Okay, people: I’m not the only one who needs to make this naughty confession, so all you wipers out there better be fessin’ up. Many of us do it, and quite frankly, we should be wiping those stinky behinds. I know most preschools want kids cleaning themselves by age three, and to their credit, I wouldn’t want to be cleaning a room full dirty toddlers either. But, just because they’re supposed to be wiping at school doesn’t mean they should be wiping at home.

I know our lives are easier and our kids are more independent when we expect them to take care of themselves, but let’s be realistic. I’ve yet to meet a kid younger than 5 who can get that booty squeaky clean, so if you’re considering letting your child take full responsibility for their hygiene, you must ask yourself this question:

Am I okay with my child being the stinky kid?

If your answer happens to be yes, let’s take a moment to clear the air. Just like those weird car smells that your nose grows immune to, body odors can evade your sense of smell. Yeah, some people think their crap literally doesn’t stink, but just because they think it, doesn’t make it true. Dirty butts stink–period.

So if you’re worried that wiping is a form of enabling and are having premonitions of an adult child named Chazz screaming for meatloaf from your couch, at the very least, please consider these suggestions:

  1. Always rely on the smell test. Wondering how things went in the bathroom? Well, find out by sniffing those little fingertips before they head off to play. Even if your sniffer is broke, you should be able to smell the scent of antibacterial soap; if not, then you have a problem.
  2. Skid marks are the tell-tale sign. When you’re doing laundry and find incriminating evidence in the undies, there is no right to a fair trial. You know the culprit behind those stains and you better sentence them to the bathtub.
  3. If it itches, it’s dirty. Well, duh. Get your kid some wet wipes.
  4. Don’t sacrifice cleanliness for privacy.  I’m not saying you have to bathe your ten-year-old, but seriously, how hard is it to make them soak in a bubble bath when they’re leaving trails in their underwear? Please do us all a favor and teach them to sanitize those cracks.

I’m happy to report that my kids are seven and nine and I’m no longer wiping their butts, but my septic tank is paying for it. I’ve gotten pretty good at plunging, because apparently, it takes an entire roll of toilet paper to clean up after a typical bowel movement. But, you better believe I remain vigilant because I am not okay with stinky kids.

Well, now the toilet paper is in your hands. How you use it is up to you, but remember: no one else is immune to the smell or the bacteria your kid spreads. So please, be considerate of the folks around you and think twice before you throw in the wiping towel.

Wipe on,