How to teach kids to wipe their own bottom

Sitting on a potty

You’ve thrown away the nappies. You’ve given away the change table. And you’re about to high-five the husband to celebrate the success of toilet training your child.

But wait just a sec because there is one more thing you probably forgot about. And that’s wiping your child’s bum.

Even if your little one knows how to use the toilet, odds are they will require some assistance in wiping their bottom after going do-do. And thus, every time you are in the middle of a task and your child runs to the toilet, you will hear, “Mum, I’m finished”.

The toilet training task parents forget to teach

As parents, it is our responsibility to not only do the wiping but also to teach our children the fine art of self-wiping so we won’t have to keep doing it for much longer.

So, without further ado, here is our step-by-step guide to teaching your child how to clean their own bottom. Parents get all the fun jobs.

Roll of toilet paper

1. Start yesterday

That’s right. Go back in time and start to teach your toddler how to wipe their bottom when you are toilet training. If you’ve already gone through the potty training process, then move on to the next step.

But if you are starting the toilet training process (or knee deep in carpet-stained pee as we speak), then add “operation bum wipe” to the list of things you need to teach them.

2. Introduce them to the right amount of toilet paper

A whole roll is too much. One piece is not enough. Show them the exact ratio of tush-to-toilet-paper they require.

If your child doesn’t seem to understand the concept of not unrolling the entire roll of TP every time he poops, then put a little mark on the wall so they know how many pieces to use. And make sure you save the empty rolls to make these adorable toilet paper crafts. 

3. Talk to them about the importance of proper wiping

Bottom wiping is just as important as hand washing. Explain to them about the germs that can spread down below and why we need to ensure we have clean bums. It may sound like common sense to us but to a child, they might need someone to explain the ‘why’ before they make it a habit.

After all, for the first two years of their life, they were taught that pooping in your nappy is the norm. Now suddenly that’s a lie. What else have we been hiding from them?

4. Practice on a doll

Show them exactly how to do it – front to back. Wipe or dab. Poo first. Wee after. And one wad at a time. Let them try on a doll or a toy, then on themselves. You can expect them to need you to monitor things for the first few poops until they get into the swing of self-wiping.

5. Do the cheek check

Even if your child has been taught how to wipe, they may not get it right away. So while you may not be greeted with, “Mum, I’m finished, come and wipe my bum,” you can still expect your child to call out, “Mum, I’m finished, come and check my bum,” for several more weeks.

But let me be the first to tell you, bum checking is a lot less messy than bum wiping.

6. Aim to have it mastered by school time

All kids are different but it’s a good idea to aim to have this special task completed by the time your little one starts school. That way both of you can be confident that if they have to go when away from you, it won’t end up in embarrassment, tears and dirty undies.

Toilet training your child isn’t always a smooth journey but mastering the fine art of bum wiping is usually the final stop on the trek to poop freedom. Now all that’s left is to train them to change the empty toilet roll!

If you are just getting started on this adventure, have a look at our top toilet training accessories as well as our great list of books to help encourage your little one to give up the nappy and graduate to the potty.

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