Why won't he wipe his butt?!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BestICan, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Hi, my 9yo difficult child NEVER wipes his butt or washes his hands after using the restroom. I'm sure he gets away with it all day at school and camp, but around the house it never occurs to him to close the bathroom door so I'm painfully aware of what's going on.

    Usually I just shout up the stairs, "difficult child! Wipe your butt! Wash your hands!" and he will go back and do it, but c'mon, he's NINE.

    I'm not sure if it's a sensory thing (he is sensitive to loud noise and food textures, says he doesn't like the cold water on his warm hands...neglecting the fact that we actually have hot water in the house ;-)) or if it's an ADHD thing (gotta move on to the next thing NOW!) but it's driving me nuts! He fully understands the WHY of it - he understands about germs and bacteria. In general the rest of his hygiene (bathing, tooth brushing, etc.) is on par with a typical 9yo.

    How would you deal with this?

    P.S. Gotta change my signature to indicate that we're weaning him off the Tegretol this summer...wish me luck!
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My son went a couple of years like this in elementary school. I think it was because the mmore I stressed cleanliness (why he should wipe), the more he was concerned that if he wiped, he would get some on his hand. I don't know how he got over but I feel sure he did because the evidence on the underwear (I saw it doing laundry) went away.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think this is really that uncommon for nine. They may know about germs, but aren't as concerned as we as adults are. They consider the bathroom and nature calling as interuping their fun and are anxious to get back. I know adults who don't wash their hands in restrooms!

    I never paid much attention to my own kids in this regard. My sixteen year old son who is on the autism spectrum is still bad with hygiene. He just doesn't care about it like "typical" kids do. I can talk till I'm blue in the face. He doesn't care.
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I agree with Midwest Mom. That's pretty typical for a 9 year old boy. Gross but typical. Maybe you could have him wash (or at least pre-treat) his own underwear so he could see how gross it is?

    I really don't know what else to tell you other than maybe getting some of those flushable wipes. That might make it easier or more "fun". I know when difficult child first stayed with us (we did what he thought was a respite while it was actually a get to know him visit AND a respite for his previous foster mom) he had underwear/hygene issues. He stayed with us for two weeks and his foster mom packed a weeks worth of clothes. When I gathered his stuff up after the first week so I could wash it, there were NO dirty underwear. None. And he still had 6 clean pair in his bag....soooooo..he was wearing the same pair ALLLLLL week even though he as taking baths. Of course.....it never occured to me to check because who doesn't change their drawers even if it's after a couple of days? :hammer:
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    there are a couple of ways to approach this.

    First of all, has he ever been evaluated for sensory integration disorder (Sensory Integration Disorder (SID))? With the other sensory problems that could be the "overall" reason for the food texture and noise sensitivities. If his problems are sensory related you may be able to help using brushing therapy for the Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). It is non-invasive, non-medication and very effective. But you MUST be taught to do it by an Occupational Therapist (OT) because you can actually make the problems worse by doing it incorrectly. Once you learn you may find many problems get a lot better.

    You can take other approaches, or combine approaches.

    If you want to take a hard stance on this then you can insist that he let you check his bottom to see if he wiped after each time he uses the bathroom. If you find he isn't clean then you can make him do it in front of you. You could also include some kind of reward system that he gets points if he wipes and washes each time you check and find he did those things.

    This could have a lot of anger build up. It could lead to increased anger and stress for both of you. It also could lead to digestive problems as he may start delaying a bowel movement or refusing to go for long periods. This can lead to major constipation that needs medical help to get things "cleared out".

    You could do a reward chart where he builds up to a book or other reward by wiping properly and washing his hands. I recommend the following books by Andy Griffith as a reward - my husband read them out loud to the kids and they are a riot!!! "The Day My Butt Went Psycho", "Butt Wars: The Final Conflict", "Zombie Butts From Uranus", and "What Buttosaur Is That?". (OK, so the titles are interesting. These appeal tremendously to the 7 - 11 yo boys and some girls too! They are not "polite" titles, and the books truly are about what you would imagine they are. But it could be a way to get some humor injected into the situation.)

    You may want to make a chart detailing how to wash hands, sort of like businesses post in the restrooms to remind their employees to wash hands. Put it in a clear sheet protector or wrap the sing with saran wrap by placing it face down on the wrap and taping it securely in back. then tape it up over the sink that he uses (or is supposed to use).

    You could also make HIM scrub the stains out of his underwear and/or pants. Set them aside when you do laundry and then give him a scrub brush and some soap. Have him stand at the sink in the utility room or in the bathroom and scrub the stains out. Make sure he cleans up whatever messes he makes in the bathroom while scrubbing.

    I think the scrubbing the stains, maybe with the reward chart using a sticker for each clearly worn pair of undies with no stains that comes through the laundry. the handwashing chart could be a good reminder that he needs to do that.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    difficult child told me that if he doesn't have to wipe he won't have to stop to wash his hands and he could go back to playing. Made sense when he was 9.
  7. mamabear01

    mamabear01 New Member

    I have two kids on the spectrum.

    One wipes his butt, but doesn't do so well (the stains in the underwear) and another who doesn't wipe his butt (no stains in his underwear)

    I wonder more if your child might just have more loose or wet poop?

    With my kids they have intestinal disorders (but nothing diagnosis'd or treated) but as a mom I see it. I have one child who has very clean poops and one who has more wet poops.

    I let it all go.... but add alot of bleach to the load, but I just insist they wash everytime. This is the part of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) I have lol, but it helps my kids. Not me though lol.

    Repetition, repetition, repetition. They learn from this.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We emphasised wiping in our house but had to police it a fair bit. For us, the 'skid marks" were on underwear but mostly on the walls. WHat would happen - they would wipe, then get it on their hands and wipe THAT off on the wall. So I would make them come back and clean the wall. When they denied ownership, I made them take turns at washing down the walls (so pee pressure worked, they hassled each other).

    What worked best - policing it plus installing wet wipes and a bin to put them in. I used my nose to check whether they had cleaned themselves up properly. If they didn't wipe properly, they would get a sore tail (which we anointed with either cooking oil or coconut oil). If they wiped properly but got it on their hands and didn't wash, their hands would smell.

    So I would follow the kids around and sniff. I would smell the hands (I have a VERY good nose!) and make them wash again, evewn if they said they did. "Well, you didn't wash well enough!"

    To encourge the hand-washing/tail-wiping, I made sure I involved the kids in choosing the brand of wipes as well as the hand wash stuff. The smell of the stuff made a big difference. If the kid didn't want to use soap and water to wash hands, using a hand wipe was sufficient. Similarly, using a baby wipe on the rear end is also very effective at cleaning up. We kept a small bottle of coconut oil by the loo too, so they could anoint themselves if they felt a need.

    With ongoing supervision/nagging they did learn that keeping clean feels more comfortable and there are multiple ways to ahcieve this wiout it being too unpleasant.

    As for the "I have to get back to my game" - if they have to run the gauntlet of a Mum inspection then getting it right to begin with is faster than being made to go back and do it again.

    If I found "skid marks" on underwear or bedding, I would again fetch the kid involved and show them, pointing out thta i HAVE to do the laundry, they do NOT have to make the job more unpleasant than it already is; their failure to keep clean will rsult in them having to wash their own soiled clothing, doing it by hand without gloves until they get the message. (that's not so dangerous as it sounds - there are fewer nasty germs in faecal matter than in saliva. Besides, if they don't wipe properly/don't wash properly, chances are their hands are already germy).

    It can be dealt with but it needs consistency and persistence. And humour!

  9. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I have the same problem. difficult child is almost fourteen. It's veeeeery tiring, embarrassing, and it's one thing I will never understand (not at this age...).
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It is so anoying to have to deal with this. We didn't have so many problems with skid marks, but the hand washing was a really big issue for me. Cleaning everything was, to be honest. I don't know if he thought about unflushed matter in the toilet or not.

    I used to call him from the neighbors and it was a safe walk for kids - we found that the person with the danger behavior toward kids was another neighbor, but one I didn't trust anyway. He just loved to have kids around but HIS kids refused to see him.

    If I knew that he skipped either flushing or hand washing I waited until he was at the neighbors and just getting started (maybe 3-4 minutes after he left) and then I would call him home again. I told him that the bathroom needed "attending" and left it at that. Many times he would flush and rush out of the house with-o washing his hands. Again I waited for him to just get started and called him home. He was pretty upset by this time. I waited for him to calm, then told him I was very sorry but certain chores simply must be done completely, no wiggling out of it. Then I asked HIM what he hadn't done.

    I had a checklist in a clear sheet protector taped up to the mirror in front of the bathroom sinks. I would have him go and get it, then come and talk through it. he was told that I would know if he lied and he would earn an extra chore for each lie. Then we went through the checklist. He almost never earned the extra chore for lying. He would admit to not washing his hands, though usually it was when he realized that I was actually going to look at his hands and touch them. Because they were ALWAYS sticky little boy hands,LOL!!!

    About the fourth or fifth time I did this we had moved to live with my parents so husband could go to grad school. He had started to argue about cleaning up his own skid marks and coming back to wash hands. I had learned to make homemade soap by this time. One of the chores we had him do was to help make the soap that would be used for the hand washing of the skid marks. A bar of homemade lye soap (or a bar of ivory) was what we used. Usually it was a small chunk of homemade soap that was trimmed off of a bar or it was teh end of the bar of soap that was too little to use in the shower. It takes HOURS of stirring to make soap. He never handled the lye, and wore gloves. He used a 4 foot wooden dowel (like a broom handle) and the lye was in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. It didn't even use 13 of the bucket so splashing didn't happen. I wanted him to be safe and clean his own underwear, NOT to be injured in any way.

    After one time of missing the trip to the pool that came up unexpectedly with an offer from his friend's mom, Wiz never again told me that the skid marks were Jessie's, Tyler's or Sammy the Cat's. Yes, he did tell me that the cat caused the skid marks one time. It was also very very VERY HARD to keep a straight face when he came out with "Sammy did it, I didn't."

    I know the interruptions bothered him. Actually they bugged him a lot. he would yell and scream sometimes. After he calmed I explained that I would continue to do it as long as he continued to not clean the skid marks (I always knew because he changed after any potty break that he saw the stains and then he tossed the dirty undies on the bathroom floor.), not flush, and or not wash his hands.

    He tested me on it. But he got a LOT better very quick because the other kids always asked him what I kept pestering him about.
  11. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Thanks so much for sharing thoughts and ideas. I'm relieved to know this is a fairly common issue. My fave is when difficult child gets all the way downstairs with-o washing hands, then goes back upstairs at my command, dragging his DIRTY HANDS along the wall as he goes! GAH! I'm not too germ-phobic but this one gets to me.

    I particularly like the idea of approaching it pro-actively, with signs and/or checklists in the bathroom. The signs might also have the side benefit of being embarrassing when his friends come over! Then I could say, "Sorry, difficult child, but the signs stay up until you're doing it right without reminders."
  12. Mandy

    Mandy Parent In Training

    This thread title cracked me up! My 8yo easy child still has butt wiping issues. lol His pedi said it was common for this age when we took him for a constipation issue. My husband HATES using the bathroom after him because he also leaves behind some occasional evidence on the seat... not just urine if you get my drift. We are constantly reminding him to wipe, check the seat, and wash his hands.

    My difficult child isn't as bad because of course he makes ME wipe still! I keep asking him what happens when he goes to KG in the fall and he just says "I won't wipe":anxious: AHHHH!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A problem we had was spills on the seat.

    My sister had three boys and a difficult child husband. You'd visit them and the toilet seat would always be up, the toilet unflushed and the tiles around the toilet would be rusty brown. Bleah! My sister said that it just wouldn't scrub off. Yeah, if you leave it long enough, that happens...

    Another sister also had two boys who left the place like this. I remember visiting her when she was toilet-training one of them, the potty was in the kitchen, clearly hadn't been empted in days... when we were all visiting my parents (I was pregnant with easy child, my first) my nephew, aged 10 at the time, went in to use the toilet and didn't close the door behind him. I chipped him on it but my sister heard me and said, "You can't insist with kids, wait until you have your own kids, then you will know!

    Well I tell yo - we have insisted in our house that the toilet seat gets put back down, so does the lid, BEFORE flushing. The toilet door is always kept shut whether someone is in there or not.

    But wiping up spills - that has been the trickiest one. Our kids have learnt to do it although difficult child 3 still needs reminding. Male visitors are the problem. The funny thing is, and our male visitors don't know it - but because we've got our lot well-trained, we KNOW who it was who left the latest spill!

    But despite all this, we have still had the same skid-mark/hand-washing problems. And the stripes on the walls...

    My eldest sister now is an empty-nester in a new house. Her bathroom floor is spotless (new husband, also).

    It does get better.

  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you make him go and use a clorox wipe to SCRUB each side of the hallway walls and any other things he touches and do this EVERY SINGLE TIME he goes to the john I would bet that in about a week he will figure out it is too hard and time consuming to go do that scrubbing, as well as going back to wash his hands before he starts (because you don't want to dirty where you just cleaned) AND after he finished (because he was handling those dirty cloths and the cleaner in them).

    You will have to INSIST. And if you find he ran outside with-o washing and you didn't catch him, make him come in and wash it again anyway.

    If peer pressure will work by him getting embarrassed by the signs, wait until a kid asks him why he had to be called home to clean where he ran his dirty hands on the wall.

    I would not go out of the way to tell another child that difficult child has to go home to wash where he ran his poop-germy hands all over the wall because he didn't want to wash his hands. I also would not go out of the way to hide it. If he pushes you with "WHy do I have to?" then you can tell him what he did. Not your fault if he pushes that discussion in front of a friend.

    And if he DID run out of the house or into his room or wherever? Then he has even MORE to clean - those hallways, the doors and doorknobs he might have touched, the things in his room he touched, whatever.

    I have one who must touch everything. If we are walking down an aisle at the store he runs his hands down it. Drives me nuts. We had a bit of the dirty hands being run down the walls. Once I showed it to him, and let him know I would turn off the tv, or take his book until it was done, it took me about a week to deal with the no handwashing in the bathroom.

    I would also insist he take out the trash that he put the cleaning cloths in.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, the scientist in me coming to the fore.

    Try your own science experiment - get a packet of jelly crystals and made it up, double-strength. Don't use lo-cal, use the stuff with sugar in it, you want any bugs to GROW in this.
    Example - our packet jelly crystals allegedly make up to 500 ml in volume. But try to unmould that, and it goes everywhere. To make a good stiff jelly tat you can unmould, you need to reduce the water content so a 500 ml jelly is only made up to about 350 ml.
    Well, for this experiment, you make a 500 ml jelly to 250 ml - half the stated volume. To get the kid on-side, maybe make up more jelly and let them have some to eat later. Just label them carefully!

    Find some shallow containers that you can put lids on - plastic round takeaway containers are great.

    Step 1 - scald the plastic containers and lids by pouring boiling water over them. Tip it out, let them drain. DO NOT TOUCH THE INSIDE OF THE CONTAINER OR THE LID.

    Step 2 - in a glass jug (also pre-scalded) make up the jelly with boiling water, to double-strength. Pour jelly mix into the plastic containers until they are 1 cm deep (about half an inch).

    Step 3 - cover the containers with the clear lids then put tem to set in the fridge.

    Now for the fun -

    When you suspect your kid is germy, grab him and get him to put his germy hands on the surface of the jelly. Cover the container and leave it out (labelled) for a few days. You should see some spectacular cultures developing.

    If the jelly hasset firmly enough, you should also be able to tip the container on its side and press it onto a doorknob, for axample, or anything protuberant. To swab a wall - a bit more difficult, but you could use a cotton bud - wipe the wall with a damp (but previously sterile) cotton swab.

    If you want a control sample, get another swab out of the packet (being careful to not touch the end with your own fingers), moisten it under the tap and press it into the jelly. Again, let them incubate covered in a shady place out of the fridge.
    For best incubation, you want them covered but in the shade, as if you were rising bread.

    A suggestion - don't throw them out after the first 'reading' (about 3 days). Leave them for a week. Make sure difficult child sees the progress. A good recommendation also - document this for a science report for school. difficult child doesn't have to explain why it's being done, he can simply say, "I deliberately didn't wash my hands to see what we would grow." Take photos of the jelly containers at each stage, make sure you label them with an indelible felt pen so the pen shows up easily in photos. Don't just label the lid - lids can get accidentally swapped.

    Now an important point after this experiment (if your child can understand the sophistication of this) - it is NOT healthy to completely eliminate germs from the environment, our immune systems need to be constantly inoculated at a low level, in order to stay healthy and not get out of control and over-reactive. Explain to the kids that it's like learning to cope with the rough and tumble of other kids in the school playground. Major bullying episodes are bad and need "antibiotics" or action taken, but the casual push and shove of kids sometimes stirring each other or teasing without meaning to be nasty - if we're not exposed to that, we never learn how to handle it ant not let it upset us. So we need to be exposed to a little of it, so we can learn to deal with it and not let it be a problem for us.

    Germs are like this - really nasty ones, or lots of them, we have to get rid of somehow. But smaller amounts especially of less harmful germs, we need to be exposed to. And some germs, we really need in our environment. Some animals MUST have germs or they die (termites, for example; rabbits and rodents in general; a lot of herbivores).

    But the reason we have toilet hygiene, is because THOSE germs are NOT good for us if we get them back into our tummies.

    Hmm... maybe I should write this into a children's book?

  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg, I think that would make an AWESOME childrens' book.

    I believe you are referring to jello, or gelatin. It isn't called jelly here. In the US jelly is the fruit based stuff you smear onto toast, or use to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with. It is made with fruit juice and is usually created with pectin.

    What you are referring to is sold under the brand name Jello, also under Royal, or even the Walmart house brand. A standard recipe is to use 1 cup boiling water (8oz) and then 1 cup cold or ice water. It can be made with about 1/2 or 1/3 cup of water total.

    This would give the consistency needed for your experience. I would say use 1/4 cup boiling water to dissolve the gelatin. Stir for 2 minutes until you don't see any undissolved crystals. Then toss in 1-2 ice cubes (maybe 3 if you have small ice cubes) and stir until ice has almost melted. If the ice melts all the way while you stir, fine. If the ice stops melting then pick out the small bits that didn't melt and give a stir to the gelatin. Then pour it into the containers.

    The small gladware or ziploc "disposable" food containers would be a good choice for this.

    Another way to show the spread of germs is to make up a bunch of rice. Put food coloring into the water. Ideally you would make a couple of batches of rice, using a different food color in each. If you can only make 1 batch, stir liquid food color in after you separate the rice into several ziploc bags (at least quart size bags). Make sure the colors are vivid and will show up on any surfaces you have. Yellow is not a good color to use because it can be hard to see.
    Have each child stick their hands into a bag of rice (1 hand at a time if using quart size bags, 2 hands are OK in gallon size bags) and mush the rice around. It should get all over their hands. Each child should have a different color. Or groups of kids if it is in a Sunday School type setting.


    Then have kids spend about 5 minutes going around the house (or yard or playground) with the colored rice on their hands. I used butcher paper from a big roll taped up on my walls to help in clean up. Kids went from the bathroom where I put the rice on them down the hall to the door to the yard. Outside they had to each move 4 items on the porch or pick up 4 items and put tehm on the porch.

    Then we used the hose to wash hands off.

    I had each child look at the items they handled outside. Then at the doorknob, and on the walls in the house and all over the bathroom. Even had tehm looking at the big white tshirts I put on them to keep food color off their clothing.

    The kids went from "There is nothing on my hands and you are being an idiot" to "EEEUUUWWW!! That is gross!! I had NO IDEA there was so much icky germy stuff and that it spread like that!"

    Even the group of 4 year olds I did this with clued in. They became far more finicky about handwashing.

    I had the children take down the butcher paper and wipe off any surface they touched. We used baby wipes to clean it up because I had them handy. When they got the colored rice and starch on them it was easy to grab a new one instead of smearing the gunk around.

    It would be handy to first ask the kids what they expected the gelatin filled dishes to grow. Then do the rice experiment and ask the kids to tell you what that taught them. Then they could examine the things they thought the gelatin experiment would show and decide if they wanted to change what they thought would happen.

    THEN you go and examine the gelatin dishes a week or so later. Remind the kids what they first thought would happen. Then remind them of what they thought would happen with the gelatin dishes after they saw the rice experiment.

    Then ask them which guesses were close, which (if any) were right on the money, and which were totally incorrect.

    It would make kids, esp older kids, really SEE what happens when they walk around with icky hands.

    Hope this helps someone. The rice thing really opened Wiz and Jess and thank you to why they should wash hands after using the bathroom.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The rice experiment is a different one, but would be a really good partner to the jello one.

    With the gelatine - as long as what you make up as sugar in it too, go for it. You can make up your own mix with leaf gelatine and sugar - flavour and colour are not needed here.

    The ice cubes - you only need to do that if you want it to set faster. If you don't use ice or cold water, then the mixture stays hotter for longer which helps kill any germs in the mix or on the container.

  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Very true about the ice cubes, Marg. I think it is neat the way the experiment that you suggested dove-tailed so well with the one I was going to suggest.

    We do not have leaf gelatin here. Not that I have ever seen anyway.

    There are mixers with teh sugar and color that abound here. If you want to use non-colored gelatin it is sold under the name Knox Gelatin. You can get it in the jello area. It is pouches of the powdered gelatin sold under that name. (For the coffee lovers here: If you have the knox gelatin you can mix it up using the directions and use coffee instead of the water. Hot coffee to melt the gelatin and then cold coffee, milk, cream, chocolate syrup, or whatever will help you make this most refresshing coffee dessert.
  19. brickzy

    brickzy New Member

    Please help! My son will be 12 in one month and either doesn't wipe properly or doesn't wipe at all! He is not ADHD or have any behavior issues that's why this is so boggling to my mind. Although when he was potty trained at 2 he would pee on the potty but refuse going #2 on the toilet after the first time he tried when it was about to drop hr freaked out as if he was about to lose a limb or something and every time after he would poop his pants. So for a couple yrs dealing with that he finally would go on the toilet but never wiped properly I always had to do it if I wanted him clean. Ands for years he always held it in which in turn it would leak out! A few years ago he had a sudden high grade fever and we took him to the ER and turned out he made himself sick from doing it. Ever since then he always goes ame doesn't hold it in anymore so that's not the problem but for dealing with poo issues for so long I believe his butt may be desensitized from itching and being uncomfortable because I ask him "doesn't that bother you and itch" and he always says no! But almost every time I do laundry I find a tremendous amount of poo in his undies and I'm not talking the typical streaks. Also once in a while I'll smell it or my 4 yr old will scream "he pooped mom" and I have to force him to clean himself. He's a good kid and doesn't look like a dirty kid but oh gosh we have this dirty secret and I don't know how to fix this anymore and I desperately don't want him to start middle school next year where the kids aren't like they are in elementary school and if someone notices the smell one day then he'll be picked on forever. Please any advice will help, S.O.S.
  20. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Welcome brickzy , is there a way you can make a new thread with a signature ? Thats to help remind us of whats going on with each of our kids and give you your own thread. So, I understand what your going through. Has your son been tested for any bacteria issues like "strept bottom" or has Encopresis been discussed?

    Encopresis, also called stool holding or soiling, occurs when your child resists having bowel movements, causing impacted stool to collect in the colon and rectum.( stool can also leak out). Caused by different reasons, please look up on this possibility. ( Mayo Clinic website)

    My son has had this issue along with other issues, so I get it! Has your son had any other issues growing up? Has he talked to you why he thinks this is happening? Diet can contribute but rarely has anything to do with this, esp in my sons case anyway. Of course health foods are best for any of them/us. Has he had any other types of testing for this?