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Care of the Uncircumcised Penis

An uncircumcised penis still has the foreskin attached. Caring for your newborn’s penis is fairly easy. Keep in mind the following:

  • When bathing your child, wash the penis. Then dry it thoroughly.

  • Never forcibly pull back (retract) the foreskin when washing your infant or young child. Forcing the foreskin can cause pain and scarring. The foreskin will likely be able to retract by age 3, but it depends on the child. Gently pull back the foreskin with each diaper change. This will help the foreskin retract. 

  • When the foreskin is able to retract, gently pull it back and bathe the area. Dry the penis thoroughly.

  • Return the foreskin to its natural position by pulling it back over the penis. This is important because if the foreskin is left retracted, it could put pressure on the penis. This can cause pain and swelling and may require medical attention.

  • Once the child is old enough, teach him to retract the foreskin to clean his penis. Tell him to return the foreskin to its natural position after drying the penis.

Side view of boy's penis and scrotum showing foreskin and prepuce on penis. Side view of boy's penis and scrotum showing retracted foreskin.
Foreskin covers the uncircumcised penis. The foreskin of an infant or young child should never be forcibly retracted.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child’s penis has any of the following:

  • Foreskin that is stuck in the retracted position. This needs to be treated right away.

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Foul odor

  • Pain

  • Irregular buildup or discharge

  • Abnormal urine stream, such as going off to one side or dribbling 

Online Medical Reviewer: Marc Greenstein MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tennille Dozier RN BSN RDMS
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2022
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