When Your Preschooler Has Potty Mouth
While some parents find it adorable when their child first utters "poopy head," preschoolers' potty talk can quickly escalate to dirty words or even swear words. Using these words is a 3- or 4-year-old's way of testing the limits with you and other adults. He is learning that language can be powerful.
Not to worry, says esteemed parenting expert Dr. Spock. A child's use of potty talk, sometimes called bathroom words, is part of normal childhood development. Like other unpleasant habits such as nose picking, kids will outgrow it.
What to do when your preschooler utters her first "pee-pee face?" Generally, the child is aware that the words are naughty, but she is gauging your reaction to them. So, by all means, don't react. Experts recommend that parents ignore the excremental allusions and keep a straight face. Laughter, anger, or any other response will only encourage potty talk. The same goes for swearing or dirty words.
If the child continues, Dr. Spock recommends a direct approach. Tell your child that most people don't like those words and don't want to hear them, and that you don't want her to use them. Period.