Potty training can be a major ordeal for toddlers, and when accompanied by pain, it can make this normal human function unnerving for young children. If your toddler is crying when urinating, the reason is likely to be a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are a form of bladder infection associated with painful urination and urgency to go, among other symptoms. If treatment is not immediate, urinary tract infections can result in kidney infections and permanent damage to the urinary system. Educate yourself on toddler urination problems, recognize the symptoms, and learn when to seek medical help if you suspect an infection.
Diagnosing the Problem
Talk to your child about why he is crying during urination. For example, if he feels the need to urinate frequently or experiences a burning sensation while urinating, he might have a urinary tract infection. If your toddler is not able to express his urination problem, look for signs and symptoms that could signify a medical reason for his distress. For example, urine that looks cloudy or presents with a strong odor could point to a UTI.
Finding the Cause
Urinary tract infections are a result of bacteria affecting the urinary tract, generally E. coli bacterial strains. When a UTI occurs in a toddler, it’s usually caused by improper wiping after using the toilet. Children who delay urination or suffer from chronic constipation are also at a higher risk of developing at UTI. Toddlers who wear diapers can also experience UTIs from infrequent diaper changes. Just like children who often experience colds, coughs, or ear infections, some toddlers are prone to UTIs.
Treating an Infection
If you suspect your child has a urinary tract infection, your pediatrician can run lab work to diagnose the problem. Once diagnosed, a course of antibiotics will be prescribed and pain medication to ease the symptoms associated with urinary tract infections. It’s important for your toddler to finish all of the antibiotics to ensure the bacterium is fully flushed from the system. If the problem is not a UTI, the pediatrician will look into other reasons that could cause the toddler to cry when urinating, such as rare occurrences such as a pinworm intestinal infection.
Seeking Medical Help
There are a host of risk factors that come with acquiring a urinary tract infection. Urethral strictures, kidney stones, and other anatomical abnormalities can occur when a UTI is not properly treated. If your toddler continues to cry when urinating, or if your toddler suffers from lower back pain, a fever, abdominal pain, chills or vomiting, the infection could have spread. Contact your pediatrician if you recognize these signs or symptoms. The sooner the problem is treated, the less likely any permanent damage will develop from the infection.
Other Possible Causes
Besides a urinary tract infection, your toddler’s crying during urination might have another cause. In young girls, a soapy bubble bath can cause irritation of the opening of the urethra and the vulva, causing pain when voiding. Occasionally in young boys, pain when urinating can be caused by an infection at the opening of the penis. Examine the skin around the genitals to look for signs of irritation. Ask your pediatrician about the right treatment for your toddler, such as warm baking-soda soaks.