My 4-Year-Old said a FOUR Letter Word! How to Correct a Potty Mouth Child

What to do When Your Child Curses

Watching TV with my toddler and something odd happened during our movie we were watching.

Out of know where my precious, sweet, innocent, delicate flower blurts out, “What the HELL?”

Flabbergasted, shocked and questioning myself:

What to do When Your Child Curses?”

After regaining my composer, I turned around and asked: “Excuse me?” She immediately, knowing what she said is wrong, went into the “I’m sorry Daddy!” 

“Oh no. How do I correct potty mouth child?”

In a little bit of a panic, I collected myself and asked: “What did you just say?” She followed up with again, “I’m sorry Daddy”. I asked again for her to tell me what she had just said. Embarrassed and in near tears, she chokes out the dread phrase once more.

Not wanting to believe that my little angel now has a mouth like a sailor, I calmly explained to her that she is not allowed to use that word anymore and that “It makes Jesus and Daddy sad to hear her use those words”. At this point, the tears began to flow down her sweet little cheeks.

How does this happen?

How does her innocence spew words of profanity?

She doesn’t work on a construction site or hang around hooligans. So how is this possible and how do we fix this?


What to do When Your Child Curses?

Here are 3 Steps to Correct your Child’s Pottymouth without having to poison them with chemicals from bar soap!

correct potty mouth child


Remember they are always watching and always listening. At early ages, their minds are like sponges and their mouths are like parrots. Soaking up everything and purging what they hear like a recorder on instant playback. According to

What’s Going On You may be surprised to hear your preschooler throw out a cuss you didn’t think he even knew, but kids this age pick up on swear words quickly — whether they hear one slip from you when a car cuts you off on the road or from a pal’s older sibling during a playdate. “Even if they don’t know what it means, preschoolers understand that they these words are emotionally charged,” says Dr. Jay.

How to Respond The first time it happens, ignore it. Your kid will be less likely to say it again if he sees you don’t find it amusing. The next time, stay calm and say, “That’s not a nice word, and we don’t use it in our house.”


correct potty mouth child


As cute as you may think it is for them to seem “so grown up” or how funny it may have been … DO NOT LAUGH! 

Laughing is a positive response to children and will only encourage the repeat behavior.

Think about it.

What do we as parents try to get our babies to do?


We tickle them. We make funny faces. We make funny noises all for one response.

To make them laugh.

[Tweet “Laughter for children is positive reinforcement. When they see us laugh at their behavior, they presume it was acceptable behavior.”]

If you want your child to stop cursing, whatever you do … DO NOT LAUGH!


Try your best to keep calm.

Losing control and screaming at them will only make the situation worse.

Remember at this age they are still learning and building a vocabulary.

Chances are they probably do not even realize what they said was unacceptable (age appropriation for this- old kids probably know better).

At this point explain WHICH word they are no longer allowed to use and why. Follow up this with a word they can use as an alternative to the “dirty word” they just fired off.

In the case of my daughter, she had probably heard me use that word in the past. In her mind, “if daddy said it, then it must be ok”.

I slowly gathered my composure and explained to her that “we do not use that word” and “if you heard that word from Daddy, then I am sorry and Daddy is trying very hard not to use the bad words”.

I explained to her why we do not use those words, “because it makes Jesus said when we use bad words”.

I then gave her the OK alternate word she could use to phrase the same sentence to share her confusing, “What in the world?”.

Remember your 4-year-old is at an age of LEARNING and BUILDING their vocabulary. The best thing to do is remain calm and remain a good role model for them to follow.

4. Discipline through Spanking

Ok, so now I know this is a very controversial statement.

There are those who feel that spanking is the only way and others that think this is abuse.


Before you click off to something else just take a few minutes to hear me out.

Spanking and “abuse” are two completely different things.

I am not an advocate for abuse.

There is a correct way to discipline through spanking and there is a wrong way.

Let’s start with Abuse and get that off the table.

What is ABUSE?

Abuse is when someone uses excessive force when disciplining. Here is what Webster says:

Definition of abuse
1 :a corrupt practice or custom the buying of votes and other election abuses
2 :improper or excessive use or treatment :misuse drug abuse
3 :language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily verbal abuse a term of abuse
4 :physical maltreatment child abuse sexual abuse
5 obsolete :a deceitful act :deception

Physical Maltreatment = Child Abuse

Maltreat means:

Definition of maltreat
transitive verb
:to treat cruelly or roughly :abuse

Now we are not condoning cruelly whipping or beating your child. What we are discussing is the action of spanking your child “When it is needed”. Is it always needed? The answer is NO. But, sometimes it is necessary when other disciplinary actions are not working or getting the attention of your child.

What is a “Spanking” or Paddling?

Definition of spank
transitive verb
:to strike especially on the buttocks with the open hand

Discipline for children by spanking has been around since the begin of time.

I have had my fair share of them and feel that it has shaped me into the person I am today. Every spanking I got, I deserved. Discipline shows your child that you love them. If you did not love them you would care what they did, how they did it and who they hurt in the process. It puts structure to your child’s life and explains to them rules, consequences, cause, and effect. All principles they will need to understand as they grow in life.

According to USA Today article, after interviewing 20 successful CEOs, the one commonality was they have received “spankings”.

The debate over whether CEOs are born or made remains unresolved, but there is one thing they overwhelmingly have in common.
As children, they were paddled, belted, switched or swatted.

Child psychologists wince at such a finding. They warn that spanking slows mental development and hinders achievement. They say the last thing parents need in the back of their minds is a suggestion or justification that the rod is the road to vision, ruthless drive and other leadership traits common to CEOs.

But USA TODAY interviewed about 20 CEOs over three months and, while none said they were abused, neither were any spared.

Now does this conclude that if you spank your children they will end up as a CEO?

The answer is NO, but what is interesting is that it was common among all of them. Most concluded they did not feel it lead to their success but it was part of their childhood upbringing.

Is there some connection between corporal punishment and corporate leadership? Most CEOs believe spankings played little or no role in their success but usually could cite important lessons learned.

God is very clear in the Bible that discipline through corporal punishment is not only responsible but loving.

24. He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. – Proverbs 13:24 KJV

In plain English, discipline your child early so they can learn before it is too late and they are punished greater by the world. Punishment as an adult is greater severity. Courts, jail time or even worse could end in death. Instilling structure to their lives early. To learn right from wrong, self-discipline, and rules to follow in society. That is the love of discipline. Loving them enough to care what kind of person they will become.

Is this saying you have to spank your child, that there is no other way to discipline your child?

Absolutely not. There other successful ways to discipline and get your child to obey, but some children will not respond to anything but spanking.

I was one of them.

A hard-headed boy, who was tough and need a good spanking sometimes to get me to realize what I was doing was wrong.

As I grew older, the punishment for my disobedience changed accordingly.



Just remember as children they are still learning right from wrong and as parents, we are to instill structure in their lives that will guide them through life as they grow.

  • We must lead by example.
  • Watch what we say around them
  • Do not encourage bad behavior
  • Be patient
  • Give them alternatives
  • Build the structure to their lives

Correct Potty Mouth Pin words over yelling little girl

  • Has any of your kids shocked you in this way?
  • What tactics did you use to correct them?

Share this with your Social Channels and Let’s talk about it.


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