The other night, Andrew was putting Mac to bed. He came into our room laughing and said
“She won’t stop calling me poop. I told her I liked it when she said nice things to me, like ‘I love you.’ So then she looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘I love you poop.'”
We definitely had a good laugh about it since she wasn’t around, but it made me realize I had to deal with the potty mouth already.
I work with 3-6 year olds. If I had to use one word to describe their sense of humor, it would be “bathroom.” Any sort of bathroom word can spur an entire lunch table to giggles. It doesn’t even have to be a joke. Simply saying “poop” or “fart” is enough for them to lose control. So what do you do about it? Well, there is one trick I’ve learned from co-workers that might not totally stop it, but certainly slows it down.
So I’ll start off by saying that bathroom humor is such a typical thing and is hard to stop totally, but obviously there is a place and time where it is appropriate to say some of those words. That time? When they are in the bathroom. So when a child is insisting on saying a bathroom word, we tell them:
That is a bathroom word. If you’d like to say it, you can go into the bathroom and say it all you want.
This shows them exactly where it is appropriate to say those words and gives them an outlet for that inappropriate humor that they just can’t help but find funny.
The best part is when they actually take you up on that offer. We’ve had children go in the bathroom, shut the door, and yell all of the bathroom words they can think of before coming out looking satisfied.
Most kids will simply stop saying the bathroom words once they get that warning.
I have physically walked children and carried children into the bathroom and told them I would not let them out until they told me they were done saying bathroom words. Between the warning and physical action, the majority of kids will be done with the bathroom words. If they still won’t stop, I think there are probably other issues that need to be addressed.
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