Top Tips: Bottom Wiping

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I had a poo! Bottom wiping is a life skill that can’t be ignored…

Does your child go to the toilet independently for a wee or a poo? Congratulations! You’ve done a fantastic job, and I bet you are proud of your little one.

The fun, or should we say, the hard work, does not end here, though. 

We were recently approached by parents who needed help, as their child wasn’t able to wipe their own bottom. Despite this being a very unusual request, we were happy they asked rather than soldiering on. It led us to think about a new assessment and skill development, which will be further developed and promoted to help more children become independent.

Let’s look at some of the basic questions around independent toileting:

Awareness and Discrimination – Can your child discriminate between dirty vs clean, or pee vs poo?

Does your child have a means of communication to let you know if they have done a pee or poo, or if they need help with wiping?

Can they get toilet paper (or wipes) and fold it? Wipe front to back? Drop the paper in the toilet? Flush the toilet? Wash their hands?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, you still have some work to do to get your child to the stage of fully independent when it comes to toileting. Don’t let this worry you too much; this skill takes time, and even typically developing children find it hard.

Below is a list of pre-requisite skills you can practice away from the toilet or bathroom:

  1. Teaching to clean things

Wiping ‘something’ till clean – table, chair, plate, hands… 

Wiping ‘something’ with wipes – looking, folding, throwing away…

  1. Teaching to wipe things

Motor movements – Get paper, reach different positions, wipe, check if it’s clean or dirty, and keep 

going till it’s clean, throw away paper/wipes.

  1. Put in place a system so your child can call on you for help. 

Make sure your child knows how to get your attention if they need some extra help.

This seems oversimplified, but each child will require a slightly different approach, so you have hopefully found something helpful here!

If you have any questions or comments, please us know.

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