Potty Problems: 4 Solutions to Your Preschooler's Toilet Troubles

Toilet Trouble: Wiping

Cleaning up is easy for most kids to handle after urinating, but after a bowel movement it's another story. "The majority of 3- and 4-year-olds don't have the strength or dexterity to really do the job right," says Dr. Christophersen. "Kids usually have to be at least 5 to do it properly." But for now, you can help your child get the hang of it.

The best way to do this is to teach the "wipe, look, and drop" method. Be sure to explain how you press firmly to wipe, then look at the tissue, and drop it into the toilet. Remind her that you need to repeat the process until the tissue comes back clean and finish up with a thorough hand-washing. Keep the whole thing simple and matter-of-fact, and skip any extra commentary if it's messy. After you've shown her how to wipe once or twice, turn the task over to her but do a follow-up check of your own. If your child's a neatnik, she may not want to even give it a try, but stay firm. This is a skill that preschoolers need to master.

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