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Question
Posted by: Jay''s Mom | 2012/01/11

Toddler becoming aware of private parts

Hi Doctor,

I need some advice please. My three and a half year old daughter has recently started to become aware of her vagina. She is potty trained but at night wears a nappy and sometimes I would find her with stuff in her nappy - a rolled up T-shirt, a small teddy, etc. If I ask her why she has something in her nappy, she will tell me this tall tale which has got absolutely nothing to do with what''s going on in her nappy. I''m not sure how to handle the situation. I assume putting something in her nappy provides some friction which is pleasurable. Should I talk to her about this? She just seems so small!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I'm sure some of our excellent readers who are also experienced mom's, will have some helpful responses here.
We're never too small to become aware of our genitalia and some of their interesting and pleasant possibilies. Presumably from the nature and placement of the objects you describe finding, these may indeed provide pleasurable sensations if she lies on her belly ; some form of masturbation or self-pleasuring , especially as a form of self-comforting to help one slip off to sleep is quite common among children. How early this starts is hard to know except from chance observations from a good mom such as you describe, without engaging in intrusive and bothersome ( to the kids ) research. There's no reason to expect it to be harmful or worth the effort of trying hard to stop it. Educating a child that some body parts are private and one shouldnt allow strangers to touch one there, is useful. Suggesting that one shouldn't ( within moderation ) touch oneself, isn't useful.
If she explains these objects with tall tails, this may suggest she somehow intuits that you might not altogether approve. Keep a discrete eye on matters but unless this is being pursued to the point of causing a friction rash, its probably harmless, and too much attention to it may cause more problems than ignoring it.
I'm assuming that she remains at home in your care. Where a child goes to a creche or such a caregiver where someone else might possibly give her such ideas, one might be slightly more concerned

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012/01/11

It''s normal to explore and even start masturbating at her age. I would ignore it completely, unless she does it in public in which case you will have to explain that you don''t do this unless you''re on your own.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/01/11

I'm sure some of our excellent readers who are also experienced mom's, will have some helpful responses here.
We're never too small to become aware of our genitalia and some of their interesting and pleasant possibilies. Presumably from the nature and placement of the objects you describe finding, these may indeed provide pleasurable sensations if she lies on her belly ; some form of masturbation or self-pleasuring , especially as a form of self-comforting to help one slip off to sleep is quite common among children. How early this starts is hard to know except from chance observations from a good mom such as you describe, without engaging in intrusive and bothersome ( to the kids ) research. There's no reason to expect it to be harmful or worth the effort of trying hard to stop it. Educating a child that some body parts are private and one shouldnt allow strangers to touch one there, is useful. Suggesting that one shouldn't ( within moderation ) touch oneself, isn't useful.
If she explains these objects with tall tails, this may suggest she somehow intuits that you might not altogether approve. Keep a discrete eye on matters but unless this is being pursued to the point of causing a friction rash, its probably harmless, and too much attention to it may cause more problems than ignoring it.
I'm assuming that she remains at home in your care. Where a child goes to a creche or such a caregiver where someone else might possibly give her such ideas, one might be slightly more concerned

Reply to cybershrink

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