Potty Training: Is Your 4-Year-Old Ready to Wipe?

Learning how to wipe their bottom is an activity each child learns at their own pace. While some kids learn as early as 27 months, others might take 6 or 7 years. When kids are ready to learn toilet training, including how to wipe their bottom, they show various signs, so keep a lookout on them. You can teach them slowly by training them through activities or voicing your actions as you do them. Wiping is difficult, so you can do a few things to ensure the process is easier for them, like buying good quality toilet paper. Of course, mistakes and accidents will happen, but don’t yell at them, or they won’t be able to learn correctly.

Potty training is a significant milestone for kids and parents. Most parents are confused about this stage because sometimes other kids might learn it faster than their own kid, or their own kid might be faster than others.

One question they always ask is, what should be the right age for potty training? By what age should their kid learn to wipe themselves?

While all these questions are valid, there’s no specific age by which your kid should learn to achieve these milestones; it all depends on their readiness, developmental skills, and focus on achieving it.

At what age do kids start toilet training?

Mom is helping her toddler daughter learn how to use the toilet. She is teaching her how to do it so that she can use the potty on her own.

Learning how to wipe by themselves is an integral part of potty training. But before your little one can learn how to wipe, they must learn how to use the washroom and develop bladder control.

Even reaching that stage sometimes takes a lot of time, but it could also happen earlier.

Many parents are confused as their older child might have potty trained by age 3, but their younger child still needs to be done with their training by the time they turn 5.

So, why do some children learn this critical developmental skill earlier than others?

The average potty training age is around 27 months, but it’s essential to notice if your little one is ready before you try potty training them and teach them how to wipe.

Is my kid ready to wipe themselves?

You can’t simply force your little one to use the washroom and teach them how to wipe themselves if they aren’t ready.

Just like when you were waiting for your little one to talk and could spot signs of them ready and willing to speak. Babies start by understanding basic vocabulary like “no,” “yes,” “hi,” “bye,” “mama,” and “papa.”

So, when they’re ready to talk, they try to voice out the word or do an action for the said word, like waving their hands when saying “bye.”

Similarly, you must pick on signs your little one shows you when they’re ready to wipe themselves.

Some signs include:

  • They can verbally express their desire to go to the washroom or learn how to do it themselves.
  • Going to the front door of the bathroom and stood there asking for help.
  • Pointing to the toilet when there’s an urge to pee or poop.
  • Holding their pee and their diaper is becoming more dry day by day.
  • Showing other signs of independence, showcasing they are ready to be more independent.
  • Holding the tissue paper or pointing towards it, prepared to learn how to wipe.

How do I teach my kid to wipe their bottom?

Every parent wonders if there’s a proper technique to teach their child to wipe their bottom. Is there actually an easy technique to achieve potty training?

Not so much. Every skill is a learning process and needs time and practice to achieve completion.

A young toddler girl is using her doll to practice using the toilet.

It will take time for your little one to learn how to clean their bottom cleanly, and they will keep trying and failing again and again.

But you can start teaching them slowly right from when their potty training process begins. Showing them what a tissue is and what you do with it is doing much more than you realize.

You’re keeping them informed in this manner, and soon they will reach a stage when they indicate towards tissue or tell you they’re done indirectly telling you that they’re ready to be wiped.

Make sure you also do the following:

  • Tell them to wipe and drop the tissue in the toilet.
  • Keep wiping until the tissue comes clean.
  • For girls, teach them to wipe from front to back only.
  • Teach them to flush as soon as they’re done with their business.
  • Make sure they wash their hands properly afterward.

How do you limit toilet paper for kids?

A potty training toddler boy is in the bathroom sitting on the potty and playing with toilet paper

Using too much toilet paper can be wasteful while using too little can make things messy.

It would be best if you made a rule to use a defined amount of toilet paper for your little one. Of course, this is a much later stage when they have already learned how to wipe.

But you can also start early and make sure you let them know how many squares of toilet paper you’re using each time by counting it in front of them.

Another way to limit toilet paper wastage is marking a line by drawing a creative streak or their favorite cartoon pasted on the wall telling them when to stop.

This is both entertaining and educational for your child.

Mistakes to avoid when teaching kid how to wipe the bottom

Like anything else, you can make mistakes while teaching your little one how to clean their bottom properly after pooping.

Mom is helping her toddler daughter get used to using the potty and how to wipe herself clean when she's finished.

It’s alright to make mistakes because that’s how they’ll learn what to do and what not to do.

So, even if they make mistakes, be patient and handle the situation calmly and politely. Scolding them for their mistakes and accidents will make them afraid of making them again, hindering their learning process.

But there’re a few issues that you can avoid on your front and make things easier for them.

These include:

  • Please ensure the toilet paper you’re buying is of good quality and has a good thickness while being soft on their tushy. This will prevent the paper from tearing easily.
  • Don’t directly teach them to wipe their dirty bottom when beginning the training for the first time. Things will get out of control easily if you don’t teach them before or make them practice.
  • Please don’t leave them to do their own thing when they’ve learned how to wipe their bottom. In the beginning, you should check their bottom each time to check if it’s clean and prevent skid marks.
  • If you’re teaching them to wipe with a wet wipe, teach them not to throw it in the toilet but throw the damp wipe in the dustbin. Throwing wet tissue in the toilet can clog it.


Should a 7-year-old be able to wipe themselves?

Learning how to wipe their bottom and potty training is a significant developmental skill in children. It’s great if your little one knows how to achieve this by the age of four.

But sometimes, some kids take longer to learn this skill and might still need more time to be mentally ready to learn. But they should be interested in learning how to wipe their own bottom.

If you see no improvement by the time they turn 7 years old and you have tried different techniques to teach them, then it’s better to see your pediatrician and figure out why they’re so unwilling to learn.

How do I teach my autistic child how to wipe correctly?

Teaching an autistic child needs the right approach. They need to learn in smaller parts, and rewarding can help them learn faster.

Just like other kids, they will also show signs of being ready to be toilet trained, and it’s just they appear when autistic children are older.

It would be best if you made the toilet a comfortable and safe place for them. Some autistic kids don’t trust the bathroom for a long time, so parents start the training in a different space, slowly shifting to the toilet seat.

Visual support like images and clues can help them because it shows what a child is doing, from pulling down their jeans to sitting on the toilet, doing their business, wiping the bottom, and washing their hands.

There would be more setbacks with autistic children, but patience is the key when teaching them, just like with anything. Most importantly, if they’re mentally unprepared, you don’t have to push, and taking a couple of months’ break helps.

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As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

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