Poor Bathroom Habits of 11-Yr-old

Updated on September 06, 2011
B.K. asks from Kaufman, TX
12 answers

Good morning, ladies! My daughter just turned 11 years old & has TERRIBLE bathroom habits! When she goes to the bathroom, she does not wipe herself AT ALL (95% of the time) & she doesn't always remember to flush...the flushing thing I could get over, but the not wiping part is not acceptable! I've talked to her about how this is bad for her body & can cause her to get infections & have other problems. I've reminded her time & time again. She's 11 so it's not like I know every time she goes to the bathroom & can remind her (besides the fact that I don't think I SHOULD remind her every time). It's been a problem for years & I just don't know what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas about how I could encourage her to make wiping herself a habit? Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

She is 11 years old and until she gets some kind of rash or worse she probably won't get it. Another thing is she responsible for washing out her soiled undies? She should be and perhaps that will help too.

OMG - What is she going to do when she gets her cycle and has to take care of herself after that mess.

You may consider also getting her some disposable wet wipes like Summer's Eve. They seem to make cleaning up much better than just plain tissue for me.

I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Phoenix on

Ask her if she wants her friends and classmates to think of her smelling like poop, because if she isn't wiping, she will definitely have that odor. And with kids, they can be cruel and make fun of her.
If she doesn't want to flush, perhaps give her the bathroom chore, and have her clean the bathroom every day.
Also there are kids books on cleanliness. I would check this out at the library. May be that will help her realize the importance of cleanliness. Since she's old enough to know better, you may want to consider getting tougher with her on this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

hmm, this seems bizarre.
After her first urinary tract infection, she'll learn to wipe better.
Or when the other kids at school start calling her "stinky". Whoops, that would be bullying wouldnt it?
How do you know she doesnt wipe? Are you in there every time? Is she leaving skid marks in her underwear? Get her some wet wipes and explain to her how dangerous it is. She might have some risidual poo that stays just inside the anus, she may not be able to control it completely. But you should do what you can to make her aware.
Not flushing, well I wouldnt put up with that at all. Daughter would be cleaning the toilet daily until she got the hang of flushing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Does she have sort of learning disability or difference? If so you may need to figure out how to make up reminders in the bathroom.

If my daughter ever did this, I would insist on going into the bathroom and wiping her myself, so I could show her how to do it properly. I would use the wet wipes. Our daughter would be mortified to have had me in the bathroom with her at that age..

I would also make her hand rinse her underpants and do her laundry.

Flushing the toilet, she needs a note on the toilet on the mirror and on the inside of the bathroom door. Have her make up the reminders and place them in there herself.

I guess since she is 11,you could let her know she "cannot go to sleep overs till she wipes consistently". There are so many ways to freak her out but I am not sure if it is a good thing to say "Do I need to tell your teacher she needs to wipe you after you go to the potty at school?"

"Do we need to ask an adult a school to go in and check that you have flushed?"

"Does your "best friend" know you do not wipe your own bottom? What would she think?

Or you could try rewards... Get a star for each day she wipes and flushes?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Her panties MUST smell pretty icky. This is going to sound rough but I would hold them up and have her smell them. Explain that she is going to smell like that when she is with her friends. Then I would make her wash them. That means spraying the soiled parts, washing, drying and putting them away. I would have consequences for not doing it because she is old enough to know that she needs to wipe.

If she doesn't flush, charge her a quarter every time if it is t.t. and 50 cents if it is poo. If she remembers to flush, give her a quarter every time, just until she gets into the habit.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the person who posted that her child was forgetful in other ways besides taking care of hygiene -- Think hard: Is your daughter forgetful about other aspects of her routines as well? Does she tend to forget to take her homework to school, forget to brush her teeth unless you hound her about it, forget to do other things that an 11-year-old should be able to remember on her own? If so, the toilet issues may be part of a larger problem and she may need lists like someone suggested. And 11 is not too old for you to set up a reward and discipline system for those lists: If she has really, really wanted something, like an outing to someplace, make that the reward for X days or a week of remembering to do things (including wipe). It's going to be tough to oversee this one, though -- you cannot be there to watch her use the toilet every time. I'm not sure how to enforce it.

Another route might be to give her a good book about her own body. American Girl publishes "The Body Book for Girls" which is excellent. It explains all the basics and includes hygiene. Though I don't think it ever directly addresses the idea that "You have to wipe your bottom or you'll get infections," the general tone is one of keeping clean and neat and feeling good about your body. You could use it to reinforce that idea with her.

Does she use deodorant? If she does and would never dream of smelling from sweat, you may be able to use that as a way to start talking about how hygiene "down there" is just as important -- if she values using deodorant under her arms, she should try to value keeping clean everywhere else.

It is a bit surprising to me that a girl of her age -- my daughter is 11 too -- isn't into being super-clean. This is an age when a lot of girls are so self-conscious about how they may smell, how they look, etc. But it's also an age where they can still get distracted and just want to move on to the next thing they want to do -- leading to a lot of "I forgot."



answers from Dallas on

Maybe try a little check list in the bathroom - back of the bathroom door "did you: wipe completely with TP and Wet wipe? 2. Flush the toilet 3. wash your hands?"
It works for little kids, husbands and babysitters to have a visual reminder - maybe something like this could help her too.
If needed, print a few for each home bathroom and laminate them so they stick around for a while. . . if a friend comes over and asks - well maybe she'll get the hint.



answers from New York on

My son was like this too. There were times he was just plain stinky. Clearly, he knew better - but was just lazy. Then his older cousin (in his 20's) one day told him that he "smelled like a$$". That cured him! All of my efforts didn't do a thing - but his cousin's comment did it. He's also now interested in girls so suddenly personal hygiene has a greater importance.

I've heard this from a few moms & dads about boys - but I expect girls are subject to it also - but moms aren't as willing to mention it about their girls. There's almost an expectation of grossness with boys.

Just a note - I'm an adult sponsor for our church's middle school youth group. When we go on retreats we are advised to remind the kids to practice good hygiene - liek brush your teeth, take a shower, change your underwear. It's expected in middle school that they still need reminders - it's hardly a concern though for the high school kids. She will grow out of it - you just have to keep reminding her and hope that some older kid who she looks up to will mention something in a kind way.

Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

My 12 year old sometimes "forgets" to flush. I think she is just being extremely lazy. Every single time we catch her, we make her come back and flush the toilet and every family member tells her how gross it is. Sometimes she denies it, but we always know when it could have been no one else but her. I think it is a combination of being called on it (even by her younger sister) and embarrassed and not wanting to come all the way back to the bathroom that helps her remember most times it simply easier to flush immediately. The wiping part, we have not had any issues, but if we did, I think I would might give a warning if I noticed she was consistantly not wiping, I would have to be in there watching her like a toddler to make sure she was doing it.



answers from Washington DC on

Maybe it's time for more than a reminder. Is she forgetful in other ways? Does she do things like rush through homework or in general doesn't follow through on tasks? My stepdaughter used to not flush a lot (and hate to say it occasionally sometimes still does). Recently she claimed it was because she was getting ready to shower and didn't want to make the water turn cold and forgot later - DH told her that our shower heads have the ability to regulate the water. Besides, I've showered in there myself and any temperature change is momentary. Overall, she tends to either get distracted or rush through things. When she was younger, she got very angry that she got a C on a spelling test where she knew all the words - but her handwriting was so bad because she didn't slow down that the teacher marked them wrong. That was the same timeframe (around 9-12) that she was also not flushing regularly, not putting the cap back on the toothpaste, etc. It was all related.

We tried talking to her, grounding her, fining her, putting up signs to put caps back on and flush (a list of bathroom To Dos). Some worked for a while (like the sign, which embarrassed her when friends came over). We also worked with her on slowing down and being more careful in general. Eventually it just tapered off on its own though in the last couple of months I've told DH to speak with her, I'm not following up on a 17 yr old and her potty habits. I have a 3 yr old I do that with!

Good luck!


answers from Kansas City on

The habit of not wiping can be that she is in too much of a hurry to go do what she was wanting to do and the time it takes to wipe.. maybe she thinks "drip dry" is ok. You need to nip this in the bud.

Tell her if she does not wipe down there she will smell bad and people will think she wet herself. She might feel embarrassed and start wiping. Tell her you don't want her friends to think she still wets her pants, she is a big girl and needs to do girly things.

Give her a small bottle of hand cream and some deodorant and some girly things to start taking care of herself. Show her how you do it she might follow suite. Do a manicure together, or a pedi and have they hygiene chat with her.



answers from San Francisco on

Perhpas the doctor could speak to her about this problem. Maybe hearing it from another adult would help her.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions