Cut the crap.

by doodaddy on March 16, 2008

Am I the only parent who hates the term "potty"? I don’t want to go to the potty. I don’t "potty train" Boo. I haven’t sung "Potty all the time, potty all the time, potty all the time" since that horrible Karaoke night in college.

It’s not that I’m into using the "clinical" term for everything (remember, we say "hoo-hoo" in our house and it ain’t to describe the screech of an owl). I just think "potty" is weird. Like, does it always mean "number two," or does it sometimes just mean the little room with the porcelain bowl? As in, "I’m going to the potty to brush my teeth"? Eeeeew.

I guess it could be worse. My mother-in-law insists on saying things like "I think Boobaby just moved her bowels." Moved ’em? Moved ’em where? Are they in the fridge? Did they go to Cincinnati on the redeye?

The problem is that we’re forced to say "potty" since it’s what every other parent says, except the British and Irish, of course, to whom "go potty" has a very different meaning. (As in "I think I’ll go potty if I have to hear more about potty.")

I think it boils down to this: I hate baby talk. It feels awkward on my tongue — almost condescending — to use a two-syllable nonsense word to replace the correct, two-syllable word. Maybe I’m just trying to preserve the last vestige of my adult dignity.

Nah, that’s not it. I just don’t see the point in talking down to kids, whatever the age.

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in language,toilet training ·

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Marie March 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Potty.. interesting.. Not sure what I called it. Probably potty cause that is what every other parent did and my kids went to daycare so i am SURE that is what they called it.

I snorted today for the first time when I read that your MIL said boobaby moved her bowels.. I mean COME ON WOMAN that is as bad if not worse than saying.. dude.. the kid just dumped a load in her pamper! I am sorry but bowel moving.. is not something that happens in my house.

We just plain sh*&. LOL


doodaddy March 16, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Yeah, I’m trying to stay away from the actual cussing until Boo can be taught not to use such words in mixed company. (That is, mixed cool and uncool people…)


mrs. chicken March 16, 2008 at 2:50 pm

“Did they go to Cincinnati on the redeye?”

I almost just choked to death on a Saltine, reading that. Your posts should come with a black box warning.

We say potty. Sorry, dude. And poop. And pee. And we STILL can’t convince her to sit on the toilet. Today I found myself urging a three-year-old girl who can read at least five words ALL BY HERSELF to “open her pee door nd let the pee out.”

Parenthood is so undignified.


doodaddy March 16, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Oi, we say poop and pee, too. But “the potty” is supposed to be the room, too? I don’t know why that one word bugs me so. Probably something from my childhood that I’ve repressed!


sam March 17, 2008 at 7:23 am

I hate potty too, but I’m totally guilty for using it (the word… and the potty… nevermind).

I just don’t know what else to call it, and daycare calls it “potty” so I don’t want to confuse him. (Even though I’d prefer calling it “the shitter” instead of “the potty”)

Such a quandary.


Scott March 17, 2008 at 8:46 am

Dont really ever speak baby talk…but I will say when I was a kid…my parents referred to my peeing as “Going Bubble” – still cant get past that one! LOL


Annie March 17, 2008 at 9:53 am

I LOVE this post! I have never understood the American reluctance to use the word ‘TOILET’. We say ‘Loo’ just to thoroughly confuse people πŸ˜‰


doodaddy March 17, 2008 at 10:00 am

Well, to be fair, y’all have random naked ladies on page three of all your newspapers, don’t you? Maybe our reluctance is to keep us from going down that path…


Ophelia Rising March 17, 2008 at 10:29 am

I actually really like the word “loo.” I think I usually just say, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” (or something to that effect…)

I also hate the phrase, “Play-date.” I know, I know. Everyone uses it. But I always swore to myself that I would never say it, and I never do. I think I just say, “Would you like to go and play over so-and-so’s house?” or, “Let’s set up a day to get together.” Don’t know why it bugs me so. But it does!

(And I love the notion of being able to move one’s bowels around hither and yon! πŸ™‚


doodaddy March 17, 2008 at 10:30 am

If you can move them, can you, I dunno, send ’em by FedEx?

I’m not thrilled by playdate, either, although I admit I’ll use it from time to time to get the idea across…


Jessica March 17, 2008 at 11:37 am

Sorry. We say potty for #1 and poop for #2. Pretty creative huh πŸ™‚


doodaddy March 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

Wait wait wait. Potty is pee? And poop is potty?

That just made it worse.


sugarplumsmom March 17, 2008 at 11:47 am

Hmm… potty doesn’t bother me nearly as much.. but I don’t consider using “kid friendly” words to necessarily be “talking down” to them either.
We ask if Sugarplum has to go pee or poop on the potty.. or go to the potty.. but when referring to the room for anything else, we say bathroom.

I never really thought that much about it before. However, the term “private parts” bugs me… I try to use correct anatomical words… but I must confess, I have said “girl parts” before.


doodaddy March 17, 2008 at 11:48 am

Yeah, it’s just that potty doesn’t seem any more kid-friendly than bathroom or toilet. I do say “ouchie” or “boo-boo” sometimes, though, and of course, as mentioned, we say “hoo-hoo”. So I may have to refine my thinking on this…

Vagina is a perfectly decent word, but most people use it wrong. (Mostly, you’re talking “vulva” when you say “vagina”.) Hoo-hoo, or girl parts, kind of gets at it better… we think, anyway.


Scott March 17, 2008 at 12:06 pm

OMG!!! sugarplumsmom said “Girls parts” My ears! My ears!! πŸ™‚


chicago pop March 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I grew up saying “BM”. If you forget that it’s an abbreviation for a rather clinical descriptor, it actually rolls off the tongue rather nicely.

And in my world, believe me, there are times when my bowels MOVE. Like the earth beneath my feet.


doodaddy March 17, 2008 at 2:40 pm

What a nice frikkin’ image. Thanks for that.


Heather March 17, 2008 at 3:08 pm

We also ask it tlex has to go potty but otherwise the room itself is the bathroom or as she likes to say the bafroom.


doodaddy March 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm

The weird thing is that when Boo was first learning, it *wasn’t* the bathroom… we had one of those split-bath things where one little room has the tub and sink and there’s a separate room with the, ahem, throne. So we started by saying “the toilet” but we haven’t really been consistent…


Candy March 18, 2008 at 10:28 am

The words we parents will come up with to describe things often amazes me. My father called “Number two” TENNY.

I don’t know where it came from, or what it references, but Dad was born in 1918. I thought tenny was the proper word for it until I was probably 6. An embarrassing revelation when no one else knew what it was, to be sure


doodaddy March 19, 2008 at 3:43 pm

How odd! Were there other code meanings for “oney” and “foury”?


dadshouse April 11, 2008 at 11:06 am

I agree – don’t talk down to kids, whatever the age. I’ve been talking to my kids “as people” all their lives (my daughter is 16 now) and I always get comments from adults on what a pleasure it is for them to interact with my kids. As my kids grew up, I targeted a vocabulary that was a little beyond their reach, to help them learn. But I never targeted lower. (That said, we do get silly. There’s just never been baby talk unless we’re making fun of it.)


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