Hygiene Trouble

Updated on October 14, 2014
T.G. asks from Troy, MI
6 answers

My son is 10 and refuses to wipe after using the bathroom. His answer as to why is that it "takes too much effort". I have explained to him this is a health issue and needs to be done regardless of the amount of effort. I have given him the wet wipes, although they do clog the toilet after awhile and also made him shower and clean his underwear. Is there any specific illnesses this may cause him, aside from diaper rash. I am concerned about staph infections. Please help me. Thank you!!

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answers from Atlanta on

I had this trouble with my middle son for a little while. He was 6 at the time and we knew he didn't wipe because he also didn't flush so all the evidence was left in the toilet (yes very gross!!). After talking with him a couple times and still finding that he didn't wipe we started making him shower every time we realized that he hadn't wiped. Showering takes a lot more time and effort than wiping does. It only took about a week to break him of the habit after that.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If he keeps it up, peer pressure will take care of it.
My son knows a kid (that was like) that and all of the kids used to tell him he smelled like he pooped his pants. It worked!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

It takes a "lot" of effort to clean the table after you eat but it really needs to be done or the dishes with the leftover food get really stinky (just like his butt). Sorry but in my house wiping your butt is not optional. I doubt seriously he will be scarred for life if he gets disciplined for being lazy (obviously washing his own underpants isn't working). I would take something away for every pair of underpants you find with skid marks. Unless he has some sort of medical problem then he needs to start practicing good hygiene, just like he does when he brushes his teeth everyday...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Would he take it better if you left a puberty book for boys in his room for him to read? Maybe find a book that discusses hygiene, sort of like the "care and keeping of you" books for girls. Just a thought. Also, I have been known to make my 8 year old "re-take" his shower after noticing he wasn't completely clean in that department. Tell him he stinks, plain and simple. Outside of that it's a hazard for the laundry person.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Illnesses? Yes - besides diaper rash, he and the family are at high risk of E. coli infection and other diseases caused by bacteria in feces. There is a ton of stuff out now about simple but thorough hand washing and not using antibacterial products because of the Ebola hysteria, flu season, even kids with severe allergies due to cross contamination. Soap and lather for 30 full seconds, then a rinse, will take care of it. But he's got to have the importance of this impressed upon him.

You can wait for peer pressure but that may take a while and it sort of invites bullying. I'd do some of the things listed below. A hygiene book that deals with puberty and body changes. That will cover all forms of body odor and encourage showering and thinking about armpits. If he doesn't want to read the book, I'd assign a book report. Really. He'll have time for that when you take away TV, computer and after school activities.

It's "too much work" may be his excuse - perhaps he's really scared of the germs involved in wiping? I'd teach him about hand washing, remind him that parents all over the world change poopy diapers, and assign him a 3-wipe limit (wipe, fold, wipe, drop in toilet). You can buy disposable gloves if he won't put them in the toilet. If you don't want any wipes at all in the toilet at all, you can put a supply of plastic bags in the bathroom. You don't want to make him obsess about bowel movements so much that he holds in his poop, but you DO want it to be more work to do it his way than your way.

The next thing you do is put him in charge of all his laundry, including stain pre-treatment of all underwear. He's not too young. My son was doing laundry at 15 just because he was in sports and I wanted him prepared before he went to college. Get him his own hamper so his stuff doesn't contaminate everyone else's laundry, or have him run off his own stuff along with other people's stuff so he has a full, energy-efficient load of wash. He can dry, fold and put away. That ought to make him aware of how much time laundry takes (ideally appreciating the adults' efforts in his home) and also make wiping seem like a small investment in time.

You can either stay in the bathroom with him, have his father do that, or have him meet with the pediatrician or nurse to refine his technique. He can talk to the health director or coach at school. Ask him which he prefers.

But unless you think there is a real phobia attached here (requiring a therapist), vs. laziness, I'd start taking away far more privileges. If it were me, everything else would stop until this was dealt with once and for all.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Peer pressure does a lot to help. He will just plain stink, and kids will tell him. When they've humiliated him enough, he'll start wiping better.

If you want to go a further mile, maybe for the whole family, you could look into getting a washlet attached to your toilet. Toto and, I think, American Standard offer them. They have toilet systems that include the toilet, but also attachments (which are cheaper than buying a new toilet.) You can set the temperature of the water, the force of the flow, etc. They're quite wonderful, and once he gets used to it, it's "easier" to get clean.

My kids learned the hard way that if they didn't get themselves clean, they'd get a sore butt. It hurt and they didn't like it. I didn't have to make them clean themselves in the bathroom because they understood the connection between not cleaning properly and hurting later. I hope your son will get to that point too.

2 moms found this helpful
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