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How To Clean Up a Potty Mouth


It happens to every parent. You're running errands or hanging out watching TV. Then, all of a sudden, your sweet 3-year-old utters words that you commonly hear in Tarantino films. It's shocking to hear as a mom or dad, no doubt. But, there's a reason why your little one might be picking up a potty mouth.

How potty mouth happens

Children pick up everything in their environment between the ages of 1 and 3. The brain is developing rapidly during this time, and toddlers by nature absorb the world around them - including language. Whether you might have uttered foul language in front of your child, or your child picked up the words from others or the media, it's very easy and quite common for children to repeat these phrases, especially phrases that have power like swear words.

a young boy having a timeout
Toddlers emulate a lot of what they hear from you and their environment. 

Kids today also have an incredible amount of media at their disposal these days - from TV to videos to the internet. This is why you have to be even more diligent and responsive about potty mouth once it happens.

What to do

It's important to remain calm once you start to notice that your toddler has started speaking foul language. That way, they know it is not a power word. You should be direct with your toddler and let them know that it's unacceptable and hurtful to say those words. Keep your tone flat and deadpan, but explain in clear terms that it's not OK to say those words again. You can also give them alternative words to use, , it helps if they are fun.

If your kid is still persistent with the potty language, you might have to start taking disciplinary action. However, timeout probably isn't going to cut it. According to Positive Parenting Solutions, you explain that you will simply turn around and walk away once your child starts saying disrespectful things. Or you can start taking away certain snacks or toys they like if the language persists. Likewise, if you see them using alternatives to those swear words, reward them with those same snacks or toys.

Lastly, be sure you are watching your own language around your toddler. After all, children learn most from their parents - if you keep it clean, they will be more likely to do the same. 

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