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When are kids too old for moms to wipe their bottoms?

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

Mom says she still wipes 12-year-old's bottom, and the judgment begins

When you become a mom, you have no choice but to resign yourself to the fact that you'll be cleaning little butts for many years to come. Unfortunately, there's no expiration date on this particular obligation. Some moms end up wiping those backsides for a lot longer than they anticipated.

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Is there really anything wrong with this? It's become a hot topic on parenting forum Mumsnet recently, with one mother's revelation ruffling more than a few feathers. User Javabeansaintgeorge admitted: "I wipe all my kids, oldest is 12 and is c**p at the best of times. It would be cruelty leaving him dirty when he has an upset stomach."

This ramped the debate up another notch, that's for sure. Is 12 too old to get your butt wiped by your mom? If not, at what age should it stop?

We can debate all we want, but we know, deep down, the only answer: there is no answer. At least, not one that comes with digits. Because all kids are different and some of them simply don't want to wipe their own butts for a long time. Maybe they're lazy. Maybe they just can't do it properly. Or maybe Mom is too soft. Whatever. Surely, so long as someone is wiping the butt, it's all good — no?

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If you're worried about your child's toilet habits (or lack thereof), first of all, don't panic. An inability or lack of desire to wipe is unlikely to continue into adulthood. But the ball is in your court. However old your child is, you can follow some simple steps to help them become a master butt-wiper in no time. According to child development and behavioral specialist Betsy Brown Braun, the first big hurdle to overcome is your own disgust at your kid's inadequate wiping technique. Get used to skid marks and sore bottoms; that's what baths, washing machines and diaper rash creams are for.

When it comes to actual wiping practice, you might want to do a first wipe for your kid, then encourage them to do a second, imitating your technique. Braun suggests children get off the toilet and squat down to spread their butt cheeks or even do a spot check in a full-length mirror. Yeah, it's not particularly pleasant, but it's great advice and after a few days of this, they're sure to have improved their wiping action.

Don't stress if you're still wiping your child's bottom when they're 6, 8, 10 or 12. But do them — and yourself — a favor and take the time to teach them how to do it themselves. We can guarantee it's one aspect of parenting you'll never miss.

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Mom says she still wipes 12-year-old's bottom, and the judgment begins
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