Dad's picture

Five Steps to a Clean Bum: Teaching Kids How to Wipe

Warning: Graphic content. Viewer Discretion is Advised!

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.

A failed wipe attempt

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.

Peanut Butter Training

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?


Hope you liked the post. Please do me a favour ...


Thank you so much for article

Francis's picture

Thank you so much for article and all those brilliant tips!!! I like the humor... keeps one from going nuts... as for the evidence, you could create a censoring button for REAL PARENTS ONLY... :)

Thanks so much for the

Joy's picture

Thanks so much for the detailed/graphic process. My grandkids are nearly 7, nearly 5, and 3 - have been watching the whole potty training business for years now from a different perspective than being a parent. My kids were potty trained by 2 years of age, and I don't remember (!) how I taught them to wipe their bottom. Thanks again, will pass it on to my kids/grandkids.

Thanks for this.  I will have

Steph's picture

Thanks for this.  I will have to try it out.  My kids are 6, 3, and 2.  My oldest never even wipes at all..... It is the nastiest thing ever.  She tells me she does but then I go in there and she "forgot" to flush the toilet but there is no paper in there.  Then my son just refuses to wipe on his own.  He always wants me to do it.

Step 4: Live practice.

A's picture

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.



This sounds like a recipe for therapy later. If my folks had done this, I'd still be having nightmares.

Hey very nicely said!

devine power's picture

Hey very nicely said!
We must enforce some rules about potty training so that child can follow it.

I like your 1st picture with evidence !
So there are many dads like me who has to witness such a picture daily. I have to see it daily as my son come out.

Any ways great work !



Thank you thank you thank you

Mom on the Edge's picture

Thank you thank you thank you for having this post.  You cannot imagine how grateful I am to know that my son is not the only hot mess out there.  Keep up the good work!!!!


thank you, good blog. maybe

saraleigh's picture

thank you, good blog. maybe you can help me furtheri just got custody of a 7 year old from a pretty neglected home. i noticed she was "digging" then i checked and the track staines were thick. she proceded to tell me that she was mever told to wipe and didnt know u had to wach ur butt. i asked if she had ever noticed the poop in her pantys, she said no. i find this very hard to believ she didnt know that the poop ALL OVER her wasnt supposed to be there, and she had never noticed it b4. only the fact her butt always hurt. well it should because for the last, who knows how long, this child HAS NEVER CLEANED HER BUTT! her butt was raw with diaper rash. the funny thing is, i have a 5 month old that she claims that she could change a poopy diaper and watches me do it often, but it never crossed her mine to clean her own body or ask if any 1 else cleaned there butt. how did this happen? now it is foriegn to her and she doesnt think she needs to do it or doesnt want to. so now im wiping my new 7 year olds ass, atleast 3x a day and really really tired of it. what can i do?? is this something that any one has ever heard of?

thank you thank you thank you

Shelle B's picture

thank you thank you thank you thank you.


instead of using a plate, I used the area between my thumb and forefinger. squeezed them together in a donut shape, slathered with a little bit of PB and made my daughter practice wiping the "butt" clean 2 times (meaning she did it once in 7 wipes and I re-slathered and she did it again in 5 wipes). she wasn't understanding that 1 wipe didn't cut it, this actually got thru to her and made her realize what she was doing wrong (I hope, we actually just did this 5 mins ago so we'll see what happens in the next 2 days).


she just needed the visual - thank you a million times over for the idea!

Aside from still not

Shelle B's picture

Aside from still not understanding that when the feeling/urge to poo arises means go asap, my 7 yr old seemed to understand what she was doing wrong (and so did I - she was only wiping once thinking one swipe and you're done). More practice tomorrow with another poo :)

kia baat hai kia cheez hai

Monogram Necklaces's picture

My kid has autism, and is

Melanie's picture

My kid has autism, and is finally toileted at age 8.5. I've been trying to figure out how to teach him this, since his fine motor skills aren't great. The PB idea is brilliant. Thanks! 

This is great! My son is 7

KMac's picture

This is great! My son is 7 and still can't get himself clean without my help. Gross!! My 4 year old has been wiping himself successfully for a year. I have no idea how he learned. He just wanted to, tried it, and did it. At least one is easy.

He won't go at school, thank

KMac's picture

He won't go at school, thank goodness. Tried it tonight. Folded paper, etc. Even bought Charmin Ultra Strong. He did a pretty good job. However we ended up stopping up the toilet. Ugh! Still trying to unstop it. I guess I need to stick with the cheap thin stuff. Lol! Trying the PB on a plate this afternoon. Oh the joys of parenthood!

Thanks so much for a very

Nat's picture

Thanks so much for a very humorous and very instructive page.  I am still crying from laughing so much, but will put my straight face on in time for wiping lessons.

I think you have great ideas

Tamara's picture

I think you have great ideas but I think you should take down the picture of the naked child. I work for Border Services and you would be surprised how many petafiles are looking at images just like this. I know it's scary and sick but none the less to protect the child you should remove it.