Potty Eye

by Sonya Feher on December 8, 2010

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“Mama, you have pee on your glasses,” is just one more thing I never expected to hear in this lifetime. Parenthood offers many opportunities.

Our latest is potty learning. Just so you know, that term drove me crazy for a while too, the PCness of it as opposed to the much more familiar “potty training.” What I’m finding, however, is that potty learning is actually much more accurate. The multitude of things one must learn about using a toilet was beyond my understanding.

Explaining to my (then) three-year-old that when he wakes up to pee and has an erection, he actually has to touch his penis while he pees. “Use your finger and push it down or the pee goes between the toilet seat and the bowl. Aim for the water. Yes you can do it without peeing on your fingers.” In the meantime, pee is covering his hand, leaking between the tank and seat, and I catch a whiff of urine as I step into the shower every morning.

The peeing in the potty thing started with trying to use kid potties but Cavanaugh didn’t like them. Neither did I, frankly. The mess of peeing into a plastic contraption, and not arcing urine over the top, was challenge enough. Add to that the likelihood that I would spill said pee on my way to pour it in the toilet and I was not a fan.

All of that was about a year and a half ago. He was fascinated originally, then decided diapers were just easier. All of the Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder underpants stopped being exciting. So we went to pants with no underwear, no diaper. Then back to diapers. About six months ago, he was interested in and ready to start peeing in the potty again. He was tall enough. It was easier. He didn’t like a wet diaper anymore. By then, I’d let go of any agenda about timing, not that I ever had a deadline (but I was sure frustrated when he clearly could pee in the toilet and just didn’t want to). 

Six months ago or so, Cavanaugh decided he was ready to pee in the potty again. Fine by me. Maybe he was just waiting to get tall enough. Standing up and peeing into a grown-up toilet was so much easier than the plastic potties, even if it meant using a step stool or letting Cavanaugh stand on the tops of my feet so that he could clear the rim.

I asked Cavanaugh’s dad and fathers of other small children how they were teaching boys to pee (or how they peed themselves). Do you use hands? No hands? What about the dribble at the end? The consensus was that peeing is messy business. I encouraged Cavanaugh to tip a little so his pee would aim down. That resulted in his resting his head on the bottom of the toilet seat as it was propped up against the tank. Those things are nasty. Then came peeing with an erection. We’re still working on that one.

In July, when I accidentally forgot to put him in a nighttime diaper, Cavanaugh woke up in the morning dry. Then didn’t want to wear diapers at night anymore. We’ve had a handful of accidents in four+ months, so I’ve been thrilled. Cavanaugh wakes up, not so thrilled, announcing, “Mama, I’m leaking” and we make a quick run to the restroom.

Can I just tell you that is one of my least favorite ways to wake up, topped only by his not waking up beforehand so that the puddle is in the bed and Cavanaugh is in tears because his pants are wet. He also is upset when he spills water on his pants, so it’s not even embarrassment at having an accident. There is no shame, only the assurance that accidents happen and that’s why we have to practice. The rest of this potty learning business though feels like walking through the house in the dark.

How’s it going for you?

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Sonya Feher (29 Posts)

Sonya Fehér is mama to Cavanaugh True. She is the leader of the S. Austin chapter of API and is a professional organizer with spaceWise Organizing where she helps individuals and families create space for how they want to live.


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