Cottonelle Kids shows kids how much toilet paper to use

Kids Tpani PaperCertain six year-old boys I know use LOTS of toilet paper, perhaps a bit more than is necessary. A very personal preference, to be sure, but the Kleenex folks have decided to put forward a norm with their Cottonelle Kids brand toilet paper. See the little paw prints? Kids are supposed to follow them up to the picture of the cute puppy, and then tear. Looks to be about five squares, from what I can tell.

Interesting and mildly useful, but I can't help thinking this is one of those bits of family culture that needs to stay, um, in the family. Everyone's got their own method — some fold, some wrap, some crumple, and all these configurations require different amounts of toilet paper. How can such a personal ritual be standardized? Indeed, should it be?

If you must know more (including the answer to "When I tear the toilet paper, the perforations on the two plies don't line up. How do I fix this?") be sure to read the Cottonelle Kids FAQ. Or, perhaps you'd like to print out some super-fun Cottonelle Kids puzzles and games.

[Thanks, Rick, for the tip. Next martini's on me, in spirit at least.]

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  1. momma2mingbu says

    For those kids who attempt to use (or at least unroll!) the whole roll of TP, this could be a good thing.

  2. oddharmonic says

    The free Charmin Potty-Training Kit ( ) comes with a ruler to help kids measure up to four squares of paper. It has perforations to hang the ruler from the roll spindle, but I used a little tape to stick it to the wall behind the paper holder.

    Your mileage may vary with it, but the kit’s ruler and poster of bathroom steps were a great help when my daughter was learning to use the toilet. They’re still hanging in her bathroom at her request.

  3. Melissa says

    It’s a little personal I agree, but I can see this as a useful and fun way for TP use.

    It’s probably marketed towards people like me who will buy stupid stuff that looks fun.

  4. Mike J says

    If you get good toilet paper, then honestly anything more than 2 or three squares (folded once) should be excessive. You’re not going to really gain any coverage or protection by exceeding that amount.

  5. Melanie says

    When I was a kid, my grandmother used to insist that 2 squares of TP was all you needed. I could never figure out how she could get the job done without getting…umm…gross stuff all over her hands and fingers only using 2 squares. My personal goal has always been that the toilet paper should not soak all the way through. I’m sure my husband would love it if I only used 5 squares, though. He freaks out when he sees me getting toilet paper.

  6. Robert says

    I don’t know what’s wrong with everyone here, or maybe you’re all just kidding. I’d much rather see everyone use too much rather than too little toilet paper (and, no, I have no vested interest in any of the industries involved). A third of a roll, no problem. Any number of squares in the single digits, BIG problem. The purpose, after all, is to clean your body without getting anything unpleasant on your hands (even though you will presumably wash them thoroughly when you’re done). To combat the issue of the toilet clogging, I tell folks in my householdd to flush early and often (kind of like voting in a big city). And in between cleaning yourself and cleaning your hands, please grab another generous wad of tissue and give the seat a wipe, out of courtesy for the next guy!

  7. Mike J says

    I’m not advocating using 2 or 3 squares period, just at one time. With good paper, then you should really be protected from anything getting through.

    If you have good TP, then there is nothing that 2 or 3 squares cannot take care of. You won’t get more coverage or protection with more – Just the perception of it.

    I think a lot of people are “scrubbers”, which is why they feel they need more. TP is not designed for scrubbing – that’s what brillo pads are for. TP is for sensitive areas that need to be cleaned gently, and if you scrub then you just leave behind TP residue in addition to irritating sensitive areas.

    And yes, for the love of kermit the frog clean up after yourself and wash your hands! It’s sad how many adults I see with this problem.


  8. Tim H says

    How in gazooks can anybody wipe their behind with 5 squares (even folded over)? What do you do, hold it with your index and thumb and hope that you don’t get any feces on your other 3 fingers? My gosh, when I have a messy BM, I swear I can use a third of a roll, no problem at all. And that is a generous amount of TP per wipe – often I will have to wipe up to 4 times.

    Come on, I mean, feel free to economize on how many kleenex tissues you use when you blow your nose, but how much TP you use when you wipe your behind? The message should be “more is more”!

    (My wife and I have a rule: I always put the roll on so that the loose end comes over the top (not down the back), and she doesn’t critize how fast I go through TP! She grew up with a septic system and wasn’t even allowed to put TP down the toilet! It all went in the WASTE BASKET!! How disgusting is that?!!)

  9. Stu Mark says

    First, hey Asha, you got Boinged!

    Second, I would think that there are other ways to save money, rather than reducing the number of toilet paper squares. What does a sheet cost these days, a nickel? Maybe six or seven cents? Couldn’t you spend an extra ten minutes clipping coupons to make up the difference? I’m not coprophobic, but I like to feel comfortable when I’m in the nether region.

    Also, I buy the kind with aloe. If you’re sweet to your bottom, your bottom will whistle a happy tune.

  10. 0% recycled paper says

    it’s good top teach kids wasteful consumption practices while toilet training

  11. Jill says

    My husband (oh, the wonderful man!) is teaching my son that after he pees standing up, the next step is to take two or three squares of paper and wipe off the toilet. I can’t say the potty is sterile (he’s 4yo with variable aim) but it helps. Plus, I think of the women who he’ll please in his life! I say, use whatever paper it takes to keep you and the bathroom clean!

  12. Parent Hacks Editor says

    I feel I must chime in, as there are simply too many gems in this thread to let pass. (Note subtle elimination pun.)

    First, Stu, when my bottom whistles a happy tune, I generally try to hide the fact.

    Second, I definitely think that kids need guidance about how much TP to use, and “more is more” (in our experience at least) leads to many messy toilet clogs. I am so much more familiar with our plunger than I’d like to be, and have, more than once, gotten there too late. Bleh. Our rule is “three wipes, then flush.”

    I actually think the paw prints are cute and could work well for some kids, but I just couldn’t resist poking fun, as wiping practices vary so widely (as we are now finding out about in graphic detail). Also, different diets and digestive systems produce different, well, you know, all of which require different handling (or not, as the case may be).

  13. Stu Mark says

    I too had a clog issue, but only until I determined the right amount of time to hold the handle down during a flush. A healthy count of five before releasing works in our toilets and limits clogs to a bi-monthly occurrence.

    Also, I support More Is More, because I find that clogs are better than fecal-borne illnesses. I’m not saying I don’t tell me kids to avoid using an entire phone directory while they are on the throne, but I do tell them to cover their bases.

  14. Eric K. says

    When it comes between me and feces, more is definitely better. And three wipes might just be enough except for those times when…well, you’ll know them when they hit you.

    But my real question is this: If the toilet paper manufacturer is so convinced that five squares are the right amount, then why is it perforated between? Why not perforate the sheets so they’re single lengths five squares-worth long? Wouldn’t that be cheaper than printing dogs and paw prints?

  15. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Clarification: three wipes, flush, if necessary, three more wipes, flush…

    This is how we avoid clogs while still allowing for enough wiping.

  16. Bill_Nye says

    Hmmm… I’m surprised no one has mentioned a finishing move.

    My technique: I like to use 4 squares (the fluffy 2-sheet kind) per wipe. When things look good, I do my “finishing move”, which is to use one or two cottonelle moist towelettes or equivalent (

  17. Noumenon says

    There are two secrets to being able to use 2-3 squares of toilet paper per wipe (saving trees and nasty sewer chemicals):

    1) Only go when you get an urgent signal from your rectum. If you just sit down and decide to go it takes forever and it pinches off messy. If your intestine is ready, you can put out two, three, or ten turds in less than two minutes and wipe up almost clean. I used to keep reading material in the bathroom. Not any more!

    2) Eat real food. A whole bag of Doritos or jar of peanuts makes your pooping strained and sticky.

    I could go on about the benefits of pinching versus wiping and going between the legs or under the side, but I think I’ll just stop now.

  18. i use a lot says

    i use way more than 3 sheets i like a nice barrier between my hand and my waste products

  19. sairuh says

    i see a trend of paranoia here… people are afraid of confronting their own waste and are teaching their kids the same thing. this is why our disposable culture thrives. before toilet paper was invented we weren’t savages. we had to use cloth or rags, or i’ve even heard corncobs, and any camper whose stash got wet (ziplock failure in a canoe anyone?) knows what leaves are like. these ancient peoples didn’t revel in their filth. they understood the importance of being clean in the nether regions just as well as we did.
    so i say, if junior gets a smear on his finger whilst taking care of business, you make sure he washes his hands well and knows next time he should use a little more paper. it isn’t going to kill anyone (unless you’re living with the severely immunocomprimised, which most of us aren’t) or be that much of a chore to use a little extra handsoap. you’re usually in there monitoring what’s going on anyway, so when your child starts to use too much, just let them know. they’ll fine tune it just like any other ritual like combing hair or brushing teeth in no time.

  20. Stu Mark says

    I think there’s a balance to anal/hand hygiene. I tell my kids not to use too much paper, but I also tell them to use enough so that they don’t have to spend as much time washing their hands. If they don’t smear, hand washing shouldn’t take more than twenty seconds of vigorous rubbing of hands. But if they smear, then there’s a whole lot more care that has to go into the cleaning. Also, hands are sponges. Why allow them to pick up waste, just to have to process it again? Since we are going to use toilet paper anyway, slightly increasing the number of pieces doesn’t seem to overly increase our perception of disposable culture. And one last thing, while fecal matter may not kill you, it stands a good chance of giving you an inconvenient illness. I don’t think anyone here is afraid of confronting their waste (because they posted here), they are just cautious around bacteria. Me? I’d like to avoid Campylobacter, E. Coli O157, Enterovirus, Giardia, Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease, Hepatitis A, Infectious Diarrhea, Pinworms, Polio, Salmonella, and Shigella.

  21. Julie S says

    I think it is a GREAT idea, especially for my son who is a special needs child. He needs constant prompts and pictured hints to do daily tasks. This was a hit with not only me but his teachers at school. So you might pay a bit more, or some people might not think it is completely necessary, But I’m saying that this works, it is a good thing, and don’t knock a good thing.

  22. GINA STANTON says

    I have a great idea that I know is a muti million dollar buissnes
    marketed towards kids,Ihave done some research and some opinion polling and mothers and single fathers wish they had this idea
    in ther house hold,they all have one thing in common it will save money and frustration while kids are training,I also believe it would work in day cares,chools,etc

  23. how to potty train a puppy says

    I don’t get it! Whats the matter if I used 5 or 10 squares of TP. Every time I used it I want it thicker. My sister used to play with it. Sometimes I’m pissed off because she would scatter the TP all over the house. It looks really dirty. I told mom not to buy TP anymore.

  24. says

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  25. Julia weber says

    maybe we should all go back to leaves you know how much money it costs for toilet paper/ I guess if you won’t more then stop spending parties and fun because your spending more on toilet paper. I have three kids and one like to use more even though his butt is clean. my husband says sometimes you feel it even if it not there and we like to force it to come out which will cause taring. Wait until you body ready and start a diet. I tried them all and kids were doing well but they would rether sit on the toilet then eat fiber that would help their problem. so tp I would say five sheets if it’s messy and less if not.