Q&A: Not wiping!

Beth writes:

"My daughter is 3.75 and has been potty trained since about 2.5. She's super independent about using the bathroom -- can get on the toilet by herself, get her own toilet paper, wash her hands afterward, and so on. But the past several weeks, she's been acting really weird. When she poops, she will use the potty, then come out of the bathroom half-naked without having wiped her bottom or washed her hands. She acts like it's funny. When we direct her back into the bathroom to finish the job, she resists. When we tell her to wash her hands before touching anything, she rubs her hands on everything. When we're firm with her, it only escalates things, but explaining gently doesn't work either. We've even tried explaining consequences -- such as that her bum will hurt or itch if she doesn't clean up -- but it doesn't have any impact.

I get that she's at the age where she's severely testing boundaries, but this is obviously a non-negotiable issue. We've asked (in non-potty moments) why she isn't carrying through the poop routine like she used to, but she can't explain what she wants, if anything. It's getting really frustrating, not to mention unhygienic. Would love any suggestions from folks whose kids may have done this behavior."

I really basically have not much, as potty training is a bullet I dodged for the most part. But if I recall correctly, my kids couldn't consistently and adequately wipe themselves until closer to age 5, so it isn't something I'd have trusted them to do at this age anyway.

So my reaction would probably to be to put this in the camp of "You have no choice" along with holding my hand to cross the street, and I would wipe for her until she was willing to wipe herself. And she wouldn't like it, but a 3.75-year-old has a lot of choices available so hygiene isn't negotiable.

But there's probably someone out there who went through this who has some way of making it fun, and who had an early wiper like your daughter. Anyone?