Someone Make My Kids Stop With All The Potty Talk


The tricky thing about telling your children that they can only use potty talk in the bathroom is that you will inevitably find yourself in the bathroom with them, and well, there’s nothing you can say when they unleash their nonstop chatter about all things toilet-y.  And I had the good fortune of spending about 98 minutes with my children in the bathroom yesterday afternoon as we trudged along in our hazy, time-change stupor. 

My idea was to let them play in the bathtub as long as they wanted.  After 90 minutes, they had built an elaborate imaginary world full of potty-talk-themed characters equal to whatever the hell is going on with Minecraft.  They were happy to keep on going, but I had to get out of the bathroom.  I couldn’t take one more reference to “poop.”  With their digits shriveled to raisins and their mouths running as if I’d offered them a candy bar for each reference to fecal matter, I dragged them out of the bathtub, refusing to spend one more hot (and wet) second with them.

I’ve been fairly patient with this phase of their development.  Their interest in potty stuff waxes and wanes, but there’s been a recent resurgence that’s getting on my very last nerve.  I always tell them if they want to “talk like that” they have to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes, they turn on their heels in the kitchen and head straight to the nearest loo so they can finish their story about some hapless “poopy head.”  Sometimes, they promise they will stop, and then they don’t.  “Oh, sorry, Mom, I accidentally said a bathroom word.”  I can feel them testing me.  Am I really going to stop what I am doing– forming raw ground turkey into meatballs or put down my phone during the Ann Taylor Loft flash sale to enforce my boundary? 

The answer is yes.  Yes, I am.  I may let tempers fly liberally, and I hold my tongue when Sadie sashays out of the house with a dress, a skirt, and a mink stole on, but I have my limits. I draw them at potty talk.  So if you are wondering why my bathroom trashcan is full of wrappers from Halloween candy, now you know it was my survival technique for the extended bathtime we had yesterday.

Tell me, how do you deal with your kids’ potty talk?


43 thoughts on “Someone Make My Kids Stop With All The Potty Talk

  1. Omg – yes. Just this morning my son invented a new holiday called poop day. He said it was celebrated on Tuesdays and you have to dress up like a bird and sing songs and get candy. He asked me what I thought and I said it sounded great except I didn’t want any poop anywhere near my candy. He laughed and it ended…for that moment. I don’t know what the obsession is with poop and 4yos. Totally baffling. I hope it ends soon.

  2. I don’t know why I didn’t have the problem when my kids were young. I do now when they come home from school. Not my daughter so much although she’s rather fond of an F bomb (wonder where she got THAT?) from time to time. I constantly have to remind my son that he is not at the fraternity house! Drives me nuts.

    Years ago and sitting where I am right this minute with a window to the neighbors’ house open just 3 feet away, I heard the youngest of their three boys pacing the walkway between our houses repeating “motherf$#ker” over and over and over. I knocked on my friends door (laughing) and told her what I’d heard. We both laughed when she covered her face and said she didn’t know what to do anymore. I admitted I had no idea either.

    • Hey!! I just got your message from Saturday. I am so sad I missed you– how fun would it be to go to a literary even with you??? Next time. I want a raincheck. I am downloading that book today.

      And I love that story. Someday that will be my kids marching to the beat of a motherf*cking drummer.


  3. Well, I have teenagers, so different story. They aren’t too bad, on their own, but get them together and, oh my gosh, I can hardly stand them. We have a general rule, “no saying the F word in our house.” Also, I have to remind them that they can’t talk the way they might in the hallways of school or with their friends when we are in the aisles of the grocery store with little old ladies. We have had a tone of discussions about being “offensive” and how they don’t have the right to offend people in public places. Finally, some days I just say, “The next person who offends me owes me a dollar” or ten or whatever level of frustrated I am. I try to remember that I used to cuss at that age and that, unfortunately, it lasted throug the college years. Ugh.

  4. I’ve tried it all. For a while I tried to out-poop-talk them to see if I could find their exhaustion threshold. Failed. I tried “only in the bathroom.” Meh. I tried “as long as it’s not calling someone a name.” I tried banning it. (This was not all the same week, mind you. I’m not insane. This was one year at a time, or so.)

    I believe mine will use poop as a punchline until they’re 98 or so.

    I give up. I have a firm look of doom I use if they use potty talk at the table. Otherwise I ignore it or leave the room. So boring.

    And now they’ve moved on to armpit flatulence, anyway.

  5. Have you ever noticed that men of any age seem to find bodily functions numerous? The old pull my finger trick can set a roomful of them into hysterical laughter for hours!!

  6. I don’t recall my kids being obsessed with poop. However, when my son was about 4 or 5, I decided I needed to be in charge of my son’s public restroom visits. This included the gym, as I was hitting the pool a lot for therapy reasons and the kids were part of a family membership at the time. On one particular night, he was jabbering loudly in the men’s locker room (as he often does, talking about all sorts of things) and his conversation turned to his genitals, and mine. Dead embarrassing, but I played it off as gracefully as I could.

  7. So tonight Gabi is in the bathtub and says ” we can say poop in the bathroom, right??” And the proceeded to make up a poop song!! I am right there with ya on this on. Kinda hard to explain to a 3yo that you can talk about it when you are referring to the potty but not just to use potty words!!! She has also said,” we don’t say dammit, right???” I don’t understand that my hubby cusses way more than me but she picked up on the one word I say often!!!! Kids are funny. When I’m not in the moment of craziness, it makes me laugh!!

  8. I usually don’t mention it until later when he wants something and then I lay it on him…
    “I’m sorry…I had to listen to potty talk for 17 minutes so that’s how long I will wait until I play ___video game with you.” Usually works but don’t quote me 🙂

  9. This could be my kids easily. They LOVE potty talk. I could use your rule of only talking that way in the bathroom, but the same thing would happen in my house. They’d go in there for 98 minutes or more to revel in their chatter. Clearly, I have no answers for you on how to deal with this.

  10. Ha! JUST yesterday, my son said “poop” at the table, and his brother came down on him like Zeus with his lightning bolt. He was all “WE DO NOT USE POTTY WORDS AT THE TABLE!!” So, apparently, I don’t have to parent anymore. I just have to wait until one catches the other at it and let them handle it. I believe my work here is done. I’ll be off scarfing down some stolen Halloween candy if you need me! 🙂

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