At what age should kids be able to wipe?

The Pediatric Insider

© 2013 Roy Benaroch, MD

“At what age can children be expected to reliably wipe themselves – properly! –  after using the bathroom?”

Never fear the icky questions, that’s the first rule I see here in The Idiot’s Guide to Blogging. It also says to include a lot of pictures of kittens saying humorous things. If I could draw or photoshop, I could include here a pic of a kitten holding a wad of toilet paper. You’ll just have to imagine it yourself.

Anyway: I think “wiping properly” is sort of a judgment call, and it probably depends on mom and dad’s tolerance for a less-than-stellar performance. How much do skid marks bother you, versus how eager are you to drop tushie wiping from your list of daily chores?

Kids ought to learn to wipe themselves as part of potty training. Two year olds kind of pat around back there and don’t accomplish much, and even 3-4 year olds don’t do a particularly good job. Heck, lots of kids even in grade school could probably use a little supplementary wipage. It’s true: kids who wipe themselves don’t get particularly clean.

But, honestly, it’s OK. I don’t see infections, their skin is fine, and other than a bit of a whiffy odor now and then I don’t think a lack of good rumpal hygeine is causing any sort of problems for our kids. Wiping is just one of many things they don’t do really well at first. Congratulate them anyway, and move on.

When it’s time to get children clean, toss ‘em in the tub and let ‘em wiggle around. They’ll smell nice afterwards, too.

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2 Comments on “At what age should kids be able to wipe?”

  1. Thanks for the post! These are the questions I ask myself….we are going through potty training with a reluctant participant and wiping is definitely a pertinent topic in our restroom with our kiddo.


  2. Mary Burke Says:

    i babysit s seven and a half year old and his mum still insists i do the wiping. I am not comfortable with this .He is a very big lad what you think?


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