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Potty Training Wiping Techniques

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

Now that you've successfully taught your child to use the toilet when he needs to go potty, it's time to teach him how to wipe. Stains in your child's underwear are a good indication that he hasn't grasped this concept yet. You might also notice a faint and unpleasant odor if your child isn't doing a good job of wiping. While your toddler and perhaps your preschooler will continue to need help with proper wiping, older preschoolers and school-age children should be able to do this on their own. Try a few new techniques, and your child will likely get the hang of it in no time.

Use a Catchy Phrase

Simply telling your child to do a good of wiping isn't likely to bring about the desired results. Instead, think up a catchy phrase that will remind her that she needs to wipe, as well as how she should wipe. You might tell her to "wipe until it's white" when she has a bowel movement or "three squares and you're done" if she urinates. A short and simple phrase will stick in her mind and it'll be easy for her to remember when she's using the bathroom. Repeat the phrase when she heads off to the restroom so it's fresh in her brain.

Offer Praise

Praise your child when he successfully wipes after using the potty. Enthusiastic displays of praise help motivate your child to keep working on his wiping skills and also sends the message that you're proud of his continued efforts, according to Sara Au and Peter L. Stavinoha, authors of "Stress-Free Potty Training." Tell your child that he's becoming a better wiper every day or take note of how hard he's trying to do a better job. Avoid scolding him when he doesn't wipe properly to keep the learning process positive and more effective.

Demonstrate and Practice

Your child won't be a wiping expert at first. It's hard enough to get the hang of making it to the toilet in time, but during the next few months she'll gain the skills necessary to keep herself clean. Take your child into the bathroom and demonstrate how to wipe. While you probably don't want to demonstrate after you yourself has actually gone to the bathroom, show your child an appropriate amount of toilet paper and demonstrate the movements necessary to wipe. Use wet, flushable wipes to practice. They clean better than regular toilet paper and can help your child be successful. Over time, phase out the wet flushable wipes and replace them with regular toilet paper. Demonstrate and practice every few days to reinforce wiping skills.

Girls Versus Boys

Both boys and girls need to wipe well after having a bowel movement, but there is an additional rule to remember when it comes to girls and wiping after urinating. Teach your daughter to wipe from front to back. When your daughter wipes from back to front, she runs the risk of transfer germs from her rectum to her vagina or bladder. That can lead to a urinary tract or bladder infection. Demonstrate how to wipe from front to back so your daughter knows exactly what that means.


About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

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