Toddler Curious About Private Parts

Updated on April 14, 2009
M.B. asks from Dixon, IL
9 answers

My little girl will be 3 in July and for a little while now has been curious about private parts. She talks about the pee pee and the poo poo area. the first time she mentioned this was when her Grandparents watched her full time for a few days. My MIL said that in her drawing she was pointing out where the pee pee and the poo poo were. Just today we were playing with play-doh and I made a bunny and she said it needs a pee pee and poo poo. I was worried that maybe someone touched her but the only time she was with anyone else alone was with her grandparents (I stay home FT) Has anyone else noticed this kind of private part curiousity? Also, she tried sticking a bath toy up her tush and when some toy touched her privates she said it tickled her pee pee. I just want to know if this is simply curiousity or is it more than that. We don't really watch much regular TV,she watches channel 11 mostly and PG or less movies. My husband and I are affectionate in front of her (hugs and light kiss goodbye, etc.) I just worry about her being too interested in this at such an early age! Please let me know if you have had to deal with any of this.

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone who responded! She has been potty training so I think she is just curious about where the pee and poo come out of. We do use the term that those are her private parts and that she shouldn't let anyone else touch them (unless we help her wipe) She is very intelligent and has know the names of all her body parts for a while now. Except vagina. I never really explained that one I guess! We basically just talk about the pee pee as where the pee comes out and the poo comes out of her butt. Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

This is very normal and healthy curiosity. I recommend this book as it addresses healthy sexual attitudes from this age through teenage years and how to deal with questions and explaning what's normal. "Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask) by Justin Richardson. I wish I'd had this book before I really needed it, as it helps a lot! It's available at Borders.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

I am no expert by any means but I have a 3.5 year old little girl who does alot of the same things. Lately I've caught her with her hands in her pants and she says she does it cause she likes it. I too was freaked out beyond reason and interrogated her about if anybody had her touched her down there etc. After 3 boys I dont have alot experience with girls and I am always paranoid about the least little change in her private area but the pediatrician usually talks me down.



answers from Chicago on

Yep - normal. I agree with this being a good time to talk about "private" and how it's ok for mommy/daddy etc to touch her to clean her or help her with the bathroom but that nobody (but mom/dad/doctor) hould touch her private parts and it's ok to tell you if anyone ever does touch her...

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Normal. My 3 year old does this all the time. She talks about it like any other part, fingers, toes, etc. We have explained that these are private areas and tied it to the privacy you would expect in the bathroom. We tell her that anyone who isn't someone that would help clean her after using the potty (mommy, daddy, Grandma) should not be in the bathroom with her or see her private areas. Our pediatrician also told her gently but to the point that only parents, grandparents and the dr. should need to assist her with private area matters.
My husband doesn't care for this approach, but I tell her not to touch herself there unless she is wiping because of germs. Now that she is potty trained and washing her hands regularly, I explained that the pee and poo have germs which is why we have to wash hands after a trip to the potty. Touching when we're not wiping means we're picking up germs. It may not be the best approach, but it works for us and does not seem to be causing any added curiosity.



answers from Chicago on

I would encourage you to talk openly with her about her private parts, what they are for, that they are private, who should touch them, etc. I would also really strongly encourage you to teach her the proper names for her body parts. Slang terms can lead to confusion and almost always carry some sort of connotation.



answers from Chicago on

sounds like perfectly normal behavior and curiosity to me, i wouldn't worry about it at all. both of mine have gone through times of great curiosity before and it's only natural as they're learning and discovering more about themselves and their bodies as they get older (especially when its close to, during or just after potty learning, as they're getting used to really noticing their body's cues and functions of different body parts).



answers from Springfield on

Don't worry! This is so very normal. Just a stage that they all go through... discovery!



answers from Chicago on

Yes, they are interested and can humble you at any time! Since you are comfortable that she is "not acting out" it's a good time to talk about private parts, matter-of-factly, and how they are "private". Just don't act embarrassed, she'll sense that. Answer questions as they come and they can come at any time of the day...sounds like normal curiosity! And, I would do your best to use anatomically correct names at this point in her life. Calling it by its proper name is less confusing because everything else has a proper name too.

Brings back memories of my son, at two years old, during a library storytime-craft class. He created a paper parrot and glued on these brightly colored plumes. He was so proud of his project -he made sure to tell all teachers and EVERYONE who listened that it was a BOY parrot. And.... how you were able to tell? By the anatomically correct placement of a large, pink feather! There was a lot of adult giggling!

They will continue to humble you! Best of luck!



answers from Chicago on

All kids are fasinated (how do you spell that?) with their private parts when they discover them. It isn't unusual for kids to try to put things in all orafices of their body....noodles or beans up the nose in 1st grade is common. I wouldn't fret about it. Just keep an eye on her and explain that everyone has private parts and they are for pee pee and poopies. Explain without too much unnecessary detail that only mommy/grandma should touch her private parts to clean her....and mommy will tell her if it's okay for someone to touch her private parts. I also added that putting their fingers in their vagina will make it sore and red. Unwashed hands are a vagina's worse enemy...I know from numerous yeast infections after I got married.

She's just curious.

There are a few things you can look for if you think there could be a chance that someone touched her:

Fear when you clean her
Soreness or redness that isn't associated with a diaper rash
A sudden inability to make eye contact with anyone
Unusual comments like I don't like to sit on so-and-so's lap
A preoccupation with inserting things in her privates
Unusual fear of certain people she had no problems with before
Drawings that seem to depict things that aren't appropriate
Play with dolls or stuffed animals doing things that don't seem appropriate
Acting out in ways that are inappropriate like trying to touch you in a sexual way or trying to kiss in a sexual way with their tongue

In your situation it sounds like she's just discovered herself and is curious. All kids do really does sound innocent enough.

It is good that you are concerned...wouldn't want to be the mommy that sticks her head in the sand and lives in denial while her child is going through torture under her nose.

Next question: When and How to Teach Your Baby Body Parts