why does my toddler put his finger in his bum?

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Do you ever wonder why toddlers put their fingers in their bums? It’s a question that has been baffling parents for years. Well, wonder no more! We have the answer for you. There are actually several reasons why toddlers do this. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common reasons why toddlers put their fingers in their bums. We will also provide tips on how to deal with this behavior. Keep reading to learn more!

One of the most common reasons why toddlers put their fingers in their bums is because they are exploring their bodies. Toddlers are curious creatures and they want to know what everything feels like. That includes their bums!

If you’re wondering how to deal with this behavior, there are a few things you can do. First, try to redirect your toddler’s attention to something else. This might be easier said than done, but it’s worth a try! You can also try to talk to your toddler about why putting their fingers in their bum is not a good idea.

Explaining things in simple terms might help them understand. Lastly, you can try to provide your toddler with alternatives to putting their fingers in their bum. For example, you could give them a toy to hold or something else to keep their hands busy.

Another reason why toddlers do this is that they are trying to relieve itchiness or discomfort in their bums. If your toddler is putting their fingers in their bum a lot, it might be a good idea to check for signs of diaper rash or other skin irritation.

Sometimes they do it because they haven’t wiped properly, and there’s something worth picking. If you think this might be the case, take a look the next time your toddler goes to the bathroom to see if they are properly wiping themselves. If not, you can help them out or teach them how to do it properly.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to keep an eye on your toddler when they are putting their fingers in their bum. This is because there is a risk of them transferring bacteria from their hands to their mouths. This can lead to illness. So, make sure you wash your toddler’s hands often, especially after they go to the bathroom.

Toilets are a common site for rashes and other skin problems. Toilet paper may get caught behind, adding to irritation and itching. Allergic responses and sensitivity to specific cleaning solutions.

Also, make sure that your toddler is properly cleaned and comfortable. If they are itchiness or discomfort, try using a diaper rash cream or other soothing treatment.

One of the main reasons kids pick their butt is that they have intestinal parasites living in their colons. These worms are called pinworms, and they’re extremely common in young children. In fact, according to the CDC, over 40 million Americans suffer from them each year. The good news is that pinworms are easy to treat with medication. However, if left untreated, they can cause serious health problems.

The aboveground networks of white and thin worms are highly contagious, and the eggs can be passed inadvertently by breathing them. The pinworm eggs remain in the intestines until they hatch and develop to full size (about a half of an inch). Female pinworms then crawl throughout the body to lay eggs around the anus before returning to the colon.

Pinworm eggs can be detected with a simple tape test by a pediatrician, and treated with oral medicines. Throw in a brief refresher course on wiping, and you should be able to alleviate any remaining issues. If your kids’ pants are too small, consider the rest of the possibilities. “Parents should also check their child’s underwear size to make sure they aren’t constricting the bottom,” says Dr. Nazarian. “This can cause increased moisture and irritation and make kids more likely to itch.”

If you have any concerns that your child might have a bigger issue going on, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician. They will be able to give you the best advice on how to proceed.

Here is a quick video from Dr.Paul explaining why your child has an itchy bum, if you prefer to watch it.

Below are some FAQs regarding Pinworms as they are the most common reason a child would pick his butt.

How Do I Know If My Child Has Pinworms?

The most common symptom of pinworms is an itchy rash around the anus. This is because the female pinworms lay their eggs around the anus. Other symptoms of pinworms include:

Trouble sleeping


Loss of appetite


Teeth Grinding

Girls May experience vaginal irritation and itchiness if pinworms are near the vagina.

How Do Kids Get Pinworms?

Pinworms are usually passed from person to person. Kids can get them by touching something that has pinworm eggs on it and then touching their mouth or food.

They can also get them by sharing contaminated clothing or bedding. Pinworms are transmitted when an infected person, usually a youngster, scratches his/her bare gluteal region and the eggs get under his/her fingernails. Pinworms may be transferred in the following ways:

  • It’s also possible for a person to pick up an infection from someone who hasn’t washed their hands after using the toilet. If you touch friends or toys, you may pass on the eggs.
  • The eggs of the pinworm can be carried by clothing or bedding and subsequently spread throughout the house.
  • Eggs can be inhaled or deposited on foods and swallowed. If kept at room temperature, pinworms can survive up to two weeks.

What Do Pinworms Look Like In Poop?

Pinworms are small, thin, and white. They look like pieces of thread. If you suspect that your child has pinworms. The male worm is concealed since it lives inside the intestine. When the female pinworm emerges at night to lay her eggs, it’s a good time to look for them. The female pinworm is about the length of a staple.

To diagnose a case of pinworms, your doctor may ask you to do the following:

Provide a stool sample. Your doctor will place the sample on clear tape and look at it under a microscope for the presence of eggs.

What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Pinworms?

Over-the-counter medicine called pyrantel pamoate, which is available in the United States under the brand names Pin-X and Reese’s Pinworm Medicine, may be used to treat pinworms completely in most cases. Take one dose immediately and another two weeks later. The CDC recommends the following:

Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating and after using the toilet.

Thoroughly clean your fingernails every day.

Keep your bottom clean and dry. Wear close-fitting underwear.

Regularly wash your bedding.

Do Pinworms Go Away On Their Own?

Worms, including threadworms, cannot simply be eliminated from the body; they must be treated in order to entirely eliminate them. In most cases, OTC medication will be sufficient to kill the worms and allow your body to naturally expel them. However, if your case is severe or persists after treatment, you should consult with your doctor for a more thorough plan of action.

How Long Do Pinworms Last?

If not treated, pinworm infections can last for weeks, months, or even years. But if you take medicine to get rid of the worms, the infection will go away within a few days. After taking the medicine, wait two weeks and take another dose to make sure all the worms are gone.

Do Pinworms Cause A Smell?

If the skin is very red and inflamed, or if it is hot or painful to the touch, it may be infected. Pus or other discharge, as well as a foul odor, are indicators of infection. If you think your child has an infection, call his/her doctor right away.

Do Pinworms Make You Hungry?

Not usually. A tapeworm is more inclined to make you lose your appetite than anything else. That’s because the worm’s circular suckers (and, in some circumstances, its movable hooks) can irritate your bowels when it attaches to them. Though the parasite absorbs some of your digested food through its skin, it doesn’t eat enough to make you hungry.

So far we have discussed the causes why toddlers pick their butts, now let’s discuss some of the possible solutions or rather what to do about it.

1: Don’t get too worked up! Parents may respond with shock or disgust by gasping, shouting, or batting a hand away, which conveys the idea that the child is incorrect or has a problem.

Try to remain calm and matter-of-fact. This will help your toddler understand that there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing, but that it’s not appropriate in certain settings. You can say something like, “We don’t pick our butts in public because it’s not polite.”

If you react in a negative way, your toddler is likely to continue doing it just to get a reaction out of you. So, it’s important to remain calm.

2: Ignore it: Simply disregard the touch while changing a diaper, when your child is having a nakey time, or during a bath. It’s an excellent strategy.

Choose your battles carefully. If you can, it’s best to let this one go. Toddlers are exploring their bodies and finding new things all the time. They’re also trying to figure out what boundaries are and where they lie.

By ignoring the behavior, you’re not giving them the attention they’re looking for. And eventually, they’ll move on to something else.

Of course, there are times when you can’t or don’t want to ignore it. If your toddler is doing it in public or around guests, you’ll probably want to address it.

In those cases, you can try one of the following strategies:

Redirect their attention: This is a great option if you catch your toddler in the act. You can say something like, “That feels good, doesn’t it? Let’s scratch our back instead.”

Or, you can offer them a toy or object to focus on. Something that requires two hands is ideal because it will keep their fingers busy.

Give them a warning: If you know your toddler is about to do it, you can give them a warning. For example, you might say, “Don’t scratch your butt, we’re about to go outside.”

This gives them a chance to stop before they actually do it. And if they don’t listen, you can follow through with a consequence, such as putting them in time-out.

Use positive reinforcement: Try to praise your toddler when they’re not picking their butt. For example, you might say, “Great job not scratching your butt. I’m so proud of you.”

Or, you can give them a sticker or small treat as a way to reinforce the desired behavior.

3: Explain Privacy: It is critical to set some boundaries of genital exploration as your toddler grows older (about age 3). It is not necessary to make these restrictions in a caring tone before three years old but know that your toddler will comprehend your tone regardless.

Start by designating some areas as private, such as the bathroom or bedroom. Then, explain that certain activities, such as peeing and pooping, are meant to be done in private.

You can say something like, “We go to the bathroom to poop and pee because it’s private. That means we do it by ourselves.”

If your toddler is caught in the act, you can remind them of the rule. For example, you might say, “That’s private. We don’t do that in public.”

Be consistent with your rules and explain them in a simple way that your toddler can understand. And remember to praise them when they follow the rules.

By following these tips, you can help your toddler break the habit of picking their butt. It may take some time and patience, but eventually, they’ll outgrow it. And in the meantime, try to relax and enjoy this silly stage of life. After all, it won’t last forever!

4:More Words, More Words, and More Words: Using extra words to explain changes the interaction. “Don’t touch that!” vs. “Please don’t touch your vulva right now, okay? “We’re eating, and germs we don’t want in our food are flying about.”

Even if your youngster doesn’t understand the latter explanations, the extra phrases reduce the tone considerably. If you remain calm and consistent in your message, your toddler will too.


So, the next time you see your little one picking their nose or scratching their butt in public, don’t be so quick to judge. It’s perfectly normal for them to explore their bodies and figure out where they end and the world begins. Just make sure they know that there are some boundaries that should not be crossed (like going to the bathroom on the floor), and offer gentle guidance as needed. And remember, to look out for signs of pinworms, because if that is the case it would need some treatment.

Related Articles:

Why Do Babies Like Their Bum Patted?
Help! My Toddler Ate Tums
7 Reasons Why Toddler Suddenly Hates Diaper Changes
Can Babies Drink Gatorade?



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.