I help my daughter to brush her teeth.

Since she is too short, I don't let her do it in the bathroom, but using a big bowl.

After she rinses her mouth I ask her to spit the rinsed water (I am not sure it is a correct way of saying the dirty water that you use to rinse your mouth, you normally don't drink it but spit it out, it might have some toothpaste) into the bowl.

However, instead of spitting the rinsed water into the bowl, she spits it outside the bowl and get the floor wet.

So, I told her these "You have to aim your mouth into the bowl" or "You have to aim the rinsed water into the bowl".

Is it natural to say "You have to aim your mouth into the bowl" or "You have to aim the rinsed water into the bowl"?

  • 4
    Simply tell her: "Spit (the toothpaste) into the bowl"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 5:56
  • 2
    Not my downvote as you are one of the few ELL users who actually provides context and whose questions show research and effort.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 6:06
  • 4
    It's unnecessary to give a detailed description of the solution being spat out. The aim is to get her to spit inside the bowl (and eventually use the washbasin).
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 6:28
  • 2
    "Spit into the bowl, not on the floor". Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 8:07
  • 2
    You could just say 'Make it all go in the bowl!'. Needlessly addressing small children in an over-adult, bookish way can be pointless. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 9:59

2 Answers 2


To not confuse her, try:

Spit the toothpaste/water in the bowl

I find it unnatural to say "aim your mouth" and "aim the rinsed water" as an AmE, and is rarely used in the first place.

  • 1
    What does "rinsed water" actually mean? Water that has been rinsed? I checked online and found "mouth-rinsed water" this makes sense, at least to me, but I would not say this to a small child every morning.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 6:10
  • 1
    I changed it to water as it is easier to understand, is it better @Mari-LouA? Thanks
    – DialFrost
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 7:37

There is a word for it - it's called spittle.

But you seem to be avoiding the use of "spit" with your daughter.

Polite Victorians used to consider it a swear word and pub notices said "Do not expectorate". But a dictionary definition I've just seen for that says "to spit or cough up phlegm from the lungs" - and clearly you don't mean that.

But London buses - in my memory - years ago, used to have a notice which read:

Don't spit on the floor

A limerick I remember reading to my kids, which made them laugh was:

There was a man from Darjeeling,

Who travelled by bus to Ealing.

The sign near the door.

Said "Don't spit on the floor".

So he carefully spat on the ceiling!

Tell your daughter that one - it may make her laugh too!

Seriously, if she was my daughter, I'd just insist she "spit in the bowl"! –

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