Wiping after using the Potty
Berkeley Parents Network >
The Potty >
Wiping after using the Potty
Our daughter is in kindergarten and often I find poop stains
in her underwear. I have spent time with her on etiquette
for wiping well and good hygiene but since I am not around
her during the day and get home at dinnertime from work, I
can't see her habits during the day. I know often she just
is busy playing and doesn't want to take the time to wipe.
But it is frustrating and she should be well past this
point, plus I notice an odor time to time when I read at
night to her (she bathes every other day). I have threatened
her with pull ups and she gets hysterical. But she keeps
having these stains and they won't come out in the wash. I
am so upset and don't want her to keep up this habit and
don't know when she will realize how dirty and gross this is
(now that she is school aged). I also don't want her to get
teased by kids that she smells, etc.
My daughter is in second grade and she still doesn't always
wipe well. I know she DOES wipe, and it's getting better,
but it's still not 100%. (Maybe 95% now.) I would not put
your daughter in pull-ups. Can you wash her bottom area on
the nights she doesn't take a bath? If she does smell
during the day from not wiping, maybe the peer pressure
that's sure to come will help. I wouldn't worry about the
stains on her underwear--just wash it the best you can and
if your daughter complains about the stains, explain to her
she has to do a better job of wiping. (It's gross but I
wash my daughter's underwear by hand when this happens,
mostly because our housekeeper would be grossed out.)
in the same boat
Your daughter may have encopresis, a condition where the
child is actually constipated and has overflow poops
around the impaction which they have no control of (and
often no knowledge of either). Please talk to your
pediatrician and please try not to be too hard on your
daughter-- parental frustration, altho totally
understandable, only makes a difficult situation worse.
Definitely treatable though.
Have u tried wet wipes from cottenelle? These are flushable
and are a lot easier on kids. Sometimes it is not that they
don't wipe properly it could be other factors too. I am not
trying to gross anyone, but think about consistency
(constipation) etc. I have a son who is 3 and is somewhat
chubby in that area and I have found it a lot easier in
training him with cottonelle. I still have to help him but
it is easier with cottonelle. I recently found some
individually wrapped (travel size I guess) cottonelle too
that may be handy to take to school. I am no spokesperson
for this brand. You may find some other kind that works
My son is in kindergarten, and he's just starting to wipe
himself after he poops. He is quite valiant in his efforts
to do a good job, but he's not quite fully coordinated yet
with the whole project. Unlike your daughter, he only poops
at home, so there's an adult available for poop cleaning
assistance. In your case, I recommend patience, nightly
bathing, and a lighthearted attitude towards throwing away
yucky underwear. You might want to stick to Target-type
cheap undies for a while, and just assume that you'll go
through them somewhat frequently. Alternatively, you could
do the bleach thing. My experience is that kids don't try to
walk around with poop in their underwear on purpose, so
she'll get better at wiping herself over time.
I don't know from your post if you are talking about a streak or about a lot
left in the pants. Are you having constipation issues at the same time? Do
you notice that she doesn't have a bm at least every other day? The reason I
ask is that maybe it's a matter of her not wiping well, in which case you
spend time at home working on a way that works, but something else could
be going on. It was for us. We spent way too much time being angry about
not wiping, and after a couple years, it turned out that not wiping was the
least of our issues. Our kid was holding his poop and because of this, he
wasn't having regular bowel movements and occasionally (every day, really,
sometimes several times), a little would slide out into his underpants either to
relieve the pressure or because he couldn't hold it in any more, a little would
It was a bad time for us; I had many of the same worries as you about kids
teasing. Anyway, after struggling with it for way too long, and having it really
consume my relationship with my son, I finally sought professional help. Not
only did it help my son establish new potty habits, but it ended the power
struggle we had going on, leaving me room to support his efforts instead of
punishing when he failed. I recommend you look at your daughter's toileting
behavior and figure out if it really is a matter of not wiping or if there might
be something else at play. We got some really great help that changed
everything for us and for our son who now has healthy toilet habits and
completely clean underwear. He's still in a rush when he's in the bathroom,
but hasn't had an accident for more than 6 months. Children's Oakland has a
special clinic attached to their pediatric urology department that you can look
into, if you decide that you need some help. Good luck!
Kindergarten is a huge transition for kids. I think you
are being too harsh about the underwear stains. Be
grateful your daughter will poop at school. My son still
won't poop at school and holds it all day.
My advice; buy the flusable wipes. They work wonders on
getting all the poop. They really helped my son become
completely independent on this issue sometime during the
summer between K and first grade; something just clicked
(on many levels).
As far at washing the undies, I put a little liquid hand
soap on the area and hand scrub them briefly; most if not
all the stain comes out. I then wash them in the washing
machine as usual. Try to be calm when showing your
daughter how to wipe and get the flusable wipes. You won't
need to use them for long. She'll get the hang of it soon!
I would say try to relax a little and not turn this into a
battle of wills with your daughter. Wipe her off with a
wet-wipe on non-bath nights so she's not too stinky, and buy
a bunch of cheap underwear at Target--if it gets stained
beyond repair, throw it away. Over time, through a
combination of increased skill and social pressure, she will
get better at keeping herself clean.
She is in
kindergarten! It is really hard to balance up on the toilet
when your feet cannot touch the ground for starters. It is even harder to
balance up on the toilet AND reach around behind you and not even wipe.
And it is even harder to balance up on the toilet AND reach around behind
you with a small fistful of toilet paper WHILE swabbing around in a place you
cannot see, trying to clean up something you really don't want to touch. It is
a lot! And now throw in that thing you already mentioned... just want to go
back to play... already spent enough darn time dealing with pooping let alone
Just keep having the hygiene talk in a nice way. You could tell her
about UTI's and how much they hurt (getting one is what helped my daughter
get better about wiping well... but she is almost 8 and still has an occasional
skid-mark). Use OxyClean if you are worried about the stains. And don't
worry about her being teased. My guess is she is not the only one with
Poop stains are a big drag, but they seem to be part of
having a kid. My 11 year old still occasionally has them
and I've given talk after talk about how to wipe one's butt
- we've laughed, we've cried over it -- and he just doesn't
quite get it yet. Buy cheap underwear from Target, keep
giving the lecture, praise her when things seem to go well,
but don't shame her over it or threaten pull-ups. It must
be harder to wipe your butt than we grown-ups with clean
butts can understand. I know I don't get it! Also,
consider having her take a bath/shower every day. It surely
gets better eventually.
Our son is entering Kindergarten in just a couple of weeks and
is still not wiping himself after a bowel movement. He will try
to do it but does a horrible job, ending up with a mess on his
hands, the toilet, etc. I don't know if he has particularly
soft bowel movements, but it often takes us a couple of wipes
to get him clean. Any advice is much appreciated as he will be
on his own soon :(
We are doing this now too - getting him to wipe well enough that he can
do a decent job at kindergarten in (yikes) 3 weeks! What I find is that
I need to be very specific about each step of wiping, every little
detail, and then very consistently go through the steps with him as he
wipes after every poop. I don't help him, I don't check afterwards, I
don't follow up with a wet wipe. But I do walk him through it every
time. This takes willpower and patience from the mom, and he would
rather I wiped (I WOULD do a better job!) but he wasn't feeling very
confident so I had to take a step back. He's getting better and better.
Here's what I tell him:
First: lean forward with your feet touching the floor. Don't lean back
- it smushes all over the bum and makes a big mess.
1. How much toilet paper? I tell him to unroll till it's about halfway
to the floor. I tried having him count squares but that didn't work. You
don't want too much or too little.
2. Make a ''pad'' - you really have to show them how to wad or fold or
however you do it. He was making a hard little ball of toilet paper so I
had to show him how to make it into a loose pad.
3. How to hold the pad (thumb bent in front, holding the pad, other
fingers outstretched supporting the pad from behind.)
4. How to wipe:
one swipe starting at top and going down.
5. After the wipe, keep the pad low (but not touching the water in the
toilet!) and peer down through your legs into the toilet to see how it
looks. Need to wipe again? OK - get another pad.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 till the pad comes clean.
7. Now flush!
8. Wash hands
Hope that works!
One less chore for Mom
Teaching a young child how to wipe properly requires very specific and
explicit instructions. For example, the length of one ''wipe'' of TP
should be about the length of the child's arm.
Tell the child to crumple it into a loose ball (emphasis on loose). One
loose ball of TP is good for one single wipe only before being
discarded. A new arms length loose ball of TP for must be used on each
wipe. Tell him to look at the TP after wiping, and help him understand
that wiping is finished only when the paper is clean.
We all know how to
wipe, but it is a ''skill''
that must be explicitly taught to young children. Otherwise, a child may
get a length of paper that is too short or not crumple it properly, or
maybe not crumple at all and then it dips into the potty. My daughter
was making a mess, and I realized that she was re-wiping with the same
piece. Also, re-enforce the after-potty hand washing. It needs to be a
real habit by the time he starts school.
I hear you loud and clear. I think this is a pretty common problem. My
son still likes help in the bathroom, and I've been called into action
with his friends, too. When they do wipe, it's not a very good job. I
once talked with a mother of four about this, and she said she thinks
that kids aren't really good at it until they are about nine. (Maybe
she was exagerating?) Anyway, what we did in our family was to start to
talk about when our son would be ready to do it all himself. We picked
an age together, and as the day approached, I bought him a KanDoo
flushable wipes and soap set. I showed it to him, and said he could
open when he was ready to start wiping all by himself.
Well, that day is now about six months past, and I'd say he wipes
himself about 80% of the time. I don't insist on that other 20%, and
figure that by the time he's six he'll be doing it all by himself.
I have the same issue so I'm glad you asked. What I did find out is
that the teachers may help your child at school. My son will be able to
change his poo-ing times to make sure he goes at home and yours may too.
So, it might not be a worry -Sorry I didn't answer your question.
My 2.9 year old starts preschool in 2 weeks. She is totally
potty trained (during the day) and hasn't had an accident in
months. However, she completely resists wiping her own bottom
and pulling up her underwear when she's done using the potty.
I know she is physically capable of doing it, but totally
refuses to do it when asked. If I stand firm and tell her she
needs to do it by herself, she will sit on the potty for a
really long time until I finally give in and help her (we're
talking 20 minutes). It is weird because she is very
independent and loves doing everything ''by myself.'' She has no
problem washing her own hands, for example. I am concerned
about getting her to do finish the job on the potty, as the
preschool has told me that the teachers do not like having to
help the kids wipe, etc. Any advice would be appreciated.
A 2.9 yr old should not be counted on to wipe herself. If she
does, an adult should make sure it is done right and carefullly
supervise the hand washing. It is too bad the preschool
teachers don't ''like'' to do this. To me, that conveys alot of
poor judgement and lack of child development understanding
about this preschool.
noboby 'likes' it
I have a clear memory of being in my little preschool bathroom
and calling ''wipe!'' to the teachers. I would have been 3 or 4.
That's NORMAL and I've never even heard of a 2 year old who could
wipe themselves! Sounds like a bad attitude from the teacher.
potty trained long ago
My 5 year old has a frequent reddened area in her labia and
around her anus (similar to diaper rash). It generally does
not cause any discomfort, but we still do baths 3 nights a week
so that she can soak well. Is this caused by not wiping well
after urine or poop? She is not the best wiper and sometimes
forgets after peeing. Should we be doing more baths or are 3
times a week OK? When do you start doing showers with kids -
is there a ''normal'' age limit to stopping baths?
If you have shown her how to wipe properly, as in front to back, and she
still needs help, I think you need to be in there ''checking'' after
each bathroom trip. I also recommend the personal wipes; we keep a box
at each toilet for our kids.
You might also consider that she has some food sensitivity.
Redness around the anus is one symptom. Does it stay consistently red
or does it come and go?
You might try putting something like baking soda in the bathwater (check
to see what is recommended for yeast infections too). I don't have my
copy with me, but Doris Rapp's book ''Is this my/Your Child?'' is a
great resource for food sensitivities.
Kids are never too young for showers, you just have to make sure they
are safe from slipping, and that they are washing and rinsing properly.
One thing you might check on is whether it's actually a yeast infection.
Yes, kids this young do get them (my 5 year old son does, especially
since he still wears a pull-up). If your daughter often leaves the area
wet after urination, this could exacerbate it. The key symptom I check
for is whether the reddened area looks swollen or raised, compared with
the non-reddened skin next to it.
If it is indeed yeast, then you will need medication. Check with her
The redness may be a symptom of a yeast infection. Does it occur after
she has had antibiotics or eaten a lot of sugary stuff? Does it itch or
bother her? You could do a search on ''The Yeast Connection'' and see
if she has any other symptoms of a yeast overgrowth.
I would say that the rash is probably not from poor hygiene- have the
Doc take a look. It is probably a yeast or fungal infection and needs
the right treatment to get rid of it Mom whose son had a fungal
Please take her to her pediatrician or nurse practitioner. It is
important that she be examined. As difficult as this may be, sexual
abuse should be considered when evaluating her signs and symptoms. Take
My daughter also 5 has the same thing. We need to put diaper cream
several times a week. She gets a bath every day and I bought for her a
special soap made for woman's private parts. I talk to her doctor about
that, she said it's very common, it's a fungus!!!!.... She told me not
to use a cloth in the bath to wash her and to give her yogurt.
It's not a matter of being clean or not. I give my daugther yogurt with
acidophilus and bifidus to regulate her.
We are doing much better. And when I know that she is going to skip the
bath, I put diaper cream as a prevention before any problem. Good luck
It sounds like you should still be helping your child learn to wipe,
esp. after pooping.
As for showers, my daughter has been taking them with me (mom) since she
was 4 or
5 and she loves them. We have a handheld/adjustable height shower head
which helps, but is not necessary. (You can also buy and install them
yourself quite easily.) I don't know when kids can be expected to wipe
well completely independently, but it doesn't seem to be by age 6 in
When can you expect a child to wipe herself after having a
bowel movement? Our 5 year old refuses to even try, though she
has been toilet-trained for at least two years & I am getting
really tired of it!
We've had great luck in encouraging wiping by buying 'toddler
wipes,' sold next to disposable diapers and baby wipes. Not
very ecological, I know, but the kids have loved having special
big kid wipes, and after a few weeks of exciting wipe use, they
switched to regular TP and we haven't bought any more wipes. A
word of warning though, we had flushed them down the toilet
against our better judgement because the package claimed we
could do so, and had to have a plumber come snake the toilet bc
they clogged the pipes and we had sewage coming out of our
parent of happy TP users
Having worked with potty training parents and thier children
for over 20 years, I've found that indeed some 5 year olds balk
at cleaning themselves and some younger ones embrace the task
(but still need help to do it well).
Perhaps you can create a potty time game with a doll the child
can clean (use washable ink and a wipe on the doll so the child
gets the concept of cleaning away all the ''poo'').
Have wet wipes, rather than just dry toilet paper, handy for
the child to use. Encourage the child to wipe themselves and
let them know that you will check them and do any final bits
that need doing. Gradually, you'll find that you need to do
less and less ''clean up''. I assume your child is in school.
Ask the teacher how she copes when away from her ''personal
groomer'' - you! Chances are she doesn't yell for the teacher
to wipe her! Best of luck~
Trained quite a few over the years
My husband got tired of wiping our daughter when she turned 4
(about 10 mos ago). I noticed that even though she's old
enough, it was hard for her to ''get a good angle'' and do a good
job. She also didn't want to go at preschool and held it until
she came home. So we bought some flushable wipes, and started
with she tries first, then we'll wipe after with regular TP.
We encouraged her with alot of praises when she did a really
good job at it. then she wanted her preschool to have the wipes
(they let us bring some). Now she does it fine on her own.
I know that everyone recommends the front to back wiping for
little girls, but it is virtually impossible to do, especially
for a 4 yr old. Does anyone have a technique that works, or
does one just wait for indepence in this arena until girls
Our pediatrician recommended helping our child wipe after poops
until he's seven (or before if he demonstrates ability.) So,
four seems too young by far.
Signed, don't want ''undie rash'
I don't recall this being a problem. Just reach from behind.
I think she stood up to do this (didn't do it sitting on the
mom of daughter
I didnt see anything on this specific topic in the archives. My 6 year old
to wipe after a poop about half the time. (gross, I know). I'm not so worried
about ''Is he normal?'' because I already know he is distracted fellow and he
just forgets. He appreciates when I remind him, but obviously I'm not always
present. Anyone else find a successful way of dealing with a forgetful toilet-
er? Some system to help him remind himself? Thanks!
Mom of Mr Forgetful
Our pediatrician recommended helping our child wipe after poops
until he's seven (or before if he demonstrates ability.) Sounds
like he still needs your help.
Best of luck.
this page was last updated: Dec 7, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network