Genital touching and exploring starts at a fairly young age (almost 4 to 6 months) – as soon as a child gains control of their hands and starts exploring their body. Just as they grab and feel their other body parts, the same is for their genitals. This touching might be occasional at times or frequent: both of which are normal and depend on the amount of curiosity your child might have towards his or her own body. It is also possible that the child may show signs of flushing and joy as he does touch himself.
As a parent, you may find it very uncomfortable to see your child actually learning to enhance his sexual development by touching and feeling himself. However, to tell your child that this kind of behavior is bad or the genitals are dirty and that they must not be touched – will make them grow up to think that their body is bad and even sexualities are bad and dirty. As long as the child is exploring in private, let them be. (just be sure that the reason for the touching is not a rash or some other physical discomfort). Their curiosity must go through a natural cycle and it will settle on its own. If the child does this in social settings, try to distract them with a toy or another activity. Making sure that they are wearing a diaper or pants will also discourage this activity.
When your child is old enough to understand, tell him that it’s fine to feel himself but he may not do so in public. Ask your child to wait until he’s at home in private. A child might have to be reminded of this over and over. However, most children stop public exploration of their body and their genitals by the time they reach the age of 5 or 6 and start going to school. At this age, they learn by example that nobody else is doing the same and that it isn’t normal to actually touch yourself in public since other children aren’t doing the same thing. At all times stick with the message that it’s fine as long as it is in private.