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Signs of UTI in Toddlers

author image Emily DeSerio
Emily DeSerio has been a freelance writer since November 2009. DeSerio works in the mental health field as a clinical social worker. She began her higher level education at the University of South Florida (USF) with a B.A. in English and went on to complete a Master of Social Work degree at USF as well.
Signs of UTI in Toddlers
A baby lays on his back and cries. Photo Credit: SanyaSM/iStock/Getty Images

According to KidsHealth, about 1 to 2 percent of boys and 8 percent of girls contract at least one urinary tract infection or UTI. A UTI is a bacterial infection that affects the kidneys, ureter tubes, the bladder and the urethra, according to the information website babycenter. The most obvious sign that a toddler has a UTI is pain or burning while she urinates, but she could have a UTI without this obvious sign. A proper diagnosis of a toddler with a UTI is for the pediatrician to take a urine sample and test it for infection. Earlier signs of a UTI in toddler are a fever, frequent going to the bathroom, irritability, discolored urine that may smell and a stomachache.

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Abnormal Urine

The toddler’s urine will most likely appear to be abnormal in color, frequency or smell. The child’s urine may appear to be cloudy, dark yellow/orange or pinkish in color if blood is present in the urine, according to babycenter. A toddler with a UTI will have to use the bathroom very often. The child can urinate and in a few minutes have the sensation to urinate again with little or no urine. Children with a UTI are more likely to have accidents and wet the bed because of decreased control over their bladder. Odd-smelling urine can be a sign that a toddler has a UTI, according to KidsHealth. Any of these signs should be observed by the child’s doctor.


According to Dr. Lynn Cates, writing for the information website Dr. Spock, a fever caused by a UTI can vary in duration and temperature. Some children may not develop a fever while others can develop a low-grade to high-grade fever. A low-grade fever is a temperature below 100.4 and is commonly found in toddlers with a lower-tract infection. High-grade fevers, anything over 102.2, may be an indication that the child has an upper-tract infection, according to Cates. A child with a high-grade fever should see her pediatrician for proper diagnosis.


Cates notes that a child can show signs of irritability from a UTI. This sign may be related to another condition or illness and should be explored by the child’s pediatrician. A child that appears to be irritable or fussy while urinating may indicate discomfort. A UTI can also make a child feel sick which can lead to fussiness and complaining.

Stomach Issues

A toddler with a UTI can show signs of stomach issues such as a stomachache, vomiting or diarrhea. If a child constantly complains about a stomach ache and shows other signs listed, he should be evaluated by his doctor.

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