what did you teach your son to call his penis?

Merry - posted on 07/03/2010 ( 163 moms have responded )

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Eric is 15months and has learned about 30 words and a few body parts already. He plays with his penis in the tub and i am going to teach him it is called something......my instinct is that i should just go right for penis and bypass peepee, weewee, winkie, etc. but if he starts going around saying my penis this my penis that then what? should he call it something more childish or is it smart to teach him the real word?

opinions? experiences?

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Christine - posted on 07/05/2010

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I taught my son and oldest daughter the correct terminolgoy for their body parts. I think it is important not to make it seem like those body parts are "different" and deserve made up names. I try to make their genitals as natural to them as their elbows are. My thinking is that if I don't make a big deal out of calling their parts by the proper name, then maybe when they are older they will feel comfortable with their bodies. Just my opinion, though.

Erin - posted on 07/06/2010

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I know a lot of people have already responded, but this issue is something that I have had a little education on. I was a Sunday School teacher for my church and we had a class on preventing and recognizing signs of child abuse (especially sexual). Part of the training was watching a video where convicted child molesters talked about how they picked their victims. They said that the children that were the easiest targets were the ones who did not know the proper names for their private parts. At the time, I had one son and was wondering what I should teach him for those body parts. After seeing the video, I decided that my children will learn the proper terms for their privates.

Shana - posted on 08/16/2011

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My boys (aged 11,8,6 and 3) all know its called a penis but in general the older 3 refer to it as their tenders (thanks to Kung Fu Panda), but my youngest son who is most vocal about it (on purpose to embrass his older brother) calls it a winky-wonker I actually had more trouble when I had my first daughter with what to call her parts as vagina sounds so clinical. My youngest son, was also horrified as he thought I said "china" and since Mulan (his current fave disney movie) is set in China...well you get the idea!! So to date we have winky-wonkers and a china :S

Heather - posted on 07/09/2010

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I agree with you... it's a penis. I never got into baby talk with my children and they are all very articulate. I wouldn't emphasize anything just yet. A simple no, no, is fine... although it is very normal for a child to be curious about their body. I think it's just smart to call it the "real" word. Just as you would call any other body part by it's real name. By not making any big tado over it - your child won't either and won't be any more likely to shout out "PENIS" as he would "ARM". Yah know what I mean? Hope that helps :) ~mother of 4~

Tam - posted on 07/06/2010

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Laura, GLAD to hear it! I teach sex education in high school & you would be surprised how many kids do not know the correct names for their genitals. Sad really, no parent would call their child's Arm anything but arm...Should you want a more generic term for when you are in public, I just use "Genitals" some people use "Private Parts", the part that scares me about Private Parts is that while they need to learn about privacy...it implies secret which is what the child molesters go for, and what allows them to repeatedly molest a child...So what if your child yells out Penis at the grocery store, most people laugh & smile, it's a funny sounding word, just not as funny when it's your own kid saying it! LOL

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Kate - posted on 11/30/2011

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My taught my son his penis as ding ding...and loved the name ding ding...You can try it too!!

Ashley - posted on 08/18/2011

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my 3 year old calls it a penis or pecker lol i wanted him to learn the right words because its suppose to be safer if kids no the right words.

[deleted account]

I have read many different times that you should call it what it is: penis, and had fully intended to do that with my son. But somehow my early intentions failed. Since he was born I always referred to it as his "man piece" lightheartedly and one day while getting washed in the bath my son repeated me and has called it that ever since. So, contrary to all advice, it's his "man piece" around here!

Barbara - posted on 08/16/2011

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At 15 months, I wouldn't worry too much about him knowing the proper name. My sons refer to theirs as their junk or their privates. They do know the proper word but it seems that is much easier.

Jeni - posted on 08/15/2011

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Better to teach the real word- he will have fun saying it but he would no matter what word you taught him. Teaching him the proper name will make it easier when he tries to communicate with people outside the family (teachers, doctor, etc), reduce confusion, and reduce the chance that he will be teased for what he calls his privates.

Janet - posted on 08/15/2011

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Go with the words Vagina (or vulva if you prefer it) and Penis. It's correct. Tell them, though, that you shouldn't go around talking about them because it is a private part of your body.

Jenni - posted on 08/15/2011

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All boys are fixated on that body part... some more than others and it doesn't change in adulthood either. Most grown men are fixated on that body part as well. :/



So I'm going to say it's completely normal and natural.



Children explore their body parts, whether it's seeing what they can dig out of their nose or seeing how long they can stretch their penis.



Btw Laura this question was from over a year ago, wasn't it?

I agree with you, there is no shame in teaching children the correct terms for their body parts. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. If someone were to be offended by my children knowing the correct names for their body parts... while it's their issue, not mine or my kids. If a professional doctor isn't ashamed to use those words, than neither am I. They are not dirty, foul, curse words; they are the correct medical glossary terms.

Merry - posted on 08/15/2011

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Lol Tammy you're funny. He's most definitely not fixated on it! Just because he pokes at it in the tub doesn't mean he's obsessed! Lol he just never gets to see that part of his body except in the tub so naturally he's curious what it is.
Well, it's over a year later since I posted this question and Eric knows it's a penis, he knows girls have vulva and boobs and boys have nipples.
I taught him the real words for many reasons and am very glad I didn't let my embarrassment dictate his vocabulary :)

Tammy - posted on 08/15/2011

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Plays with it?! Sounds very strange to me. And why would he go around telling everyone what it is? Does he do the same about his other body parts? Personally, I think you need to distract him away from this habit. Call it what you want, but I don't think that it's healthy to be fixated on it like that. :(

Amanda - posted on 08/15/2011

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I taught my son to use penis and my daughter vagina. Both of my children say boobs. My son started kindergarden last year and there they use "private parts" in school. That has carried over to home now too. My daughter won't be in kindergarden for another 3 years, but already has the idea from her brother.

Debbie - posted on 08/15/2011

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I feel it is much better to use the real words for both girls and boys I did with all three of my children 2 girls one boy and they did shorten these words and have names due to their level of speech but they did always know what they were really called , we have recently attended a very good sex education session at school and the presenter reccommended that parents always use the correct terminology just (god forbid) incase there was ever any abuse any adult would be able to understand what body part the child was talking about .It does save confusion later when things may be talked about in school or with friends

Audrey - posted on 08/15/2011

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@wendy: i don't think there is such a thing as wrong when teaching your kids how to call their private parts. I just think it sounds nicer to see piep (i'm dutch, i would say it's the equivalent of peepee) then penis. He'll learn the right word eventually and i don't thing he will be emotionally damaged or something by learning a different word for the time being.

Wendy - posted on 08/14/2011

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I taught them all to say "penis", "testicles", "vagina", "breasts".
It's wrong to do otherwise.

Kristin - posted on 08/11/2011

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My girls call it their "peep" It's pretty simple since thats what comes outta there & its not some silly made up word. I would definilty tell your kids the real name of their body part so they know but I think it sounds weird for a little girl to say the real word...Thats just me

Jayme-Lee - posted on 03/16/2011

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My little one is only just 1 a few weeks ago. We haven't got to the part of him speaking much. only get mum mum mum or da da da. but we just call his penis a willie. everyones different. my sister in law with her daughter called it a rudie. i think its not about what is correct. but what you feel is appropriate. if you don't mind eric saying penis then teach him that. i think people look at what may be easiest for the child to pronounce

Karen - posted on 03/16/2011

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My son calls his penis his pee pee. I figured it would be easier to know what to do with it when he potty trains but he won't even consider the potty.

Ashleigh Jade - posted on 03/16/2011

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Use the correct name Penis. All 3 of my children use the words vagina and penis. Thats what they have.

Bonnie - posted on 03/16/2011

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A boy in the U.S. committed suicide (I think it was last year) because he was embarrassed by how much he was masturbating & didn't have the courage to talk to anyone about it. I would never want my son to be embarrassed by his body to the point where he felt he couldn't talk to either myself or a close family member about issues like that.
While that is an extreme example it is becoming more common for boys/men to be that embarrassed/ashamed of their own body. Unfortunately society has made it thus by attaching too many negative connotations to the word "penis". It's not something to be embarrassed by.
I have never taught my son anything other than penis, although he has picked up other names from family who are too embarrassed by the word, which generally causes my 4yr old son to reprimand them on their use of anything besides penis!
I think it's important to talk about ALL body parts in the home, using their correct names. It lets my son know that he can always come to me with any problems. But it is equally important to explain that we don't talk about certain things in public. It still embarrasses me if my son says penis in public but I just remind myself that he is only 4yrs old & that is what it is. In time he will learn that it's not considered "appropriate" to speak about our private body parts in public but he will always know that he can come to me with any problems, no matter how embarrassing I may find them!

Merry - posted on 08/18/2010

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i know I was shocked myself but im glad I know and I never want to let another mom go on not knowing this. we have to help our kids prepare for the crap that just might come into their lives. and this is a nice easy way to help them stay safe.
pass it on!

Sara - posted on 08/18/2010

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wow! that is an awesome point--scary--that i definitely had not thought/heard about. thank you!

Merry - posted on 08/18/2010

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eric knows penis but he really isnt reminded of it unless he is being changed. it really is a good idea to call it a penis to thwart off preditors. peepee indicates tere might be shame involved with that area and thus they might be able to keep quiet. but saying penis indicates the child is confident in this body part and wont hesitate to tell anyone about an incident. also police cant charge anyone on the proof of a child saying his peepee.
harsh thoughts but worth while to think it through for their safety.

Sara - posted on 08/17/2010

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The other day during a diaper change, my 19 month old son reached down and touched his penis and said, "this--this?" and i realized he wanted to know what to call it (he knows the name of every other body part--must have realized it was strange NEVER to have discussed this one!) I said oh, that's your peepee--he smiled so relieved and called it a pee pee. More inclined to tell him it's called a penis but he's so verbal he's bound to say it in public at some point. But, I do worry it will be confusing if he calls it a pee pee -- it'll really annoy him if he's just naming his private part and someone tries to change his diaper when he's dry!

Patricia - posted on 07/25/2010

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I agree, please don't call it Willy or Peter...my husband is William, my brother is Peter...come to think of it my ex was called Richard...bizarre and i am sure Freud would say a lot about that lol

Erin - posted on 07/12/2010

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Yea my second sons started to grow back together too, but the doctor said it probably hadn't started very long ago and just to remember to pull it back at every diaper change. I kind of think they left too much on too because I never had that problem with my three year olds. But also my baby has been alot chubbier than my older one and I think this might have had something to do with it too, because it hasn't seem as bad since he's slimmed down a little. It looks more normal without so much fat down there lol.

Heather - posted on 07/11/2010

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I already posted once before, but I thought of something else to add... if you make a cute name that is fun to say it's possible that it will be one of those things that your child (or any child for that matter) will want to say. For example... rhyming words and words that sound funny/cute are a big thing for a lot of 3/4 year olds. I know your son isn't 3/4 yet, but if your child is anything like any of mine... they rememeber everything! haha And it's best not to have to attempt to re-teach the anatomical name if it does become an issue. That in itself may provoke some resistance... sometimes kids have a hard time changing from what is engrained in their minds and they won't have a problem correcting you or his teachers in the future if he disagrees with anyone. :)

Ashley - posted on 07/11/2010

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Erin, My son is going to be 4 in November - at every well check since he was born they have checked his penis and his testicles - he is uncircumcised, so they check to see if it's pulling back properly and that there is no problem with his foreskin or anything. They check his testicles to make sure he doesn't have a hernia or that they are descended properly (sometimes a testicle will get stuck on the other side of the wall between the scrotum and the abdomen and that's very dangerous and painful). Maybe they check circumcised penises less?
On a note concerning Laura - the same thing happened with my nephew, only they caught it right away and he wasn't too bad. My brother and sister in law think that the doctor left too much foreskin (it does look a lot different then his older brother's) and sometimes it gets infected and they have to pull it back and use antibiotic creams to fix it. I wonder what would have happend if they hadn't caught the reattachment sooner.

Merry - posted on 07/11/2010

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Erin, at every drs visit Erics doc takes a quick peek down there but nothing extensive. I wish she had checked him more thouroughly though because he was circumcised but the skin reattatched and I had to pull it back. It wasnt found by a doc until he was seen for hand foot and mouth and the male doctor checked his penis and realized it had reattatched. So I think doctors should really inspect every part because if I had known this earlier it could have been fixed sooner.

Erin - posted on 07/10/2010

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To Ashley K: my son hasn't had his checked since he was a baby and they were checking to see if his circumcision healed correctly. Has your son always been checked every year? Or did they stop for awhile and start up again at a certain age (I don't know how old your son is)... I guess now I'm worried he isn't being completely checked at his doctors visits lol

Ashley - posted on 07/10/2010

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I would go straight for penis. I've learned that it's better to teach them the right words, it's one less step you'll have later and they won't be embaressed by it later on in life. It'll be normal not funny and awkward.

Ashley - posted on 07/10/2010

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I have to ask: those who don't say Penis or vagina or the proper words. When you go to the doctor and the doctor is checking that part (my doc checks my son's penis and testes and says penis and testes every yearly check) what do you say? "show the doctor your talywhacker" (or birdie, or willie, or noodle, or dong, or tail, or taladega, or whatever...) isn't that terribly embarrasing? I just don't get how this works in real life...

Liane - posted on 07/10/2010

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I have all boys and I have taught them all the real name. They know that pee pee comes out of their penis. Otherwise sounds confusing to them. But I agree to go with whatever you are comfy with.

Maggie - posted on 07/10/2010

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I told my son that it was called a penis. That's the term that he has always used. You'd be surprised. He didn't and still doesn't walk around saying the word all the time. He only mentions it when in the tub or using the bathroom.

Ellie - posted on 07/10/2010

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My now three year old calls it his penis. I thought by teaching him the correct words if would avoid any embarrasing moments.. He doesnt say the word penis too much however he likes touching it even out in public and when i say we do that at home in private thats when he will yell i like touching my penis.. He is getting better about it tho! Ultimitly its up to you what you want to call it but personally id go with correct words for boys or girls.. Hope this helps and good luck!

Martha - posted on 07/10/2010

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I called my grandsons his talywacker until he said, no grandma don't call it that anymore, I guess real words in a real world these days make more sense

Cassandra - posted on 07/10/2010

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thas a funny one i have two boys n they r four n three n they call it bait worm..there pa pa always tells them he needs bait to go fishin so they say its there bait..lol but they know it as pee pee or private..they r smart n know its thre penis but they use
wat maks them comfy

Michelle - posted on 07/10/2010

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my 3 yr old son calls his a peter. and my daughter calls hers a tutu.. they came up with it no need to change what they want to call it.

Vanessa - posted on 07/10/2010

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I taught my boys from day one to call it a penis because that's what it is. We don't teach our children another word for other body parts, why should we call their penis something different?

Erin - posted on 07/10/2010

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My three year old calls his a weiner. When he was alittle over a year and told me it looked like a hotdog but he wanted to use the word my mom uses for a hotdog which was weiner. But now she just uses hotdog. But so far for us its worked and now since he's started potty training its worked because you can't confuse it with peeing. But hey if he can say it might as well use it, and I've never had a problem with my son talking about his penis to strange people just family.

Merry - posted on 07/10/2010

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Eva Wolf, dont you think its a bit insensitive to name your childrens genitalia after humans? What happens when your child meets someone with the same name as their genitals? Will they think that their body part belongs to this child with the same name?

Shana - posted on 07/10/2010

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I have 4 boys and we have had so many names for their pensis over the years its amazing we know what they are talking about LOL mainly it was called a "doodle" or "pee-pee" but my MIL always reffered to it as their tocklies...in recent times the boys have started calling it their "tenders" (Shrek reffers to them in that manner) Id go with something easy but not be careful that he understands the difference between his penis and his urine!!

To be honest we had more trouble with what to call the vagina when the time came (when they relised mum was different)

Dawn - posted on 07/10/2010

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my son is three and he calls it a penis but only when he sings me the song he made up about it. when he was about 15 months old i said stop touching ur penis there is icky poo on it ( he had a stomach virus) he said "no my menis" and it wasn't until recently that he started saying the word correctly.

Jennifer - posted on 07/09/2010

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My son is 3 and I have taught him to call his private part "penis". He knows that pee pee comes out of it, but he calls it his penis. I am a nurse and have taught both my children the correct names of body parts. There is no right or wrong, just whatever you feel is right. He will learn the correct names sooner or later if you let him watch TV or when he goes to school. I myself would rather be the teacher and make sure mine learn correctly.

Monica - posted on 07/09/2010

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lol!! ok well my son still calls his a weewee. He's 4. I asked him the other day when we were looking at a "bodies" book if he wanted to know the real name for it, i explained that weewee wasn't the proper term, and he said "no" he didn't want to know LOL!!! So next time it comes up i'm going to try again... i think by school age they should know though, to be safe and to have a talk about all that kind of safety stuff again but with proper terms. You're right, you're 15 month old might go around saying PENIS lmao and u don't need that right now!! It took my til i was about 13 to figure out what to call a scrape other than a bo-bo LOL :P

Lisa - posted on 07/09/2010

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My son calls his "wienee" and he is a little over 2- he doesn't talk about it a lot- usually will refer to it in the bath and such- I like It b/c it is simple, but also a littler nicer to hear than penis or wiener... I think it is a matter of preference though- as long as you don't pay it much mind when they first learn what it is the novelty of the word wears off and they don't talk about it much

Brandy - posted on 07/09/2010

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i've taught mine to say penis, its the correct word and you shouldnt let the immature levels of others determine what you teach your children.

Jayme-Lee - posted on 03/16/2011

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My little one is only just 1 a few weeks ago. We haven't got to the part of him speaking much. only get mum mum mum or da da da. but we just call his penis a willie. everyones different. my sister in law with her daughter called it a rudie. i think its not about what is correct. but what you feel is appropriate. if you don't mind eric saying penis then teach him that. i think people look at what may be easiest for the child to pronounce

Karen - posted on 03/16/2011

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My son calls his penis his pee pee. I figured it would be easier to know what to do with it when he potty trains but he won't even consider the potty.

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