After learning to use a potty, the next step for your kid is to figure out how to clean their backside. It is on parents to decide at what age should a child wipe their own bottom and what technique to use to help them. Children are usually ready for this skill when they are 3.5 to 5 years old.
Be prepared that some toddlers take longer to develop the necessary motor skills for this action. There is no need to worry because it is natural, and children never have the same development speed. However, you should know what age line you shouldn’t pass and how to help your kid to feel clean on their own.
When to Start Wiping Training
In many cultures, parents start potty training when their children are about nine months of age. On the other hand, American moms typically begin with this process after their kids are at the age of two.
The thing is that potty training is a challenging activity when kids are one to two years old. Therefore, you should start before that moment or wait until the period of high mobility is over.
Once your kid learns to use a potty, it is time to start a new lesson. Some parents decide to sacrifice their privacy for quicker training. Letting the child see how you use toilet paper to clean your backside can help them understand the process.
The proven methods include giving the tempting prize, encouraging your kid, and making the whole thing fun. In most cases, the good old bribe can also help. Your goal is to help your child become independent in that matter before entering kindergarten, or approximately when they are four years old.
Be aware that teachers are not allowed to wipe your kid’s bottom, and the only exception is children with a disability. Plus, you may face a common problem with kids’ logic and see your stubborn descendant cleaning the backside in kindergarten and refusing to do that at home.
You should consider one more thing. Having a second child before your toddler is potty trained and capable of using toilet paper correctly can slow down the process.
The reason is often jealousy when an older child wants you to treat them the same way you treat a newborn baby. Some parents may also face a kids’ backsliding when they decide to ignore previously learned lessons and take a step back to get the attention they want.
The right moment
As soon as your toddler starts potty training, you should begin thinking about teaching them to wipe their own backside. It won’t be possible immediately, but most children are prepared for this action after turning 3.5 years old.
The whole procedure has several essential steps. The first thing to do is potty training. Most specialists believe that your kid is prepared for the wiping training after they are capable of telling you they are finished.
The best way is to prepare them by discussing what you are doing while wiping them. That way, kids associate this activity with a pleasurable feeling of clean skin and become aware of cleaning value before doing it themselves.
The problem is kids’ impossibility to see their backs, and they are insecure about whether they have done the job well.
Be aware that toddlers need time to develop good skills and dexterity for wiping their butts with toilet paper. In other words, you can start with teaching when your kid is 3 or 4 years old, but don’t expect they can finish the task perfectly from the beginning.
If the child is not ready for this task when you decide it is time for it, it is also OK. You can wait for a while, but it is crucial to encourage them to try and check whether the job is done as expected.
Giving a kid some practical suggestions is always advisable after checking the result. There is one more thing! Kids have no clue how much toilet paper is enough to clean their backsides, so you can face tons of paper clogging the toilet when they start using it.
The upper tolerance limit
You should be aware that there is a moment when your kid is too old to wait for a mom to wipe their bottom. Some moms wait longer than they should, but it is not the best option for them and their children.
There is no suitable answer to the question of when you should stop wiping your toddler’s backside. Even though every child is different, the age of five is a reasonable limit that you shouldn’t cross except in specific situations.
Basically, it is OK to do that even longer, but it is recommended to do the kid and yourself a favor and finish this lesson as soon as possible.
Ways to Encourage Your Toddler to Start Wiping Their Backside
There is no reason for physically and mentally healthy children to refuse to clean themselves after using the toilet. If you face such a problem, the reason is typically deeper and with a background.
Your role is to look beneath the surface and find the reason behind your toddler’s behavior. It is on you to understand the primary problem and solve it before expecting a positive result.
Always consider your kid’s age and set realistic expectations according to that. Be aware that children can understand the importance of personal hygiene, but their motor skills can be a limiting factor at a certain age.
In other words, you can’t expect your toddler to clean their backside until their hands are insufficiently developed. Waiting for a particular age when movements become sufficiently coordinated is necessary.
Since this development type is individual, you shouldn’t compare your kid with others and become frustrated if they are a month or two behind in acquiring this skill. In most cases, a few months are irrelevant for this age.
2. ABC chart
One of the recommended ways is Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence Chart. Its purpose is to find a deep reason for refusing some tasks by:
Antecedent – Determining an event that occurred before the particular behavior.
Behavior – Defining your kid’s response to the event.
Consequence – Finding out what happened after your toddler’s particular behavior to prevent a future repeat of similar situations.
This behavior tracking will show you whether the child has an emotional reason for refusing to learn how to clean their backside or it is out of their control.
One of the best ways to intrigue your toddler to do something is to educate them well. You shouldn’t assume that your kid knows what you expect, and it is wise to take some time to explain the reasons for a particular action and the steps to help them achieve the goal.
Talk to your child when they feel safe and comfortable in a quiet space free of external distractions. That way, you can explain why cleaning their backside is vital and have an opportunity to listen to what your kid has to say. They deserve to get a chance to explain their fears or possible difficulties they face to.
As I have already mentioned, your kid doesn’t know how to wipe their backside on their own. Even watching you while doing that is not the same as doing. However, demonstrating this activity can help.
In the beginning, you can try to guide your kid’s hand while understanding where to go and what to do. This part is crucial for girls because incorrect wiping often leads to painful and uncomfortable urinary tract infections.
Keep explaining the importance of cleaning the backside from front to back until the toilet paper becomes entirely clean. For instance, you can make the procedure fun by demonstrating cleaning the Teddy bear’s bottom or removing Nutella from a paper plate.
That is an excellent way to show how much toilet paper is necessary for each wiping. Remember! One visual exercise is worth more than a thousand words.
5. Be active and patient
Remember that your kid learns most things from you. Therefore, you will be their best possible coach in the bathroom. While using the potty is an intuitive action, cleaning the backside requires explicit instructions and practice.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t be impatient since it is the best way to develop resistance in the child. Consequently, you will probably achieve the opposite result than expected.
6. Positive reinforcement
This technique allows you to reward your toddler when completing the desired behavior and the required task. It is an effective way to increase the likelihood of the kid repeating the same desirable behavior in the future.
It would help if you praised your kid or provided a list of fantastic rewards you can offer to increase the chances they do what you expect.
Once your kid is three to four years old, you should start teaching them to wipe their own backside after using a toilet. Be prepared that every child has a unique rhythm because of the different periods necessary for motor skills development. However, you should give your best to encourage your kid to master this activity by age five.