Toddler Boy Masterbating Medical Causes??

Updated on December 12, 2009
A.G. asks from Portsmouth, VA
8 answers

My toddler son has had several phases where he masterbated a great deal for a couple of days at a time. He drops to the floor and rubs his pelvis against it wherever he is. He seems especially fond of doing it when he has a wet diaper. We do not yell at him or make him feel bad. Instead we firmly tell him that it is ok that he does it, but that he needs to do it in the privacy of his room. He doesn't neccessarily listen to that, but if he is doing it downstairs I can usually redirect him to an activity that will make hime forget about it. We plan to continue to use redirection and explanations of private time which seems to work if we are consistant, but I don't want to miss something if he might have an infection etc. Here is my issue: He has been consistantly and excessively doing it for 3 or 4 days now. He is spending a great deal of time doing it, being very obstinant about stopping or going upstairs, and goes right back to it in the middle of usually high interest activities (he doesn't even move out of site, just drops to the floor when he thinks I am not looking). He almost seems obsessed and like he can't stop. So here is my question: Is this just a behavioral issue or could there be something medical involved that has brought on this sudden increase? He doesn't give me any consistant response if I ask him if his pee-pee is itchy or if it hurts? He is definately making the skin look a little red and irritated with all the constant rubbing against his diaper. I have considered letting him go around without a diaper to see if he keeps it up, but I am currently home alone with them and uncomfortably pregnant so all the cleaning up if he pees is very intimidating.

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answers from Richmond on

GOOD FOR YOU for keeping such a level head about this, i think you're doing a terrific job with the way it's being handled. i dont think this is behavioral, and i dont think anything is medically wrong. it sounds like your son has just hit that point in boyhood when he realizes that it feels a whole lot better to rub on his pee pee than, say, his belly or other body parts. if he is not excessively whining or showing any negative signs of discomfort, i would continue handling it the way you are... because eventually, something else is going to come along and be even COOLER than playing with it, and when that distraction comes along, he's going to forget all about this for a while... with the pregnancy and your daughter, sounds like you've got other things to think about ;) if dad is around, you can always get him to talk to you son and explain that big boys dont do that in front of other people, and back you up on what you've been saying about doing it in his room. good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on


I think it is quite normal for them to fiddle around with it , as it obviously feels nice but he is too young to understand that he should not be doing it in public etc. The frequency would be a little concerning to me , he may have a little eczema that is irritating him (that can pop up in the most annoying places). Try and take a look to see if he has any dry skin/rashes that could be causing the problem. Also think about your laundry detergents , have you changes anything recently , powder , softner , soap/bubble bath?

Good luck


answers from Washington DC on

first of all, good for you for your calm commonsense handling of this sensitive issue! too many parents freak out.
it wouldn't hurt to get medical causes checked on just for the purpose of ruling them out, which will most likely be the case. keep redirecting and emphasizing privacy. 'this is fun!' is a novel stage but like the others, it too will pass.
:) khairete



answers from Washington DC on

Hi there,

I would maybe ask your ped dr their opinion on the issue.
As far as letting him go diaper free, I wouldn't recommend it and here is why...If he gets on the ground or up against someting he could rub himself raw and cause and infection if the area he is rubbing isn't very clean. Don't take offense, it's meant as nothing is sterile to not cause issues....for instance if he is rubbing against the carpet and he has has rubbed himself raw, carpet fibers, or anything from the carpet gets into the raw area and causes an infection. Anything played wth too much will become red. So stay with the diaper for now. He doesn't understand the privacy and embarrassment issues yet, he is too young. Keep up with saying them however. Good for you for not freaking out as well! He will be doing this when he is older and the sooner he learns to do it alone in his room, the better for him and you.
Good luck and GOd Bless!



answers from Washington DC on

It could also be as simple as dry winter itch.
I'd get him checked by the ped. just to rule out diaper rash, yeast infection, etc.

When my son started the hands-down-the pants phase, I changed his clothing. He went from tees and jeans to onesies and jeans or overalls. Since you are home with them, you could also just let him run around in a one piece jumper.




answers from Washington DC on

I'm sure you've already wondered if this was yeast, fungus, or diaper rash. I'd probably ask my pediatrician about it without trying to self treat, but it's more likely he really is doing this because he has discovered this particular body part. Found two web sites and thought they might help: (Copy and paste the URLs into the address bar if the link doesn't take you directly to the site.) Your same question was raised in 2007 on a Web site and the parents had some great advice. The original writer replied that she had already taken her child to the doctor, who ruled out infection and told her that her child was just learning pleasure. One parent replied that she instituted overalls when her son kept putting his hands down his pants. He eventually lost interest and moved onto something else. Other good tips included preparing them for toilet training, or at least introducing the potty, since they are so focused on their genitals. Maybe Dad can show how he uses the potty by standing and teach him that someday, when he feels like he's a big boy, he can try it, too. He might try imitating already and that will get the ball rolling. Anyway, this other site is a response from a pediatrician that will answer your question about the normality of what your son is doing. Be encouraged. He will outgrow this before it becomes a source of major public embarrassment. If you're worried about what others will think, visitors to your home will probably turn a blind eye to his actions at this age; and, if not, just chuck it up as one of those laughable memories you will have when he's walking across the stage at graduation or getting married.



answers from Dover on

maybe he's doing it simply to get your attention? perhaps he's anxious about the baby on the way? just a thought...



answers from Washington DC on

I would definitely get him checked out by a pediatrician so you can rule out anything else it could be and to put your mind at ease...I would also make sure to change his diaper immediately and use some powder to keep the area dry and comfortable...he will probably just grow out of this stage....I have a 12 year old that still has issues with being appropriate at times and 'adjusts' himself in public...boys are boys and it's hard to curb their fascination with themselves...but he will soon learn not to be so 'in public' about it soon....good luck!! Keep us posted so we know what the Ped. says! :)

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