Those of you with kids still in diapers undoubtedly long for the day when your child can use the bathroom on his or her own. No more wallowing in poo and pee, you’re thinking. Not so fast, naïve moms!
You will spend many more years dealing with bodily fluids and solids, but with much less control. You’ll long for the days of self-contained diapers, trust me.
Allow me to share some of my adventures in the loo with my children so you know what to expect.
1. First, I advise you to locate IMMEDIATELY every public bathroom wherever you may be going (supermarket, library, park). Newly potty-trained kids provide a 2 second warning, so strap on your skates and get ready to zoom.
2. Boys are very different from girls when it comes to toilet training, or at least mine were. They took a loooooong time to become fully trained. Although my mother assured me that no one ever walked down the aisle in diapers, I wasn’t convinced. One of my sons was fully trained for pee, but insisted he could poo only in a diaper. This continued until the age where he was old enough to say, “Mother, I would like to poo now. Please put a diaper on me. I appreciate your cooperation in this endeavor.” Understanding that when the child is ready, the diaper will disappear, I calmly went along with this ridiculous fetish…in between screaming, threatening and offering bribes.
3. Speaking of offering bribes, another one of my sons was toilet-trained by using a big gum machine filled with chocolate candy balls. We were desperate. It worked.
4. One of my children went through a spell where he chose not to poop at all. This was really horrible. He put a lot of energy into holding it in. This went on way too long. Ultimately I had to resort to something called Maltsupex, which is barley malt extract, the very same concoction Kanga gives to little Roo in the “Winnie the Pooh” books. No coincidence, that connection to Winnie the Pooh, as Maltsupex is not to be denied. Suffice to say that the child in question finally parted with his precious poo, but it was not pleasant for either of us. I share this not only to add to my status as Martyred Mom Who Has Seen It All, but very seriously to share this cure with other parents who may have such an experience with a child, which I truly hope never happens to any of you.
5. Eventually the diaper wars ended, and everyone knew the drill. Two more issues with boys arose: 1) lifting the toilet seat and leaving it lifted; 2) NOT lifting the toilet seat. Either way, Mom ended up moist. We solved the lifted toilet seat issue thusly: the boys learned to put BOTH seats down, as the default. For some reason, it seemed fairer to them that I would have to lift the lid and not receive preferential treatment. Once this became reflexive, it was a non-issue except for two tiny problems (see item #8). I hope their wives are very appreciative of this early training.
6. The problem with not lifting the seat comes from the mistaken idea that all males have, which is that they can control their stream of whizz. They really think that they can point that thing like a laser beam and get all of the pee straight into the bowl. Not even remotely true! So innocent Mom sits down and realizes after a moment or two that her tush is strangely wet. This problem is solved with serious threats. It is non-negotiable that all males MUST lift the seat before peeing, and then put it down when done.
7. Related to this is the drips and overspray that accumulate on the floor under the toilet and on the adjacent walls. Males are mystified when shown these stains because, as we have learned, they believe in the laser beam. Nonetheless, they cannot deny that women do not have the capacity to produce the drips, so they are forced to admit that it possibly was their own doing. I don’t really care if they take responsibility for producing this icky stuff, as long as they understand THEY have to clean it up!
8. As promised, the problems that come from teaching them to put the seat down: a) overly exuberant slamming in the middle of the night and b) the slam-and-run maneuver after a lingering poo. The first problem can be solved by buying toilet seats that don’t make noise: padded ones are very nice but there are also seats with damping mechanisms that allow the seat to drift gently down like the feather in “Forrest Gump.”
The slam-and-run maneuver is a little more problematic. The lads don’t realize that they really need to check the bowl after a bowel movement, because sometimes memories remain. Once they are well-trained to slam that lid after peeing, the habit becomes so ingrained that they do it after pooing as well. They tend to flush, slam and flee the bathroom at top speed, and, out of sight, out of mind, do not check the bowl. I love my sons but I do not want to revisit those days of yore when I spent a lot of time looking at their poo. I have been known to wake up a slumbering teenager to drag him into the bathroom to erase his sins with Scrubbing Bubbles.
9. The need to freshen the air in the room out of respect for the next visitor is one more skill you will have to impart. Two of my favorite products are Oust and Citrus Magic. I also recommend stashing Renuzit Super Odor Killer cones in any room where a young man is likely to spend any amount of time.
10. By the way, these lessons work on husbands as well – many of whom have not been as well taught by their mothers as they should have been.
Like so many other things in life I never expected to have to actually teach other people, Toiletiquette has become one of my areas of expertise. In fact, I believe I have earned my Pee H.D.