Swimsuits can help you define the meaning of private parts.

How to Explain About Private Parts to Your Three-Year-Old Daughter

by Shara JJ Cooper

It may not be the sex talk, but it's still one of those awkward conversations. When your 3-year-old streaks naked around your guests, it's time to talk to her about modesty and private parts. While it's not a big deal to be naked as a toddler or baby, she's transitioning into an older child and needs to learn to cover up. You want to approach it just right, so she isn't embarrassed or ashamed about her body. So keep it simple and matter-of-fact. There really isn't anything to be embarrassed about.

Explain to your child where her private parts are. The easiest way to do that is to tell her that anything under her swimsuit is a private part.

Give the proper names for her private parts. Up until now, you might have been using nicknames like "pee pee" because the full names are too difficult for her to pronounce. By age 3, she should be able to say words such as breasts and vagina. Talk to her about these parts using a natural, relaxed voice. You might feel a bit uncomfortable but it's important that she doesn't.

Tell your daughter that her private parts are just for her. It is normal for her to be interested or curious about her body, but any exploration should be reserved for when she is in a private atmosphere. Give her examples of when it's OK to touch her private parts. This is usually in the bathroom or bedroom. Make sure she understands that she should come to you immediately if anyone asks to see or touch her private parts.


  • Talk to your daughter about how other people dress and behave. If she notices that other adults and children aren't running around naked or with their hands down their pants, she's probably going to want to act the same way.
  • Always have a casual attitude about sexual parts and activity. Even if you catch your daughter masturbating or "playing doctor" just help her get dressed and explain that she should do that in private and never touch another person's private parts.


  • If you catch your daughter playing doctor with a child that is more than 3 years older than her, she may be a victim of sexual misconduct. You'll want to talk to her about the situation and have her be evaluated by a counsellor. This is particularly true if she wasn't a willing participant in the game.

About the Author

Shara JJ Cooper graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2000, and has worked professionally ever since. She has a passion for community journalism, but likes to mix it up by writing for a variety of publications. Cooper is the owner/editor of the Boundary Sentinel, a web-based newspaper.

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