“Kaka. Poo poo. You’re a pee pee.”

Ah, the lovely sound of bathroom words being repeated over and over again by my 4-year-old and then mimicked by my 2-year-old.

Standing in a long line-up at the local power store, suddenly the Boss yells out, “Mommy I want to eat kaka for dinner!!!”

Embarrassed, I look up to see everyone staring at me… waiting to see how will I respond? Will I scold him in front of everyone? Will I threaten not to buy him yet another character from the Cars movie to add to his endless collection? Or do I amuse him?

“Sure, I’ll give you some kaka for dinner!” I respond.

“Ooooh that’s yucky!” the Destroyer responds with a giggle.
“Noooo, that’s disgusting!” The Boss quickly changes the subject.

Gotcha with that one, didn’t I??? Ha ha ha! I’ll outsmart a 4-year-old any day! Er, only when I’ve had enough sleep and can quickly think of a comeback.

You can’t help but laugh. But after the 26th time of hearing “poo and pee”, it starts to get a little annoying. Ok, I imagine these words are humorous to any young kid. And I know that he uses them because: a) they are funny to say; b) they are funny to hear; and c) they always get my attention and attention is good!

But when is enough? I guess when my 2-year-old is yelling out “PUCK” (as in hockey puck?) …uh yeeeeah! Then you know there is a problem!

How do I clean up my kid’s potty mouth?

Of course parents need to set a good example in the first place. Ahem. Oops… guess I was sick the day they taught that lesson.

Kids enjoy modeling after bigger people. It’s only natural for them to imitate and repeat words. Kids will push the envelope until they get the reaction from the parents that they’re looking for. Toddlers are especially great mimics, especially if you say a word a lot or say it with a lot of feeling.

What if a bad word slips out? I’m guilty of this with my favourite word being “sh*t!” We’re all human and it happens. For younger kids, the trick is, as soon as the word slips out, replace it with something more silly. Instead of saying “sh*t”, say “sugar” and say it with the same amount of emotion.

Another tip is to simply ignore the bad word your child is uttering… if he isn’t getting the reaction he expects, he’ll quickly drop it. Ignore it when he says “stupid” 30 times??? Uh I don’t know if ignoring it is going to work for my kids!

As kids get older and their vocabulary expands, you have to set boundaries and have family rules. Explain to the child why the word is offensive and why we don’t say it. Tell the child that there are consequences to a potty mouth and follow through with the appropriate punishment.

And if that doesn’t work, the ol’ bar of soap in the mouth technique is sure to clean up a dirty mouth in no time.

 

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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