Potty Worries Leading to over Washing of Hands

Updated on October 07, 2013
S.J. asks from North Hollywood, CA
9 answers

My kindergartener is having bathroom issues. First of all when we are getting ready to go out the door she will want to go to the bathroom even if she just went 10 min prior. Then she will wash her hands (of coarse). She washes her hands way too many times a day causing the backs of her hands to be dried out, red, chapped and even a few little scabs. The first time I noticed her hands like this was after she used a highly scented hand sanitizer. She had been fine with regular hand sanitizer but now it stings. Its been about 3 weeks of "flare ups." Aquaphor seems to calm it but its so heavy. We have a dr appointment tomorrow afternoon. I think the main problem is having to go potty all the time. Also she mentioned getting peepee on her underwear every time she goes to use the bathroom. Does anyone have advice for me? I hate seeing her little hands all red. :(

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So What Happened?

We saw the pediatrician and he had some great advice. It is eczema. We have such sensitive skin in our family. He spoke directly to her and was so great. He asked her to rinse her hands with water if she is just going pee. If she goes poop or visually has dirt on her hands then use soap. I replaced all the soap containers with diluted Aveeno baby shampoo. We are using cetiphil eczema therapy body wash and lotion on her hands. I am doubling it up with Cerva cream at night. He wasn't concerned with the amount of times she is going pee. I also am making a point to remind her when her last time to go to the bathroom before we leave. She sometimes doesn't even use the bathroom at school. I think she is just making sure none is left in her. Thanks for all the advice!

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answers from Washington DC on

Get her a very mild soap. Put it in a cute dispenser and say it is HERS. Watch how she washes and help her if she is using too much or washing too long.

Also, ask to observe her. Is she sitting far enough back on the toilet? Is she having problems wiping? I taught my DD to get the paper first, because I realized she was standing up, going over, getting paper...and dripping in the process. She did not want to use the potty insert, so I reminded her to sit far enough back so that she wasn't peeing on the seat and getting pee on her legs.

She may also have an allergy to the sanitizer. My friend's DD can't use hand sanitizer at all. I told my DD to use soap because I wanted her to wash the pee off her hands, not just sanitize them.

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answers from Jacksonville on

What kind of soap do you have in your bathroom? My husband gets irritated skin if he washes with any of the "anti-bacterial" soaps. I just avoid them. No more problems.

READ what the soap has in it. If it says "antibacterial" on it, do not buy it. For a while it was a little difficult to find any without out, they were all putting it in there. But these days, it is relatively easy to find non-anti-bacterial soap. You just have to pay attention to what you are buying.

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answers from San Francisco on

My youngest has anxiety and excessive hand washing/trips to the bathroom and worries over potty germs were one of the first symptoms she had. I was so worried about her, I was afraid she had OCD!
I'm glad your daughter sees the doctor tomorrow. Our pediatrician was really good with my daughter and helped ease her fears somewhat. He made her promise only to wash her hands after using the toilet and before eating, because he didn't want to see her ruin her pretty skin (her hands were RAW.) She tried really hard and over time it got better.
The hand washing is no longer a problem but she has had other anxiety related issues over the years, which we have treated as necessary. Hopefully your daughter will get through this, she may just be in an anxious period right now, K is a big adjustment!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son has excema on his hands. The pediatric dermatologist's advice:
-never never use hand sanitizer, it's way too harsh.
-use fragrence-free hand soaps at home, antibacterial soap is not necessary. We use a target-brand moisturizing hand soap that works well for my son.
-use CerVae cream at night
-use CerVae lotion in the morning

It is hard during the school year, because the school restrooms have very harsh soap. But if we keep up with the routine above, the lotions/creams provide enough of a barrier to keep hands healthy.

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answers from Portland on

Is it possible that she's overly anxious about being clean? You mention peepee in her underwear as if this may be indicative of a medical problem. It's actually normal. Even I, as an adult with years of expeience sometimes get a bit of urine in my panties. A child will have this happen often. How much emphasis do you put on cleanliness? Have you ever punished her for not washing her hands or for having an accident because she didn't use the bathroom before leaving the house. I suggest she may be trying to please.

I'm not saying this is the problem. I don't know you. I have seen this happen.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

She's in Kindergarten.
So, during the school week, while she is in school 5-days a week...is she also going to the bathroom at school all the time frequently and washing her hands, THAT much, at school?
While in school, the kids don't go to the bathroom that frequently as it seems she has to, nor do they wash their hands all that frequently. Yes, they can go to the bathroom at school, when they have to and the Teacher typically lets them. And then sure, a kid will wash their hands etc. And they go pee also before lunch and wash their hands before lunch.
So at school.... is this also a problem?? And if so, has the Teacher told you... that your daughter goes pee too often and always has to wash her hands that frequently?

Also, in schools, they don't have hand sanitizer in the bathrooms. They have soap to wash hands. So while your daughter is in school, is she using her own hand sanitizer? Or washing her hands in the school bathroom, using the soap that the school uses in the soap dispenser on the wall?
At least in my kids school, they do not put hand sanitizer in the student bathrooms. It has soap, in it.

2) Then the other issue is: her skin seems sensitive and when using hand sanitizer it is too harsh for her skin. Hand sanitizer has alcohol in it and fragrance. It dries out the skin. So don't use hand sanitizer for her, and get the type that does not contain, alcohol or fragrance etc.

3) And the other "problem" is: she gets pee on her underwear when she goes to the bathroom. Well, this is not uncommon, in young children like that. They either do not wipe well or they do not wipe at all... or, they get a little pee on their underwear because they hold it too long or wait until the very last minute to go pee and then a few dribbles gets on their underwear and it gets wet.

To me, her hand washing frequency is not only because she goes to the bathroom often. Because, you said she washes her hands "way too many times a day...." and to me, she does this even if she is not going pee. But washing her hands at other times too, not only when she is going to the bathroom?

Or, is she saying she has to pee so frequently.... but it is to actually wash her hands a lot?

I just don't see how, while she is in school during the week, that she is going to the bathroom that much & frequently, plus having to wash her hands that frequently. Because if she was, wouldn't the Teacher say something? As well.

Also, it could be that it is that particular "highly scented hand sanitizer...." that you said she has been using lately, that has triggered and caused... her red dried out chapped hands. Lately.
So throw that away. Tell her don't use that anymore.

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answers from Chicago on

They have to go when they have to go. ...

I think that sanitizer is horrible for thier hands that dries them out big time. Get normal hand soap.. No fragrance, no dyes.. (Menard has the one we like the best).. have her bring a bottle to school to use.

Also, get some mittens and serane wrap.. put vasoline on her hands at night, wrap them with the serane wrap and put the mittens on.. This should help hrydrate them.. you might have to repeat a few nights.

Good luck

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answers from Oklahoma City on

She needs lotion on her hands all the time. When we wore gloves for changing diapers we put lotion on each time our hands were washed then dried. It helped seal in the moisture. We washed our hands numerous times per day and if I didn't put a good strong lotion on them every time I washed I could easily have bloody hands. By putting lotion on I never had that problem again.

Lotions I have used and suggest are:

Gold Bond medicated lotion, if that's too strong for her then use the normal one.

Avon Moisture Therapy ointment. It's thicker and clear. It's like putting on a layer of heavy Vaseline but it soaks in well.

I use the one in the tub on my elbows and heels. I love it!





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answers from Detroit on

get some mild soap like ivory.. take 1/2 out (store in some other container) and put in 1/2 water... so the soap is half strength..

sounds like mild ocd.. maybe see a counselor.. ocd can spiral out of control..

1 mom found this helpful
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