Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Self-Care Skills for Kids | Toileting

My first thought about my daughter starting full day kindergarten next year was "uh oh, who will clean her bum after a poop...a messy poop?!". The things we stress about as parents. But seriously, the thought of my kid sitting around at school all day with a dirty bum is anxiety provoking. My recently turned 4-year-old has been potty trained for a while now but I still question her ability to clean her bum properly after the odd messy poop. We put together some useful tips to get your kid ready to master the art of wiping in preparation for kindergarten. If you need a good laugh, check out this post on bum wiping, we got a good chuckle and some good tips from it.
  1. The best way to begin teaching a child how to toilet independently is to model it yourself (or have an older sibling model it) by showing them how to sit on the toilet, how to wipe and how to properly wash their hands. Provide visual and verbal instruction to reinforce learning. Even better, get them to mimic you on a potty beside you.
  2. Set up your washroom at home to increase your child's independence. Invest in a good quality stool (with a rubber bottom to prevent sliding/slipping) for them to access the toilet/sink safely. Make sure the toilet paper roll/flushable wet wipes, hand soap and towel are easily accessible.
    Love the rubber mat on top and the rubber strips on the bottom of this  stool!
  3. Dress your child in clothing that makes toileting easier (i.e. elastic waistbands). Avoid clothing that is tight and/or cumbersome to remove (buckles, snaps, zippers, overalls etc).
  4. Use flushable wet wipes initially. Wet wipes will leave their bums sparkling. It also provides greater sensory feedback so they know exactly where they are wiping.
  5. When you start using toilet paper, have your child count the number of toilet paper squares to make sure they are using enough paper to wipe. Depending on the thickness of the toilet paper, 3-5 squares are usually the right amount. I still remember being stuck on a toilet with no toilet paper in sight and asking my toddler to fetch some toilet paper from the other washroom. She returned with a measly quarter square of toilet paper...sigh...FAIL.
  6. Strongly emphasize wiping from front to back. This is especially important in girls to prevent bacteria from getting inside their vaginas. To practice the movement of wiping outside of the washroom, have your kid pass beanbags (or any other object) between their legs, from front to back.
  7. Instruct your child to check the toilet paper after each wipe to make sure there is no more poop left. You can practice this by colouring a small wipe board with a brown marker. Using toilet paper, have your child practice wiping the board until there is no brown marks left on the toilet paper. Make sure to instruct them to wipe carefully to avoid getting any brown marker on their hands (or anywhere else!).  Or you can use peanut butter on a plate....or chocolate sauce...or anything brown really!
  8. Initially, provide assistance after each poop. Use hand over hand assistance to physically show your child how to wipe. Gradually reduce the amount of assistance as they master the motion themselves. Once they have mastered the motion of wiping, provide supervision to make sure they are doing it correctly. Ask them to show you the toilet paper after each wipe. 
  9. Encourage proper hand washing hygiene by having your child sing a song that is at least 20 seconds long (i.e. Happy Birthday twice or the Alphabet song) while washing their hands. Show them how to wash in between their fingers. A fun game to show them how to wash their hands properly is to sprinkle glitter ("germs") on their hands and then get them to wash their hands until all the glitter ("germs") come off. Every crafter and child educator knows that glitter is a pain in the butt to get rid of, so hopefully this will help your child understand the importance of taking the time to wash their hands well. 
  10. Always keep a change of clothes in their cubby at school in case an accident does happen. I'm sure your child's teacher will instruct you to bring in a change of clothes on the first day of school. The last thing you want is your kid waiting for you in soiled clothing.
  11. Finally, Good Luck! Let's all hope our children will be blessed with ghost poops during their early school years. 
Is your kid using the toilet independently (lucky lucky you)? Please share your tips with us so we can all have kids with clean bums by September!

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