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Potty Training Tips: Step-by-Step Guide for Teaching Kids to Wipe Properly and Safely

potty training tips step by step guide

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re planning on embarking on potty training (if not already in the process). Many how-to books, articles, and even videos share the best way to train your child to use the toilet, but have you come across anything that broaches the subject of how to teach your little one to wipe themselves properly afterward?

It's important to teach your child how to wipe so they're doing it in a safe and effective way to prevent infections. Here are some potty training tips with step-by-step instructions to help you show your child the cleaner, safer, and healthier way to wipe!

From Baby Wipes to “Big Kid” Wipes

You’ve probably been using baby wipes for diaper changes, trusting brands like Nice ’N CLEAN® BABY Wipes to provide hypoallergenic cleanliness without irritation for your baby each and every time. It’s virtually unheard of for parents to use toilet paper for diaper changes for good reason -- toilet paper is rough and irritating to your newborn’s delicate skin, it’s not as effective in cleaning off feces, and you’d have to use tons of it for each diaper change. 

So knowing this, why do parents switch to toilet paper when potty training? Wouldn’t it make more sense to help your child continue to stay clean, comfortable, and healthy through the toilet training process by using moist toilet tissue? 

Benefits of Using Moist Toilet Tissue for Potty Training

  • More hygienic than toilet paper: Using flushable wipes can help prevent infections related to improper or inadequate wiping. 

  • More effective than toilet paper: The moisture in flushable wipes helps clean the area more effectively and completely, so you don’t have to worry about poop or dry toilet paper bits left behind.

  • More soothing and gentle than toilet paper: Moist toilet tissue like Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wipes are infused with aloe and vitamin E for a more moisturizing and soothing wiping experience. This means less irritation and less likelihood of micro cuts which can lead to infections.

When you embark on your potty training journey, be sure to teach good habits from the start by helping your child clean up in the most hygienic and comfortable way -- with Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wipes.

Potty Training for Girls

For your daughter, the process of using the toilet—and the clean-up needed afterward—can be confusing at first. Toddlers learn through imitation, so watching Mom, Grandma, or even a big sister go through each step will make it easier for your daughter to remember and repeat herself. Be patient, stay calm, and be sure to positively reinforce each step as she tries it for herself.  

Here are some steps to follow when teaching your daughter how to use flushable wipes:

  1. After she has successfully urinated in the potty, place a Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wipe across her hand. Explain that she will use this to wipe away any wetness on her vaginal area and bottom to clean up.

  2. Show her how to carefully wipe her bottom from front to back. She can do this from the front or from behind depending on her coordination level (wiping from behind is recommended). This prevents bringing bacteria from the rectum to the vagina or bladder, which can lead to irritation and infection. If this seems too hard for her to do at first, start by showing her how to pat the area dry instead.

  3. Once she gets the hang of wiping after urination, start teaching her how to wipe after a bowel movement. For clean-up after a bowel movement, teach your daughter the “Reach-Around.” This is essential to help her keep poop away from her vagina and bladder, and to avoid bacterial infections. Hold her hand and help her do the motions the first few times until she is comfortable with it.

  4. After wiping, direct her to drop the soiled wet wipe into the potty. Then have her “help” you flush the waste and the flushable wipe down the toilet.

  5. Be sure to help your daughter finish the bathroom process by thoroughly washing her hands with soap and water. If you’re on-the-go and don’t have access to a sink, you can use an antibacterial hand wipe, such as Nice ’N CLEAN® Sani-Hands® Antibacterial Hand Wipes, which kill 99.9% of common bacteria on your skin.

Potty Training for Boys

When it comes to your son, you may have heard from other parents that training boys is harder than training girls. This isn’t necessarily true. Again, toddlers learn through imitation, so watching Dad, Grandpa, or a big brother go through each step will make it easier for your son to remember and try for himself. Try to maintain a positive, upbeat, and encouraging attitude during the process, especially in front of your child, and be understanding about inevitable mistakes and messes.

Here are some steps to follow when teaching your son how to use flushable wipes:

  1. Many parents find it easier to teach their sons to urinate sitting down at first. If you decide to do this, it’s a good idea to show him how to use a wet wipe to clean his penis afterward. 

  2. After he has successfully urinated into the toilet (poke it down!), give him a moist toilet tissue and explain that he will use it to wipe away (or pat off) any wetness still on his penis.

  3. Once he gets the hang of it, start teaching him how to wipe after a bowel movement. For clean-up after a bowel movement, place a flushable wipe in your son’s hand and teach him to “Reach-Around” and wipe from front to back. This helps keep poop away from his urethra, which can lead to bacterial infections. Hold his hand and help him do the motions the first few times until he gets comfortable doing it by himself.

  4. After wiping, direct him to drop the soiled wet wipe into the potty. Then have him “help” you flush the waste and the flushable wipe down the toilet.

  5. Be sure to help your son finish the bathroom process by thoroughly washing his hands with soap and water. If you don’t have easy access to a sink, use an antibacterial hand wipe instead. 

When starting out, it may be easier to wipe once per wipe. Eventually, you’ll want to teach your child to fold it after one wipe, and wipe again. For messy bowel movements, it may take two wet wipes to finish the job. The toilet should be flushed one wipe at a time. Most children can start wiping independently around ages 4-5 but you may need to help do a final wipe with bowel movements until they’re a little older (unless you’re okay with poop-stained underwear).

Potty training is already stressful enough -- make it an easier transition for your child by using flushable wipes instead of dry toilet paper. A flushable wipe feels more like the baby wipes they’re used to, they’re more gentle and soothing on their bottoms, and most importantly, they’re more effective and hygienic than toilet paper alone.

Toilet training is a big step for both you and your child. Like most life lessons, it comes down to timing, patience, and tools you can trust. Break the process down to small, achievable steps, and remember, let your child go at their own pace. Be positive, be consistent, be supportive—and, of course, be prepared with Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wet Wipes!

*Nice ’N CLEAN® Flushable Wipes are made with Eco-Flush® Technology. Safe for well-maintained sewers and septic systems. Flush only one wipe at a time. Not recommended for use in motorhomes or basement pump systems.

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