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When to pull back foreskin for cleaning?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
OK, my son is 3 years old and intact. We have never had any problems. We have always "left it alone" in terms of cleaning, per the standard advice.

but at some point, the foreskin will be naturally separated from the glans and will need to be pulled back for cleaning. How do we know when that time comes, if we've never separated it? Should we try now, gently, and see how far back it goes, or do we wait until we happen to see it after he's done it? I'm thinking, if he only has his pants off for peeing and bathtimes (and that's all that's practical in the winter here), it could be a long time after it is separated before we actually see him pull it all the way back.

He's kinda stinky sometimes lately when his pants are off, truthfully. Makes me wonder if he really needs cleaning under there at this point but we are not realizing it because pulling it back is such a no-no!
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by summerbabe View Post
OK, my son is 3 years old and intact. We have never had any problems. We have always "left it alone" in terms of cleaning, per the standard advice.

but at some point, the foreskin will be naturally separated from the glans and will need to be pulled back for cleaning. How do we know when that time comes, if we've never separated it? Should we try now, gently, and see how far back it goes, or do we wait until we happen to see it after he's done it? I'm thinking, if he only has his pants off for peeing and bathtimes (and that's all that's practical in the winter here), it could be a long time after it is separated before we actually see him pull it all the way back.

He's kinda stinky sometimes lately when his pants are off, truthfully. Makes me wonder if he really needs cleaning under there at this point but we are not realizing it because pulling it back is such a no-no!
You'll know when he does it himself. Many boys 'discover' this and it's the neatest trick so they'll show everyone. I don't think it's necessary but if you're concerned I see no reason not to mention it to him in the bath and let him try to retract it just a bit. He won't hurt himself. I don't think it's something you should put any particular emphasis on though and if he finds he can't don't press the issue. If he can you could then start teaching the three Rs.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
3 R's?
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by summerbabe View Post
3 R's?
It's a simple memnonic for how to wash under the foreskin (once retractable):

1) Retract (boy retracts himself)
2) Rinse underneath
3) Replace foreskin back forward
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by summerbabe View Post
3 R's?
Sorry about that. Retract Rinse Replace.
post #6 of 15
I thought we were just supposed to leave it alone??? My kids are 5 and 10 and we are not doing this. We did it when my oldest was about 5 at some bad advice from a doctor. (The tip was red and he was having pain, and we did a UTI test.) Anyway, ever since then I have just left it alone.
post #7 of 15
The parents do not need to do any pulling back at all. Only the boy should do his own retracting. By the time a boy is 4 or 5, he should have the manual dexterity and the ability to follow instructions such that he can learn about washing under his foreskin. Of course, if he is not retractable, all he does still is just wash off the outside, no matter what age he is. The three Rs are for when he's retractable and old enough (and willing enough) to do it for himself. Most sources say that in childhood, rinsing under a retractable foreskin need only be done occasionally, say once a week, although one particular Canadian urologist has been quoted as saying there's no evidence to show that there's any need to clean underneath the foreskin before puberty. Most sources suggest more regularly use of the 3 Rs once puberty strikes. For most boys, just playing with his foreskin in clean bath water is all the cleaning needed.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
I thought we were just supposed to leave it alone??? My kids are 5 and 10 and we are not doing this. We did it when my oldest was about 5 at some bad advice from a doctor. (The tip was red and he was having pain, and we did a UTI test.) Anyway, ever since then I have just left it alone.
Generally speaking you should leave it alone. I should be very clear on this point though. As long as it is the boy retracting his foreskin it should be fine. The problem with retraction occurs when someone other then the boy does it. This is because it is difficult for someone else to know how far it can comfortably go. So speaking as a guy who has one, I would agree that it is indeed unnecessary for boys at least until puberty and they will typically figure this out anyway. But at the same time if a parent is concerned they way the OP is I don't see it as bad to mention it as I described but don't lean on the point. So suggest/teach it if he does it fine, if he doesn't that's fine too.
post #9 of 15
Most boys will tug forward quite a bit and twist it in their finger and all sorts. Eventually (and only he will know when that is) they start to pull back as well.

The first time I noticed it my son was almost 3. He asked what it was, I said "that's your penis". He pulled it forward and said "what's this". I said "well that's your penis but you put foreskin over it". One day in the tub he looked at his duck, pulled his penis out and went "PEEKABOO".

So from then on, to wash his penis we reminded him to play peekaboo with the ducky. When he got older, it became "don't forget your penis" and he would retract his foreskin, rinse, and replace.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by summerbabe View Post
He's kinda stinky sometimes lately when his pants are off, truthfully. Makes me wonder if he really needs cleaning under there at this point but we are not realizing it because pulling it back is such a no-no!
How often do you bathe him?
post #11 of 15
Soaking in a bath should take care of any "stinkiness". I'm guessing it has nothing to do with his intact state.

- Mother of a not-yet-retracting 10 year old intact son.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fi. View Post

The first time I noticed it my son was almost 3. He asked what it was, I said "that's your penis". He pulled it forward and said "what's this". I said "well that's your penis but you put foreskin over it". One day in the tub he looked at his duck, pulled his penis out and went "PEEKABOO".
I see funny stories like this on MDC from time to time and it makes me anxious (but not overly so! ) to see what my own son will say when he discovers that he can retract
post #13 of 15
Everyone covered it but I want to repeat this so there is no mistake No one but the owner of the penis should ever retract it. It is fine to tell your ds about retracting, rinsing and replacing but it should be his choice whether to do it or not.

Genitals are going to have an odor some stronger than others depending on urine leakage/how well they wipe after using the bathroom etc. Nothing a nice long soak in the bath wont fix.

My ds is about 1/2 way retractable and he has asked me before what the glans is when he sees it. I have told him several times that is part of his penis and he still insists it is poop
post #14 of 15
I started talking to my kids around 3 years old about this. I told them that soon they would be able to pull the skin back on their penis and clean the inside. I told them that they shouldn't force it and it shouldn't hurt. If it did hurt, stop. And that it is very important to cover it back up so it doesn't get stuck.

I had the conversation with them while they were in the tub, and being curious little boys they tried this right away. Thats all it took. Now it is just a normal part of their shower/bath routine.

I don't think retracting and cleaning is imperative until the hormones of puberty kick in, but if the child is in control, he can learn good hygiene at an earlier age.

Take care
post #15 of 15
When DS gets stinky down below the places that tend to be a problem are:
  • the crease between his thigh and pelvic fat pad
  • where the raphe line goes from the bottom of his penis to his scrotum
  • all the wrinkles on the scrotum
  • butt crack
If I get those areas clean, then DS doesn't have stinky issues. I've never cleaned under his foreskin even though he is at least partially retractable (I know b/c he tries to stick things in there. )
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