wiping self at what age? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-09-2008, 02:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son's preschool teacher and I are having a disagreement about when a child is expected to wipe themselves.

My son is 3.75 yo and is fully and independently using the potty except for wiping. He does not like to poop outside the house because he prefers his little potty, doesn't like the big potties, but recently is more willing to try outside the house. He also does not want to poop at school.

When I asked him about pooping at school he said he doesn't like to be by himself (there are only 2 teachers, but the bathroom is right off the classroom and they leave the door open, so he's not down the hall by himself or something). He also said he has to wipe himself and he verbalized that he's not big enough.

Today I talked with the teacher about it and she said emphatically that they don't and will not wipe a child and said it is my job to teach him how at home. She asserted that he's almost 4, what are you waiting for and seemed very alarmed that we are not trying to help him learn this at home.

I countered that the two times he's hiped himself at school, he's come home with a dirty butt, that he seems unable and uninterested in doing it and that the parents I know are wiping their children at this age. I asked her if it's the Dept of Health that says she can't wipe at school and she said that no preschools in the area wipe children's butts and that she is not set up to do it.

What do you think? I think around 5, but also when the child seems willing and able is the right age.
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:24 AM
 
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The oldest that I wiped for was 4 1/2. It definitely depends on the child. My son is 6 and still does not wipe well.

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Old 10-09-2008, 02:49 AM
 
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My son potty-trained at 3.5, but I didn't expect him to do all his own wiping until he was about four, I guess. At that point, he wasn't an expert at it yet, but I had to give him some room to learn. Also, I just wasn't willing anymore.

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Old 10-09-2008, 03:30 AM
 
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Try looking at it from the point of view of the school & the teachers. I suspect it has less to do with it being an age appropriate activity or the teachers being grossed out about it but rather a protective thing. Working with children you are always at risk of being accused (wrongly or rightly) of inappropriate touching & putting the teachers in a situation where they are being forced to have such intimate contact with a child imo ups that risk of accusations. I would be uncomfortable with it as a teacher, especially as I would suspect in a bathroom there is not enough room (nor is it feasible with only 2 teachers in the room) for a 2nd teacher to be there as a witness.

It is a sad part of how we live but there is very little trust out there.

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Old 10-09-2008, 03:31 AM
 
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around age 5 for us.---I don;t think DS2 does a very good job though so he gets regular baths
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:35 AM
 
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well supernanny : mentioned between 3 and 4. I have started to encourage my 3 yr old to at least try to wipe after a bm. Of course she's not thrilled about it because she'd rather me do it, but she does a fairly decent job and it has progressed over the past few months.

My dd isn't in preschool so I don't know firsthand, but I thought I heard someone mention that they weren't allowed to wipe bottoms because of health code or something.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:03 AM
 
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I do not think there is anything wrong with encouraging it but tbh - a child is probably not ready to do that on their own until the age of 4,5,6 +....it really depends on the child. I suppose there are many signs you could look for to tell if they are ready... I imagine that when DS could write that he could probably wipe his own bum...But for now he can barely draw a straight line so if his cordination is that poor, how can I expect him to wipe his bottom?...Just think of all the cordination it requires...its much more complicated than just fitting a square block into the square hole!
I know he gets the idea...but there is no way he can physically do it. A few days ago a friend was over and he needed to use the toilet. He usually tells me when he is finished so either I did not hear him as I was chatting with my friend or he didnt want to tell me but he came crawling down the stairs with a wad of toilet paper trailing from his bum. It was the cutest thing ever! lmao It just was sort of stuck between his cheeks...lmao

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Old 10-09-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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As a teacher to 3yos I wiped plenty of bums... our biggest problem was kids pooping and not telling us they needed help. They SHOULD be set up to help at that age. (Gloves, wet wipes, etc) Although I would still work on teaching him. Have him do it first, and you will do it after. Many children relax when they know that Mom/Teacher will still help and are more willing to try. IMO worrying about being accused of something is not a good reason to not help a child. What do they do when a child has diarrhea? Make them deal on their own?

I would be concerned about what other expectations they have for children if they won't wipe bums.

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Old 10-09-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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I'm thinking it's like a PP said and a protective/liability thing.

Dd is three and makes the attempt to wipe herself. I always give a final swipe, but at this point, I'd say 8 times out of 10, I get nothing on the paper.
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Old 10-09-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leximom View Post
well supernanny : mentioned between 3 and 4. .
The pediatrician of the kids I used to nanny said it was completely normal that the 5yo (now 6) didn't properly wipe herself. I remember being that age and not being able to wipe because my arm just wasn't long enough AND on top of it I had to coordinate a weird motion BEHIND my body. Remember how weird it was when you first tried to learn how brush all your hair on your own or how to put your own hair up in a ponytail?
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Potty Training Solution gives around 4 to 4.5 as an age where most children will be fully potty independant (and self wiping). DD is three, she has been potty trained for almost a year. She practices wiping, and then we help. We also keep lots of the kandoo type wipes around to help her do a better job.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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My nephew is 41/2 and his parents must be teaching him to wipe himself (or he wanted to try it on his own, I forgot to ask my brother) because he called me into the bathroom yesterday to wipe him because "I get poop on my fingers if I do it myself". We definitely still help at five in our family. I don't see a problem with helping them at this age. But on the other hand I'm not sure if I would want to do it in a preschool. Hopefully they are at least helping wash hands afterward.
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for your replies. It's helpful to know I'm not the only one still wiping b/c the teacher seems to think I'm falling behind as a mother, she sounded so offended.

I'll probably try to talk to her about it again and mostly I want to communicate that he's stressed about having to wipe himself.

I'll probably try encouraging him to wipe and see what happens. The last time we tried (about 6 months ago), he didn't seem to be able to reach properly. And definitely the coordination is not there to do it well, but maybe if he wipes and I follow behind at home, it won't be so stressful for him at school.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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Dd was resistant to wiping herself at age 3. I think it was the "gross factor" for her. However, she was in a preschool program that expected the children to go independently. At first, we had some issues with poor wiping, but as the year progressed she got better and better and began wiping at home, too. By 4 she never requested that I wipe her anymore. It didn't seem to be an issue for her, though. If your son is distressed by it, you might try practicing and setting some expectations at home. Once he feels more skilled/familiar with it, it probably will cease being an issue for him. I know that dd loved preschool, and if this is the only complaint you have with the program, then it's probably not worth arguing/trying to change policy over.
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:12 PM
 
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I'm so glad to hear all of these later ages being mentioned. I was sort of thinking DS was behind and that I was doing something wrong, as he is 4 and 4 months and won't wipe himself most of the time. He's been out of dipes entirely since he was 2.5 and it's getting old, this wiping thing! But I'm glad to know he's on track developmentally.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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Can I jump on this thread with a how question?
Ok, seriously, I need help with this, I'll admit it, I have no clue! DD is 2.5 and has been potty trained since May. She is now showing an interest in wiping herself and I have no clue on how to teach her to do this. Normally, she goes, hops down off the potty and I have her squat down and I wipe her from behind. Obviously, she can't do it that way herself. Should I teach her to reach in between her legs to wipe? Her little arms are too short to reach around her back. Plus she still uses the potty insert, so there is not a lot of room for her to work with while sitting on it, not much space for her to do anything. And what about wiping after poop? Should I stick to doing that for now? Help Please! How did you teach your DD's to wipe?

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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My ds will be 5 in a couple of months and has been practicing wiping himself for the last couple of months, but he is by no means an expert, though he is definitely improving his technique. At this rate, he should be proficient at it by somewhere between 5 and 5.5. Mostly he would rather have someone else, anyone else, wiping. He just doesn't want to do it because he thinks it's gross. Yep, I have to agree, but gee we all learn to do our own bums eventually. The way we started at home was having him do the first wipe and making sure he looked at the TP to see if it was clean or not, and then dh or I would finish up and make sure he was cleaned up. That seemed to satisfy everyone as a good way to start him learning to do it all himself.

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Old 10-10-2008, 10:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy5386 View Post
Can I jump on this thread with a how question?
Ok, seriously, I need help with this, I'll admit it, I have no clue! DD is 2.5 and has been potty trained since May. She is now showing an interest in wiping herself and I have no clue on how to teach her to do this. Normally, she goes, hops down off the potty and I have her squat down and I wipe her from behind. Obviously, she can't do it that way herself. Should I teach her to reach in between her legs to wipe? Her little arms are too short to reach around her back. Plus she still uses the potty insert, so there is not a lot of room for her to work with while sitting on it, not much space for her to do anything. And what about wiping after poop? Should I stick to doing that for now? Help Please! How did you teach your DD's to wipe?
Most kids get off the toilet and then wipe. Girls wipe from the front for a pee and from the back for a poo. (It's tricky, but you'd be amazed how quick a child can pick it up when they are interested)

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Old 10-10-2008, 10:59 AM
 
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I've heard many of jokes about skid marks in a mans undies. At the rate my 6 yr old DS is going, I'm thinking he'll be one of those men

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Old 10-10-2008, 11:04 AM
 
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My DD is 27 months and wipes herself every time. She has done so from the time she learned to use the potty. She will still request that I wipe her after she does it herself for poops, but I very rarely get anything. It never occured to me that this was something she was too young to learn to do. She does wipe from the back for everything and does a great job. I've offered my help from day one, but she says that she can do it.

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Old 10-10-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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What about donating wet flushable "toddler" wipes to the school. They make it easier to wipe and clean up you butt and that might make it easier for kids to do it themselves.
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