In which my four year old outwits me

by DaniGirl on January 14, 2007 · 25 comments

in Ah, me boys

For the most part, potty training Tristan was a breeze. He waited until he was three and a half to be ready for it, but when he was ready, the transition was quick, painless and relatively dry. From the last day of diapers, we’ve had a total of maybe a dozen accidents at most. A year and a half later, however, one hurdle remains.

He refuses to wipe his own butt.

We’ve tried cajoling, reasoning, bribing and ignoring him, but he outwaits us every time. And for reasons I’ll never understand, the vast preponderance of the time, he likes to go when we are sitting at the dinner table.

Tristan, from the bathroom: “I’m done.”

Me, at the table: “Good.”


Tristan: “Are you coming?”

Me: “No. Wipe yer own butt.”

Tristan, whining: “I can’t!”

Me: “Yes, you can.”

Tristan: “I don’t want to!”

Me: “Well, that’s probably closer to the truth. You have to learn to wipe your own butt, Tristan. Big boys wipe their own butts.”


Tristan: “Is this Monday?”

Me, unfazed at the non-sequiter: “No, it’s Saturday.”

Tristan: “Well, I only wipe my own butt on Mondays.”

How do you argue with logic like that? He may have won again today, but you can bet he’s not getting away with it come Monday!

(Edited to add: and by God if he didn’t wipe his own butt on Monday. By his choice, mind you. He called from the bathroom, I reminded him it was Monday, and he said “Oh, okay” and did it. Who knew??)

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ingrid January 14, 2007 at 1:51 am

Echos of our youngest! We got tired of being called to wipe so we set a time limit, which happened to be when he turned 5.On his 5th birthday, we didn’t wipe – we only checked. Well, checking got tiresome (for us) so we told him that at Christmas we would no longer be wiping or checking. On Dec 23rd, as he was running to the bathroom he chirped out “only 2 more days of checking bum!!”.
This target date system seemed to work well for us; he now is somewhat condescending to children who are 6 and still have their mothers/fathers wipe their bums (that attitude did NOT come from us!!)

2 Marla January 14, 2007 at 3:26 am

(rethinking the betrothal of our children)

3 Her Bad Mother January 14, 2007 at 3:37 am

Maybe Monday is National butt-wiping day. You never know. Kids, they know these things.

4 Amy S. January 14, 2007 at 5:59 am

That’s too funny! It sounds like my house most days. I’ve found since I got him the little butt wipey thingies, he’s better at attempting on his own. Only now when he pees, he has to wipe that too!

5 Phil January 14, 2007 at 7:19 am

My 5-year-old daughter has been having butt-wiping issues for the past year. We’ve gone through a lot of underwear, because you can only bleach those things so many times before they fall apart. She’s starting to get it now… She doesn’t want to be “stinky” at kindergarten.

6 Miche January 14, 2007 at 1:57 pm

I never cease to be impressed (and bewildered) by the advanced stalling and avoidance techniques of kids!

7 Mrs. Schmitty January 14, 2007 at 2:13 pm

I’ve just begun the potty training with my youngest. And I’m still wiping the butt of my 4 year old. So, my days of butt cleaning are far from over! I just love the logic of your little one…doesn’t it stink when they are smarter than us?

8 Chantal January 14, 2007 at 4:04 pm

My 5.5 year old says the same sort of things. She refuses to poop at school because I’m not there to wipe her butt. I’ve stopped now and refuse to do it. I bought her some flushable wipes so she has more confidence, but I told her 5.5 is my “ass wiping” cut off point!

9 alison January 14, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Yeah, I’m still wiping the 4-yr-old’s butt too. Hey, maybe I could use that Monday thing…you know, tomorrow I could say, “Sorry, can’t wipe your butt today, it’s Monday – Wipe Your Own Butt day. And then it could be Wipe Your Own Butt week. You see where I’m going with this.
Good luck with Tristan. It’s a bit humbling how often we can be outwitted by our children.

10 Claudette January 14, 2007 at 7:42 pm

My toddler is only 22 months but we’ve begun toilet training some time ago. Well, it’s more like “introductions” to the whole toiilet training issue. Anyway, after reading this post I realized that I am nowhere ready for this! It never occurred to me that a child would “go” but not “wipe”.
See, I knew there was a reason for surfing the blogsphere…
If you’re interested in my son’s toilet adventures at just prior to 2, the url for the label “toilet training” is pasted below (there’s only 6 short posts, scroll to the bottom for the first one):
Happy wiping!

11 JF January 14, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Clever… seems logical… something is wrong, but I can’t pinpoint it.
Reminds me of a small cousin: “I’m not telling you you can’t come in my room, the sign is telling you. It says this is the zoo and the zoo is CLOSED!”

12 nancy January 14, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Another butt-wiper here to two 4.5 year olds. My goal is September, when they start full day kindergarten. Please tell me it is realistic.

13 BeachMama January 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm

I haven’t even bothered with letting J wipe his own butt. I figure it will happen when he is ready.

14 Renee January 15, 2007 at 12:25 am

That’s too funny. He’s good, eh? Let’s try something along same the lines. Tell him next time, ‘well, I only wipe your butt on Tuesday nights.’

15 mamatulip January 15, 2007 at 12:50 pm

LOL. What can you say to that?

16 Sharon January 15, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Nathan wipes just fine useless he has a had alot of fruit and then It’s MOM…and always while eating dinner. SIGH.
Now coan some tell me how to keep h im dry at nights?

17 Madeleine January 15, 2007 at 2:37 pm

This brings back the memories. And yes, like everyone else’s kids, always during dinner.
It took a while, but I made it a concerted “Learning how” campaign the summer before JK. So for a couple of months I sat on the edge of the tub while my dinner got cold, giving step by step instructions, but never helping. And then a bath at bedtime.
She still likes me to help when we are out in public though, and I do just to get the event over with.
Also, and here is my shameful secret, I can’t be bothered with frequent baths when it isn’t summer, so I wipe her bottom with a flushable wipe at bedtime just to be sure. Somedays nothing, some days a fair bit. She will get better at it eventually, right?

18 Dal January 15, 2007 at 3:36 pm

OMG that is just too funny!!!!
Today in Monday, hopefully he will keep his promise!
Dal πŸ™‚

19 Greencolander January 15, 2007 at 5:29 pm

OMG – I had sudden flashbacks to my sister. She is four years younger, and I was horribly embarrassed when she went through the “I need someone to wipe my butt” phase. “MUUUU-um! I’m done,” she’d yell from the bathroom. Oh, the agony.

20 twinmomplusone January 15, 2007 at 7:24 pm

how clever he is! wonder where he gets taht from πŸ˜‰
btw, mine only wipe their butts if there are moist wipes around otherwise I get called to the rescue :()

21 Cakes January 16, 2007 at 12:34 am

soooo…Did he wipe his own butt today?
We have the same problem, btw.

22 Marla January 16, 2007 at 4:09 pm

21 comments on butt-wiping. 10 on your madd home improvement skillz. What does that say?

23 Michelle January 16, 2007 at 11:42 pm

Well at least you can pretty much guarantee he will grow out of the phase . . . eventually πŸ™‚

24 yvonne January 17, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Try Kandoos. They smell nice and my boys go through them like candy.

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