We're potty-training our 3-year old, and we'd like for him to be learning how to wipe himself after he goes. However, if he is unsupervised he frequently uses an excessive amount of toilet paper. On a handful of occasions, it has been enough to clog the toilet and cause the toilet to overflow (he also likes flushing multiple times).

What can we try other than keeping the toilet paper out of reach or supervising every trip to the bathroom?

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    I hate to be the one asking the obvious question on many a man's radar here, but ... is the mom using an appropriate amount of toilet paper to begin with? (Asking because I have an ex whose boy we potty trained together, and she systematically used much, much, much more toilet paper while doing so.) Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 23:17
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    @DenisdeBernardy do you mean when she goes, or when she helps him?
    – Rob Watts
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 0:59
  • Both - if she got potty trained to use tons herself, she might be leading by example in some way. (I sympathize with events like the kid flushing half a roll, of course. Wonderful memories on my end too. :D) Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 6:21
  • At three, really, you can't expect them to not flush the toilet multiple times if it is fun. Or to pull off reams of toilet paper. Not without an incentive. Try a reward system for using just the right amount of toilet paper and flushing just once. Expect reliable self regulation to start occurring in a year or two. Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 20:17

3 Answers 3


There are a couple of fun ways to do this that you could try:

Draw a line on the wall or use a piece of decorative tape.

Here's a funny example that's really nerdy:

"You shall not pass" toilet paper line
The text reads "you shall not pass!"

Use it as counting practice.

Show your kid where to look for the tear lines and tell them to only use n sheets at a time. Three or four is probably a good number.

  • What a simple and clever solution! Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 14:40
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    The amount of toilet paper in that picture is really tiny- Have I been doing something wrong or is the picture intentionally exaggerated for effect? Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 20:55
  • @kingfrito_5005 I think it depends on the quality of the paper. If you buy good stuff, 4 squares is plenty, particularly for a kid. If you buy crap (pardon the pun) you have to use more.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 20:57
  • We use particualarly thin paper, so "until it touches the floor" is our ideal guideline.
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 10:43

Honestly, for me this has been something I see in this age range (really until closer to 5). I have a few kids past this age & have watched others & it takes some time to coordinate wiping and paper usage. I'd have to say I've just stuck to supervising. They don't want it to get onto their hand (and you don't either) so they can tend to overdo it. Also, if they have to wipe many times, they lack the ability to know they need to flush it now, and then wipe more, in order to avoid ever over filling with paper.

I do know there are flushable wipes you can use & those may result in less paper usage since a damp wipe often takes less attempts, but you should be aware those are not at all friendly to sewer systems & water treatment plants hate them. I know they say they are flushable, but apparently they do in fact cost these facilities a fair amount on removal (clogs their systems) and they pay to have it hauled elsewhere & dumped. So since I learned that in researching them, we haven't tried that way. I have told kids they are free to use the normal baby wipes if they then put it in the trash & I take the bathroom trash out daily (it also has diapers in it though here, so it may be a more feasible system in my case).


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I'd recommend the Cottonelle Kids Toilet Paper rolls. They use paw prints and a dog to show when to tear. Fun and easy for kids to use.

I have no experience actually using this, but I remembered seeing it and immediately thought of it when I saw your question.

Cottonelle Kids Toilet Paper on Amazon

Edit: I realized it looks like this product is no longer for sale. Here is an alternative I found on Amazon.

Mom Invented Toilet Paper Saver

This is a clip you put on the roll to prevent your child from playing with it. Young children will still require assistance unclicking it to access the TP, but at least you don't have to put it away after each use (which means remembering it for the next time).

  • The first one is a great idea. We might be able to do something like it ourselves. There are a lot of mixed reviews on the latter, though, so it's definitely not foolproof. I also suspect my son would figure out how to circumvent it.
    – Rob Watts
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 20:44

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