The Best Way to Stop Potty Mouth

Inappropriate words inevitably make their way into our kids’ vocabulary; it’s just a matter of when and which ones. Read more here:

Inappropriate words inevitably make their way into our kids’ vocabulary; it’s just a matter of when and which ones. In our family, this not-so-delightful potty mouth journey began when we watched the movie, Independence Day.  There is one curse word in the entire movie — ONE — and, of course, my son heard it and it stuck! By the time we broke him of the habit, his brother had latched onto the nasty word, and we had to start all over again.

No one wants kids who say cringe-worthy words, so what’s the best way to combat potty mouth?

With younger children, it’s possible to simply tell them “no-no” and, if you’re lucky, they’ll not use it again. (I’m not sure that I was ever that lucky.)

It’s also a good idea to talk to your kids about their selection of words and which ones are appropriate and which are not, but when that doesn’t stop the potty mouth, you really need to do something more to break them of the habit.

The Best Way to Stop Potty Mouth

Here are a few of the things we tried with various levels of success (overall they didn't work well).

Time Outs

Mildly effective, but the problem was that the punishment didn’t directly relate to the crime, and I suspect that since they were sitting alone, away from everyone else, their inner dialog may actually have reinforced the potty mouth rather than curb it.

2. Spanking

This was an abject failure. Kid would apologize immediately afterwards, but as soon as I stepped away, I would get called the colorful word or worse, and the cycle would begin again.

3. Hot sauce on the tongue

Slightly more effective than spanking (at least the right body part is involved) but still not super effective.

4. Bar of Soap in the Mouth

Just like in A Christmas Story, I kept a bar of soap handy to place in the culprit’s mouth. I still chuckle each time I watch this movie and see Ralphie with the big bar of soap hanging out of his mouth.

This consequence worked out OK, but it was a little messy, and the child who had a sensitive gag reflex made me never want to do it again when he threw up.

None of these consequences was especially effective at curbing potty mouth. Here and there, yes, but overall — ehh.

The #1 Best Way to Stop Potty Mouth

Then I discovered the jackpot solution!

Wait for it……

"If you’re going to have a potty mouth, you’re going to clean the potty!”

If there’s one thing kids hate, it’s cleaning toilets (their own and others in the house). I went to the store and bought supplies and a bucket that was all their own, just waiting for a chance to put it to use!

This solution wound up being a win-win. My boys were able to relate the consequences to the “crime,” and whenever they used a bad word, my bathrooms got a good scrubbing!

This is the potty mouth solution that worked best for us in the long run. You may have one that I haven’t thought of yet! I’d love to hear what works for you!

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Hi, I'm Beth. I help busy moms ditch the overwhelm and gain confidence, so they can enjoy parenting more, yell less, and have peaceful kids and a happy family.

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