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Wipe Your Own Kid's Butt!

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Guest blogger Jana Mathews: I wiped three butts yesterday, only one of which belonged to a member of my family ... and that family member is four months old. The other two rear ends belonged to my six-year-old daughter's friends.

Woman grossed out

I was making lunch when I heard someone call my name.

"Camber's mom?"

I turned around to find a naked kindergartner standing in the middle of my kitchen with her pants around her ankles.

"I don't know how to wipe," she said.

"Seriously?" I asked.

After friend #2 also went number 2 in my bathroom -- and required similar assistance -- I began to ask myself: A) At what age do children master this valuable skill? and B) What is reasonably expected of us (i.e. someone who is not the child's parent) in the meantime? I, for one, am not super wild about my own kids' poo, and am more than a little grossed out about the thought of having to get so close to a stranger's ... especially when that stranger theoretically has been potty-trained for four years.

So what's a girl to do? Pony up and wipe away, or let the poor kid sit in her tread marks until she gets home?

Inquiring minds also want to know: Should a six-year-old be able to wipe her own butt?





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30 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley February 11, 2009, 7:39 AM

Sometimes my son (who will be 7 in April) wants me to wipe his butt. And I do it because I know if I don’t then he’ll be walking around scratching all day. Lucky for me, his body has kind of got this routine now where every night when he’s in the shower he has to get out and go poop so I don’t have to wipe for him. I don’t know about someone else’s kid, I would gag.

ame i. February 11, 2009, 9:26 AM

2 words: flushable wipes!

vicky February 11, 2009, 9:49 AM

flushable wipes!…yes, ame i., and yes, at 6 these kids should be able to wipe themselves….and if they don’t get clean enough, they will LEARN to clean better the next time after they’ve scratched for 3 hours…lol

debbie February 11, 2009, 10:01 AM

all children should wipe ther own butts if they dont clean it good the first time they will the next when all their friends tell them they smell like poop i went through that with my 9 year old stepson he was to lazy to wipe his own butt so i told him i was not going to do it so he went out to play and his friends told them him he smelled guess what now he wipes his own butt and really clean too

Lindy February 11, 2009, 11:05 AM

They should at least know how to do it by kindergarten so the teacher won’t have it.

dayna February 11, 2009, 12:15 PM

IMO: it isn’t even so much of a question as to whether or not a child of that age should be able to wipe themselves (though, i do have my personal view). it’s more of a question of parental responsibility. as a parent of a child who will not or cannot wipe themselves, why would you see it acceptable send your child solo to social events (playtime, etc)? not only is wiping/potty something ‘personal’ that should be left to the parents, and family, and those close to a child, but it’s rude and irrepsonible to assume that other childrens’ parents should be willing to take on the task.

Lisa February 11, 2009, 1:54 PM

You hit the nail on the head Dayna. As a parent, you would know whether or not your kid could wipe their own butt, so therefore, if they can’t then they shouldn’t be going over to a friend’s house alone. I would never have expected someone else to be wiping my kids bum.

faye February 11, 2009, 3:40 PM

I also felt compelled to mention that a rear end is considered a “private” in my house and I would not want a stranger messing around with my kids rear end.
It can be a sick world out there and you don’t always know who is at someone else’s home .

Queen Bee February 11, 2009, 4:12 PM

I was a preschool teacher for 2 years before I became a stay at home mommy. All of my kids were 4 years old and potty trained (because it is required in order to even go into the 3 year old class). There are some kids that are a little less capable of doing the wipe thing themselves but I refuse to do it FOR them. I WILL however talk them through doing it on their own. WHY? There is such a funny line these days of what is appropriate and what is not. Is helping a 4 year old wipe his butt okay? Probably, but I do not want some crazy parent accusing me of ANYTHING. You never know who is out to “get you” or see something the “wrong way”. So, I stand at the bathroom door where any teacher or parent can see me and tell Suzy or Johnny what to do, or that they need to wipe a little more. Soon enough they have it under control and don’t need me anymore.

Anonymous February 11, 2009, 5:24 PM

I would never refuse to wipe a child’s rear if they asked me. That would be just plain mean! You know you would obviously do a better job than them and if you agree to have a bunch of kindergarteners over to your house then you better be prepared for the worst!

Anonymous February 11, 2009, 9:30 PM

smelly butts and skid marks. hee hee

Anonymous February 12, 2009, 3:49 PM

What kind of dumb name is Camber?

Anonymous March 2, 2009, 12:57 AM

my son is 3 and we go back and forth with this, i’m trying to get him more self sufficient because soon he will be in daycare and pre-school and i know they wont do it for him, and he is capable, jus sometimes if its exeptionally messy, or he’s being especially stubborn i’ll lend a hand, though usually i’m only needed for a cleanliness check.

Cassandra March 4, 2009, 6:32 PM

By 6 years of age I think a child should be able to wipe their own bottom. At this age they should already be in Kindergarten, and their teachers will not do it for them at school. Personally I think I would be in a really awkward position if that happened to me because I have boys and therefore most of their friends are boys, and I would not be comftorable wiping another boys bottom.

Leslie March 27, 2009, 10:30 PM

You wiped 2 more butts than I would have that day. “Um, no thanks. You go ahead and finish up in there and wash your hands when you’re done.”

Andrea January 21, 2010, 8:38 PM

My kids have all been wiping on their own since they were potty trained (around 2 years). Does this mean we don’t have skid marks? No, it does not. While they wipe themselves, they don’t always do a good job of it.

I’m not sure if it relates to fine motor, attention or interest. Probably, the kids just aren’t that keen on making sure thier butts are squeaky clean. They don’t ask for help, but their skills have room to grow.

They are 3 and 5 now and I’m not sure when we’ll see the end of skid marks. One day, hopefully.

Prudential West March 5, 2010, 5:42 PM

I have two nephews, 3 and just turned 5. Neither of them know how to wipe on their own yet. When I was babysitting them I was a little shocked when I got asked by the oldest that he needed help. Of course being their aunt made it a little less awkward than having it be a friends kid or something. But regardless, it was not fun and it made me feel terrible for ever putting my own parents through the same thing.

Mickey April 22, 2010, 9:36 AM

My daughter is almost six and I still wipe her bottom. Personally I am totally grossed out by skid marks and have no desire to cuddle with a kid that smells like poop. We have discussed the fact that she is going to need to start practicing this skill in the very near future but for right now I would rather help her out and ensure she feels fresh and clean.As for sending her to friends’ houses solo etc. my daughter has never once pooped while at school or a friends house. That being said if I couldn’t trust a fellow mom to help my daughter out of a icky situation I would not be sending her to their house in the first place.

Mickey April 22, 2010, 9:36 AM

My daughter is almost six and I still wipe her bottom. Personally I am totally grossed out by skid marks and have no desire to cuddle with a kid that smells like poop. We have discussed the fact that she is going to need to start practicing this skill in the very near future but for right now I would rather help her out and ensure she feels fresh and clean.As for sending her to friends’ houses solo etc. my daughter has never once pooped while at school or a friends house. That being said if I couldn’t trust a fellow mom to help my daughter out of a icky situation I would not be sending her to their house in the first place.

b April 25, 2010, 8:33 AM

I have to wipe my nephew’s who is 10


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