be ready in a few months after that to officially learn how to wipe the back side but until then, I'm in charge.



answers from Tampa on

History of antibiotic use? If yes she may need probiotics, check with your alternative care physician.
best, k



answers from Tampa on

I had the same problem w my daughter. We ended up getting some moist wipes and just keepin an eye on it. I had the same thoughts in re: to the UTI thought. When she would say it hurt etc, I would wipe it with a wipe amd if necessary use a litlle diaper cream.



answers from Atlanta on

My son just turned 4 in March, and until last month we were wiping him. Of course with boys after pee, you show them how to "shake it off" but for poop, he just started wiping himself.


answers from Chicago on

I am pretty sure I helped my kids wipe until around the age of 4. At least I know I spot checked and supervised. My older daughter always requested help - until she was well into year 4.



answers from Pittsburgh on

At 3, I think it's best that she "wipes" then you "wipe" after to do a better job. Make sure she wipes front to back. (My son recently turned 7, and only now do I think he can do a good enough wiping job after #2!)

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