6 year old refusing to wipe - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 10-17-2007, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Am I expecting too much? Ds1 absolutely refuses to wipe himself. He just calls and sits there waiting until someone comes to wipe him. I really don't think it's asking too much to think he should be mostly or even completely doing it by himself at this age...is it?

Does anyone have any idea to encourage him to wipe himself?

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#2 of 22 Old 10-17-2007, 04:20 AM
 
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I definitely do NOT think you are expecting too much for a 6 year old to wipe himself. My almost 6 year old has been wiping himself for years now and I can't remember the last time I wiped him. His underwear is clean so he does a good job and besides he takes a nightly shower and can make sure stuff is clean then.

He is homeschooled? I just ask because if he isn't, what does he do at school? I would tell him he just needs to do from now on if you don't want to continue. Does he cry if you don't come when he calls? I wouldn't want my child upset over this, but maybe he just doesn't think he can do it correctly?

I would just tell him it's his job to wipe himself after tolieting, and make sure he takes a shower or bath nightly in the beginning to make sure everything is clean and just let him be responsible for his body from now on. Good Luck!

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#3 of 22 Old 10-17-2007, 04:27 AM
 
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Bear's been wiping since about three. I'd tell him to do it himself, and if he didn't comply, let him live with the consequences (nasty butt rash) a bit and see if he changes his mind about the valet service.
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#4 of 22 Old 10-17-2007, 04:36 AM
 
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Well, our son just learned to wipe at 6 years and 3-4 months.

I had to 'bribe' him majorly. And I had to break it into managable pieces for him.

I made a sticker chart. The first week, we wiped and then he wiped after us, just to get the motion down. If he got a sticker each day, he earned a bus trip. The second week, we alternated wiping. And he earned another bus trip. The third week, he wiped and we checked. And he earned a bus trip he'd been coveting for a long time (a really, really long one). He's now doing it all by himself. Our TP consumption has gone up, but my irritation has gone down (though he still insists on telling us when he needs to poop and when he's done!)

It worked with ds because he is obsessed with buses. If you've got something your son is very interested in, a similar kind of thing might work for him. I'm also not below bribing for this sort of thing. I'm about to go out and buy a whole bag of smarties : to bribe dd into pooping in the potty (she holds it until we put her night time pull-up on; then she gets rashes, and this has got to stop). Other than gravy, I think it's the only thing that might motivate her. And at 3, she needs a more immediate reward than a bus trip after 7 stickers. (And she has come to hate bus trips because we do them so often for ds!)

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#5 of 22 Old 10-17-2007, 06:00 AM
 
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I think my dd was about 5 when she finally started wiping and it wasn't fun and involved a lot of tantrums but I talked to her about it and told her she either wipes her own butt or she's stuck on the potty. She finally would get bored enough that she would do it. Now the fun at 7 is she's suddenly not wiping properly/enough and I can't get her to do so.

Seriously?
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#6 of 22 Old 10-20-2007, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A sticker chart/rewards might work. That's how we finally got him out of diapers when he was 3 1/2.

Leaving him sititng there doesn't work. I think he'd sit for hours. He just plain refuses to do it. When he was 5, he said he'd do it when he was 6. Now that he's 6, it's 8 or 10 or never. When we try to force him, he gets hysterical.

Given that he's been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, I think it's just that he's scared of getting something on his hands. We've only just gotten him out of washing his hands over 20 times a day. He also has some perfectionist tendancies. If he can't do something right the first time, he just refuses to do it (which is making trying to teach him to print a nightmare).

I just can't take much more of this. I get so angry at him every time I have to get up to do something he's perfectly capable of doing. I know I was completely self-sufficient in the bathroom long before I was 6, as was dh.

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#7 of 22 Old 10-20-2007, 08:37 PM
 
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I have the total opposite problem...I still wipe both my girls (3 and almost 5) by choice. I might do it differently with a boy because there isn't nearly as much risk of a uti, but my oldest dd has has two uti's relating to wiping so now there is no option. But I was just thinking that this summer I'll have to transition to her wiping because she will be in school longer, she's only in half day K now but will be in 1st next year, and I need to help her do it right (by they way, any tips of helping them do it correctly?) I'm actually scared of letting her do it and worry she won't get herself clean because our first uti was a 3 day stay in the hospital. But I know my boy will be different.
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#8 of 22 Old 10-20-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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Wet wipe? Rubber gloves? Haz-mat suit? Seriously though, when ds was 4 1/2 I broke it to him that he had to start wiping and he was not happy. I was pg and decided for many reasons, mostly 1 more butt to wipe, it was time. His biggest reason for not wanting to wipe himself was that he could get poop on his hands. He had always had a real thing about getting dirty, hated finger paints and stuff like that. He still does. We got him special soap, only to be used after wiping (anti-bacterial, he knew the word from tv) in a scent that he loved. He knew that it killed germs if you washed your hands right and finally relented. But we did have a few days of "MOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYY, heellllpppp". I had him wipe first then I checked. He finally felt comfortable after a few tries of seeing that he really did a good job.
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#9 of 22 Old 10-20-2007, 08:50 PM
 
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My 6 yo doesn't wipe himself, yet. He is concerned about getting it on his hands. He never liked getting anything messy on him. It doesn't bother me, though. I know he would be very upset if I tried to make him do it himself.

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#10 of 22 Old 10-20-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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Has anyone tried those flushable wipes? I have 1 kid those helped. The next one hated them. They might help the cleanup be a little more bearable.
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#11 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been using the flushable wipes with him since he stopped using diapers. He doesn't like to use them himself, but he likes them better than tp.

mom to all boys B: 08/01ribboncesarean.gif,  C: 07/05 uc.jpg, N: 03/09 uc.jpg, M: 01/12 uc.jpg and far too many lost onesintactlact.gifsaynovax.gif

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#12 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 08:38 AM
 
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my oldest ds was about 8 before he got bumwiping under control

he has many allergies and this caused two problems - the smell on his hands made him gag or throw up (hyperactive gag reflex and very sensitive sense of smell associated with allergies) and if there was any poo left on his bum he would get terrible rashes (more like a burn, really painful).. i just kept helping him when he asked, much the same as i was happy for him to cosleep till he was OK about spending the night solo in his room - also about age 8

he just wasn't ready before then - and also a bit of a perfectionist

i agree it's hard to keep doing things for our kids when we think they "ought" to be able to do it for themselves but kids get skills and abilities at different ages.. given that he has only recently got his handwashing sorted, fear of getting stuff on his hands sounds like a fair reason for wanting help

would it help if your ds asked for help nicely? and said thank you? I find that a good way to deal with doing stuff for my kids - I'm willing to help but they need to ask nicely
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#13 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 08:47 AM
 
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Asking nicely is great but I still think this is really pushing it at 6. I'd do everything I can to make it easy for him, with wipes, immediate handwashing, discussions about the low risk of germs, heck even gloves if he'd prefer. But I would have a positive, "you can do it" discussion about the topic, and then would not wipe for him any more. If he'd really "sit there for hours"---well, have fun kid.
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#14 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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I completely understand. Dd1 is EXACTLY the same. She will be 6 in a few weeks and will sit there waiting for me to wipe her. She just calls out too and will wait and wait and wait. Ive tried before and she is very patient, lol. She will wipe herself if she pees but not poop. She will do it if she is away from home and I am not there (school, someones house) so I know she CAN do it. She is very sensitive about everything though and always has been. It is worse and takes more time/energy for me to try to get her to do it alone than for me to just do it. Ive decided to not battle it out. I know she is physically capable of doing so Im not worried. Eventually she will want her privacy and do it alone. Already she will no longer let dh wipe her because she says she wants privacy so.....In the meantime, I do get frustrated but there are other things that are more important to battle about in my house. No ideas but Mama
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#15 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 06:22 PM
 
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Those flushable wipes cause problems in sewage/septic systems, I'd stop using them.

Would he be more willing if you had cloth wipes? Would he agree to him doing 1 wipe, you doing the next?
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#16 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 08:36 PM
 
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It sounds like you are feeling "done" with wiping him, yes? At a time when it isn't and hasn't recently been an issue, sit down with him and say, Honey, we have problem, I'm wondering if you can help me solve it? Since he's six and knows almost everything :, you will probably get a "yes". Say, "I know you are capable of taking care of your own toileting, but it seems like there is something about it that bothers you. Can you tell me about that?" From there, you can probably figure out a solution that works for both of you. The thing is, he, not you, owns the problem. This is a great opportunity to help him see himself as capable.
Sometimes, things like this are a way that kids express their belief that they have to be helpless to belong. NOT because you did anything wrong, but because kids are not so great at accurately evaluating situations.
This chart can really be helpful: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...in/dealing.htm
Anxiety is a learned response that can be unlearned. Yes, it is chemical, but it is chemistry that an individual can influence. Even very young children can be guided to question their own decisions about the meaning of situations. Honestly, and in a friendly way, "why" can really help kids to uncover unhelpful beliefs.
I am not a fan of bribery or rewards. It puts ownership of the problem in the wrong hands, and only reinforces a child's belief that he needs to keep mom busy with him. Plus it teaches kids to get stuff (extrinsic)instead of succeed at problem-solving (intrinsic). (Overheard at school- "If we line up right, WHAT DO WE GET?" grrrrr.) Just like punishment, rewards do not address the real issue, and do little to help kids see the connection between cause and effect. JMO.
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#17 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to be able to have that kind of problem solving conversation with him. I've honestly tried. Every time I try, it goes something like this 'What do you think would help you be able to do x (stop jumping on the bed stop hitting your brother, whatever it is)" Every single time the answer I get is either "Hit me" or "Punch me in the face" or something similar. This is a child who has only ever been spanked once in his life (not even going to get into his cowering and saying 'don't hit me' when dh or I get angry, especially in public).

I think, in addition to the worrying about getting his hands dirty thing, ds just plain hates big changes. Getting him out of diapers was horrible, getting him to sleep in his own bed (in our room, jammed right against our bed) is still a problem.

I really appreciate all the suggestions I've been getting.

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#18 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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We got those flushable wipes for dd who potty trained at 2. The toilet paper was too hard to get a good wipe on her sticky poops. LOL But now she can use the tp. Have to tried that? Maybe the tp is too harsh on his skin and so he doesn't want to use it. =)
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#19 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 11:01 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that my 8 yr old has sensory issues and will only use the wet flushable wipes. He hates how paper feels including toilet paper and tissues. It is quite challenging. The thing that is really upsetting is if we run out of the flushable wipes he won't wipe at all nor will he let us do it. It is really gross so I have to be careful we don't run out of the flushable wipes.
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#20 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 03:25 AM
 
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Can you have any kind of problem solving discussion with him? If not, that might be the skill you need to work on first.

I might recommend the book "Playground Politics" about emotional development in the school years - it's got some good ideas about making connections and building in problem solving skills.

Also, is the anxiety disorder under control? Are you working with a therapist? If it's anxiety related, he may not be ABLE to wipe himself mentally, even if he can physically. Would reminding yourself of that make you less resentful?

I'm afraid it's more complicated than a very simple answer.

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#21 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 05:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaskyla View Post
I would love to be able to have that kind of problem solving conversation with him. I've honestly tried. Every time I try, it goes something like this 'What do you think would help you be able to do x (stop jumping on the bed stop hitting your brother, whatever it is)" Every single time the answer I get is either "Hit me" or "Punch me in the face" or something similar. This is a child who has only ever been spanked once in his life (not even going to get into his cowering and saying 'don't hit me' when dh or I get angry, especially in public).
Oh, eeesh, I'm so sorry

I'm wondering if there is a payoff that just isn't obvious to you? I'm asking because kids never do stuff for NO reason, it's just usually reasons that make TOTAL sense to them but not necessarily to us. It sounds like somewhere along the line he has learned that this gets him....something. I know I used to just sputter over ds's seemingly INSANE behavior, but deep down I knew it must make some weird, twisted sense to him.
This also reminds me that kids sometimes feel compelled to "balance" things out in a household. My xh was soooo tense, and I believe ds took it upon himself to break the mold as it were.
Temperament may be a big factor too, esp if you and he are very different or very alike.
Hang in there mama...

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#22 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laoxinat View Post
Oh, eeesh, I'm so sorry

I'm wondering if there is a payoff that just isn't obvious to you? I'm asking because kids never do stuff for NO reason, it's just usually reasons that make TOTAL sense to them but not necessarily to us. It sounds like somewhere along the line he has learned that this gets him....something. I know I used to just sputter over ds's seemingly INSANE behavior, but deep down I knew it must make some weird, twisted sense to him.
This also reminds me that kids sometimes feel compelled to "balance" things out in a household. My xh was soooo tense, and I believe ds took it upon himself to break the mold as it were.
Temperament may be a big factor too, esp if you and he are very different or very alike.
Hang in there mama...


yep, I have to agree there, he's making those kinda statements for a reaction. I'd really recommend the book "Transforming the difficult child" by Howard Glasser. Its very different from anything else I've read and when your dealing with a child who seeks to create negative reactions from you traditional parenting advice just makes things worse.

Seriously?
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