The authors present three children born with myelomeningocele and hydrocephalus. Each presented with symptoms/signs of ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction. All patients at the time of presentation exhibited significant urinary bladder infections and were appropriately treated for their infection. No patient was found to have an underlying shunt infection. All patients without medically threatening symptoms were carefully observed and noted to have resolution of their shunt dysfunction symptoms/signs following treatment of their urinary bladder infections and thus did not undergo a shunt operation. Based on the courses of these patients, we believe that significant urinary bladder infection in patients with myelodysplasia in whom a shunt has been placed may often be enough to bring a subclinical shunt malfunction to clinical attention or even to be the cause of temporary distal peritoneal shunt malabsorption. Although the exact mechanism for this dysfunction is unclear, treatment of the bladder infection may address the symptomatic shunt dysfunction in some patients so as to avoid operative intervention. We emphasize, however, that careful observation of these patients should be performed during hospitalization because they often rely on adequate cerebrospinal fluid diversion. Only patients with mild symptomatology should be observed first as the initial line of treatment.