We spend the first couple of years of their lives telling our kids to stay away from their poop – messy, yucky, don’t touch. Then magically one day we’re telling them to stick their hands down there and clean it up themselves. No wonder most kids are aren’t exactly keen to take on the task.
That said, once they’re in school, wiping is up to them and it's our job to help them be ready. School can be scary enough on its own, so let's take fear of poop butt off the list of things to worry about.
Establish a routine
You do it without even thinking and can tell easily when the job is done. When it’s time to do it themselves, slow down and start explaining the steps – how much paper, how many wipes, direction, extra wipes for messy ones, handwashing. Then let them start explaining the steps to you.
Teaching quality control
Remember that counting the number of wipes may not be enough, teach your child to know when the wipe is clean.
At first trying dividing the task – first wipes, mommy, last wipe child; then first wipe, mommy, last wipes child, and so on until mommy’s role becomes a just a quality check and a high five at the end, then just a quality control check or helping hand every once in awhile.
An avoidance of handwashing may be half the reason why kids can’t be bothered wiping their own bums. That added step of a good wash up afterwards just seems like an awful lot of work. Just teach it as an important step in the routine that can’t be missed.
To Wet Wipe or Not Wet Wipe
Wet wipes may help in the beginning, but remember that they won’t be available to kids everywhere they need to go to the bathroom, so make sure they’re comfortable with good ole fashioned TP.
Since a lot of the problems are fear based, lots of positive praise is in order. Let them know that they’ve got this, and they won’t be afraid when facing it on their own.
Taking care of your body
Use training as a teachable moment to talk about all regular hygiene and things we do to take care of ourselves, taking care of yourself is an important part of becoming a big kid.
Dealing with Tempers
Much the same way you did with potty training, leave them there until they finish the job. Gentle reminders of all the wonderful things they can do with their day once they’ve finished are usually pretty good incentive.
The great news is that you’ll have lots of practice opportunities each day to get it right, and once you do, kids will remember all those practice poops and won’t be scared that first time they need to go poop without an adult to do the job for them.