How to Train a 5 Yr Old Boy to Wipe His Own Butt....

Updated on May 12, 2011
A.D. asks from Brainerd, MN
12 answers

My son just turned 5 yrs old on Sunday. He's potty trained but no matter what I say or do to try to show him how, when he poops he can't wipe his own butt. To me it looks like he can't reach that far back behind himself to wipe but what do I know. He's in preschool (ECSE) now but when he goes full days to Kindegarten next year I don't want him running into trouble or being made fun of.

A little about me: I'm a single mom of a 5 yr old boy who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. He is developmentally delayed in some areas but since being in ECSE (early childhood special ed) he's come a LONG way. His father is no longer in our life due to his alcohol use and behavior.

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answers from Detroit on

girl, im working on that as well! i just try and demonstrate each and every time he goes to the bathroom. he does good sometimes and not so well other times. i think it;s just a process. but what i do is when i let him do it on him i make him come show me. i can tell when he knows he did a good job because he comes and runs in and bends over and says LOOK I DID A GOOD JOB!! lmao it just takes time though, i have the same fear as well, i don't want hi to be the stinky kid at school or anywhere else. but the more i think about it, do boys/men ever really get that together???

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Moist flushable wipes! The bat "clean up" for him for a while.

At 5, I asked my son (I was so frustrated) what HE would do if he had a kid that wouldn't wipe his own butt. He replied "I'd tell him that I'll wipe his butt when he starts wiping mine!" Violå! Exactly! He made my point for me!

Seriously, at 5, I think they still need someone to "go over things" a bit! ;)

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answers from Dallas on

I have a 4 1/2 year old that doesn't wipe either... well most of the time... He'll yell, mommy I pootied... However, every once in awhile he'll try to wipe himself. I think it may take a little time, and I'm sure he's not the only boy. My older boy, 14, doesn't like to use public bathrooms to go #2 either, so he's always held it until he got home to go. (My husband says that is very common with boys). Don't worry, I'm sure one day he will. Just encourage it.

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answers from Norfolk on

My son turned 5 in January and we've been working on this since. I, too, think this is a necessary skill since he will be in all-day Kindergarten.

I started "prepping" him before his birthday, saying that 5-yr olds wipe themselves and that I would not be doing it after his birthday.

For the most part, he does it on his own without complaint. I make him start with toilet paper, and then he can use a flushable wet wipe or two. (Side note: I had a girlfriend whose daughter became so reliant on wet wipes, she couldn't use regular tp, even at age 8, so be sure to teach him both).

But I had to really show him, and watch him do it many times. Also, when he gets whiny and wants me to do it, I refuse. If he says in a big kid voice, "I did the best I can, but need help" then I will finish up for him. I would recommend helping him, and showing him again and again.

It takes time, and we are still working on it everyday. But he can do it (and he's small) but often needs to be reminded of it.

You can also do a reward chart. Like he gets a star when he wipes himself and gets a new lego set when he does it for a week... something like that. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Patience, consistency, always reward a good try and give encouragement when he fails. Express your confidence in him.



answers from Honolulu on

At this age, it is hard for them to wipe their own butt.
Now, my daughter at that age could. She is a girl.
Her fine-motor ability, was better.
Than my son, at that age.
My son is 4.
He can't wipe his own butt, either.
But he will hold his poop, until he comes home from school.
Then he poops.

Even if they know how to wipe their butt at this age, they often do not do it well or 100% accurately. They may still have 'skid-marks' on their underwear.
Your son will not be the ONLY one, this way.


answers from Santa Fe on

My son is 7 and just this year he finally started wiping. In his case he would not wipe and would not flush...and would not tell anyone. Of course when you come into a bathroom where the toilet is full of can see he did not wipe bc there is no toilet paper in there. Basically after 2 years of CONSTANTLY getting on his case he finally does it. We would make him go back in the bathroom to wipe and flush. But anytime we weren't around he would just sneak away. It was frustrating but finally that phase is over. Thank goodness! In his case he did not want to take the time to do it.



answers from Chicago on

Get some flushable wipes. Gentler on the skin and will catch most of what needs to be wiped...Still have this issue from time to time with my five year old DD. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter turned 5 in February and she's finally wiping 100% of the time. For a long time she would ask for us to help but finally when she was just about 5 we started to say no, that she is a big girl now and she can do it all by herself. Also seeing her friends at preschool all do it w/ confidence helped too (peer pressure is great w/ this potty training business!) I'd start telling him he's a big boy and you have full confidence that he can do it by himself. Maybe offer a small reward each time, like a sticker or piece of candy. Good luck!:)



answers from Davenport on

My little girl ( 4 years old) likes to pretend/say she "can't do it" because she doesn't like to. BUT she is fully capable, I don't give in, I tell her I wipe my own butt, you wipe yours....unless you are a baby and wer diapers, you need to do your own BEST JOB at wiping. She has been primarily wiping herself since 3, fully potty trained since 2 and a half. I still double check occassionally, but she does really well, but if i had enabled her by doing it for her, she wouldn't be able to do it either.

If you really think it is a flexibility issue, try doing some stretches with him, the kind where you twist at the waist and try to pick up things behind you, etc. maybe get a kids yoga DVD and get him more limber. But I bet it is more of an ICK factor of he doesn't want to and is happy to let you do it. Unfortunately, you have to put your foot down and make him learn.

Believe me, I worked at a public library, and there was a 50 year old man that would come in, who was completely physically able, but must've never been taught personal hygiene - we would have to go down and clean the whole toilet ( skid marks on the seat) after he came over. You DON"T want him to grow up to be that guy!


answers from Dallas on

I have a 4-year-old and I'm wondering the same thing so I'll be reading your answers. She does OK sometimes but I still have to 'clean up' after her. I don't really remember what I did with my 7-year-old, I don't remember her having any issues wiping herself.



answers from St. Louis on

Over the course of the last 15 years, I've worked in Mothers Morning Out, in a daycare, & have my own inhome daycare. This is an issue which should be addressed as early as possible.

I realize in your son's case....this is "on the learning curve" for him! Use the flushable wet wipes & the job goes much easier. He simply has to learn "how" to bend far enough to get the job done. Don't make excuses for him....unless there is a physical reason as to why he can't reach to get the job done. Don't feel that because of his ADHD that he requires your help.

As for most other kids, Moms.....please!!.....stop doing the paper job for your kids! They need to learn this skill as soon as they're fully potty trained. When you're working an assembly line thru the bathrooms, they need to be self-sufficient. AND especially if they're in a preschool setting as opposed to daycare. AND definitely for public schools. Teachers do not wipe bottoms!