Toilet Hygiene for a 4 Yr. Old Girl

Updated on May 20, 2010
A.C. asks from Sterling Heights, MI
9 answers

What is the "appropriate" age to teach a girl to clean herself after a bowel movement? I ask this because my daughter will attend preschool in the fall and I know she needs to be taking care of all bathroom needs by then, but I am hesitant for two reasons...

1. there is always the concern about UTI's if she isn't careful with wiping direction
2. I SWEAR her little arms aren't long enough to reach from behind. I have tried to have her do it herself and it really looks like she just can't reach easily enough to do a good job.

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answers from Detroit on

As an adult with long arms, it is not easy to wipe from the back. As far back as I can remember, I have wiped front to back, but from the front.

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answers from Boston on

She still needs to wipe front to back, and if she can't do it from behind then she will do it from the front and that's where handwashing comes in. As important as the wiping is the message that handwashing includes wrists and forearms if need be, and takes longer than anyone ever gives it...

...That said, at our preschool, 4 year olds pee with the door ajar, and if any kid calls for help, the teachers glove up and help wipe, check what your preschool policy is...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Now is a good time. She'll have all summer to practice.

My daughter has "short" arms as well. I taught her to wipe front to back from the front. I also taught her the "security wipe," that's where you check the tp to make sure you got it all! Flushable wet wipes came in handy here but she won't have that at school so it's important she learns to use regular tp as well.

It will take time and you will find a streak or two in her undies but eventually it will click. Just remember to check her periodically (after school, before bed etc.) that way you can make sure she's clean. Also, I find that a shower at the end of the day helps.

I actually stood in front of my daughters (pants ON) and showed them how to do it. I even took some tp so they knew how to hold it. I would usually check them after they finished and do a last wipe and then tell them either good job or you need a little more work.

Finally...HAND WASHING. Too many times I have seen kids not even use soap!!! Make sure she knows how important it is to wash properly. It is so easy to spread dangerous germs when proper hand washing is not practiced.

Have her say her ABC's while scrubbing with the soap and make sure she gets her little nails ( I tell them to scratch their palm with their nails to get the soap under), in between all her fingers, tops of the hands, and maybe even her wrists. Then rinse for another ABC count. If she doesn't know her ABC's yet she can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star instead.

Good luck and don't stress, she'll get it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

Teach her to wipe front to back. It is easier to reach that way. Also use the flushable moist wipes. It will be alot easier for her to get herself cleaned thoroughly. I recently discovered those and my daughter likes to use them. It eliminates alot of "stripe" cleaning in the undies!

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answers from Fresno on

My daughters did this from the start of potty training (24 months). At first we would clean them up after they'd cleaned themselves up, and that way you can tell how good of a job they're doing. For both girls, we stopped helping around 3. You just have to teach her front-to-back, and let her try on her own. I agree with the moist wipes idea - that helped us too.



answers from Detroit on

Since age 2, my daughters have been reciting "Front to back, front to back!". It's not too early to teach her this. Also, we've always referred to our '2 bums'; a front one & a back one. My 4 y/o is catching on & doing well - it'll just take time - and luckily, she'll get lots of opportunity to practice!



answers from Detroit on

This all sounds normal to me, having raised 4 girls. At home you can have her use the wipes they have for kids in the bathroom but school will be different. She'll be older and it'll all work out.



answers from Detroit on

Keep encouraging her! She needs to have that skill mastered before she goes to preschool. Just teach her the right way, she is not too young to understand which way to wipe.



answers from Washington DC on

Her arms will grow don't worry. Rarely do kids her age a good job wiping at that age and that's when we as caregivers have to lend a helping hand. Give it another 6 months and a growth spurt or two for her to be able to do it properly. Till then let her try and you check afterwards.

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