Politeness and Your Toddler

Toilet Talk

Question

Recently, my 2-year-old has become obsessed with talking about bathroom behaviors. The other day, when his grandmother asked him how he was, he screamed "Poop!" The problem is, I'm trying to toilet train him, so I can't exactly remove these words from his vocabulary. What should I do?

Answer

Welcome to the lovely world of toilet talk, which is usually a package deal with potty training. Brace yourself, because these words are going to be in your family's vocabulary for some time to come. For your toddler, part of mastering this skill involves talking about it -- this helps him understand what his body is doing and what he needs to do in response. However, there's still a lot you can do to cut down on such talk. When you son screams words like "poop," don't focus on the words themselves. Instead, try to change the screaming behavior, says Carol Barkin, coauthor of Social Smarts: Manners for Today's Kids (Clarion, 1996). Giving these words special attention -- especially negative attention -- will only make them more fun to say.

For example, if your son yells "poop" at his grandmother again, you could simply say "Let's talk quietly today. Please say hello to Grandma." If you put these words in the background and other acceptable words and behaviors in the foreground, potty talk will become less pervasive.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment