Michael Phelps wants to set a good example for his sons, Boomer and Beckett.
The record-setting Olympic swimmer, who has another on the way with wife, Nicole Johnson, recently opened up exclusively to AOL's Gibson Johns about teaching his sons important life lessons and values.
"One hundred percent [it's important to me]. There are things that we want him to learn and values we want him to carry through life," Phelps explained. "It’s cool that, as parents, we get to mold our kids and help them experience all of these things in life. We want to do the best that we can and give them the ability to do whatever they want."
One of the ways in which Phelps leads by example is by doing small things throughout the day to promote water conservation, like turning off the faucet when he brushes his teeth. The 33-year-old athlete said that his oldest son, who isn't yet three years old and has over 700k Instagram followers, has been a natural at copying him in that regard.
"Obviously, he won’t understand all the stats, but Colgate has these little stoppers that you can put in your sink and, when the water is running for too long, they change color, telling you it’s time to turn off the faucet," Phelps, who partnered with Colgate for its Save Water campaign for the third year in a row, explained. "For Boomer to be able to visualize that has been so helpful to both him and us. He’s getting older and older and asking more and more questions, so we’re coming to the point where he can understand some of the stuff we’re telling him. He’s very into brushing his teeth multiple times a day, which is good, and that is something that’s fun for a dad to see."
Michael Phelps with his family
Michael Phelps with his family
We had a wonderful Easter! 🐣 We hop everyone danced they’re way to the Easter bunny too! Hoppy Easter 🐰💖
Making a change once is easy, but maintaining it is difficult. That's why @Colgate and I are continuing to spread awareness around turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth. It can save up to four gallons of water each time!! #EveryDropCounts #ColgatePartner
Dads trying to explain “show and tell” ? But I’m not understanding any of it!!! All I know is thing is SHINY!!!
My #wcw #bestfriend
#3 on the way! Can’t wait to see the journey that this takes us on!!! #luckyman #boyorgirl? #P3
@boomerrphelps decided he needed to do some work with me today🙈😂
Monster jam!!! Told booms to smile but he seemed to be a littttle focused🙈
My 3 sharks ❤️ I couldn’t have asked for a better husband and father to our boys. Thank you @m_phelps00 for loving each one of us with your big heart the way you do. We love you more than words can explain.
The holidays always means time for family! Good thing my Leesa mattress is big enough for everyone! #restonleesa @leesasleep
not sure what my boys are more excited about the Bamba or the frog eating the bamba 🤔 the fun #bts
Merry Christmas 🎄🎁 🎅
Let’s go blue!!!
Boomer is following my every move lately!! It's important that I teach him smart habits like turning off the faucet when we brush our teeth everyday. It can save up to four gallons each time!! #EveryDropCounts #ColgatePartner
First thing @boomerrphelps grabs when he gets in the car is my hat... so we HAD to take a pic !! #eldo #gooddayatschool
#towmater and his bunny sidekick had too much fun 😍 I hope everyone had as great of a Halloween as we did!!!
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Not only is Boomer learning from his father, but he's also already passing things down -- albeit subconsciously -- to his younger brother, Beckett.
"We’re teaching Boomer and he’s learned so much already. It’s cool to see how much Beckett tries to take after and model whatever his brother is doing, too," Phelps told AOL. "It’s incredible seeing such a young person being such a good role model for his brother."
Phelps also added that going from one son to two forced him and his wife to go "straight to man-to-man defense," as their youngest has proven himself to want to be just like his older brother.
"Beckett skipped the walking phase and is right onto the running phase," he laughed. "It happens so fast, especially when you have two. They mimic each other and learn so much from each other. Beckett is learning so much faster than Boomer did just because he has an older brother. Their interactions are great. Obviously Booms will give Beckett a hip-check from time to time, but they love each other to death and it’s so fun to see how much they hug each other and how much of a help Boomer wants to be."
Seeing how much their sons enjoy spending time with one another has made the Olympian slightly less nervous about welcoming another kid later this year.
"Going from two to three can be scary, but seeing that really helps us be more at ease and prepare ourselves for number three," he said.
Learn more about Michael Phelps' partnership with Colgate here.
Michael Phelps' Olympic history
Michael Phelps' Olympic history
Team USA swimmer Michael Phelps prepares to swim laps during a practice session at Northside Swim Center in San Antonio, Texas, July 16, 2016. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
Michael Phelps (C) of the U.S. swims the butterfly stroke during his team's victory in the men's 4x100 meters medley relay at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympics August 17, 2008. Picture taken with underwater camera. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File photo
Michael Phelps of the U.S. poses with his gold medal after winning the men's 4x100m medley relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File photo
Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale (L) of the U.S. celebrate after winning the men's 4x100m freestyle relay swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 11, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
Gold medallist Michael Phelps of the U.S. listens to his national anthem during the men's 200m individual medley victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray
Members of the men's 4 x 200m freestyle relay team, Michael Phelps, Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens (L-R) hold their national flag as they celebrate their gold medal win in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 31, 2012. Phelps won the record 19th Olympic medal on Tuesday when he joined forces with his U.S. team mates to win the 4x200m freestyle relay. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Michael Phelps of the U.S. competes in the men's 400m individual medley swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 10, 2008. Picture taken with underwater camera. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (CHINA)
Michael Phelps of the U.S. holds up his award recognising him as the most decorated Olympian, during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012. Phelps ended his incredible Olympic career on the perfect note on Saturday, winning his 18th gold medal for the United States in the men's medley relay, the last time he will swim a competitive race. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A combination photo shows Michael Phelps of the U.S. holding each of his eight gold medals in the swimming competition at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Phelps won his eighth gold medal on Sunday, beating Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals won at a single Games in 1972. The medals were won in: (Top row L-R) 400m individual medley (August 10), 4x100m freestyle relay (August 11), 200m freestyle (August 12), 200m butterfly (August 13). (Bottom row L-R) 4x200m freestyle relay (August 13), 200m individual medley (August 15), 100m butterfly (August 16), and 4x100m medley relay (August 17). REUTERS/Staff (CHINA)
Michael Phelps of the U.S. looks down at the pool after his team was beaten to the gold by France in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 29, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray
Photographers surround Michael Phelps of the U.S. after he won his eighth gold medal of the games at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (CHINA)