I was hoping to get some advice, particularly from LGBTQ parents or those from the Trans community (though answers from anyone are most appreciated!).

My almost 3 year old little girl has started to become interested in genitals, mostly because we have been potty training her and she lacks any sense of privacy so walks in regularly on both myself and my husband in the bathroom. We are pretty open with her, we want her to know that bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and that we can discuss our bodies openly as a family. She knows that she has a vagina, and that mommy and her baby sister have vaginas, and recently discovered that my husband has a penis (or peanut, according to her haha). She has been saying that she has a penis inside, so I correct her and tell her that no she has a vagina, and daddy has a penis.

My first instinct, having grown up in a fairly heteronormative family, is to say "boys have penises and girls have vaginas", but in this day and age that isn't necessarily true. I know she is far too young to grasp gender vs. sex and gender identity, but I want to make sure I am introducing her to this stuff in the right way from the start.

What is the best way to approach this, with keeping it simple and clear enough for her to understand but also not ingraining old school beliefs in to her from the start?


I tend to stick to facts as much as possible, and trust that for the parts children may be too young to fully grok, giving them more information than they can process is less likely to cause problems than letting them try to fill in missing pieces on their own.

A simple "some people are born with a penis, and some people are born with a vagina" may be enough. If she still pursues the idea that she has a penis inside, you can explain that some people are born with both a penis and a vagina, but that this is very rare, and not something that happened with her. If she still questions this, tell her that the doctors checked when she was born.

This is all accurate, and avoids any entanglements with gender identity, which really doesn't seem to be what she's asking about anyway.

  • Happy to have you back! – Stephie Aug 15 '18 at 19:41

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