My least favorite part of being a parent is wiping bottoms. I really don’t like it. I do it, with the best, joyful spirit I can muster, but I take my sweet time when they are calling for me to come help. I was determined to teach my oldest to wipe his bottom by this summer because I have my third baby now, and I just can’t be running to the bathroom to wipe when we are out at the beach, in the pool, or on some sort of fun summer adventure. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to accomplish this, but I came up with a method that worked really well! I’m going over how I was able to accomplish this for the summer, and I hope it helps you get your little one to start wiping too!
Here’s the process I used to teach my toddler to wipe his own bottom.
Step 1: Bribery – We signed my toddler up for a small, two-week summer camp that was from 9am to 12pm. That tends to be the time of day when he is most likely to go number two, so I told him he couldn’t go to preschool unless he wiped his own bottom. I explained that the teacher can’t wipe it for him, and he would miss out on all the fun and toys. That really motivated him to start practicing. Well, it took a lot of practice, and a lot of toilet paper. I go into my method of teaching him to use the toilet paper in the next step, but overall, I had him start with having me give him the squares to work with. It took a lot of squares in the beginning, but I saved toilet paper by keeping myself in charge of the amount used. It was when I left him unattended that things got a little out of control.
Tip: This process involves a lot of toilet paper, so I keep us super stocked with the 12-pack Cottonelle CleanCare Mega Rolls that I get at Walmart. I am a big Walmart shopper because I can get everything I need in one spot, for great prices. You’ll see I got some photos for you, so you can see where this toilet paper is located, but you shouldn’t go in the store at all! Here’s why.
Did you know that Walmart offers online grocery pick up? Yea, that’s amazing for us moms with lots of kids to haul in and out of the car. Once you’ve achieved potty-trained status, the in-store bathroom trips are always EXTREMELY inconvenient. Walmart offers the in-store pick-up option in various locations, so check to see if you are nearby here. You will thank me once you try it!
Back to the toilet paper, I really recommend getting a mega roll. Do you know how fast we ran out when I was using regular rolls? I admittedly started using wipes and paper towels until I could pick up my order, which is just not good. My toddler also found it entertaining to just rip the toilet paper up and throw it around a bit before wiping. He had himself a toilet-paper-party the first week or so each time. If your little one is anything like mine, you’ll be super happy to have some larger rolls like these Mega Rolls that are as big as 4 normal toilet paper rolls. You’ll save yourself a few trips this way. And remember, you get a $1 off coupon from Ibotta!
Moving on from the bribing and toilet paper extravagance.
Step 2: Wipe, Check, Wipe – We practiced getting two squares of toilet paper to use for the first wipe. Then, we’d get one square to do a check wipe, where we’d see if we got everything the first time. If we didn’t, then we’d wipe again with another square. Our toddler actually liked ripping the squares (where he’d end up tearing a lot of toilet paper up in the process!). The wipe, check, wipe method helped him learn a routine to follow, so when he was on his own, he could remember how much he should check, and a way to know if he did a good job!
Step 3: Exaggerated Positive Reinforcement – This is really important because you want them to feel like they are doing a really good job, even if they aren’t. Positive motivation encourages them to keep trying, rather to reverting back to wanting you to help them. I would say things like, “Way to go! You’r bottom is almost squeaky clean, but I see just a few spots you missed, let’s do it again!” I would say this as excited as possible. I felt like we would take forever in the bathroom, and there were times I really just wanted to wipe for him because I had another child calling my name.
Tip: Don’t let yourself start wiping again. I found myself just not having the patience, or I was holding a baby with a two-year-old climbing on the counters, and I just wanted to get him wiped and done. I let myself fall back to wiping for him out of pure impatience. It just moved us backwards in the end, so if you can stick with it, you’ll have it done faster than me!
Going through all of this for just over a week, I’d say he got it down to where I didn’t check him right after. I still check to make sure everything is good a couple times a day. You just never know what’s going to happen with toddlers, so I recommend doing this for a while. I’ve been for a month now, and I am feeling more confident that I don’t need to as often. It’s really nice to have one less bottom to wipe!
Have any extra tips for wiping bottoms? Please leave them in the comments! I’m always eager to hear what works for other moms!