Our 3.5-year-old son has picked up a catchphrase/joke punchline from somewhere... but we can't figure out where it came from, his teachers can't figure it out, his daycare teachers can't figure it out, and google has been no help at all. I even thought it might be some kind of mis-pronunciation degradation of something else. But "dinosaur" and "button" are both very clear, and are words well established in his vocabulary... he knows what they are.

Dinosaur, on the button!

There's a few different ways he presents it... the most common is to get our attention with a "hey mom" or "moooommmmiiieeeee...." and when we acknowledge him, he tells us, very matter of factly and proudly, "Dinosaur on the button." At other times it just comes out like a frustrated teenager trying to explain to the old folks why some concert tickets are an absolutely necessity... with an air of exasperation applied to the "on the button" bit. Once or twice, the dinosaur has been on something else... on the sofa, on the window... but it's pretty much always on the button. Dozens of times an hour.

I thought this was a short lived thing, a few days like everything else with toddlers seems to be when they first get it in their heads and are playing with it. But it's not going away, we're easily closing on a month now. I'm not trying to shut it down, we'd love to get into this fascination of his with him and help him explore it... but no clue what it is!

Does anyone recognize this from any kind of toddler media? Books, music, TV, movies? For all I know it's something one of his friends brought into school or daycare in their head and he picked it up from them. (in which case, it would be one of the more acceptable things he's picked up from them.)

  • 1
    Maybe he heard someone saying "There's a dinosaur on the bottom" when he was playing with kids in daycare and he heard button instead of bottom??
    – J.J.
    Apr 6, 2011 at 12:35
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    Have you tried, like, asking him?
    – user494
    Apr 13, 2011 at 13:45
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    yeah. He's given a wide variety of answers... the most common being "don't know." and "on the BUTTON!" (gee, didn't see that coming did we? :) )
    – cabbey
    Apr 13, 2011 at 15:06
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    @woliveirajr nope. This lasted about 6 months or so in heavy usage... then trailed off steadily for maybe another 2 months. Then just stopped. Still no clue where it came from, but this question is now the #1 google hit for it. :)
    – cabbey
    Oct 22, 2014 at 21:19
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    Get the kid some Dinosaur buttons now and sow them on his clothing! It may be that this will brake the spell of "Dinosaur, on the button!" and he can start to embrase his love for the study of Dinosaurs. Aug 23, 2015 at 22:20

3 Answers 3


It's possible that he just made it up. My son (now almost six) went through a period starting around that age, in which he was constantly coming up with memorable phrases. If he did invent it, enjoy this phase while it lasts. Once they hit five or so, due to the influence of pop culture or peers, their expressions become much more conventional than in that golden 3.5-5 phase.

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    The Dinosaur has migrated... from a button to a wheel. Pretty sure now this is just something he made up.
    – cabbey
    Apr 26, 2011 at 23:25
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    I now I'm two years late, but my 2 year old niece sing "El día es a bella" which means something in the lines of "The day is to beauty" she just made that up, it's amazing what kids can create, I think "Dinosaur, on the button!!!" is great.
    – jsedano
    Aug 28, 2013 at 23:05

Do you think that maybe he was trying to tell you to put it on the dinosaur show (the button - could've meant the button on the remote)? Just guessing, I've got a 18 month old that says bom-bom & we don't have a clue what it is & we've tried to figure it out & ask her & she just cracks up like it's the funniest thing in the world because we don't know. Not asking for help, just offering a possible solution, but I really don't have a clue. Just looking for some dino stuff.


OK, so a dinosaur on a wheel or a button isn't, at face value, that funny. But the hilarity of it is how funny they think it is. It's sort of a private joke. So I think, like Johnny said, is more or less encourage it. Laugh with them or use the phrase yourself sometimes. We tried that a couple of times with unusual phrases our son came up with and were able to glean some insight into it when we discovered we were, apparently, using the phrase wrong. Who knew?

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