Skip to content

My Toddler’s Foreskin Won’t Retract!

Naturally, we are going to be talking about boys here. And being one myself, I feel qualified on the subject about to be discussed.

If you, as a parent, more specifically a mom, and has a toddler son, then you need to read our guide today. If your son is your first male offspring, then definitely you need to read.

I must admit when I first saw the proposed subject matter for our article; I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. Our article is about toddler boys who’s foreskin won’t retract. Bear with me and try to take it seriously. Its important information.

Probably a better description is the proper care and information about toddler’s foreskin. I have thoroughly researched the matter, and here is what I found.

What Exactly is the Foreskin?

The foreskin is a sheath of skin covering the head of the penis. Its function and proper care must be understood. The foreskin protects the penis on a diapered baby to prevent irritation from contact with urine.

At birth, the foreskin is fused to the head of the penis, and the opening at the foreskin tip is narrow. Being fused is to prevent the foreskin from being retracted to uncover the sensitive glans (head).

Normal urination is not affected. As the child gets older, the inside of the foreskin will start to separate from the glans. The tip will then widen to allow progressive retraction.

So the quick answer here is the foreskin isn’t designed to retract in a toddler. And the foreskin should NEVER be retracted forcefully. The gradual process of retraction should be completed by age seventeen.


Some parents elect to have the surgical procedure of circumcision. The surgical procedure is chosen due to certain social or ritual reasons. In others, it is needed because of problems with the foreskin.

Circumcision was once very popular among newborn males. Today it is discouraged considering the risks associated with surgery.

Normal Foreskin Care

An uncircumcised penis requires no special care. Just keep it clean daily with normal soap and water. DO NOT attempt to retract the foreskin until it becomes ready to do so.

Then you must teach your son to gently pull it back and clean the inner foreskin and glans in the same manner. After cleaning, it should always be returned to its natural position.

It is very important not to force the foreskin back. Some parents feel the need to pull the foreskin back to clean it properly. It is impossible to do because the foreskin is fused to the glans, and there is nothing to clean.

If you retract the foreskin forcefully, it will cause damage and bleeding, thus requiring surgery.


Sometimes the diapered baby may develop some inflammation caused by irritating substances in the urine. The inflammation can be avoided by frequent diaper changes, antibiotic ointment, and regular bathing.

In extreme cases, the entire penis may become red and swollen. The child’s doctor should be notified and may need to prescribe oral antibiotics.

Do not try to force the foreskin back to apply ointments. Simply apply only to the tip where the opening is. Be very gentle as it is a very uncomfortable and painful issue for the child.

Temporary relief to the discomfort would be to allow the child to soak in warm water. Just take care when drying the inflamed area, so you don’t cause further damage. Also, be prepare for the child to cry a lot.

Narrow Tip Opening

In some boys, the foreskin retracts at an age that is too early. The condition is called paraphimosis. The foreskin can become retracted and easily placed back over the glans causing no problem.

But if the foreskin gets trapped behind the glans and is not returned to its normal condition, it begins to inflame and turn red.

If you do not teach your child to properly return the foreskin surgery may be needed to correct the problem. A doctor should be notified immediately upon noticing the condition.


If the tip of the foreskin stays narrow, not allowing retraction with age, it is a condition called phimosis and is the opposite of paraphimosis.

In phimosis, the opening at the tip will not allow the glans to be uncovered at all. In some cases, steroid ointments solve the condition. With others, a surgical circumcision is required immediately.

Ballooning of the Foreskin

It is not uncommon at all for boys with incompletely retractable foreskins to have a condition called ballooning of the foreskin.

It only occurs when they urinate and does not require any medical attention unless there are urination problems.


As the foreskin begins natural retraction, it is not uncommon for some areas to remain fused to the glans.

There is usually no cause for concern unless these adhesions refuse to break free on their own. Never forcefully cause the adhesion to break down. Time will take care of the problem as your boy ages.

Problems Later in Life

Should you decide to have your newborn circumcised, do so at the earliest age possible. Certain problems later in life may cause an uncircumcised adult to undergo the surgical procedure.

It is very painful and very personal for an adult male to have a circumcision. Sometimes though, it is necessary. For instance, when an adult male becomes sexually active, he may experience constant infection under the foreskin.

When these infections become severe enough, the procedure is a must to prevent spreading the infection to partners.


Going back to the title of our article, no, there are no problems present if your toddler’s foreskin won’t retract. The problem lies in not properly taking care of the foreskin, causing medical conditions.

The foreskin is a natural part of your son’s anatomy. When you understand the foreskin’s natural development, most problems can be avoided.

1 thought on “My Toddler’s Foreskin Won’t Retract!”

  1. If your baby won’t sleep, check out the sleep method from – Thank you SleepBaby for this brilliant method! My daughter now sleeps from 7pm to 6 or 6:30am every night with almost no night wakings. And even if she wakes, it’s usually just for a second and then she falls back asleep all on her own.

    Most nights I get my 8 hours of sleep and it’s just wonderful! I really feel like I understand her little body and mind and can address her sleeping holistically. I can’t thank you enough, Kacey and the team!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.