3 Year Old Girl Smells like Pee

Updated on August 01, 2012
J.B. asks from Laredo, TX
21 answers

My 3 year old daughter always smells like stinky pee. I'll bathe her and in less than 24 hours she stinks again. It's driving my crazy. She's potty-trained, and she wipes herself, which I'm sure is part of the problem. It seems to have gotten worse. I was able to get away with bathing my son every other day, but I can't with her. She's too cute to stink so bad. Any ideas on how I can at least get through 24 hours without smelling pee?

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answers from Cleveland on

I totally agree with AV.
The only thing I want to point out is that you should NEVER use baby powder in girl's underware or diapers, as studies have shown this can cause an increase in likelyhood of cervical cancer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would get her flushable wipes and help her for a few weeks and see if that makes a difference. If not, take her to the doctor to rule out illness. GL

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answers from Cleveland on

I would talk to her doctor about a possible protein issue, I know when my husband doesn't take in enough protein for the exercise he is doing his sweat smells like pee. It is a break down of uric acid in the muscle. If you don't think it is a hygiene issue there may be an underlying cause.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You need to take one day and wipe her after she potty's each time and see if the smell goes away..

I bet she is not wiping enough or in the right places.. Also could be she is having a tiny accident, waiting to long to go potty. Maybe get her some moist wipes. Teach her to use toilet paper and then a moist wipe..

Adding any scents is only going to be a pee smell with perfume.. You just need to figure out the cause.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Is she dribbling in her panties? Make sure she has cotton undies so they dry. Maybe try a baby wipe on her bottom once or twice during the day. Is she getting enough water? Maybe her pee is just to strong and she needs more water.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Lots of good suggestions about helping her on the potty to be sure she is clean after... but may I ask one thing that was an issue with my daughter when she was really young...

When your daughter sits on the potty, could some of the urine be shooting out the front of the toilet and getting on her clothes (undies or pants)? If my daughter was a little too um spread eagle, then that would happen. She would be mostly oblivious. It took some practice with me helping (and some maturity) for her to figure out the optimal way to position herself on the toilet seat, so that this didn't happen.
And different shaped seats can sometimes necessitate different "styles" of sitting. So at daycare/preschool, a different style than at home or grandma's house perhaps. Some potty seats are round. Some are oval. Some are kid sized so they have their feet flat on the floor, some aren't. All of that comes into play.

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answers from San Francisco on

This sounds like something to talk to the pedi about.

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answers from Dallas on

Could it be ammonia in her sweat? Does she drink enough water? Not juice, milk, soda, etc. Water? Does she eat a healthy diet?

I think this is something worth contacting your pediatrician over. Even if she is leaking into her panties a little, or not wiping correctly...she should not smell THAT bad.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My youngest was like your daughter. I took her to a urologist. From what i understood was she was not fully draining her urine. When he checked her after her going, she still had urine in her tube (sorry for the incorrect wording). That is what was silently leaking and causing her to smell. She just turned 8 and i dont smell it anymore.

We did do daily baths. We also did the wipes, be careful though. We had to throw them out. Our pipes are older and they are not flushable in our house :( Also, a tad of baby powder in her panties helped.

I am pretty sure that your daughter is having the same problem. It really does not have to do with wiping. They are sadly leaking. I bet she will grow out of it also. If you want to see a urologist they can check and explain it to you better. Hope i helped :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

My first thought was does she drink enough water? Are you noticing a strong smell when she is actually going the bathroom or just a stale pee smell like it has dried on her clothes?
She needs to drink lots of water especially during these super hot days we've been having lately. If it is the latter then just continue to show her how to wipe properly. A call to the nurse or doctor may be a good idea. They may have some other suggestions that are not already posted here. Good luck! My 3 year old daughter shows minimal interest on the potty. She said she is waiting to get a pee-pee like her brother....sigh...lol

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I didn't start letting my girl wipe herself without me there to follow up to "make sure" until she was four and a half. Three seems a bit young for completely unsupervised potty time. The problem my daughter had was standing up too quickly after eliminating in order to wipe. She still hadn't mastered the "sit-wipe" yet and pee drops would dribble onto her panties or pants before she could get the paper there in time.

I would stand there and give verbal instruction so she didn't stand to quickly, let her wipe herself for practice, then follow up with a wetwipe myself.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

I bet she's not wiping well enough. My 6 year old still doesn't wipe well! :/

I'd try wiping her with a wet wipe a couple times a day. And make sure she has clean, dry panties. I have to tell my daughter a lot to get fresh panties!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Does she have tiny accidents? I ask because even a small accident that you might not notice right off can lead to pee smell. If she waits too long to get to the potty, she might leak a little bit in transit.

You might also want to use Kandoo (or generic) wipes so that she is cleaner and fresher. Let her wipe and then double check. Make sure she or you get the drips that might be on her butt or have rolled down her leg.

If hygiene is not the problem, then it might be medical. Ask her doctor what else might be going on. Is it *pee* or is it a sour smell? And if it's pee, could she have an infection?

I would not use powder in her panties or bubbles in her bath. I would also put some vinegar in her wash to make sure that no stale pee smell is still on her clothing later. Vinegar gets the stink out of my DH's workout clothes and is cheap - just buy a gallon to keep by the washer.

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answers from Norfolk on

Have the Dr check her out.
Are you sure the smell is from her leaking pee (incontinence) or is it an all over smell (likes she's sweating it)?
It could be kidney or urinary tract problems.
There are also a few conditions where people just have a horrendous body odor smell - it's a body chemistry problem.
They reek so bad it's almost a disability.
I wouldn't try bubble bath or scents to cover up the smell.
Bubble bath can irritate and make urinary problems worse.
Some baking soda in her bath water might be a good idea.
Can you try having her sit on the toilet backwards when she uses it?
Straddling it might open her legs wider when she pees and help her void her bladder more efficiently.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would try the most likely and easiest to fix suggestions first before calling the doctor. (obviously. i cannot believe i actually just said that.) Most likely she isn't wiping well or is peeing on herself a little. My daughter didn't master wiping, sadly, until she was 8 or 9. She needed to bathe EVERY DAY because of it and her clothes were washed in hot water. She was far too stubborn to take my help or advice.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

My first thought was UTI, bladder infection, and/or kidneys. I would get her to the pediatrician on this one, and if the pediatrician can't deal with it (he should) then a pediatric urologist.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Sounds like she still needs help cleaning herself or that she is not getting to the potty in time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Definitely get her to the doctor. It seems you are seing this as a toileting issue when it could be a medical one.

What you think is a urine smell could be that --but could be something else. There are various conditions that make the body smell bad, including (as someone posted earlier) issues with protein processing as well as blood sugar issues. Get her tested for everything possible to rule things out -- UTI, blood sugar test, proteins, etc. And yes, find out if she is leaking urine and might need a fix to her bladder and/or urinary tract. She simply may be unable to control her bladder and/or tract and it may be a medical issue, not an issue of wilfulness or lack of good wiping.

Please do not use baby powder in her panties, or at all. Baby powder is the mineral talc, and years ago it was shown that girls and women should not put it on or near their pubic areas -- it is incredibly bad for you and gets inside you. Use a little cornstarch and nothing else if you feel you need to powder her down there but at her age I think it will just be a damp powdery mess. I'd get to the real problem first and see the doctor as soon as possible.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Maybe get her to use wet wipes. If it's a strong urine odor, have you had her checked by doctor for an infection? Could it be something in her diet causing a strong odor?



answers from New York on

Put scent in a bubble bath or water during bath time.



answers from Washington DC on

Is it possible that she has a UTI? Does she complain of abdominal pain (sign of UTI)? The other thing that can cause odor is if her bowel movements contaminate her urethra which happens because of wiping the wrong way or not wiping enough after bowels move.

Are her clothes totally free of the smell? Perhaps the underwear or clothes aren't totally getting clean. You may need to soak them in baking soda and vinegar.

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