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How do you teach a child to wipe himself?

When potty training, it's also best to teach your child to wipe his buttocks by himself, like a grown-up. But how do you do it? Tatiana ...

When potty training, it's also best to teach your child to wipe his buttocks by himself, like a grown-up. But how do you do it? Tatiana Valderrama, a nursery nurse and child specialist tells us everything.

How do you teach a child to wipe himself

Children grow up very quickly and one of the most important things they learn is to keep them clean sooner or later. While this can be a real headache for some parents, you should know that getting your child clean or being able to wipe himself like a grown-up won't happen overnight. So be patient, because your toddler will learn the lesson over and over again. But before showing him how to wipe himself, you can make him aware, from the age of 18 months, of good hygiene habits such as washing his face or washing his hands after going to the potty, according to Tatiana Valderrama, a nursery nurse and founder of Baby Tipper, a site specializing in parental coaching.

At what age is a child capable of wiping himself or herself?

There is no real age for a child to be able to wipe himself or herself. Every child is different, so some will be more resourceful than others. It all depends on the development of the child's fine motor dexterity (ability to make certain movements with his hands). This is what will determine whether your toddler has good hand control and, in this case, the ability to wipe himself. This notion being crucial, some children's centers observe Montessori pedagogy. A program, which aims to optimize the agility of the hand of the youngest through artistic activities (drawing, sorting objects, opening and closing buttons, opening a lock with a key and ...). 

How do you explain to a child how to wipe his buttocks?

Children learn by watching, so it's all about imitation. To help him wipe himself, you can take a doll and demonstrate on it. The fact that he watches you do it is also a way to teach him. It is important that you show him but especially that you verbalize your action step by step. It is by watching and listening that he will assimilate and that the learning will go quickly. Thus, there is no secret, you have to repeat until he gets there on his own.  

Should we continue to assist him the first few times he does it on his own?

The technique for your child to learn how to wipe himself as well as possible, is to show him as much as possible until it becomes a habit. It's important to know that you've always been the one to clean him after he's been on the potty. So the child is used to having you around. And if he doesn't see you by his side overnight, it can be confusing and unsettling. That's why it's important to continue to assist him for a good period of time, until he gets used to it and becomes completely independent. And even if he does it on his own, it is always good to go back behind him to make sure that he is really clean.

Should we use a specific toilet paper dedicated to baby's bottom?

As you know, your child's skin is more sensitive than yours. It is therefore recommended to use special products for its hygiene. In the early stages, prefer cleaning with water. Start with wipes and washcloths. Once the child is completely autonomous, he will be able to use paper. As for the type of paper, choose a soft toilet paper so that the child's skin is not damaged and irritated. The skin on baby's bottom is fragile, so it's best to pamper it.

What are the risks if Baby doesn't wipe properly?

As you know, the lack of cleanliness is the cause of many ills. And if on an adult the risks can be important, you guess that with a child it will be worse. Irritations, urinary infections and many others are elements that can cause a medical complication to your child. It is really important that you make sure your child stays clean. And until he really manages to clean himself, you must continue to check that his buttocks are clean. But again, if your child is a girl, it's important to teach her to wipe from front to back to prevent the stool from coming into contact with the vulva, which could cause infection.

If Baby doesn't want to wipe his buttocks, should he be made to do so?

It is important to explain calmly and in simple words why it is important for him to clean himself every time he goes to the toilet. Do not hesitate to mention the risks to his hygiene and health. Encouragement is also a big part of the learning process. Do not hesitate to reassure him and value him in order to boost his confidence. Teaching him cleanliness requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Indeed, it is necessary to know that it depends on the good will of your toddler. Thus, you can be sure that if he does not want to cooperate, your mission will be a failure.

You, as a parent, will need to be understanding, calm, and trust him or her. Forcing him will only frustrate him and shut him down, so explain the importance of this to him. This is a process that takes time. There is no point in going fast or trying to impose your rhythm on him. On the contrary, you have to adapt to his. It's by working with your child that you'll be able to teach him or her to wipe himself or herself.

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