Toilet Training

I'm armed for battle at Target this morning, but I want to quickly post about a pediatrician recommendation discussed by Lisa Belkin.

A pediatrician at Leighton Hospital in England, Joe Philip, writes in the letters section about
four cases of little boys who were injured when a heavy toilet seat
fell and crushed the tip of their tender parts. All the children were
between the ages of two and four, all were recently toilet trained, and
all the injuries were serious enough to require an overnight hospital
stay.

In each of these cases the seat in question was not a usual plastic
seat but a heavy wooden decorative seat, leading to the first
suggestion the author gives to parents who now have one more thing to
worry about: do not use those kinds if you have a male toddler in the
house…

“Studies have shown that the social norm of leaving the toilet seat
down is inefficient and not always welfare-enhancing,” Dr. Philip
concludes. “Therefore households with a male infant should agree the
default position for the toilet seat should be ‘up.’”

As a mother of two boys, I say, NO. Toilet seats must be raised and lowered. I live with arm farts at the dinner table, competitive burp contests, and muddy cleats. I can choose clothing for them in the exciting options of light brown or dark brown. No one wants to read Anne of Green Gables or draw for hours at the dinner table. My life expectancy is shorter that mothers of girls. The absolute least that should be done is the raising and lowering of a toilet seat. Lines must be drawn somewhere.

16 thoughts on “Toilet Training

  1. Well, this is strictly off topic, but have you taught them to sit when peeing. Girls do it; its really not that hard. It would save whoever cleans the bathroom some work. I’m planning to do this with my lad. I am not at all worried about him being teased by his friends; he is, to my horror, almost certainly going to be a dominant kid.

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  2. I’d actually rather draw the line at the muddy cleats since I’m in charge of keeping the floors cleanish. But, the advice you quote doesn’t seem very well thought out to me. Who has a two-year old tall enough to pee while standing (at least in a regular-sized toilet)? Having a little boy take a leak from a step-stool seems like a very bad idea for so many reasons.

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  3. I’ve got the raised part down now. For a while there, he wasn’t raising it, and Sophie and I paid the price. (Ick.) So I put up a sign over the toilet that reminds him to raise the seat. Since he’s somewhat hyperlexic, I find he responds well to written instructions.

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  4. I paid extra to get the special plastic seat that lowers slowly — there’s some sort of spring in the hinge — not because I was worried about the boy’s private parts but because I was convinced the damn seat was going to break, given the gusto with which he lowered it.
    When he remembers to raise it in the first place.

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  5. What’s this about my life expectancy? Should I just take another 5-10 years off it for the stress of a son with special needs?
    My book club is reading “Anne of Green Gables” right now. I thought that I had read it as a child, but it is completely fresh and new to me. I’m loving it.

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  6. One reason I’ve been married for 20+ years is that my husband *always* always leaves the toilet seat down. He has taught our son to do that, too. Ours is very proud of peeing standing up (and did stand on a stepstool to do it when he was too short). So, the sitting option was not considered.
    So, I agree with you, Laura, you are owed a lowered toilet seat.

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  7. I’d be too afraid to give our son the extra range that you could get with a stepstool. He’s shown very little interest in the potty and a great deal of interest in threatening mommy and daddy by walking around saying ‘Pee on the couch’ and the like.

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  8. Let’s calculate: 75% of your household is males. 80% of the time, males go to the bathroom to pee. 0.8×0.75=0.6. Therefore,for 60% of the bathroom uses in your household, it’s optimal that the seat be up when the user comes into the room. Science says you are being selfish! And specifically, when you leave the room, most of the time the next user is not female, so you IN PARTICULAR should leave the seat up. Can’t argue with Science.

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  9. In my apartment we must leave the lid up because the cat uses the toilet and can’t lift the lid. (He’s a small cat and not very strong.) He also can’t flush but even still it’s cleaner and less smelly than a litter box. He does like the seat down, though, as otherwise it’s harder to perch on the edge.
    I hope(!) it’s not a problem at home, but with public toilets it’s much more likely to be the case that it’s women who have peed all over the seat, one they were afraid to sit on but didn’t lift. I was surprised to learn this but did when having to be in charge of a building w/ public toilets for a while. Strange but true, and sad.

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  10. My 20-month old (!) son is showing interest in the potty. I am at a loss! I have no idea how to teach him! And I do have one toilet in my house that has already traumatized a friend’s son by crashing down (but doing no physical harm) when he was doing his business.

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  11. Valerie, we bought little red plastic potties, kid height, at Ikea – I think they were under $5 – they could pee in them and then we dumped them in the toilet. Also, the cheapest and cheesiest toilet seats are those very light plastic ones – you could replace your seats with those for the duration, and look for the ones which are open at the front.
    20 months is awfully early. I last had a 20- month-old boy eight years ago, so it dims in memory some, but he may well get interested in other things and come back to this later.

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  12. “…but he may well get interested in other things and come back to this later.”
    You’ve never said a truer word, dave s. I had a basically potty-trained three-year-old five months ago. And then he lost interest.

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  13. We had the same problem with “No hitting daddy on the head with a stick” training. It was going so well for so long.

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  14. our little guy (2.5 years old) just finished potty training and he sits on the seat to do it. i assume that’s what they taught him at daycare, since daycare did the lion’s share of the potty training.
    i gather at some later date we’ll move to the standing up method, but for now i’m just glad to be done with diapers and accidents.

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