My8 Year Old Won't Wipe Her Butt.

Updated on August 11, 2015
A.M. asks from Lumberton, TX
12 answers

The 9 year old girl is extremely clean and aware of hygiene but the 8 year old doesn't get it! She smells and is offensive. What is wrong and why doesn't all of this matter to her? I am fostering them because of problems with their mom and she is finally in rehab. Does her birth being addicted to whatever her mom was on have anything to do with it because her sibling is fine. The smell is getting bad. I have talked to her and so has her dad and her mom has told me before that she has talked to her as well but nothing seems to make a difference.

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answers from Lakeland on

Since they are foster children there is a chance they need some counseling. Some kids don't take care of their bodies after they have been molested so there could be more to this.

Or maybe her parents were on so many drugs they just didn't care to teach her properly. I would have the doctor speak with her and go from there.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

Poor baby. I can only imagine the neglectful situation from which she came which resulted in her not being taught basic bathroom hygiene.

Teach her gently. A bath each night will help get her started off with a clean booty, buy her a box of her very own flushable wipes. She should clean with regular dry TP, and then the wipe to get anything left. Encourage her, and for goodness sake, quit with the shame and asking about her mom's addiction. She needs to learn, not be judged or called an addict.

Stop talking and start providing her with the tools she needs to clean up. This doesn't have to be a big deal.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Are the kids getting counseling (I would hope so)? Is there a social worker or other professional familiar with the family who you could check with for more info? My guess would that either she was molested, has a developmental issue (sensory perhaps), or is being defiant. Obviously what to do about it depends on why she's not demonstrating age-appropriate self care. I think you need some more expertise/info on why before you can appropriately and effectively correct the behavior.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well she needs to get a handle on it soon before she has to deal with sanitary pads and/or tampons - her period isn't that far off.
If she smells, then send her back to the bathroom to clean up.
She can also start washing her laundry if she's getting poop on her clothes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Sounds like she is going through a lot; foster family, drug addicted parent etc... Children will act out if their emotional needs are not being met. They want attention, and if bad actions get them attention, they will act accordingly. She needs to know she is loved, you can't just tell her she is loved while you are telling her she needs to wipe her butt at the same time. Make an extra effort with her, she is screaming inside for love. Don't compare her to her sister, they are different, she may have experienced more trauma than you know. Be understanding, be patient, be loving, spend alone quality time with her. It may be more than you bargained for, but they are in your care for a reason, because God knows you can handle it and you are GOOD for them. Bless you and those girls. You can do this!

**also make sure she has a bath at LEAST every other day and knows how to use a wash cloth. She may be 8 but maybe doesn't know how to properly wash. My daughter is 7 and I still help her occasionally.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I agree with all the other responses, especially about being gentle. But I would add (because I dealt with this with my 8 year old son, he was just being forgetful/lazy) - you have to deal with it EVERY time you smell it. Stop whatever you're doing, if possible, and address it right then and there. Not to be mean but just to let her know, yes, it is noticeable, and yes, it must be fixed. Good luck. Poor kiddo!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

So is the 8 yr old a child that is only in your home PT? I ask because there can be many factors, such as infrequent bathing in another home. If she has cognitive delays, those need to be taken into account, as she may not be chronologically 8 and ideas for an 8 yr old won't be appropriate.

I would go over with her (when she is not using the restroom) how to wipe front to back, I would offer suggestions like wipes that she puts in the trash (NOT the toilet!) or to stand while wiping. Some children simply cannot bend or reach unless they are standing. I would make it non judgemental. When you see stained underpants, teach her how to rinse and wash her own so that the stains come out. Give her the tools to do it. She now has choices. I would encourage her to bathe daily.

I would also consider her diet. The other day DH asked me to talk to our DD but I reminded him that she's a gassy child. She always has been. Unfortunately sometimes she doesn't smell so fresh, but it goes away because it's just gas. If it's constant, then that's different. Whoever is taking care of this child's medical care might also speak to the pediatrician and rule out any other physical problems or illnesses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Get her wet wipes.
Get her the kind of toilet paper she prefers.

AND is she constipated? Google encopresis. Could that be it? If so, speak to her doctor right away.

Daily showers/baths and her her some (she can pick) body washes, soaps, poufs, body spray, powders, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Well just because her sister is fine is kind of irrelevant. No two kids process stress or upset in the same way, and even my kids are completely different (without trauma or addiction here).

Have you asked her why she's having trouble or what you can do to help?

I used to work with kids like this and instead of telling them about hygiene and talking about smell, we would ask them general questions to see where they were at. Sometimes kids who have gone through a lot are a little more immature or socially unaware than other kids. Sometimes no one taught these kids the proper toilet procedure. Some are too embarrassed to ask. Others have sensory issues, sometimes their stools aren't fully formed (stress can have an effect on bowels) and it's harder to keep clean...

I would just ask what you can do to help and go from there. If it's more of a behavioral problem, counselling would help her deal overall.

I worked with a lot of kids and the one wipe and go is quite common. Including kids from typical families ... I had one like this at this age. Too busy playing to really pay attention.

Whatever you do (and it doesn't sound like you have - just want to mention it) don't ever shame her. That could really set her back further and is never a good motivator.

Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Help her bathe at night and wash her butt. Then teach her how to do it herself. We got our kids, each one chose their own, puff on a stick. They put the liquid soap on it and scrub their hineys. I taught them from about the time they were 3 and by this age I didn't have to worry about it. This girl needs to be taught. This way you know she's clean at least one time per day.

Sometimes peer pressure is the best weapon. Let her friends know if they don't like the way she smells to tell her they can smell her. Not openly or she'll know it's coming from you. But tell her friends privately so they'll know it's okay to say Girl! YOU STINK LIKE POOP! Let them know that by telling her they'll help her learn to clean herself better.



answers from Amarillo on

I am in agreement with Patricia G on this one. Do spend time with her and show her how to do things. Be gentle and loving and lead by example so that she gets it.

She should not have the peers pressure her. She may not know many people and this would not work in this situation. Or she may be doing this because of being abused by one of her mother's friends. She may feel that if she smells then no one will want to be near her and leave her alone. Counseling and/or therapy may help find out the root of the problem.

Good luck to you. I hope that you do get her to understand the importance of being clean and not smelly.

the other S.

PS My hat is off to you for taking the girls in and trying to figure out how to help the younger one in this area.



answers from Dallas on

Talk to a pediatrician. She may have issues. Is she seeing a therapist? Because again, issues. Has she been assessed for fine motor control or anything like that?

What does the little girl say? Talk to her and ask HER what's going on, when it's not an immediate issue and ask her to help you.

It's not just a smell issue. Poop causes a rash that HURTS. If she's not feeling anything, then there IS an issue that's more than just not wiping and it needs to be taken care of.

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