How can I keep my toddler from touching herself all the time?

Kristie - posted on 08/06/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 2 1/2 and we're working on potty training this summer. It's kind of hit and miss but she does best when she has no pants, diaper, underwear on, just bare butt. The problem is she won't keep her hand off her privates! I've tried having her only tough herself in the bathroom or her bedroom but she gets so mad when I put her there she ends up throwing a fit and I'd rather avoid that. I need some suggestions on how to keep her hands off! Or should I just deal with it and hit the potty training thing hard for a few days and get it done so she can wear big girl underwear? Help!

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Jennifer - posted on 09/26/2012

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My husband and I don't want to encourage our children that masturbation is okay as a child. We are strong Christians and believe that is meant for adults in the confines of marriage only because our bodies are the temple of GOD and as such should be respected. How do I teach my daughter that masturbation is not okay as a child without teaching her that she is abnormal for wanting to know about how her body works and not damaging her fragile little psyche. I admit as a child I explored my body but it wasn't until I started going to church that I realized that that isn't what was considered appropriate. It made me feel ashamed for touching myself. I don't want her to feel the same way.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/07/2011

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Well, it is self discovery. She should be able to explore her own body. After all, this area has been covered by a diaper for 2 1/2 years. It is new to her. It will lose its appeal eventually. If you keep telling her "no" "bad" "gross" (not sure ifyou are sayiing any of these things, just giving an example) she may develop a bad association with her privates. Instead, engage with her, tell her what she is touching....the more you make a fuss about NOT touching herself, the more she is gonna want to.

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Kristie - posted on 08/07/2011

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Thanks ladies. Glad to know I'm not the only one (didn't think I was but good to hear it from others).

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/07/2011

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Marina- Sorry I rethought that word yesturday. I didn't find it disturbing either. My ex husband did though and came out and asked my mom if someone had been molesting our daughter. Of course she was 2 and he wasn't really there and we were starting our custody thing. I didn't mean it the way it came out.

My older daughter's almost 7 now and she's still curious about private parts. So my husband and I give her the meanings and what they're used for. She's also walked in on us having sex. So yeah, Kristie welcome to parent hood stage 2.5 :)

Katherine - posted on 08/07/2011

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Everyone here is right. She is exploring her body. It's natural. My 2.5 year old does it too. I don't say anything unless she's pooped.
She wants to know what's down there! Wouldn't you?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/07/2011

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I don't find self exploration "disturbing" at all. It is necessary and healthy.

Tara - posted on 08/07/2011

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I agree with JuLeah - gentle reminders do work eventually. Both of my girls (3 1/2 and almost 2) touch themselves if they are bare bottomed.
What has been working for me is telling them "I know that feels nice, but other people may not want to watch you. That is something that is private and only for you, so do it in your bedroom when you are alone" - at least that is pretty much the idea of what I say - it's a little less articulate than that because of their ages.

I also use a gentle reminder anytime they do touch themselves where others might see them. If we are at home, I use the reminder and sometimes move their hand away gently and tell them it's a private thing that they may do by themselves.
I also tell them that the toilet is for going pee or poop only - it is not a play area. We're slowly making progress on the potty training too :)

Rebecca - posted on 08/07/2011

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My son constantly touches himself too...even when he has pants on. He is 2 and a half aswell. It doesn't bother me so much because I feel it is a normal part of toddlerhood..you know suddenly this part of themselves that they have never seen because of the nappy has been revealed and it feels good to them. There is nothing wrong with it and as Megan says they do not really know what they are doing they are just exploring. I agree with JuLeah that as she gets older if she continues she just needs some gentle reminders that it is okay to touch herself but there is a time and a a place that is appropriate. Good luck..I will let you know how we get on with our son as he grows too!

Kristie - posted on 08/06/2011

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She's only w/o pants in the house and pretty much whenever she has a diaper on she keeps her hands off. Once in awhile I'll check her before bed and her diaper is loose or off but other than that she only does it when she's bare butt. I try not to get mad and don't want her to think it's wrong or whatever. Guess I just have to deal with it. Thanks ladies.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/06/2011

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There's nothing you can do. I have an almost 7 year old girl who still does it. The term is self exploration and as it's completely normal. Besides your daughter's still a toddler and doesn't really know what she's doing anyway. The best advice I can give is to tell her she only touches herself there when she's in the washroom.

JuLeah - posted on 08/06/2011

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She is only without clothes in the house right? So, leave her be. Gentle reminder if anything at all. Never make her feel bad, ashamed .... you want her to like her body, enjoy her body and grow up without the shame issues most of us were brought up with.

Ignore it and train her to use the pot

When she is out in public, gentle reminder. When she is a bit older, gentle reminder at home ... you can't keep her hands off without a lot of fear and shame which is what you don't want. It is normal and healthy.

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