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Is your child potty-trained? If so, do you notice any of the following?
- Poop stains in the underwear.
- Pieces of poop in the underwear.
- Visible poop on the hands or under the finger nails.
- A sweaty stale poop bouquet fills the room when they take off their pants to change or get in the tub for a bath.
- You put away a crayon they've just been using and it smells like butt.
- They go to the toilet, flush, come out smiling but you remember that you forgot to put in a new roll of TP after the old one ran out.
- When they spill something on the table they try to "clean up" by crumpling paper into a ball and using it to spreading the mess out across the whole table.
- Mysterious brown body paint up the child's back or down the child's legs.
- The kingergarden or daycare teacher says the kid can't wipe their own butt.
If you said yes to any of these, then your child doesn't know how to wipe their butt. Read on to find out how to teach a kid in five quick steps.
Step 1: Show them the evidence.
If there are skid marks or bonbons in the undies that's some indesputable evidence. Chances are, if they tried to wipe, there is some strong visual evidence that they can't see. Take out the digital camera and take pictures of what smearing means, as opposed to cleaning.
Step 2: Show them how to wipe again.
I'm assuming you showed them the first time. You don't have to actually show them on yourself in a "live" situation because that might just frighten the child into running away screaming -- it would frighten me. Show them make believe style, with your pants on. I don't actually know how any real people wipe because I've never actually watched another grownup do it. Please comment if I have it wrong! I do it in three steps:
Step 2.1: Take the right amount of paper, three to four squares, so their fingers don't punch through later.
Step 2.2: FOLD IT into a one square size. Amazing how my kids thought it was a good idea to shove a fist full of crumpled paper into a freshly soiled bum.
Step 2.3: Widen the stance to create good butt access and wipe from bottom to top but ONLY AT THE SWEET SPOT: Don't keep wiping upwards because wiping turns to smearing pretty quick! Look at the paper, then toss it. DO NOT REUSE THE PAPER.
Repeat until the paper comes out clean. If they wipe three times then ask them to flush before continuing so the toilet doesn't clog.
Step 3: Peanut butter training.
Spread a little peanut butter on a plate and have the kid practice wiping the plate clean using toilet paper without getting any peanut butter on themselves. Those with peanut allergies can substitute chocolate sauce. I put several dabs on the plate, smear it good with a spoon so it's stuck on, then show them how to wipe so that the plate is clean and the peanut butter is on one side of the toilet paper only. Just like before, take a couple of pieces, make a square, then wipe but don't spread! Have the kid try and try again until the plate is clean. A couple of times I gave my son a PB covered plate and a bunch of paper, then made him wipe the plate clean while we watched a movie. Great family fun.
Step 4: Live practice.
Until they get it right, make them call you to watch them wipe each time they poop at home. As you watch, offer real-time corrections, take more pictures, and let them know when they're done. Make sure they wash their hands real good.
Step 5: Reinforce the importance of NO POOP ANYWHERE BUT IN THE TOILET.
They will stink all day and maybe get sick; let them know that! Don't be too harsh because you still want them to feel like they can go potty rather than hold it in, but just let them know that they should make it out of the washroom clean. Handwash extra long, especially if their fingers poked through. They should also know that they will have to bathe if they spread poop on their bodies. Unless they like to take baths like my kids, in which case tell them they'll get sprayed down with cold water.
Was it easy for your kids to learn how to wipe? How did you teach your children to wipe cleanly?