24 answers

5 Year Old Girl with Hygiene Issues

Hi ladies - I was wondering if anyone out there had a good idea how to get a 5 year old to start taking better care of herself. We have a doctor's appointment again tomorrow for her 5th, 7th, hell maybe 10th (!) vaginal infection. She's had both bacterial, yeast and combination infections due to the simple fact that she refuses to wipe after using the restroom. I've cut most baths out, no scented soaps, remind her every time I see her going potty at home...but nothing seems to help. I can't be there all day when she's in preschool or when she's at her dad's, so I'm thinking there must be something motivational that would get her to do it on her own.

When she gets red and irritated down there she'll ask me to put ointment on, but I feel like that just adds to the problem because the medicine makes her feel better without teaching her how bad it is to not keep herself clean! Any and all ideas welcome. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi A.,

My daughter had the same issues. What worked for me finnally was 2 or more changes of undies, and washing down there with a detachable shower head but on the softest stream. And use baby soap for sensitive skin. Also using the wipes when you cant do the shower. My daughter has seen such a change that she doesnt go too sleep with out a clean change of undies and a good shower.
Good luck.

I don't have any suggestions, but I noticed one mom responded wondering why you cut baths out. To that mom: I think A. means she is doing showers instead, not that she stopped bathing her. Baths can cause infections because you are sitting in water with bacteria. Showers are better hygiene.

More Answers

I've had many young girls in my care as well as my own 4. It's a tough age. Is she showering daily? She should be if she isn't. I think you should change your shower head to one of those that detaches from the wall and is a sprayer. You can help her spray down there so that she gets super rinsed off. Once per day should be enough to keep her from getting too bad.

Beyond that, get her some of those personal wet ones and tell her she must use one each time and that if she does she won't get sore. She'll figure it out pretty soon.

Also, if you think the medicine is keeping her from experiencing the pain of disobedience, then don't put any creams on. Next time she is sore you can explain that the only way to feel better is to keep herself clean.

Oh and I probably should have said this first. Girls that get this problem as easy as your daughter is probably not drinking enough water. It sounds like her urine is too strong and maybe too acidic. See if you can get her to eat blueberries and drink some cranberry juice. Also give her chewable vitamin c and don't worry about how much she eats of those. She CAN'T eat too much vitamin c and large doses of it cured me of 10 years of bladder infections.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

A. I have to say that i can not tell you exactly what your daughter is thinking but I can tell you what I thought at her age. I was the same way about keeping myself clean, although I did not get as many infections. At her age my feet did not touch the floor when I used the toilet. I was terrified of falling in or off of the stool and too embarrassed to my mother of my fear. To sit on that toilet and then reach for tissue paper meant my feet were off of the floor and both hands were busy getting paper, there was no way to balance myself. I was not coordinated enough to do it that well. At one time I decided to take the paper off before I sat down, thinking that would make it easier. Again, it took cotorting myself to get down there and clean up, so I lost my balance and nearly fell off. I think I was a few years older when I decided to start using the paper after I was done and standing on solid ground. Of course it did not get me as clean but it was a start until I got big enough for my feet to touch the ground. Your daughter may not be misbehaving at all but just afraid of falling in. With the suggestion made of using the wet wipes, and her standing up afterward, she may be able to stay clean and feel better about it as well. Those are just my thoughts on the subject.

1 mom found this helpful

How about putting only baking soda in her bathwater & encouraging her to "soak a while". My ob recommended that to me years ago & it helped.
Maybe try some new undies too, if they're her favorite character, maybe she'll want to keep 'em cleaner or will take a little extra time in the potty.
Good luck!

Have to correct the wiping directions that were in an earlier response. Wiping MUST be done from FRONT TO BACK. Fecal material is loaded with bacteria. Also, cotton underwear will get damp and trap moisture next to the skin. If possible, get underwear made of material that wicks moisture away from the skin. Yeast requires warmth, moisture, and sugar to survive. Reducing blood sugar levels (sweets and breads push up blood sugar levels)and reducing moisture will make it easier to get rid of the infections.

Hi A.,

My daughter had the same issues. What worked for me finnally was 2 or more changes of undies, and washing down there with a detachable shower head but on the softest stream. And use baby soap for sensitive skin. Also using the wipes when you cant do the shower. My daughter has seen such a change that she doesnt go too sleep with out a clean change of undies and a good shower.
Good luck.

have you thought about getting her checked out by a psychologist specializing in younger children? we had issues wiht my child then four yo eating wood chips and chewing on her hair so we went that way after ruling out medical issues (which you seem to have done). there may be stress or other issues going on that a good c. psychologist could ferret out. some companies have this covered as a benefit so most cost covered? that is the case with my co. anyway just a thought.

It's probably been said on other responds, but I would buy some wipes. There are unperfumed, flushable kind, that would probably be best. Limit her foods that can add to the build up of yeast in the body; research yeast infections on google or yahoo, or webmd, and you can find which foods do that. I had a problem with my oldest granddaughter about wiping good after pooping. When she was 12, a nurse practicioner had to check a rash, and embarrassed her because of the mess that was there! Though she was 12 in years, sometimes her actions and play were no more than a 5 year old. Still "that young" 2 years later. But she's cleaner! Good luck. Jan in MO

My daughter is also five and doesn't always wipe well. Sometimes her private area gets red and irritated from her not wiping well. One thing that helps is I wipe her with a wet rag or have her wipe herself with a rag before bed so she is not sleeping all night with her privates dirty. Also, a little baby powder still helps keep the area dry.

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