How can we help our young daughter with her wiping issues?
July 2, 2014 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Our daughter is 6. Since potty training 4 years ago, she hasn't been wiping herself well after going to the bathroom. We though the problem would resolve itself (and sometimes wipe her butt ourselves if she goes at home) but it's not, and what used to cause skin irritation is now causing vaginal infections.

She says it's "too hard to wipe" and is afraid to get her hands dirty.

At her pediatrician's suggestion we've tried talking with her, being gently encouraging, insisting, doing a sticker prize chart system and even punishing her. Nothing works and we keep throwing out underwear and going back to the doctor. Pediatrician keeps saying she'll grow out of it, but also says that too many vaginal infections aren't good for her.

I want my kid to be healthy and clean and not spend her school days in dirty underwear. How can we convince her to take care of herself?
posted by qi to Health & Fitness (48 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried suppying her with moist toilet tissue packets?
posted by DarlingBri at 8:05 AM on July 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Does she stand or sit to wipe? She might feel cleaner if she tries the other method.

Moist tissues are not meant to be flushed, so I wouldn't go that route personally.
posted by sockermom at 8:09 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Things you could try:

- bathroom supply of baby wipes
- practicing wiping on a stuffed animal or doll
- touching gross things experiment where you all touch gross stuff and then wash your hands really well to show that nothing is permanent
- explain how to clean herself during bath time
- one of those extendy pole things for people with disabilities (she's small maybe her arms are so short that it really is hard to wipe?)
- butt checks (my brother would proudly come into whatever room the family was in after pooping and spread his cheeks for us to show that he had wiped well)
posted by phunniemee at 8:11 AM on July 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: We had been using baby wipes on her but they aren't flushable so we don't send her with them to school.
posted by qi at 8:17 AM on July 2, 2014

We had been using baby wipes on her but they aren't flushable so we don't send her with them to school.

There are packs of moist toilet paper which feel the same as baby wipes but are flushable.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2014 [13 favorites]

Andrex brand of moist toilet tissue in the UK can be flushed, I would look for an American (assuming you're there?) equivalent.
posted by Ziggy500 at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2014

You can get flushable moist wipes - you can find them in any supermarket in the UK (Andrex Washlets is the most common brand here), but I don't know how available they are in whatever country you're in. Also, make sure she's wiping front-to-back, which might help prevent vaginal infection/irritation.
posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Flushable moist wipes in the US.

Also, 6 is, I think, old enough for the conversation that goes: if you don't wipe and get all the poop off, you will get an infection, and you will smell like poop.

Also, I would supervise her in the bathroom -- don't wipe for her, but help her learn exactly how to do it, including checking the paper when she wipes. If she wants to use big wabs of paper to protect her hand, let her.
posted by anastasiav at 8:23 AM on July 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

Oh, the hygiene thing. I am so sorry. I dealt with this, and then "forgetting" to change underwear, which resulted in only about half the number of underpants coming through the laundry that I expected.

This is kind of a shot in the dark, but I would try to make some correlation between the new underwear you're buying and putting that money towards a reward. "If we do not throw out any underwear this week, the money I would spend on that goes towards ice cream." I've done that with other things, like when there was a phase that plastic lunch containers and even spoons would go to school and not return. (It's kind of galling that as a parent you have to reward them for adhering to basic human hygiene and/or courtesy standards, isn't it? Worst roommates ever.)

I'm sure she's old enough to see the connection between her infections and self-care, but I would kind of drive that point home. "This fever/itching/burning/yukky medicine can be prevented."

Another possible carrot--really "fancy" panties that she picks out (Hello Kitty?), and if she loses them she goes back to "boring" plain ones?

Otherwise, I will tell you my girls grew out of their appalling hygiene, though the youngest still needs to be reminded to shower more than once a week. Hoping puberty will cure that one. If mine was having wiping problems, and the workaround was that I made her shower 2x a day, she would probably learn how to wipe, now that I think of it.

Good luck and hang in there. Many years ago when I was pregnant I had no idea how much time I was going to spend stressing about and thinking about tiny girl parts.
posted by Lardmitten at 8:23 AM on July 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

Honestly, if she's getting a lot of infections it might genuinely hurt to wipe. Lots of things like this when I was a kid I didn't think to mention because it had sort of always been going on so it was hard to notice, you know?

Lots of good suggestions here but I'd also make sure she has loose fitting breathable underwear and pants/skirt, and that you use Free & Clear detergent in case there's something irritating her that makes wiping uncomfortable.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:27 AM on July 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Could the skin irritations be allergy related? If her skin feels sore by default, it would be understandable that she'd avoid wiping and irritating it even more.
Besides moist wipes, did you experiment with different kinds of toilet paper? Thicker, 3-ply tissue paper might feel softer to her.
And also: Bidets are a thing. I'm assuming you don't have one, but how about teaching her to wash herself off with water after using the bathroom at home?
posted by travelwithcats at 8:42 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

The young rope rider makes a GREAT point and reminds me that I meant to add that this is not a fix, but probiotics don't seem to hurt anyone.
posted by Lardmitten at 8:46 AM on July 2, 2014

Response by poster: So many great answers! So fast, too. Thanks. Will try to respond to a few things.

Yes, we're in America. I can find the US equivalent flushable wipes. Thank you anastasiav. I had no idea flushable wet wipes existed.

She sits to wipe herself. When we do it for her, she stands up. We'll try it standing.

phunniemee, she does have short arms! We practiced wiping on a stuffed monkey last year but it didn't help with this problem. We did find out she thought her private parts were "dirty and yucky." That shocked us. Since then we've been reinforcing a positive body image.

the young rope-rider, that's part of teh problem. Once the whole area got inflamed and irritated she didn't want to wipe it. A catch-22. Great, great great idea to switch detergent! We use Tide now. Thanks. Will check the fit and breath ability of her clothes too

Lardmitten, she gets super upset when we throw out her underwear. Such a great idea to reward her with new. We can try the plain versus fancy reward, too.
posted by qi at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Are her arms long enough for her to comfortably wipe properly? Can you supervise her a few times to check her technique and perhaps advise different ways to do it so she gets it all?

Otherwise, water or wet wipes as others have suggested. And be kind and gentle as you discuss it with her so she doesn't feel like a freak.
posted by goo at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2014

Regarding wet wipes, you can also teach her to spit on the toilet paper before using it. My mother taught me that, and I still do it, 60 years later.

Also, some diets are going to result in more messiness back there than others. I'm no expert on this but I think in general higher fiber, less grease means a cleaner experience.
posted by beagle at 9:24 AM on July 2, 2014

Nthing the flushable wipes. The young rope-rider and Travelwith cats make some good points. Especially while your daughter has the irritation, do make sure you use unscented detergent (Tide makes a free and gentle version), use a gentle unscented bar soap like Dove sensitive skin unscented when she bathes, and make sure that the toilet tissue you use also is unscented. Also use breathable cotton panties for your daughter.
posted by gudrun at 9:27 AM on July 2, 2014

It occurs to me that how she pees might exacerbate the problem. If she has a relaxed toilet sit, without any pubic hair there to stop it it's possible ['scuse me here, folks] her pee might just wick right back up her butt crack and keep everything moist. If she leans forward when she pees, the pee will be more likely to fall straight down.

It might also help to explain that she needs to wipe well when she pees, too, so that she's completely dry.
posted by phunniemee at 9:28 AM on July 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Note that there are also bidet hoses for standard US toilets.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:33 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

and that you use Free & Clear detergent in case there's something irritating her that makes wiping uncomfortable

Also check that your toilet paper, any wipes you buy, and any soap or other cleaners you have in the house is perfume free. Hypoallergenic is nice too but in my experience they often still put in perfume, which is stupid because that's what I (and many others) are actually allergic to. Why products designed to be wiped right on to a mucous membrane are so often perfumed I don't know, I can only assume the toilet paper companies hate people, but it is really insidious.

I'm allergic to perfumes and some dyes and when I use the wrong toilet paper or even just wash my hands in the wrong soap then yeah, I don't much want to wipe either. It's kind of a weird thing, that subconscious urge to just avoid using the toilet. It took me a while to work out what it was, where the pain was even really coming from, and I'm an adult with an immune-system-related PhD. So I think that really ruling out as many possible irritations for your daughter could help her too.
posted by shelleycat at 9:34 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

If she has to use the toilet paper at school, I don't blame her for being sparing with it and not wiping well. Institutional toilet paper is a bare step up from sandpaper in my experience, and on already sensitive or inflamed skin, it can really hurt. Can you send her to school with flushable wet wipes and/or better toilet paper? Or can you ask her if the toilet paper at home or at school hurts to use?
posted by yasaman at 9:53 AM on July 2, 2014

Response by poster: travelswithcats, We switched toilet paper to Cottonelle early on. She doesn't get irritated when she wipes properly so pediatrician thinks it's not an allergy. Washing is a good idea. Thanks.

Many years ago when I was pregnant I had no idea how much time I was going to spend stressing about and thinking about tiny girl parts.

Lardmitten, it's been an education that's for sure. She doesn't like talking to her mommy about it and I've had to learn a lot so I could help.

Like this:

It occurs to me that how she pees might exacerbate the problem. If she has a relaxed toilet sit, without any pubic hair there to stop it it's possible ['scuse me here, folks] her pee might just wick right back up her butt crack and keep everything moist. If she leans forward when she pees, the pee will be more likely to fall straight down.

I didn't know that. In a million years I never would have thought of it. Will encourage her to lean forward.
posted by qi at 9:54 AM on July 2, 2014

You can also get bidet toilet seats. I first encountered them in Japan ~25 years ago, where I thought they were a weird, silly and expensive gadget. (The Japanese loves them some high-tech toilets!) Not to mention using the same nozzle to spritz my ass that the previous person used -- how could that possibly be clean?

Fast forward 15 years...a bidet seat is one of the easiest, nicest home upgrades you can do. I've only used the heated-water, heated-seat kind (available from about $250) but they have much cheaper ones. I suspect the really cheap ones only have cold water, though, and may not auto-retract and auto-clean, so they may give you an extra-bad impression of what a bidet is like.
posted by spacewrench at 9:58 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

On the flushable wipes note: they're not actually disintegrating. I would proceed with caution, especially if you have a septic tank.
posted by Safiya at 9:58 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I had to have butt surgery several months ago. Then I gave birth a month later. Yay. So if discomfort and tenderness is a big part of your daughter's aversion, and cleaning is difficult for her... okay here's my advice.

-No tight underwear. Maybe even kid boxer shorts, if you think she'll wear them. Air circulation needs to happen. Even if she fails to get all the pee off herself, at least it'll dry and stop facilitating painful rubbing.

-If possible, bathe every day - or at least every day that she poops. Mild soap (maybe baby wash?) and an incredibly soft wash cloth. Even if she doesn't do a perfect job, the situation will get less stinky. The daily butt soak helped my unhappy skin heal up, too. It's always possible that your daughter can get overbathed and exacerbate the discomfort, so this is up to your discretion.

-If her butt is irritated, consider powders/potions/ointments to relieve the misery. Ex: Swiping my baby's diaper rash cream was quite helpful for me.

-Flushable butt wipes are frigging genius.
posted by Coatlicue at 10:09 AM on July 2, 2014

I don't see this mentioned, so how is her diet? Without getting into the nuances of my experience with bowel movements, I wonder if it's high in fat but not high enough in fiber, and if that's making things a little, um, messier and harder to clean up back there?
posted by lovableiago at 11:13 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

If she's worried about it being gross or dirty: send her with a few pairs of nitrile gloves. She can glove up, wipe, toss the gloves (reinforce that they are NOT to be flushed). I have issues with any foreign substance on my hands, and sometimes even the spectre of something maybe getting on my hands, so gloves are THE BEST.

I would suggest non-latex because if she's at school, there may be kids with allergies, and the school might have rules about such things.
posted by HermitDog at 11:17 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you tried using talcum powder? I had some soreness issues relating to less than ideal hygiene as a child, and my mother taught me to powder myself whenever it flared up. It was soothing and also had an element of independence to it which appealed- not having to run to mom. Not sure how old I was at that stage thought, and not sure it would be a good idea if she's got an active infection.

It seems like her aversion to her privates and to dirtiness are a big factor. There's got to be some kind of protocol for helping kids get over that kind of stuff- some low key counselling or CBT? I liked an above poster's suggestion of family "messiness exposure time".
posted by mymbleth at 11:17 AM on July 2, 2014

Lean forward and spread her knees. Knees together can also mimic the dribble back effect.

She may not like to hear things from mom, but she needs to hear the same things from her that she hears from you on how to.

On mymbleth's suggestion of powder - talc free powder. Johnson's makes a small travel size baby powder container, but explain it's not for babies, or put Burt's Bees or Gold Bond in a plain small shaker (like an old cleaned out plastic spice shaker container) for her.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 11:31 AM on July 2, 2014

Does she sleep without underwear? Our five year old calls this "airing out" and we encourage it because it means daily clean underwear and also it means airing out. Which is good.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:03 PM on July 2, 2014

Just another warning about "flushable" wipes. They don't actually degrade like toilet paper and are terrible on plumbing systems. My plumber said that they keep him in business. Long before they get to a sewage treatment plant, they're screwing up the pipes in your home. All non-tp wipes should be thrown in a garbage can. Wrap them in some tp and toss them.
posted by quince at 12:12 PM on July 2, 2014

Another too in depth description. As someone who used to get many bladder infections...

Perhaps teach her to pat dry the front area to clean the urine. Often it kinda gets everywhere. Then she can pat dry from the front without pulling bacteria forward and it's more gentle. That also means she doesn't have to reach as far from behind.

Then teach her to wipe the backend from front to back. Also how is she holding the toilet paper? Is it a crumple that doesn't cover her hand? Maybe fold over a few squares so there's less ability to get icky stuff on hands.

Then follow up with a wipe to keep it nice and fresh. You can roll the wipes in toilet paper and throw them away. It's good practice to not flush anything but tp and waste.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:23 PM on July 2, 2014

Response by poster: She sleeps without underwear whenever she gets an infection or is irritated. When vaseline or medicated cream has been applied to reduce the redness or clear up an infection, she also goes without underwear.

We haven't used talcum or talc-free powder on her, but will try it. Will check on perfumes in toilet paper and wipes.

She's been taught to wipe from front to back. Will confirm she's doing that. The problem isn't so much which way she's wiping its that she's not wiping well enough, pulls up her underwear and then the poop that's left behind gets pressed against her skin. It can also make its way to her vulva and into her vagina.

She may not like to hear things from mom, but she needs to hear the same things from her that she hears from you on how to.

She does. I mostly back up her mom.
posted by qi at 12:54 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Would a peri bottle help, at least at home? Some cool water does wonders for the skin and for ease of cleaning.

I have chronic vulvar skin issues, so I sympathize. I gave birth two months ago and I would not have survived without a peri bottle.

Use peri bottle everytime she pees or poops. Rinse off thoroughly every day, no soap. Those pre-moistened wipes can be very irritating, especially to healing skin, be careful. Beware of sweat, use only breathable cotton underwear. No tight pants.
posted by lydhre at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

Is it warm there? She also might be experiencing chafing in her vagina and anus. So, rather than using something like powder to dry those areas, it might help to use a medical lubricating gel to keep everything moving smoothly.
posted by miss tea at 2:09 PM on July 2, 2014

I can't believe that I'm posting this, but when I was young, I got really phobic about wiping--like, freaking out that I hadn't done it well enough and people could smell me and I smelled like poo. I realise that you're having the opposite problem, but possibly the same solution would work: the pirate stance.

You know Captain Morgan on the bottle of rum, and he's got his foot all up on that barrel? That's the pirate stance. There's a lot more room to move your hand around, and it sort of opens things up so that more skin is exposed. If you have a bathtub with a low rim, she could put a foot up on there, or on a step stool, or whatever.

By the time I was maybe ten, I'd outgrown it, but it made cleaning up after using the bathroom much easier for me for many years. I revisited it when I was pregnant and couldn't really reach around my belly to get all my bits, and it was pretty useful.
posted by MeghanC at 2:39 PM on July 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

Although she's probably too young to be carrying this around, because of my GI problems, I was concerned about cleanliness as well as comfort, and my wonderful fabulous butt doctor on whom I have a kind of a crush recommended Balneol. You use it on toilet paper so there are no flushing concerns. It feels good, it's hygenic, I recommended it to my friend who had anal cancer and, after clearing it with his doctor, he started using it too. Even when I'm in relatively good health, I keep a bottle within reach of the toilet at home. I didn't even know this stuff existed before.
posted by janey47 at 5:44 PM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

definitely have her stand to wipe, especially with short arms. it should make it easier. and there ARE flushable wipes. i recently switched to the charmin ones and they don't have too much of a smell (that was my problem with other brands).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 5:47 PM on July 2, 2014

Excellent to hear you and mom are a united front; I may have been unclear in my reading.

Agreeing with stand to wipe. I managed to get away with not wiping in the correct direction for many years until an issue requiring surgery forced me to learn to wipe in the correct direction. Standing made all the difference and I'm not particularly long-torsoed.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 7:44 PM on July 2, 2014

I was your daughter. I am super lucky that I didn't get infections, but I had exactly the same issues.

It sounds like you're already doing a bunch of the stuff my parents were doing. Persevere. This too shall pass.

Things mentioned in this thread that worked with me when I was a small child:
—I stopped wearing underwear at night, ever. This one is super important, especially because as she grows there will be times when her underwear is slightly too small, and that will cause extra irritation.
—"pirate stance", as MeghanC calls it. I figured this one out on my own, but it took a long time, and I would have been so much better off if my parents had known about it and could have shown me.
—The most important thing, psychologically, was learning that it was okay and fixable if poop got on my hands. For me, fear of poop was absolutely the root of the avoidant behavior. At some point, I did get poop on my hands, and I remember yelling for my mom and just bawling, because I was so scared. She showed me how to wash my hands using dish soap (instead of bar soap), and told me that people (especially mommies and daddies, when they have little babies) get poop on their hands all the time. She also showed me how to use my hands to clean my behind with soap suds in the bath or the shower, and how to clean my hands after I had done that. Once I got over the fear of poop making my hands irreversibly tainted with filth, the whole situation got much better.

It took me until about age eight before this was completely resolved.

But once it was resolved, it was completely resolved—and as an adult I only ever think about these issues when I hear about a small child who's having them.

Good luck to your daughter; she's lucky to have parents who are diligently working with her on this. I know I'm grateful to my parents for how they handled it with me.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:36 PM on July 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

Further to spacewrench's comment above, fresh (okay, cold) water bidet owner, chiming in.

We have the Luxe Neo 120 and bought it on Amazon. The thing cost $40 and is worth every penny and then some. It had a protective guard over the nozzle (which peeks out from under the guard when it's in use), nice metal dials on the controller, and has a self-cleaning function as well.

It's not really *that* cold, unless wherever you live has instantly ice cold water from the tap.
posted by at 9:49 PM on July 2, 2014

I know you mentioned the detergent thing but Tide just made my kiddos bottoms irritated. I went to the "cheap" stuff without dyes and it helped immensely. The one thing that I have not seen is treating an irritated bottom. My kids (to this day as adults) still use Desitin when chafing and irritation occurs. Cool water washes also made things feel better for them...we just kept a bottle of water (old water bottles work) to use as a "rinse" .... I also had to tell my kids that they were clean only when the paper came back swipe did not aways do it.

Good luck with all this. I bet she will grow out of it so don't make it too big a deal.
posted by OhSusannah at 10:25 PM on July 2, 2014

One little addition that doesn't seem to have been mentioned, so I'm adding it just in case...

That it's OK for her to get toilet paper, wipe, toss it in the toilet, and get more and REPEAT until she's clean and there's a clean wipe with the paper.

Yes, it uses up paper. Yes, she needs to be reminded that after one or two or three wipes, to flush it away so there's no cloggy mess. But if she wipes until she gets clean paper, then she'll know she's clean!

(This was learned the hard way due to someone telling one of the kids not to waste toilet paper, and said kid took it to heart that they were allowed ONE wipe... excuse me, but I'd rather them use some extra then not get clean.)
posted by stormyteal at 12:43 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you tried Triple Paste on her for the skin irritation on her vulva/rectal areas? The stuff is a godsend and works amazingly well. There's an additional bonus in that it keeps poo from sticking to skin, because the paste, itself forms a barrier (it has zinc in it). The only way to really get it off is with a warm, wet washcloth.

I'm guessing that if you put a decent amount on her in the morning before she goes to school, again at night after a bath, it would make a huge difference.

We had a few potty training issues with one of my daughters and quite a few endless days of...questionable underwear repercussions. The Triple Paste made all the difference in the world; to the point where when there was even a hint of redness, my daughter would ask for the 'special cream'.

Pharmacies and places like Target have it, but for some reason, they sometimes keep it behind the counter instead of the baby section. Costco keeps it behind their pharmacy counter. It's not the cheapest stuff in the world, but you don't need very much, since it's quite thick.
posted by dancinglamb at 12:59 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Never expected this gigantic flood of fantastic suggestions when I posted this. Incredible. Thank you.

Would a peri bottle help, at least at home? Some cool water does wonders for the skin and for ease of cleaning.

Didn't know they existed before you mentioned it. It might help!


Same. Ordered! Thanks.

Is it warm there? She also might be experiencing chafing in her vagina and anus. So, rather than using something like powder to dry those areas, it might help to use a medical lubricating gel to keep everything moving smoothly.

The doctor said that she looks okay internally but we can ask about lubricant. Could be warm/chafing. Her skin is always hot to the touch when it's irritated.

Have you tried Triple Paste on her for the skin irritation on her vulva/rectal areas?

We had been using vaseline/petroleum jelly until the infections began. We're now using either desitin or triple paste. Our pediatrician doesn't want us using desitin or triple paste all the time and wants us to go back to vaseline when we can. She didn't explain why.

the pirate stance.

LOL great idea!

Excellent to hear you and mom are a united front; I may have been unclear in my reading.

It's ok. We are. Plus as a man while I know more than I used to about female health issues I'm not like an expert or anything. I'm following Mom's lead.

I'm lucky because right now my daughter feels comfortable talking with me about her body and what's bothering her. I know this stage won't last long but for now I can be more directly involved and helpful.

I stopped wearing underwear at night, ever.

We're enforcing a no underwear rule but she doesn't like it. She loves wearing underwear at night. Has told us she does not like "feeling the cold air" down there. G\ets mad at us when we make her go without. It's not modesty. She ain't modest at all. A matter of comfort, I guess.

The most important thing, psychologically, was learning that it was okay and fixable if poop got on my hands.

Thanks for your suggestions above. They're going to be very helpful.
posted by qi at 8:22 AM on July 3, 2014

If she really, really wants to wear underwear at night, perhaps you could get some special bedtime underwear (100% cotton, of course) that's a couple sizes too large?
posted by ocherdraco at 8:43 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

A little late, but I didn't see this mentioned. Be careful with wipes like Cottenelle or Charmin. They contain an ingredient which can be irritating. If I use them every time I go, within a week I develop a really painful itchy, burny irritation that makes it painful to wipe. (Seems to be ok if I only use them for number two.) If she's already sensitive these would likely have the same effect on her. Unfortunately I don't know of any brand that don't do this to me, but I know other people have this problem and you can google and find plenty of discussion.
posted by catatethebird at 8:45 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's one article
posted by catatethebird at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2014

One last thing: my niece went through this exact thing when she was around the same age. It took months to find out she was actually *scared* of the toilet. So she'd barely wipe, flush, and actually RUN out of the bathroom. They'd been working with her on techniques, special TP and wipes, nice underwear, etc. It wasn't until my niece ran so fast out of the bathroom, bashed into the hallway wall and fractured her wrist that they discovered her toilet-phobia. She was never scared of the toilet when they were in there with her, so they never witnessed it.

So yeah, it could be something as strange as that. Worth asking her, at least.
posted by bienbiensuper at 10:55 AM on July 6, 2014

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