Pee pee, tinkle, wee wee and piddle are all just fine. Some experts advise parents to always use the technical, anatomically correct terms for body parts and functions. Others disagree, saying that part of the joy of raising children is the silliness — the crazy kitchen dances we do, the goodnight tickles or the unique words that make up our family traditions. Using silly words can help make sometimes tedious and challenging care-taking tasks, like helping a small child use the toilet, a lot more fun for both parent and child.

But what’s more important than the actual words we use is how we say them. Using a humiliating, belittling or aggravated tone of voice with your potty trainee may result in a child who feels a sense of shame and embarrassment about her body, regardless of the actual words we say. Adopting a communication style that is matter-of-fact and accepting will convey comfort and confidence to your child. So go ahead and use whatever reasonably appropriate names you want for body parts and functions — all the better if your child helps to create them.

It’s OK if your child’s preschool teacher or babysitter uses different words than you do — if they say “piddle” and you say “pee” — as long as your child is comfortable using those words. It helps for everyone to know each other’s words, of course.

Head over to Potty Talk Series 4 to learn about the best ways to praise your sweet little trainee.