Printable Hand Washing Poster For Children

Jan 18, 2023 | 4 Minutes Read

If it were up to kids, they would use the potty, immediately leap off the throne and go back to playing. That’s why, after the all-important flush, it’s time for us grown-ups to help guide children with their hand washing. Read on for some important tips for clean potty training and how to teach a toddler to wash their hands properly.

Hand Washing Poster

Understand How to Wash Hands Properly

Before you figure out how to teach your toddler to clean after potty time, it’s important to be sure you know the latest safety recommendations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are five steps to properly wash your hands:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold). Then turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between each of your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or use an air dryer to blow them dry.

Prepare the Sink for Your Toddler

Just like the toilet can be high for little legs, the bathroom sink can be tough for little arms to reach too. Make sure you have a sturdy step stool so your child can reach. Also, consider buying some hand soap with your little one in mind. Little kids love squirting foamy soap out of the pump or trying new scents and colors. And automatic hand soap dispensers can provide a fun sense of “magic.” If you’re in a place where soap and water aren’t available — like some campgrounds and parks or the dreaded porta potty — supervise your child as they use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Explain Why Handwashing is Important

Talk to your child about germs so they understand why we scrub our hands. “There are tiny yucky things we can’t see, and we want to wash them away so they can’t make us sick.See you later, germs!” Reinforce that we need to do it every time we use the potty.

Tell your toddler about other times it’s important to wash their hands too, including after they blow their nose, cough or sneeze. It’s important to wash your hands before eating too!

Count to 20

When you’re juggling potty training and all the other things you need to accomplish each day, pausing for 20 seconds might sound like a lot – especially if you’ve already convinced your child to wait patiently on the toilet. And let’s be honest: While we know we’re supposed to wash our hands that long, many adults probably don’t scrub for the recommended time. But now that you have a little one watching — and kids love to mimic their parents — it’s important to follow the rules.

And there are fun ways to make the 20 seconds pass! While you could use a timer on each bathroom trip, many families find songs work well. “Happy Birthday,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” usually take about that long to sing.

Look for Fun Ways to Teach Kids Handwashing

Just like any other part of potty training, teaching your toddler to wash their hands can be fun too. Try these ideas:

  • Download a handwashing poster. This poster provides a helpful reminder of the five steps your toddler should take to keep germs away.
  • Ask your toddler to mimic you. The “Can You Do What I Do?” game is a fun way to guide your child through all the steps of the bathroom routine including hand washing.
  • Build-a-Bathroom Puzzle. This puzzle gets kids to learn and label all the tools they’ll use in the bathroom including the flush handle, soap, and towels. It’s a great game to play before you’ve started potty training, but you can do it together at any other time too.
  • Pulls-Ups® Scavenger Hunt. This hide-and-seek game can help get your child motivated to use the potty and wash up properly afterward. You’ll hide handwashing items such as soap and hand towels around the house.

Customize Your Teaching Style

While some kids will love following the rules shown on our handwashing poster, others will require a little more encouragement to patiently scrub for 20 seconds. As you’re planning how to teach your toddler to wash hands, keep their personality in mind and consider these tips:

  • Cautious personalities will enjoy having “rules” on their poster hanging near the sink — and may also enjoy using a small timer to ensure they’ve scrubbed long enough.
  • Shy kids will focus on the steps of the task. “Scrub, scrub … then comes the water.” Silliness can help a shy toddler become more flexible.
  • Eager-to-please kids will love playing with the foaming soap and singing songs. Be sure to give them plenty of time to enjoy the process.
  • Free-spirited personalities will want to make playtime out of it. They’ll likely enjoy using a foam-filled sponge in the sink to “wash” a play dish or use an old toothbrush to scrub their favorite dinosaur.
  • High-energy personalities might blow a bubble with the soap or compare amounts of soap on each hand before rinsing the germs away.

Celebrate Handwashing Successes

Often we focus on the big moments: when kids pee or poop in their potty chair or the toilet. But there are lots of other moments to celebrate too, including your toddler remembering to wash their hands on their own. Try this sticker chart as a fun potty training tool to help you celebrate those moments. They can earn different kinds of stickers for different tasks, like staying dry until making it to the potty, remembering to flush or remembering to wash their hands.

While some kids will take to hand washing quickly, others will need more time. So, it’s important to assist with hand washing until you’re sure your child has gotten the hang of it — especially since it takes kids a while to learn how to wipe themselves without touching their bottoms. And as with anything, kids learn by watching. So, make sure you’re modeling good handwashing behavior too!



Fun Disney Designs

& fading graphics to teach kids to stay dry

Pull-Ups® Potty Training Pants
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Pull-Ups® Skin Essentials Training Pants

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Pull-Ups® Night*Time Training Pants