18 answers

Two-year Old's Genital Discovery

My almost 2-year-old daughter has begun to really notice and enjoy her genitals. I know that this is normal, but she's taken to "humping" my leg and various objects now. She's starting to do it in front of other people and I'm a bit embarrassed. I've tried ignoring and distracting her, but it doesn't always work. She's very focused! Just wondering if others had been through this and how you dealt with it (particularly if you have a girl).

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi J.,

Just so you know you are not alone! Mi little one did the same thing, n ow she is almost 3 and I would say that she forgot about it. She used to do it when she was sleepy or bored, I used to pick her up and distract her. Sometimes it wouldn't stop or would start again, but usually she'd find something else to do or fell asleep.
Wouldn't worry now, she is too young and as you can tell now, it is common, I was also embarassed at the beginning since my first daughter never did it.
Hopefully it will go away on it's own like mine!
Good luck!

I am having some similar issues with my little girl, and I also tend to try to distract her, I wouldnt make that big a deal out of it though. If she is anything like my daughter it seems like the more attention I pay to it the more she will. Good luck.

More Answers

Hi J.,

Let me first say that your daughter is very normal and she hasn't seen anything like a movie, an animal, or a person do this. This is a very normal part of growing up and some of us never have had to deal with it and others of us have all the time.

So don't think that if you have kissed your husband or sat next to him on the couch that she knows about sex because she don't and also don't think that you have let somebody come over and they have shown her to do this. You haven't done anything wrong and nobody should incinuate that you have or allowed her to see something inapropriate.Your daughter is not "weird" or gonna grown up to be a sexal predator or anything like that, thats just stupid and insane. That being said heres my advice like others have said when she does start doing this tell her we do not do it in public places your living room, restaurants, stores and etc, we only do these things in our room with the door shut. In my opinion I wouldn't carry her to her room I would tell her to go to her room herself and make sure she gets there. If she is doing this when you are getting ready to leave I would tell her no now is not the time and lets go wash your hands and we have to go bye bye or we have to go eat now. I would make sure she washes her hands after she comes out of her room. And when you geive her a bath start showing her the proper way to clean her body. Sitting in soapy water isn's going to do it. This will keep the risk of a yeast infection down. My daughter is 3 and I have tought her how to wash her body and her private parts herself. And it didn't have anything to do with this.

I have 4 children and in each child I have dealt with this in various forms such as humping, touching and things like this. I think this is a very private matter I would only tell the people that need to know, I would also talk to your daycare provider and agree on what she is gonna do if she starts doing it there. I watch a little girl right now that discovered this also, her mother and I talked about what we were gonna do and came to an agreement. I do not allow her to do this here at daycare (beacuse of other children around) but her mother decides at her discression where and when if you know what I'm saying (such as if they are getting ready to eat or leave). This doesn't mean that her mother or I are doing anything inappropriate. I have seen it sometimes in the kids I watch or have watched. They are children and they are discovering themselves and they should not be made fun of or made an outcast because of it.

In my opinon she being a girl, she will have to deal with many things as she gets older and she needs to be comfortable in her own skin. You are her mother and later on you will have to guide her. All of us with little girls will one day have to go training bra shopping and buy their first box of pads, we all better get comfortable because they are not gonna stop growing up or wait for us.

I will say again you have done nothing wrong and this is very normal and alot of us have gone through it, still going through it, and it has picked back up again.

So ladies that have boys you will see this again later on in your sons lives, you will notice lotion bottles diappearing, shampoo, bars of soap, body wash and anything else. It's a natural, healthy thing.

Lay down some rules that she has to follow with this behavior and follow through with it. Hope this helps you W.

It absolutely infuriates me that people would accuse a child care provider that they do not know in any shape or form that this is where this little girl could be getting this from. And if you other people that are giving opinions such as this than you might as well accuse us all. I have watched plenty of children and known plenty that this is a normal stage of growing up including my own and the 3 oldest ones have never seen anything inapropriate. And to accuse the parent that she is allowing her 2 yr old to watch an inapropriate tv show is absouletly absurd. Most 2 yr olds can barely sit still let alone watch a tv show of this nature. When you are gonna give opinions that say a child care provider is doing wrong than you should make sure you know the child care provider and not accuse or incinuate, and just keep your unneeded comment to yourself.

I'm sorry J. but that is uncalled for. I have a 2 yr old that I watch right now and she does the same sort of thing and I have done nothing wrong at all or allowed her to watch something inapropriate. And it is not the first child that has done it and it surely wont be the last. This is a normal part of growing up and a stage in life she is going through.

2 moms found this helpful

My pediatrician said to never tell her not to because she shouldn't associate it as something bad but to tell her that it's private and if she is going to do that she needs to go to her room to do it. It decreased the frequency for my daughter but she still jumps up every now and then and heads to her room for 15 minutes and she's 4 - crazy huh? :)
I was a little freaked out when it started with her but Dr. assured me all is well and normal
Now I have to add (after seeing the dog comments) that that is ridiculous - it IS normal - she is not copying behavior that she's seen. Please don't give a 2nd thought to the negative comments you've heard - what's she's doing is human nature - just try to encourage her to keep it private
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

When my daughter was about 1 and a half she was doing the same thing. I took her to the doctor for one of her check-ups and she noticed that my little one had a yeast infection. So although self discovery is normal you might want to check in to that.

To be honest, in 20 years of daycare and raising 4 daughters of my own, I've never heard of such a thing. Sure, I've had the occasional child reach for their privates during a diaper change. And I've seen a great many children around 4-5 years of age discover themselves and have had to teach them it's innappropriate to be putting their hands in their pants in that way, especially in front of people. But I've never heard of any child any age trying to rub themselves on anything like a leg or an object through their clothes and diaper. My gut feeling say's this really isn't completely normal but I don't want to say that something bad has happened to her either. But I think it warrants a little investigating.


Is it possible she has seen a dog do the same and is copying? Do you or the daycare have a dog that does this?

Like the other mother, I told my boys, and the neices I babysat this was a private thing to do and they needed to stay in their rooms with the door closed to do it.

Look for books at the library about Private parts and read them to her. It's My Body is the only one I can think of from the Safe Touching classes my son took when we thought he was being molested.

I don't know about girls, but my oldest son found his around 2 and started humping the floor...I talked to the dr about it and she said it was completely normal, and that it only gets worse...I always thought it was excessive...he would do it whenever the mood struck (at the park, at grandma's house, at daycare...etc.). Everyone I talked to had never heard of this, so it was a little frustrating...and very embarrassing. I just had to take him aside, and tell him that it was OK, but there is a time and place for that because it is private. I told him that he needed to either go to his room, or the bathroom...and that he should not do it at daycare. If he started to do it in the living room, I would pick him up and say, only in the bedroom...and carry him in....He's now 8, and still does it, but only in his room...Weird, I know, but what can you do?

Hope this helps....It wouldn't hurt to talk to the Dr...I've also heard that people with Bipolar express an interest in their privates, and sex from a very young age...so we're kind of watching him....

Good luck!

Hey J., This is very unusual for an almost 2 year old girl to know what she is doing?! I reckon she is mimicking either the Nanny or watching the wrong T.V. show. Check on her daycare icon and you may be surprised!! Good luck.

Hi J.,

Just so you know you are not alone! Mi little one did the same thing, n ow she is almost 3 and I would say that she forgot about it. She used to do it when she was sleepy or bored, I used to pick her up and distract her. Sometimes it wouldn't stop or would start again, but usually she'd find something else to do or fell asleep.
Wouldn't worry now, she is too young and as you can tell now, it is common, I was also embarassed at the beginning since my first daughter never did it.
Hopefully it will go away on it's own like mine!
Good luck!

When my daughter was doing this I was told to pick her up and take her to her room and tell her that we don't do that everywhere and if she wants to do it then this is where it needs to be done. It really seemed to work because she didn't want to be in her room alone, she wanted to be out with everyone else. Good luck and I hope that you find something that works.

I have a daughter who is 2 and have not had this problem yet, but while in college I worked at a daycare for 4 years and we had alot of girls around your daughters age who would be doing exactly what your daughter is doing. What we did was to explain to them that they were not doing anything wrong but that it was done in a private place or at least not around or in front of other people. Also with my son I made sure to explain that if he is touching his genitals that he will need to wash his hands afterward as well.

I am having some similar issues with my little girl, and I also tend to try to distract her, I wouldnt make that big a deal out of it though. If she is anything like my daughter it seems like the more attention I pay to it the more she will. Good luck.

I do not want to worry you but I would be a little concerned about her behavior. It sounds as though she is acting out. What is she around at daycare? I would definately search this out!! I have three young children and yes they are curious about their anatomy but have never done it in public or humped anything. Please find out what she is exposed to!!! God bless.

I'm curious about this...he she actually masturbating, or just exploring the feelings? I would think that if she were simply discovering herself that she would be using her hands, but the humping must have been modeled for her by a dog or something? You think?

You've gotten a lot of good comments here so I'll keep it brief. This is normal in all children, but I liked the ideas of making sure it's not a yeast or bladder infection. Once the real need for itching is taken out of consideration then you can work at modifying the behavior. When she starts doing this, ask if she needs to go potty. If she does, distraction/problem solved that one time. If she doesn't, then you can talk about how that's not something she does in public and needs to go to her room. I agree that the visits to the room will happen less often than her actions in public because she's not going to want to be away from all the action, so that will help teach her that it's okay, but it's private, but may also lead to less frequency.

Good Luck,

More than likely it's a yeast infection. Clear up the medical and then deal with the behavior, because we all know as women how itchy those can be.

Touching herself and master-bating with rhythm is a completely different story. Rhythm is taught and learned, is not a natural occurring thing. But if she's itching it may seem like rhythm. Cover your bases and listen to that mommy voice that is telling you something is not right here or everything is OK here.

I have a 3.5 year old girl that has been doing it since she was in diapers at 18 months!! It can be embarrassing when they feel the need to do it anywhere they feel like it. Once, my child laid down in a booth in a restaurant and started going at it. OMG! Talk about embarrassing. I don't want to tell her it's 'bad' because it's not, I just want her to know that we can't do that infront of other people. I just say things like 'lets not do that right now' or 'there are people around please dont do that'. You know, just whatever is appropriate for the situation. Its a hard thing to deal with.

Ok, this is actually covered in a book of mine about parenting a toddler.
It says~ We must not be shocked, stunned or horrified, they are only discovering the wonderful feelings that God created in their bodies. Only 2 concerns should arise. 1) they don't hurt themselves by putting objects down there(make sure they know not to do that), and 2) they don't become preoccupied with touching themselves.
The next issue of concern is preoccupation with one's own genitals. Extroverted children may be less likely than introverted children to become preoccupied with their genitals. The extrovert, remember, gets energy through interactions with other people, while the introvert is energized by his or her own inner workings. More often you will have to watch out for the introverts when it comes to genital preoccupations.
Your little introverts will be alone more with themselves and their genitals. Introverts will require more effort when it comes to teaching them how to express their emotions. Emotional destress or loneliness can produce genital preoccupation in preschoolers. If you find that your introverted daughter is spending too much time in her bed playing with herself, when you know she's heading to her room, call her to sit with you and read a book or play quietly with some of her toys with her. Ask her how she's feeling in her heart and what he's thinking, and invite her to talk.

If you little introvert is playing with herself in the living room, in front of or arond other people, you need to talk with her. Tell it's okay for her to touch herself but it's something only for her (and when she gets married, something to share with her husband). This is not something to do around other people. It's a private event.

This type of guidance for children will not encourage them to touch themselves all the time, but it will validate the fact that their sexuality is a good thing. you will be teaching them that sexuality came from God when he created them, but there are appropriate and inappropriate times and places for enjoying these feelings.

I hope that helps!

Hey J.!
I think some people on this site are being a little harsh and critical of other people's OPINIONS, so I just wanted to say that I understand what you are going through. Without going into too much detail, I have found a trick that works almost every time! Sometimes, the little girl that I know who does this, gets the signal for needing to go to the bathroom mixed up with the feelings of wanting to touch herself. Almost always, I take her to the bathroom, and it relieves the pressure that is being created down there.If your daughter is not potty-trained, this might be a good time to start, and if she is potty-trained, she just might need a little extra encouragement to go pee-pee right away. This has really helped my situation, and I hope it does the same for you! Good luck!

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