Potty Training 101: Do you Ball or Fold?

November 2, 2015 |  by  |  Branded Content

Of all the things that we, as parents, must deal with during these early developmental years, potty training might just be the toughest. I’m not ignoring teething (and the diarrhea and screaming that comes with it) or sleep cycles, because those are hard-hitters too. But Potty training is an extra special beast.

With Ava, I kinda let mommy run lead on this.

Ava uses potty age 2

Sorry, not much privacy in the kitchen. Ava, circa 2011.

While I’m very familiar with the female anatomy, I’m certainly no expert on the female bathroom ritual.

My MO in wiping was clear–fold the TP and pat yourself dry, front to back. I wasn’t sure what mom was telling her, as we never really had an issue arise that required us to talk about it, but I assumed we were on the same page. Pretty standard issue stuff here.

With Charlie, everything has been turned on it’s head.

He’s been great with the aiming and peeing, the kid is a true weiner marksman, something every dad can be proud of. It’s not like we haven’t had our share of ‘accidents’ though, because we have – many more than with Ava – but at this point, it’s mostly under control.

The problem area is the deuce.

As a full-time stay-at-home dad, I’ve been working with him relentlessly on all aspects of potty training. We were lucky enough to avoid having to pee on Cheerios or buy the urinal that suctions onto the side of your toilet or drive around with a hopper in the back of the truck.

I basically just showed him how the gig works with several apprentice-style tutorials where I may or may not have had to fight him off from trying to throw his hand into the stream, thinking it was cool.

Every time he had to go #2 during the day, I followed him into the bathroom and reinforced the knowledge and practices that I’ve upheld for nearly forty years.

  • Pull the TP down and rip it off just before it hits the floor, which gives you about 4-5 sheets.
  • Take those sheets and match them end-to-end, fold in half and fold in half one more time. This should give you enough paper to adequately cover your hand and be successful in wiping your dirt crease.

From what I know, dudes go straight in, under the family jewels and take a swipe. We do this a few times, until the paper remains white. WE’RE NOT SIDE or BACK WIPERS. That’s girl game.

After several weeks of continuing to instruct him, I felt as if we weren’t getting anywhere.

I kept entering the bathroom and finding wadded up balls of TP on the floor, in the sink and toilet – and Charlie, with poop all over his hands like he was teaching an underground finger-painting class.

So I vented my frustrations with my wife one night after she got home from work. The conversation went something like this:

WIFE: How was your day?

ME: It was fine, but I’m literally at my wit’s end with Charlie and his wiping.

WIFE: Oh yeah, what do you mean?

ME: What I mean is that, every time I go into the bathroom to check on him, he’s got a hundred wadded balls of toilet paper around him, crap on his hands and insists that he’s doing it the way ‘mommy told him’. Have you been telling him how to wipe?

WIFE: Of course.

ME: Okay… so what’s your method?

WIFE: I grab a bunch of sheets and crumple them up in a ball and wipe.

ME: Seriously?? Are you an animal?

WIFE: That’s what I do… ball it up or wrap it around my hand, dab and wipe and yeah, you know.

ME: Ummmm… yeah, no, I clearly don’t know. I’ve been instructing this young man to count his sheets, fold them precisely like he’s a young Army cadet and shoot his arm between his legs to come out victorious. Wait. You’ve been telling him to ball and sidewipe and I’ve been telling him to fold and go underground? No wonder the kid has crap all over his hands – he’s completely confused!

So this is where we’re at.

Fold versus wad for CHARMIN

Do you FOLD or WAD?

Where do you come out?

Is folding and wadding gender specific? Is it generational? Is there a right or wrong way?

What do you tell your kids?

Respond below in the comments section and I’ll repost the results in a week on the Dad or Alive Facebook fan page.

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I fold and wipe from the front, but my husband wads it up and wipes from the back. We'll probably encounter this same argument a couple years from now with our son.


definitely a folder! Wadding seems wasteful and unhygienic to me. I am a side wiper though. I've considered changing that up but it's so ingrained in me now I don't see a change coming any time soon.


I'm female, I'm a wadder and just now starting to potty train my daughter and I plan on making her a wadder as well.