Teaching the Basics by Julie Jenkins Sathe
Just because your child can go potty in the toilet does not mean your job as a toileting guru parent is complete. Your child doesn’t know how, until you teach them, to care for their body and the bathroom in the way that we all want. Whose job is this? It’s yours! If you have a great child care provider, it’s their job too. (Grandmas and Grandpas get on board, as well!) Firstly, don’t allow yourself to be embarrassed to talk to your own child about the parts of their body that pee and poop.
Girls’ bodies have special needs: We must teach young girls how to wipe. Yes, how to wipe. It makes the most sense to a girl to wipe from back to front. It’s quicker and easier to reach. BUT IT’S WRONG. This is a DANGER ZONE for girls to wipe feces into their vaginal area and will likely promote infections.
So, use the Enlightened Discipline chore word of clean to explain this.
“Reach around your back and wipe your bottom. Wipe it as many times as needed to be clean. Drop the paper in the toilet. Flush.”
If you notice that your girl-child is itching or red in the genital area, make sure you go over these instructions and watch how she wipes. A visit with your pediatrician if the irritation occurs is the right decision.
Boys’ bodies are natural to wipe correctly and even if they don’t, infection is less likely. But boys must be taught to aim in the toilet. Their penis doesn’t stay still while urinating. So, we must teach our young boys to:
- lift the lid (for a bigger target),
- watch (you’d be surprised) where he is peeing and
- control his own body part (penis) with a finger or hand.
- Then, final step: shake it!
The rest of the family will prefer a dry seat. Go one step further and have them wipe the seat area down with a little toilet paper.
As a parent, teach your child how to get enough toilet paper and wrap it on THEIR hand to wipe their own bottom. If bowel movements are very loose, use a diaper wipe as the last clean up. Avoid the temptation to start (and continue) wiping your child’s bottom. Children who are just beginning to use the toilet (around age two) must learn that this is their job. Yes, it’s poop and it’s their poop. If they get it on their hands, they learn how to get more toilet paper and to wash well afterward.
Voila! Now you are teaching toileting skills.