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What can I do to effectively deal with my 3 yr old's potty mouth?

My son is 3 1/2 and has a HORRIBLE potty mouth!! When he was younger, he had a slight speech delay so my husband didn't really watch what he was saying. Now, my 3 yr old is a chatter box, but when he's mad he will swear at you. My husband is now more careful about his words :-) but my toddler already knows the words. I've been told to ignore him when he does this, but it doesn't seem to be effective as he's still continuing to swear. I've tried time-out and he justs get more angry and swears even more. I'm hoping for some ideas to help him understand that this behavior is not acceptable, especially since I have a 1 1/2 yr old that's starting to pick up on his bad behavior. Any ideas or advise would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Asked by 4bridges at 9:33 AM on Dec. 3, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 4 (54 Credits)
Answers (38)
  • make him apologize everytime he says a bad word. Then tell him thank you and you love him and you like it when he doesnt say those bad words...and if you see that he is doing good not saying them tell him how proud you are of him for not saying any

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:44 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • We had a problem with this at one time two. Time outs were not working and it was getting out of control. I tried soap in the mouth...did not work. You name it, I tried it just to make it stop. Here is what fixed it for me. Take a medicine syringe or dropper and put in a little vinager...whatever you have in the pantry. Put a little water in there, too. Next time he starts it, put him in time out and tell him that you will not tolerate that language anymore. If he continues, put a little of the vinager in his mouth. He will spit it out so be prepared! Explain again that that language will no longer be tolerated. It worked for us, it's harmless and I only used it one time because she has not forgotten the taste. To be honest, all I have to do now is remind her of the consequence of not controlling a naughty mouth and she stops. Hope this helps!

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:49 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • i agree with the above poster. my daughter told me to shut up once and i put half a teaspoon of vinegar in her mouth, she never did it again..she said it was so yucky and i told her to keep the yucky taste out she has to keep yucky words out of mouth.

    Answer by KaireasMommy at 10:00 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • i consider that a form of child abuse...i think its funny so many parents dont believe in giving spanking on the bottom but yet they will put soap in a childs mouth or vinegar. How do you know if your kid would have an allergic reaction to this stuff or not?

    Answer by shay1130 at 10:03 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • My 4 year old son is the same way. I cringe when I see him losing his temper in public because I know he's about to call someone a stupid asshole! Luckily it's hard to understand him still.

    Answer by mompam at 10:15 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • First of all shay, I have used the vinegar in things she has eaten and I know she is not allergic. Secondly, I am far from abusive to my child, so keep your harsh assumptions to yourself. You know what I think is funny? I think it's funny that in this day and age so many parents would rather hug out a situation time and time and time again and have children that walk all over them instead of put their foot down and be clear about what will and will not be tolerated. So while you worry about allergies, I will make sure my child understands how to express anger. And for the record, I choose to praise my children each and every time they behave in the manner they should, not after they do something naughty.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:24 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • My 3 yo has this problem too. Hubby tries to watch his mouth, but he was raised swearing and doesn't think it's a huge deal. keep Luci from sounding like a little sailor, we gave her her own words to use. Every time she swears, we say "Luci, that's a mommy and daddy word, what's your word?" She's allowed to say 'curses' 'cursed' 'dang' 'darn' 'scallywag' and such...She loves having her own special words. I don't want to yell at her for swearing, I feel like if I'm allowed to have words to use to express anger or pain, she should have them too. Just different words. It took about a week or so for them to sink in, but she usually remember to use her words. Her favorite is 'curses', but she loves 'scallawag' too, because she likes to sound like a pirate. Maybe your little one would like his own words?

    Answer by kttycat84 at 10:33 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • clean out the mouth that is teaching him/her then you can stop your three year old by telling her its wrong and have her apologize.

    Answer by debbie4and6 at 10:41 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • I would talk to him about it. Tell him that you don't like it when he says those words and would like him to stop saying them. Ask him why he says them as well...that way you can start understanding why he does it.


    Answer by keyaziz at 10:53 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

  • First of all, parents need to have a little more dicipline with their children. As for the vinegar, that is a very good idea, it is highly unlikely that your child has an allergy to vinegar seeing as they put in vinegar in so many food products. I found that ignoring a potty mouth is the best way to handle the situation. it may take several weeks or longer, but as soon as the child realizes that he is not going to get a response out of you, he will stop.

    If all else fails, vinegar is a great alternative to the old soap in the mouth that we were all used to.


    Answer by cjvictoria at 10:54 AM on Dec. 3, 2009

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