Because most toddlers get Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs) as a result of poor hygiene, stag¬nant urine, or bad luck, the best way to try to avoid a UTI is to teach good hygiene and to urge bladder emptying.
If your child is still wearing diapers, try to change diapers with poop relatively quickly and clean the area well so that the stool does not linger around the urethra.
For a potty-trained child, teach her to wipe from front to back and to wipe well, to help avoid getting poop in the urethra. Also encourage your child to listen to her body, urinating when she feels the urge and not waiting indefinitely. And teach her to take time when she does go to the bathroom, so that she empties all of the urine from her bladder. A child in a rush may have urine left in the bladder, a risk for infection and for accidents.
Even if it is uncomfortable for your child to urinate, encourage her to do so. This will minimize the risk of developing a UTI if she doesn’t have one yet.Make sure your child bathes without bubble bath until the pain has completely resolved. Instead of soap, put some baking soda in the bathwater and let her soak for a short time. The baking soda will soothe an inflamed urethra. During a UTI or urethritis, do not wash the genitals with soap, because this can sting and prolong the inflammation. Once the pain has resolved, I recom¬mend avoiding bubble baths altogether. If your child insists, put only a small amount of bubble bath in the water and do not allow her to soak for indefinite periods of time.
Minimize rubbing and further irritation by helping your child choose loose-fitting pants or skirts. Potty-trained children should wear loose-fitting, white cotton underwear. The dye used to color underpants can sometimes irritate an already inflamed area. It also helps to discourage bike riding and horseback riding. These activities result in rubbing that can exacerbate urethritis.
When does my doctor need to be involved?
Call your doctor if your child’s urine is persistently dark or foul-smelling, especially frequent, or painful. Even if your child does not have a fever with any of these symptoms, your doctor is likely to check for a UTI.
Anytime you can’t tell whether it’s a UTI or urethritis that is causing your child’s discomfort, you should see your doctor. A simple urine test can distinguish between the two. If your child has had urethritis before and you are confident that there is no UTI, you do not need to see the doctor right away.
Anytime your child has significant lower abdominal or pelvic pain — with or without urination — you should contact your doctor.