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How to Teach A Toddler To Wipe Their Bottom

Updated: May 30, 2023

An often forgotten yet still important part of toilet training!

"I’m ready!"

Does that sound familiar? It’s often the cry from the distant toilet room from the child who has successfully pooed in the toilet but hasn’t yet learnt how to wipe, and it often goes on until the child goes to school!

They’re smart enough to know it’s not done until they are cleaned up, hands washed, and pants on, but somehow, it’s the wiping step that remains the parent's (or kinder teacher or carer's) responsibility.

It’s often easy to forget to teach your child to wipe their bottom in the excitement of them pooing in the toilet!

So when the poo goes in the toilet, let's work on keeping clean bottoms in clean undies.

When to teach them to wipe their own bottom?

Most children are physically capable of wiping their bottoms from 3–3 1⁄2 years of age. That’s generally when reaching is possible. If your child can reach earlier, teach them earlier!

This is an additional step to learn, so children must have regular success with pooing in the toilet before asking them to learn something else. When it's happening with consistent success (and they can reach), then we need to add wiping to the toileting process.

Teaching a child to wipe their bottom

It’s important, especially for girls, to teach them to wipe from front to back. We don’t want the bacteria in poo to have access to their urethral opening (where the wee comes out) or their vagina.

We start by wiping the bottom ourselves and asking the child to finish. As we do this, we teach them to check the paper to ensure they have properly cleaned their bottom.

When they have mastered this, we change it around. It's now time for them to wipe first and for you to do the last bit to check they have completed it successfully.

Consistent success means the job is done. They can now do it themselves and take the pressure off parents and other very kind bottom wipers! For more tips on toilet training and where to start, visit our recent blog.

Monica Ferrie is Parents You've Got This' Toilet Training Expert from Toilet Training Educators. Monica presents on the different stages of toilet training in the Toddler Experts on Demand Video Series and at the Parents You've Got This Toddler Masterclass, where she will answer your questions live. There are fantastic resources available for download from her website here.

Teaching A Toddler To Wipe Their Bottom

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