Keeping My Daughter's Hands OUT of Her Panties?????? Help!

Updated on September 22, 2011
B.C. asks from Arlington, TX
14 answers

My little one will be 4 next month. She is mostly potty trained but still has some accidents and still wets the bed. She CONSTANTLY has her hands in her panties or she's pulling on them. It's mostly when she's sitting watching tv or busy thinking about something. It's so gross! Her hands have to be washed constantly and I'm getting so tired of it. She always smells like pee. There is no medical issues or anything, she just is a gross kid who doesn't care, lol. Any ideas about how to keep her hands away from her privates?

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So What Happened?

Ok, ladies, calm down. I'm not calling masterbation gross. She's not doing that. She just likes to have her hands in her panties and pull on her panties. It's like feeling a lovey or something. Because she still has issues with the potty training (which is FINE), she just doesn't always smell so fresh and then it's on her hands. I don't call her gross. I'm a really laid back mamma, and I know that wettting the bed is not a big deal either. She wears diapers to bed.

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answers from Los Angeles on

She's old enough to have a chat about what's appropriate and what's not. Explain that it's not okay to do that out in the open. If she's going to do that she needs to go behind closed doors. And enforce it. Watching tv and the hands go down there, gently remind her of the rule and ask her to go to her room. Hopefully, she'll break the habit.

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answers from Phoenix on

Maybe she is itchy because she isn't wiping well enough. Maybe she needs to use those flushable wet wipes for kids until she gets the hang of it. Maybe she has a urinary tract infection an its bothering her. maybe she is masterbating? It could be any number of medical reasons and it seems a little harsh to call her a "gross kid" when it may be something she can't help. Ask her WHY she's doing it. Maybe she'll tell you it hurts, or it feels good, and then you will know how to address it. Or if her panties are wet and rubbing on her it may be that if its not medical. Good luck.

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answers from Dallas on

my daughter was pulling at her panties a lot & it was because they didnt fit right...i went up a size & she quit messing with them...
if its just because its a bad habit for her to put her hands in her pants then all you can do is positive reinforcement for not doing it, try not to be too negative & draw too much attention to it
i wonder also why she smells like pee? she must be peeing even a little in her panties to smell like pee? if thats the case she may be pulling on them because they are uncomfortable from being even slightly wet? & needs to change undies frequently...or she's not wiping well?

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answers from Dallas on

well, I have a 4 yo boy who does the same thing. I simply ask him "do you have to go to the bathroom?" if he says no I reply, "ok, please keep your hands off your body." matter of fact.
While it is HIS body, it is my job as a parent to instruct and teach societal norms and grabbing yourself in public (as far as I'm concerned) is not a societal norm. (until he is a high school baseball player - LOL!)
sometimes he'll say his underpants are bothering him, etc. and I respond appropriately.
and yes, i then tell him I need him to go wash his hands.
In terms of your daughter's not-so-fresh smell, have you considered those Kando wipes? I used the flushable wipes with my boys until they were very, very good at wiping and could get it all without being smelly.
Best of luck. I hope you don't feel I was stretching since I have boys and you have a girl - a stinky kid is a stinky kid in my mind - LOL!

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answers from Portland on

I agree that you should rule out a medical problem, but more than likely it's just a means of self comforting that has become habitual. Suzmom has given you good advice. Whenever you notice the behavior, remind your daughter that she should only be handling her private body parts in a private place, like the bathroom or her bedroom. You will probably need to keep reminding her that touching her privates is private, and keep giving her the choice between TV or going to her room to continue.

There's nothing wrong with her touching herself in the privacy of her own room, again assuming that there is no rash or bladder infection. Some children use this as a way to relax into sleep, and most outgrow the habit if parents don't make a bit issue out of it. But if she smells like pee, there could very well be some physical problem that you should talk to her pediatrician about. And it might also help to make sure her panties fit her comfortably. Some kids can't abide seams rubbing in tender places.

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answers from Dallas on

If she is having accidents, she will have a slight pee smell if you get close to her. My 5 year old always waits until she nearly pees on herself and then runs to the restroom. She will sometime wet her panties and I tell her accidents happen and you don't have to tell everyone, it's ok lets just put on some clean panties. She seemed happy with that. She also will go to the restroom and when she wipes with a LOT of paper, she never always wipes at the "pee hole", so it drips into her panties. I'm working on getting her to wipe the entire area and not just at the very front. Work in progress. However I don't make a big deal out of it. I wrote all that to say that this sometimes causes a pee smell, so I will tell her,lets get a wipe and clean out your vagina so that it smells fresh. Try looking at her vagina at night and making sure it is cleaned out, that will definitely do a "smell be gone". trick. I have 3 girls and we are learning that females have to keep the privates clean. You could also try having wipes nearby and if you see her with her hand in her panties tell her to go get a wipe and clean her hands or keep washing them. She'll stop soon. Also, it could be the underwear, so you might try washing her things in Dref.

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you have her in cotton undies or something else? It could be the kind and it may be bothering her. Try switching to boycut panties and give her feminine cleansing wipes to use after using the toilet. As for the hands in the underwear when she is watching tv --try giving her something to hold that has texture or a snack that she has to use both hands to eat-lol GL!


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answers from New York on

If she just enjoys touching herself, that's fine and normal and should be expected, but one of the first lessons about sex is that touching ourselves is a private thing that should be done with clean hands and in our own rooms, alone.
However, if she often smells like pee and keeps fishing around in her panties, I would guess that she might not be cleaning well enough after using the bathroom. I am big on independence, at three, my kids were in the bathroom taking care of business alone but if she's not wiping well so that she's itchy and smelly, a reminder lesson and some wet wipes are in order.

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answers from Provo on

Pretty normal for this age. Ya, kind of disgusting. My daughter did this too as a way of relaxing herself. Just try and use something else to help her relax. Maybe a pillow in her lap or a small beanbag for her to squeeze.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't get the connection between accidents and wetting the bed, pulling on underware and masturbation, if that is what you mean by having her hands in her undies. Having accidents and masturbation are normal. Obviously, she still needs work with potty training. Pulling on her undies may mean they are uncomfortable, try some new ones. Masturbation is completely normal and should not be considered gross. Teach her it is something to be done in private.

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answers from Dallas on

What she is doing is normal and the times that she is doing it sounds like it's uncountous. By youngest does stuff like that too and he's a boy. He does wet the bed at night and if he does not get all the pee off of him he will stink. I am sure girls can be worst with that cause of their anadamy. When he was younger I would get flushable whips when he had a hard time whiping himself and getting everything. I know it's frustrating but it's something that will take time. Just try to be patiant with her.

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answers from Dallas on

Just remind her constantly she will out grow the habit.That is all it is a habit. My older one had it too and needs reminders she is 6

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answers from Tampa on

Masturbation is NORMAL and she should not be made to feel ashamed. What she is doing is a very normal process of children as well. What I'd do is to try and tell her how when we do this, we need to have privacy and clean hands. Clean hands BEFORE we touch our bodies and clean hands after we are done. She should also learn only the bedroom and bathroom are appropriate places to touch herself.



answers from St. Louis on

My daughter does that too. I am going to call the pediatrician office one of these days to ask about it but I think its a nervous habit with my 3yo. It almost seems like she is a boy that is constantly checking to see if IT'S still there. I'm going to read the responses and hopefully some has some great advise.

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