59 answers

What Do You Call Private Parts

I am curious as to what I should call my girls private area. I have twins and I have read different books etc and some people encourage calling it by the "real" name. What does everyone suggest? My girls (twins) are 16 months old and I figured I should be prepared since this will come up later down the road, thanks.

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Dear K.:

Young mothers' work so hard at trying to do the "right" things. When my children were little, they called it "my privacy". I really didn't have to come up with something. I thought it was appropriate enough since they were taught it was their private area.

A little about me: I'm now a 57 year old great-grandmother. We started young.

Do you also call a wound a "boo-boo" or "owie"? Many things have several words to identify it by, not a big deal to call it their "given" names, or call it a fun one. Some people are real insistent upon calling using the given terms, but if they're giving "play" names to other objects, why is it such a big deal. ex: binky, pacie, bink bink, blankie, ba-ba, and the list goes on...

good luck :)

I have a daughter age 18 months and 2 neices ages 4 and 11. we always call the private area 'Lucy" and that works out well.

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I would call them by their real name, if you are embarrased to say the words and you call them by other names you are sending a message that there is shame associated with these parts. We all have them and they all do the same thing! An open honest relationship with your child about their body opens the door to communication down the road about what is happening to their body when they go through puberty and more importantly sexual development and feelings.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 15 -year old daughter and she and I are very close and open about everything. If I may make a few suggestions...

#1 -- Be very honest and open with your girls -- but on an age appropriate level. When toilet training, and she said she needed to go to the bathroom, we just called it potty and poop at home (or discreetly #1 and #2 in public).

#2 -- She never asked what anything was "called". I have never made a "big deal" about female body parts. Please don't call her female parts the vagina. In life, you don't need to know that until you are wayyyy older in life and need to know.

#3 -- My daughter to this day, still asks me questions. I always tell her that I will fill her in on a "need to know" basis, if I feel she's old enough and needs to know! The other day she came home and asked me about why you'd need a flavored condom. I just looked at her and said "Honestly, I don't know".

#4 -- My last advise is this... when they are old enough -- 13-ish you need a few books. #1 -- Queen Bees and Wanna Bees (about how girls deal with girls and mean girls), #2 -- Dateable (about how girls and guys should handle relationships -- great book!), #3 -- Promise you Won't Freak Out (for you!).

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.:
As a former health educator, I firmly believe in identifying our body parts by their proper names. Giving our private parts a cute or silly name is actually disrepecting our body and sending a message of shame or secrecy. Each and every part of our body is beautiful and has a name. Now at 16 months, it may be hard for them to pronounce the word vagina correctly, but you can help. Good luck. M.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,
Looks like there are alot of people giving you advice on this one. We have 4 kids but only two old enough to understand thier anatomy. I'm not sure how my daughter came up with "scooby-butt" but that is what she calls her vagina and now my son has begin to use the same word. I don't see any thing wrong with it but they DO know the proper names as well. With society the way it is today I feel it acceptable to have nicknames. It is also a privacy thing...when we are out and she has a problem...she does not have to anounce it to the world for me to understand. Hope this helps!
J.

We have identical twin girls too and we call them 'your girls'....when we first thought of it I was thinking, boys call them their 'boys'...don't hit 'the boys', etc., so it was funny, but it worked and they're 6 and we're just fine :) Our son, we call them his boys ;)

We use the real names.

Someone told me, whatever you call it, make sure it is something you are actually saying. I have a hard time saying the anatomical name. I do differentiate between the anus and the "private parts". They are going to be a part of the ongoing conversation...ie., "I have a booboo" "In your privates or your bum?", so just make sure you will be comfortable saying it.

We call them by their real names. We tried to use as little baby talk as possible when labeling anything (including foods). It is good that you are thinking of this now because they will be getting interested in labeling everything as they acquire more and more language skills.

I say call the parts by the correct name. I have a boy and he has always known the correct name for girl and boy body parts. I do find that it makes other people uncomfortable using the correct names but I'm of the opinion that they need to just get over it. The question I think you should ask yourself is what are you comfortable calling the parts??

I have been told by my pediatrician that you should call private parts by the correct name - just like you call your nose or ear, etc. He said there are several reasons - 1) so you don't perpetuate shame 2) so as they grow older there is an openness about talking about issues related to private parts and 3) (this one got me) apparently studies (don't ask me which ones - I just trusted my doc on this one) have shown that child abusers look for kids that don't know the names of their private parts.

I will say it was hard for me to do this with my son at first, but it's getting easier. I just make sure not to make a big deal out of it.

we call my little girls privates hoo-hoo.
I was lectured by her preschool teacher at the age of 3 not to call it any cute names..They suggested to me to put the silly names away and call it what it is.. a vagina.
They said it only causes confusion at an early age.
our 4 yr old girl knows vagina and hoo-hoo are the same thing..
i am trying to steer away from the silly name, but old habits die hard.

We call them "girl parts"

I always thought to call the private parts something that people wont understand...so when my little girls yells in public she doesnt say, "Mama, my vagina hurts"....instead she says, "mama, my nunu hurts" pronounced "new-new"...

Well, don't call it "jinny". I had a friend who taught her daughter to call it "jinny" and when she turned 5 she met a friend named "jenny"; the little girl told my friend that it was really bad that jenny's mom named her jenny because of what a "jinny" was. Awkward! Hahah.

I have a hard time calling it the real thing due to the fact that my son has always been very vocal and will talk about everything. I have to be careful when discussing sensitive topics. My son is now almost 4 and from day one I have refered to it as his private stuff, he began calling it his pee pee thing on his own for obvious reasons. I don't agree with those who make up funny names because I think that makes children think their privates are bad. But calling it by the real names shocks people and I don't want my son going to school teaching things to his friends their parents don't agree with. I think you will find something that is comfortable to you and that is fine.

I have a 6 year old and up until he was 4 or maybe 54 we called it privates and bottoms. Somewhere in that time I explained to him, when he brought it up , the real name. I waited until he said it and he kept calling it privates, so I followed his lead! We call my privates just that, privates, he's doesn't need to know mine! And we said breasts (me) and pecs (him).

We called it 'peepee area' until around 3.5-4yrs. At some point she wanted to know, expressed interest, in the different parts down there. So I gave her the names. She knows the specific names, but in general we still say 'peepee area"
hth

I taught my children to use the "real" names, but I never felt embarrassed when my children used the "real" names in public. If it is something that would make you want to run away and crawl under a rock, you might want to start off with the alternatives. I personally feel that as long as you do not present the "real" names as gross or naughty when the appropraite times comes, then it shouldn't really cause too much harm in the way they view thier bodies. Besides, if this is the worst mistake you make as a parent you still could be recommended for Saint-hood.

We use real names at our house.

Do you also call a wound a "boo-boo" or "owie"? Many things have several words to identify it by, not a big deal to call it their "given" names, or call it a fun one. Some people are real insistent upon calling using the given terms, but if they're giving "play" names to other objects, why is it such a big deal. ex: binky, pacie, bink bink, blankie, ba-ba, and the list goes on...

good luck :)

When I was growing up we called it a "go go". It works for boys and girls. Because that is what we used to go to the bathroom. I used this term with my kids too. When they were starting kindergarten I told them the real words, but, they were just fine with it. They are teenagers now (13 and 14)and have known the correct terms for years, but, if either of them have had an issue there they still call it a "go go". It's a pretty generic word. Good luck.

My daughter is 13. We call it what it is. I am very open minded and I don't hide behind any nicknames. Like someone else who responded, be proud of your body. I suppose I am European as well because I have taught her that her body is hers and special to her. I don't hide when I undress like my mom always did. My mom was to the extreme because she acted like nudity was a bad thing. I was determined NOT to do that to my daughter, therefore I am probably to the extreme other side of the issue.

Also, in 6th grade they start dressing out for PE and that is an adjustment for some girls.

Susan

Hi K., I have two girls, 16 months and 4 years. We call our private area "cookie" Even before the girls were born that is how my husband and I referred to my private part. I don't really know why but it works for us.

I think its very important to give your girls private part a code name. The code name should only be known by you and the father. Explain to them in away they understand why no one is suppose to touch this area in away that make them feel uncomfortable "give examples". In addition feel free to ask your family doctor for advice.

We call them what they are. Penis and vulva.

K., we use both the real names and flower for my girl, and penie, for my boys. They know when to use each word. In public, they quietly refer to there private parts in the less formal way and when we are at home or at the doctor's office, they use the appropriate. I have found that it calls less attention to them when they use these euphemisms.

I'd like to add that it is not a matter of being politically correct or not but, the truth of the matter is that in this day and age, children should know how to correctly name the parts of their body. I have worked with abused children and God forbid that a child is molested and can not convey this fact to their parents or care-givers because they cannot appropriately communicate what has happened to their body. Also, in some cases, believe it or not, criminals have gotten away without punishment because children could not explain where, how, what part of their bodies were violated. These are not pleasant thoughts but, realistic ones.
Hope to have helped.

This has really made me laugh reading all the replies.
Well.....from an "older mom" we have always said the real names of body parts. And since I have 3 sons and a husband...the joke around here is.....I live at the I-HOP
which stands for....INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PENISES !

Ha.......the most important thing is to make your children feel comfortable about saying ANY word to you.
Maybe a compromise......you call it a vigina and if "they" decide to make up a name......so be it.

Good luck.

Right now, the word "bottom" is our catch-all with reference to front or back. Our girl is five and I expect I'll expand that to proper terminology as she grasps the concept not to yell it out in Target.
C. S.

I have two girls. They know the real names, but we always have said wee wee, tushy and boobies. If it is a boy we say boy wee wee. We also say tinkle winkle when it is time to go pee. :-) I don't think there is any harm in having fun names. Of course they will say the real names one day.
E.

6 year old and 1 year old daughters: privates and bottom You'll never be embarassed in public.

I have three children, 4, 3, and 1. Two girls, one boy. The older ones know the correct name for all their body parts. It is funny sometimes, when they blurt out things using correct terms, but we just hold it in. I agree with the parents/studies/doctors that say that we adults are the ones with the problem of the body and the names of everything. Penises and vaginas are not dirty "things" unless you make them that way. If you do, then your kids will be more curious about those "dirty things we shouldn't mention". I would rather my children be up front with me and be able to talk about anything.

My 6 year old son has always been told the correct name for his "private parts"...it wasn't until he started school where he found out other kids have other names...he thinks it is funny. So I say...call it by its real name.

I have two girls. One is four and one is 17. At our house it is called a hoo ha. No sure why but it works. Both know the offical name but that is our name for it.
As you might already know.........Oprah and her friend Gayle call it a va-jay jay.
Good Luck.
Girls are so fun.

For my 2 1/2 year old daughter it's privates and bottom.

I started by calling it her "pee-pee" but she changed it to her "little butt" and her "big butt" I thought it was funny so I didn't really correct her. I'll teach her the real word when she starts school. I undestand you should teach them the correct word but her names are so cute to me I hate to correct her right now.

I call it a Hootie on my little girl. I don't want her running around stores talking about it by the real name yet. She does say it in public because we are potty training and she is very interested in body parts. Especially if she has a doll with her. I think it best to keep things personal between family and that is like a code word for us. If she ever asks what a vagina is I know I need to start looking at her playgroups and other parents to see where she is learning it. My daughter is 2 and I am a stay at home mom.

You know I tell my two year old that she needs to hide her "nookie, cookie or even sometimes her personal area." I think that it is how you feel best to describe it to your own child. I am not sure at that age they will understand what you are talking about but at least you can describe a name for it to them.

We used the proper Sanskrit, "yoni", for vagina. Mostly because it sounded sweeter and doesn't mean sheath, which defines female parts by how a male can fit with them. Now my girls are teens. They are not confused and have no hard feelings if people call the yoni vagina or go-go. It's most important that they know where it all is and how it works and who it belongs to - themselves only!

I have 1 daughter and 2 little neices and 1 of them started calling theirs a toot-toot and so they all stuck with it.I'm saying the desicion is up to you,but it has to be something you are going to stick with until they get older.I never thought about calling it a different name at all.

I told my daughter the names of her private parts. But for everyday, I referred to her "personal" area.

She is now 16, and seems to be comfortable with her body. She will tell her dad if she has cramps, or needs to stop at the store to pick up tampons.

I was told by a Dr and a lawyer to call it what it is. We have to many child molesters in our society. Heaven forbid.

I am a firm believer that you should call it what it is, a vagina. They need to feel comforatable with their bodies at an early age, in my opinion. It is good that you are thinking about this at an early age!

We use the word Yoni. We pronounce it: yo-nee. We all know what we're talking about and it doesn't sound harsh like vagina.

We have always gone with "ta-ta"

I think everyone has their own opinions but I feel its best to call it by its real name. Yes it sounds weird but again in my opinion i think its best!

I don't think it really matters what you call it as long as an adult would know what they are talking about, should the need arrive. Some suggestions are peepee, sheshe, privates, nether regions...

I use the real terms - otherwise you have to reteach it later, and it gives the idea that "that place" is so weirdor gross or bad it has to have a secret code name. I use vulva (because it's more than a vagina)and also "private parts" to convey that it is a private area. I have 2 boys, but they have been raised around the little girls I babysit and also have been generally curioous about why Mom is different, why girls are girls and boys boys etc. Genitals are no big deal to talk about or any source of great wonder for my boys because we have always been matter-of-fact about it. They have penises like dad, but Mom's a girl so I have a vulva. That's enough info for them on a daily basis. I did tell my now 6 year old about vaginas when he was maybe late 4 or 5 years old simply because a friend was pregnant and he was afraid the baby was goingg to rip through belly, Aliens style! Explaining the womb connected to the vagina/brith-canal and how it stretches to let the baby out gave him peace that my friend would not rip open and die, and he no longer had to worry. He did not become obsessed by genitals or talking about it or anything. Kids have questions all the time, they want to learn about their world - this is just another part of their world they want and need to learn about. If we don't make it a big deal, it won't be! And then it won't be so weird to figure out how to talk about this stuff later when they then have other more firmly planted misconceptions in their minds.

Well, at their age, I'd make up a name they won't say in public too.
My son called his a peepee and his testicles "nickles"... sure enough one day we were in a store and he fell just right and yelled out.... "mom, my nickles...". I was so happy he didn't have the right word at that moment.
I think it is a personal preference and no right answer. Whatever is best for you. I have a friend with two daughters and they call theirs "suzy". The oldest daughter has two daughters, and so do they. sounds silly to outsiders I guess, but I'd imagine they are happy with it.
The truth is, now, at 4, my son knows the real name for his. But we call it peepee... and that is that.

Girls have "tee-tees" and boys have "tinkle tails". Biological names can come later and you won't be embarrassed by things coming "out of the mouths of babes". At least in our area, proper names seldom come up in polite society. Of utmost importance is that they understand from the beginning that these are "private parts" and not to be seen or touched by other than parents and the most trusted adults.

You need to always be honest and upfront. Use the real terms. Good luck!

In my home we call it "your private" if the matter is serious, like a rash or something. We call it her cooty if it's not serious, like I'll say,"did you dry your cooty?" You don't want her yelling out the real word in public one day. Good luck.

Although I respect all of those who chose to call a spade a spade, I am just not that way. But around here we call it their "personals". My girlfriend started it with her daughter, and I like that it set them up from a young age to think of that as personal space. At some time, obviously, I will teach them the correct term, and I am confident that there will be no long term damage done by giving it a pet name!! Sometimes we have to give kids what we think they are capable of handling, and as they are ready for more, we give it to them. So, do what you feel the most comfortable with, there is no right or wrong way no matter which way you choose. ~A.~

I have a daughter age 18 months and 2 neices ages 4 and 11. we always call the private area 'Lucy" and that works out well.

Dear K.:

Young mothers' work so hard at trying to do the "right" things. When my children were little, they called it "my privacy". I really didn't have to come up with something. I thought it was appropriate enough since they were taught it was their private area.

A little about me: I'm now a 57 year old great-grandmother. We started young.

Given that my girls will proudly and loudly exclaim the 'real' names, we say tee tee for both genders.

S., mom to four girls four and under

I've always told my daughter what the correct 'anatomical' names are but she calls it her bobo. I don't see anything wrong with using different names for private parts. I myself use slang when referring to them. I only use the 'correct' terminology when I go to a doctor's office. As long as she knows what the correct words are I don't think it matters what she chooses to call it. It's hers so she can call it whatever she wants.

We just go with "privates" for both my daughter and my son. It's not silly but it's not too graphic either. It works for us.

I have a 3 year old daughter. We say "Nu-Nu" and "Bo-Bo". I don't use the real words because we don't use real words for other things such as halitosis (however you spell it), vomit, feces and such. We just say the commonly used words. They'll learn the formal words later and it makes our communication easier this way.

I think each child is different and I think there are huge differences between the ways boys and girls handle this topic. I have a nephew who was taught the proper terminology for both male and female parts and for almost a year he would tell any boy, girl, man or woman he saw that boys have penises and girls have vaginas.
Do I think it's a bad thing for boys and girls to know their proper anatomy? No. Do I think it's bad to teach them the proper terminology but then allow then to use a nick name? Not at all.
I plan to teach my kids of the proper terminology but allow them to call it by a name they feel comfortable with... I think it takes time for boys and girls to become comfortable with these issues, and they are extremely influenced by how we react to this topic.

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