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Explaining private parts/privacy

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  • Last Post 04 January 2019
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Amber posted this 04 January 2019

How do I explain to my toddler WHY his private parts are private?  Trying to find an age-appropriate explanation beyond 'we don't touch our bottoms because germs.' TIA!

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Karen posted this 11 January 2019

Wow! This is a tough one. Considering that if you don't teach him something, someone else will. I like your answer, and depending on his age, it may just be enough of an answer for now. I think simply may be better!

lauren posted this 11 January 2019

I just told my daughters that only certain people can touch her private parts, gave her a list of names,  and told her only when giving a bath and helping wipe you after the potty. she took that information and understood it well enough for now, shes 5.

Sue posted this 12 January 2019

I think that is an excellent answer and explains not just "why" but the "who" that may allows our babies to feel safe around other people.

I just told my daughters that only certain people can touch her private parts, gave her a list of names,  and told her only when giving a bath and helping wipe you after the potty. she took that information and understood it well enough for now, shes 5.

Marie posted this 14 January 2019

I  really didn have an answer  for  this either, but I  like how you put it with if you don’t teach him something, someone else will. 


So true!! For so many Things!!! 



Wow! This is a tough one. Considering that if you don't teach him something, someone else will. I like your answer, and depending on his age, it may just be enough of an answer for now. I think simply may be better!

Megan posted this 15 April 2019

hmmmm....touching because of germs compared to touching from a privacy standpoint are different to me.  We taught our daughter early on to use the correct names - vagina, butt, etc....because research shows that this is a good thing from a predator standpoint.  As she got older we have also made sure that she knows that only drs, mommy and daddy can 'touch' or help her with her private areas if she gives them permission.  We have even said that no one can touch her there unless mommy or daddy are around.  NO ONE ELSE.  IN terms of germs though, we have used it the same way as any germs... you want your hands to be clean, you want your vagina and butt to stay clean.

Dona posted this 15 April 2019

We call them no no zones so they know that touching or showing those areas are no no's.

Bonnie posted this 26 April 2019

Maybe its a boy thing but no matter what I say he still grabs or touches it. Following for some answers! Some of these are pretty awesome responses.

Jennifer posted this 06 May 2019

It depends on the age. It’s important to tell your kids that nobody else is supposed to see/touch there. From my social work classes, I learned it’s important to teach them the proper names for their private areas so if they’re hurting or something happened to them, whoever they tell will know exactly what they’re talking about. 


Alex posted this 06 May 2019

I think it is important to use proper names, like a pp said but also tell them who is allowed and why, like mom or dad if they are giving you a bath and who is not allowed and why. 

Charlotte posted this 06 May 2019

There has been some great feedback. As a former child welfare social worker, I'm another voice for teaching proper body part names. It will also give you a red flag if your child one day starts using terminology that's really far off from what you taught (it doesn't necessarily mean something has happened, but it's good to be aware). I think the privacy issue is something kids start to gradually understand as they get a little older. My six year old understands that there are just certain things that are private. We also teach asking permission for hugs from friends or high fives, and I've never forced my kids to give hugs if they didn't want to. I think it's part of an overall message and lesson in body autonomy. 

Grace posted this 09 May 2019

I loved reading this thread because I'm struggling with this too. My son likes to just pull his pants down and I've had to explain that no one should be seeing that except for Mommy, Daddy, or the doctor if they have to check. He's been pretty OK so far with accepting that his privates are his own, but I'm still worried. He actually freaks out when I try to wash him up in the shower down there, so that should be good? Even though it's not my post, I appreciated this post being made and all the feedback that there is. 

Carly posted this 01 June 2019

Proper names are important for kids to learn. Explaining that their body is their property is a good start. My parents used to force me to hug relatives, friends, etc and I absolutely hated it. I would never force a child to hug or kiss ANYONE, parents included. Their bodies are their own and letting them know that early on will help them a lot. 

Kate posted this 02 June 2019

I agree with others about the importance of using proper names. We talk about who is allowed to touch her and why (parents, grandparents, daycare teacher, for bath, helping with the potty, etc.) We also work on the concept of consent a lot in general - always ask if we can give a hug or kiss, always stop right away if she says to stop tickling, etc. It's very natural and normal for kids to want to explore their bodies, and I think it's very healthy for them to get a sense that they are not only in charge of saying what can't happen, but also what can. So, for example, we work on reinforcing for my daughter that she can touch her vagina/vulva/butt if she wants, but only in private, and she needs to wash her hands afterwards. If we're sitting at the dinner table and she reaches down her pants, we don't make a big deal, but we tell her to wash her hands, and that after dinner is over she can go to her room and do that in private.


Kristy posted this 28 February 2020

This is a tough one because we don't want to teach them that their body parts are 'wrong' necessarily but we do want to instill a healthy and appropriate sense in them. I'd say just be gentle and repetitive about it, they will get it eventually.

Toya posted this 02 March 2020

This is a great post.. I'm curious when most parents have these conversations?

Louise posted this 02 March 2020

Love this question! I ALWAYS use the proper terminology while also letting them know what other people call it (ie: breast is also referred to as boob). That way they know what we will call it in our house, but they also know what others might call it so they will be aware if anyone asks them to touch that part. Also, there is no shame for any body part covered by our swimsuits, but we do talk about how we don't show others our body parts covered by swimsuits, we don't uncover them or touch them in public, and no one else is allowed to touch them (except mom, dad, and doc/nurse). And we regularly teach them the power of their 'no'. Between allowing them to have a voice and knowing the correct words to use, I am protecting them from all kinds of predators out there!!

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Mischa posted this 01 April 2020

This is tough because it's hard to really explain anything complex to a toddler in a way they can really comprehend. I'd say just be repetitive and eventually it will set in.

Cecily posted this 01 April 2020

I think this is a really solid answer and a great way to approach it. 

Love this question! I ALWAYS use the proper terminology while also letting them know what other people call it (ie: breast is also referred to as boob). That way they know what we will call it in our house, but they also know what others might call it so they will be aware if anyone asks them to touch that part. Also, there is no shame for any body part covered by our swimsuits, but we do talk about how we don't show others our body parts covered by swimsuits, we don't uncover them or touch them in public, and no one else is allowed to touch them (except mom, dad, and doc/nurse). And we regularly teach them the power of their 'no'. Between allowing them to have a voice and knowing the correct words to use, I am protecting them from all kinds of predators out there!!

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