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March 21, 2007 / missknowitall

Boys and Bathrooms

Dear Little Miss,

I have three sons, ages 7, 5, and 3.  They are quite a handful, as I’m sure anyone can imagine, but I love them all.  The problem I am having, and have been having for a long time, is the bathroom.  Not only is the seat being left up all the time but it is always such a nasty mess.  I’m embarassed when company comes over and I always pray that they will not need to use the bathroom.  I try to keep it clean but it seems like an impossible task.  How can I teach these guys to clean up after themselves (I’ve tried that but they seem to always make more of a mess so I stopped).  Please help me keep my bathroom clean!

Dear Seatie Sweetie,

I have two little guys of my own that are consistently leaving me bathroom suprises.  I even came upon a little yellow puddle in the bathroom waste basket one day.  Upon questioning my youngest guy, he shrugged his shoulders and responded, “Because, it was there so I did it”.  My aunt used to have a sign above her toilet that read “If you sprinkle where you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie”.  It was her way of letting others know that any mess was not her fault.  I also heard once of a woman who put peanut butter on the toilet seat at night.  When her son sat in it and screamed she just told him “Now you know how I feel when you leave the seat up and I sit on it in the middle of the night”.  I’m not suggesting the peanut butter, though.   The right thing to do is to train them to clean up after themselves.  I know you said you’ve tried, but try again.  Buy yourself a HUGE supply of clorox wet wipes to keep under the sink for them to use.  Have toilet cleaning lessons with the boys.  Teach them how to quickly wipe up the toilet after use.  Explain that the neater they are the less they will have to clean up.  Now, reinforce it.  When they are first learning to go potty you are always asking, “Did you wash your hands?” or “Did you flush the toilet?”.  Start asking a new question, “Did you wipe the seat clean and put it down?” and keep asking until they show that they don’t need to be reminded.  The oldest will catch on rather fast just because he will be embarrassed to be asked these questions all the time.  Since I have been doing this my bathroom has been quite clean, for the most part.  Of course there are still days when… well, you know.   

Sweetly yours,

Miss Knowitall

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