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Toddler fiddling with willy. Help please!

(12 Posts)
Lexilicious Mon 04-Jul-11 14:58:02

I have one 23 month old DS and I am driven to distraction by his fascination with his willy. It has been going on 6 weeks at least. I know it is normal, a phase, exploration of self etc etc., and we have really tried not to "make it into an issue". But it has to stop now (a) because he is wetting his clothes/pyjamas and the bed when the nappy gets scrunched up or the willy is not properly 'contained'; (b) because at nursery they are not keen on him playing with toys with the other kids when he has 'dirty' hands.

Things we've tried:
1. Bodysuit+trousers, so he can't get his hand down the top of the nappy or up the leg holes. Hot weather makes this more difficult. I want him to be able to run around the garden in just a nappy or in t-shirt and shorts.
2. Ignore ignore ignore. Well, that results in wetting of self or bed.
3. Withholding treats or nicer food options. Either 'if you don't put hands in pants for ten minutes then you can have...' or 'If you put your hands there again you won't get...'. However this is drawing attention to it. And doesn't work.
4. Smack on wrist when seen doing it. I hate this, and it doesn't work.
5. "STOP THAT!" or "DON'T DO THAT". Again, draws attention to it. Doesn't work. Have just spent two weeks on what will forever be called the "HANDS OUT!" holiday.
6. Keeping him occupied with other things, eg playing. Exhausting, and also I want him to be developing his ability to play on his own and using his imagination) but it works ... up to the point he goes to bed when he then does it for comfort. Hence me being up at 5.30 this morning (he would normally sleep till 7) changing his pyjamas and sheets. Stupidly, what I actually did was 'reward' the behaviour by bringing him into bed with us because as we were going to get up soon there was no point trying to put him back to bed.

Please, anyone have some better methods? Good points are that (a) DS is very good at accepting a 'deal' and may just need help keeping his mind on it, (b) DH is completely equal at this parenting thing and will definitely get on board with a strategy, (c) the nursery will probably also work with a strategy, (d) the phase has got to end on its own soon, hasn't it?

Rubyx Mon 04-Jul-11 16:48:49

I wish you luck,, my son used to do that at around age 3. A firm look and moving his hand away saying no it's going to get dirty with pee pee was enough.

lwfhinba Mon 04-Jul-11 16:53:37

I know nothing about these kind of things but surely if you potty train him the nappy issue won't be a problem?

KnitterNotTwitter Mon 04-Jul-11 16:53:47

sounds counter intuative but maybe he just needs some nappy free time.... or even potty training. It may be that he's starting to get the feelings of when he needs a wee and finds it interesting.... maybe a bit of running around with a potty in close proximity and encouraging words would be an interesting exercise...

Lexilicious Mon 04-Jul-11 17:06:35

Ooh interesting re the potty training ideas (two simultaneously!) - and thanks. Rubyx was your son PT'd or still in nappies when he did this?

We had actually been introducing the potty first thing in the morning and at bedtime, because we thought he might be ready to 'just have it there', at least where wee-ing was concerned. No particular training programme.

It's possible that we have sort of got so frustrated with the hands in pants thing that we have lapsed on making the potty available. I do think there is a connection with when he needs to wee.

matana Mon 04-Jul-11 18:44:48

Not sure you should smack his hand/ chastise him - it apparently teaches them their bodies are dirty and something to be ashamed/ embarrassed about. Maybe overlook it a bit at home or divert his attention away from it, but explain to him it's something he shouldn't do in public?

Ormirian Mon 04-Jul-11 18:48:08

Ohhhh it's his own willy grin Well I wouldn't worry about it then....

Sorry. Erm..... I suspect potty training would help a great deal - once he has got used to the fact that he has this interesting thing down there and it isn't hidden under layers of nappies the interest may well wane. And I know it's no help now but it will pass.

Alicious Mon 04-Jul-11 20:59:52

How about distraction in a game-I remember someone on here talking about a reception class teacher using games of "Simon says" for exactly this kind of problem!

And another vote for potty training!

Lexilicious Mon 04-Jul-11 22:11:44

OK, fab people, this evening when we got home the first time I saw the hand there I said "oh do you need to wee" and took the nappy off. He sat on the potty and did a wee.


Kept the nappy off after that and tried to keep him entertained fully. We watered the garden, picked lettuce for salad, played with train set, chopped things to add to pizza. He did fiddle a few times and I said he couldn't help with making dinner with wee on his hands, so he had to go and wash hands, which he did willingly. Eventually he wanted the nappy back on again which I did.

Offered the potty again at wash+teeth time but I think he was too tired then. Is in a gro-bag for the night so probably won't have the bed wetting problem in the morning.

Have briefed DH on the success of the experiment. We will try to keep it up! Thanks all.

KnitterNotTwitter Wed 06-Jul-11 11:15:41

oooh - well done LexDS and Lex - thanks for the update!

leelo Wed 06-Jul-11 22:17:36

my son (nearly 3) is toilet trained and on the potty loves playing with himself. he starts nursery in october so i hope to change his need to touch himself. i take his hand out his pants or say leave your manny alone. hope this is just a phase.

Octaviapink Thu 07-Jul-11 12:40:34

At 3 I would think they can understand that although it feels nice to fiddle with it, it's something to do in his bedroom not in the kitchen/living room/ wherever. My DD has recently become obsessed with taking her nappy off and wandering round with hands in 'foof' so I'm attempting this route with her!

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