Whoever said that a man’s best friend is a dog lied. A man’s best friend is his penis, and that friendship goes all the way back to the first day someone tried to cover it up with a diaper.
In my house I have cleaned up enough messes in our family bathroom to know that boys are wild animals. I say that with love. They are compelled to heed the call of the wild with every urge to whiz. What most moms don’t know when they sign up for the motherhood gig is that potty training starts on day one and continues right on through adulthood.
Don’t believe me? In the spirit of honesty and unabashed sharing I will share a dozen dirty truths about boys and bathrooms. Grab your rubber gloves and a glass of wine, ladies … you’ll need them!
1. Potty training starts the day your son is born. It’s true. The day a nurse or midwife hands you your son you will immediately be thrown into potty training. It will start with being peed and pooped on while learning how to finagle a cloth diaper or how to fold a disposable diaper into a neat and trash-ready package.
2. Welcome to poop rodeo. I am almost certain that an infant boy trying to prevent his mother from changing his freshly filled diaper invented wrestling. The amount of wriggling, squirming, and whining that a child makes during a diaper change is like a demonstration for his right to be naked all the livelong day. In this process to be as free as a bird, your little wonder will get poop everywhere.
3. Boys LOVE to talk about their poop. Every single morning I hear at least one comment from my four-year-old about his poop. He wants to tell me everything about it from its size to its color to just how stinky it is. If that isn’t enough, the child wants to ask me questions bout my thoughts on his poop. I get it, already! You made poop! That’s great! Guess what?! I make stuff too! I made YOU! Imagine that.
4. Farting will become a full contact sport. The fastest way to make a boy laugh is to make flatulent sounds. By the time my oldest son had turned three he realized that he could make himself burb, and by extension he could also conjure up a fart in a dire moment of comedy. This hidden talent has morphed into a game of farting on people by running up to someone (me) and tooting followed by squeals of delight.
5. Houseplants that sit on the floor are potential targets for “pretending to pee outside.” My poor rubber tree plant. The thing died one winter after we discovered that our son had been practicing how to pee in a bush outside. His imagination went wild when he was told that in the spring he could pee anywhere he wanted if he was in the woods.
6. Boys will discover their fun parts MUCH sooner than you think. Before their first birthdays both of my sons had firmly discovered that their most awesome body part was indeed their peen. Not a day goes by that either of them hasn’t grabbed, shaken, twisted, or pulled on their fun parts at least 100 times.
7. Peeing on the toilet seat, the floor, and possibly the bathtub will become a sport. I swear there is a secret point system to this game that no one is telling me. I find pee puddles everywhere in the bathroom and it drives me absolutely bonkers. Sometimes I wonder if the boys in this house are conspiring against me.
8. Putting the seat down will be a life long battle. My husband is 37 and still hasn’t mastered this feat of engineering: a toilet seat has a hinge on it, which makes it GO DOWN. I utter the phrase “put the seat down” about as often as my constant threat to put someone in timeout for jumping off the couch or trying to tie something to the dog’s tail.
9. Peeing outside will be the single most amazing thing in the world to a boy. The day my husband told our oldest son that he could pee outside was the same day that he realized what freedom is. The kid has peed on nearly every flowering plant in my garden beds. He has claimed more territory on our 3 acres than the family dog has.
10. Explaining why Mom doesn’t have a penis is awkward. Every mother knows that peeing alone is something that will likely never happen in her house once she has kids. If those children are boys the inevitable observation will be made that Mom doesn’t possess a penis. Try explaining that to a two-year-old without incurring more awkward questions. Well, dear, I don’t have a penis because I have a vagina. No, I said vuh-gina. Yup, it’s what girls have. I don’t know, it just is. Because it just is. No, I can’t pee outside. Uh…go ask your father.
11. If a boy asks for privacy at the age of four, it is because he is trying flush toys down the toilet. There is a rule at my house that unless you are old enough to know why a person would need privacy in a bathroom then you don’t get to have it. Case in point: my kid keeps trying to flush stuff down the toilet. He totally fascinated by the whooshing sound and the fact that things seemingly disappear (like his dinner last Thursday).
12. The whole world will know when you son finally poops in the toilet. It will happen one day when you are grocery shopping that your son will tell the checkout girl that he made a giant poop in the toilet and that it stunk up the joint. And guess what? He flushed it all by himself too! And then later, he will retell this story to the neighbors. If you try to make a phone call he might be excited and ask to tell his story to whomever you are talking to…like the mortgage company.
Potty training isn’t just about teaching a child to do his business on a toilet without destroying the bathroom…or his pants. It is a learning process about how a body works, social boundaries, humility, humor, and a poor mother’s patience.
Related post: 10 Things Boys Should Know About Being Men