Behavior of a Toddler With a UTI

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are common in children, according to the KidsHealth website 1. In older children, a UTI is easier to diagnose because the kids are old enough to describe their symptoms. Toddlers are a bit harder to diagnose, but it can be done by watching your child's behavior. Telltale behaviors might indicate that your toddler has developed a UTI. If she develops any visible symptoms, call her pediatrician right away.

Definition and Prevalence

A UTI occurs when bacteria infects your child's urinary tract, and commonly involves an infection of the urethra or bladder 3. Less commonly, it can also cause an infection in the ureters and kidneys, which is a more serious UTI. Poor toilet hygiene, the use of certain types of soaps and bubble baths, and anatomical abnormalities can lead to a UTI. By the age of 5, about 8 percent of all girls will have had at least one UTI and between 1 percent and 2 percent of all boys will have had one, according to KidsHealth.

Symptomatic Behaviors

Because your toddler is probably too small and not verbal enough to tell you what's bothering her, you can look for changes in her behavior that might indicate the presence of a UTI. Toddlers with a UTI often cry or complain when they need to go to the bathroom, and they might cry while urinating. Your toddler might also have an increase in how many times she needs to go the bathroom. Many toddlers with a urinary tract infection will have accidents in their clothes or wet the bed at night 3. A child with a UTI will complain that her stomach or lower back hurts, be increasingly irritated, or eat and drink less than normal.

Additional Symptoms

Though not necessarily behavioral, other signs indicate that your toddler might have a UTI. If she has a fever along with an increase in urination, that's a red flag for the infection. Her urine might also be foul-smelling or cloudy and it might also contain blood. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills and shaking are additional symptoms of UTI. Some children don't display any symptoms at all aside from urinating more often. If this is the case with your toddler, you should have her checked for a UTI as soon as possible.

What To Do

Proper treatment of a UTI is crucial because left untreated, the infection can cause kidney damage, according to KidsHealth. If your toddler has any of the symptoms of a UTI, call her pediatrician immediately. Once diagnosed, she'll probably take a round of antibiotics to destroy the bacteria causing the infection. Take steps to prevent future UTIs. Teach your daughter to wipe from front to back to prevent the spread of bacteria. pediatrician about bubble baths and scented soaps because if she's prone to UTIs, these can be the cause. Have your son or daughter drink plenty of water, too, which will help flush out bacteria before it causes an infection.