Endless wiping and other common wiping issues

From endless wiping after bowel movements to not being clean, we cover the most common wiping problems.

Content reviewed and approved by Amanda Jenner, the longest established and most experienced Toilet Training Expert in the UK today, and founder of the Potty Training Academy.

When it comes to little ones learning to wipe their bums, there are often a few little hurdles to overcome. Whether wiping too much or not enough, learning to clean their little bums properly is a key life skill that will keep them feeling clean, confident and fresh after going to the toilet.

As kids can’t always easily see what’s going on when wiping their bums, there can be a lot of issues. We’ll cover them in this article so you’re armed with the knowledge you need to help them on their way to wiping properly, both when you’re around and the times when you’re not

We’ll look at:

Common problems when wiping

How to overcome common wiping challenges 

Tips and tricks for wiping successfully

While we are going to briefly touch on issues like blood in stool and worms, if these appear then don’t hesitate to speak to a GP.

Endless wiping after bowel movement

After a trip to the loo, some children keep wiping as they think they aren’t getting clean. There are many reasons for endless wiping after a bowel movement.

Technique. Some children haven’t quite mastered the right technique, so simply aren’t getting clean. A good way to make sure is to go to the toilet with them and show them what to do. With your support and coaching, they’ll soon be able to master it themselves.

Worried they aren’t clean. A good way to overcome this is to ask them to clean themselves, and then you check to let them know when they’re all clean. This way they’ll get to learn how much they need to wipe to look and feel clean. 

If you think they’re using too much toilet roll or too many wipes, give them a limit so they know roughly how much they should be using to get clean. If they’re taking a long time in the loo or asking questions like ‘why do I need to wipe so much after pooping’, run through the technique with them each time.

Amanda suggests: “Tear some toilet paper off and leave a limited amount paper for them to use, as using too much is a habit that many children tend to adopt.”

Children don’t wipe bums clean

When children don’t clean their bottom properly after a trip to the toilet, it could lead to dirty pants, smelly bottoms, itchy bums and even upset tummies if they touch their bottoms then their mouths. An easy way to prevent these issues is by teaching good handwashing etiquette alongside wiping technique, so there’s less chance of transferring any nasty germs around.

Itchy bottoms

If your child is constantly putting their hands down their pants to scratch their bum, it can be a sign they’re having problems wiping. A good way to help them is by giving them their own pack of wipes to use at home. This can help offer them some ownership over cleaning their bottom and encourage better wiping habits at school, too. 

Sometimes toilet paper alone can be difficult for kids to get clean with at first, so it pays to have some flushable wipes at hand to help them out until they get the hang of it. While wipes can really help at this stage, it’s important to remember wipes won’t always be at hand, so they need to perfect wiping with toilet roll. 

Some children are too busy wanting to get back to playing that they don’t take the time to wipe their bum properly, so make sure they know how important it is to be clean and reward them once they start getting it right. 

Bad smells

Children who’re wiping their bum but can’t get it properly clean can sometimes smell a little, so it’s important to take action right away if you think your child may be having problems. 

Stains in their pants can be a key indicator they aren’t wiping their bum fully clean, so be sure to keep checking their clothing, and then show them how to wipe properly to make sure they understand the technique.

It’s also worth noting that poo stains in pants aren’t always from poor wiping and could be upset tummies, so always check with your GP if you think your child is wiping properly and there might be something else going on.

Blood when wiping

Children might see a little bit of blood on the toilet paper or in their poo when wiping for a number of different reasons. This can be caused by:

Wiping too hard – Excessive wiping can cause your child’s bottom to bleed a little when going to the toilet. If this is the case, review their technique or ensure they use softer wipes.

Infections – A number of different bacterial infections and viruses can lead to seeing blood in your little one’s stool. Usually, if they have an infection, it will be accompanied by a high fever or tummy pains, so you’ll know to take them to see a doctor.

Inflammatory bowel disease – This condition can cause inflammation of the intestine. Some common indicators of the disease include bloody diarrhoea, mucus, low energy levels and tummy pains.

Fissures and tears – Streaks of bright red blood on either their pants or the toilet roll can indicate a tear or anal fissure. This is usually caused by your child’s poo being too hard (causing them to strain when going to the loo) and can be caused by them not going to the toilet when they feel the urge. The tear will repair itself over time, but could get worse if it keeps happening so it’s really important to make sure your child knows to go to the toilet when they feel the need to. 

If you see any blood on toilet paper or in your child’s stool, take them to see a doctor who can work out exactly what’s going on and the next steps to take.

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