Monday, May 31, 2010

Potty mouth

I've started toilet training. Not the two-year-old. The ten-year-old. He can't seem to leave the toilet seat down.

He understands the plain English of "Put the seat down when you're done." In some ways, getting him to lift it was a victory. But now we're working on the other part of that skill, which is returning the seat to home when his business is finished.

The problem isn't that he doesn't understand the command. It's the concept that escapes him, as evidenced by the following question: Why?

It's a routine. "Knock knock." "Who's there?"  But our version goes, "Put the seat down." "Why?"
Now, I win the battle every time by pulling out my bazooka against which there is no defense. "Because I'm your mom and I said so." But the war is still waging and it won't be over until I never again have to repeat the command, "Put the seat down." That will be victory.

The trick to winning is to make an argument so compelling that my ten-year-old never needs to ask me "Why?" again. I could force him to put the seat down under threat of grounding but there wouldn't be any real submission. It'd be martial law if I enforced "seat down" status that way. Revolution would brew in his little mind. And worse, we'd still be having this argument every other day.

So I stepped up the artillery and brought out bigger guns. "Why?" he asked. "Because your future wife is going to be super mad (I'd like credit for skipping the obvious pun here, btw) if you don't put the seat down."

Guess what? Future wives + ten-year-old boys = no dice. He couldn't care less about abstract future wives. Girls are still yucky and I've got at least two more years to enjoy that phase.

A few minutes ago I called him down the stairs, had him put the seat down, engaged in the same dumb verbal skirmish we always have, sent him back up, and then . . . it struck me. I'm prepared for Wednesday, which should be the next time he "forgets" to put the seat down and asks "But why? How come I have to put the seat down? It's not fair. Why don't YOU have to put the seat UP?" when I make him do it. His most powerful weapon is an argument constructed solely on logic. 

But I have one too, and it's even bigger. Here it is: Only boys use the toilet standing up but EVERYBODY uses the toilet sitting down so it's more fair to leave the seat down.

Ka-boom!

Ah, the sweet sound of blowing the opposition to smithereens!

18 comments:

Kristina P. said...

It really is the only sane argument. I should not to have to actually look where I'm going when I use the toilet.

MommyJ said...

I fell in the toilet once as a kid... cause my brother left the seat up. I still remember the nightgown I was wearing when it happened.

Kazzy said...

You completely blew the opposition out of the water!

crissy said...

that was exactly the thought i had, as i tried to come up with an argument to get my husband (!) to put the seat down when he was done. but i haven't brought it up yet.
what i do know is this: my boys will know that putting the seat down is required of them. (and hopefully they won't be able to use the "but daddy doesn't" card by then...)

evitafjord said...

I like it except that "fair" is a pet peeve word for me so my son would probably mention how often I say "Life isn't meant to be fair."

That is, he would if we weren't still at the lift-the-lid-first training stage.

LisAway said...

I give you an A+ for skipping the pun. Admirable restraint there. And another A for coming up with your logical argument. Excellent.

Susan said...

If that doesn't work tell him this. "Because...from now on, every time you don't put the seat down, you get to clean that toilet."

It works in my house. I have the cleanest toilets ever, because cleaning toilets is my go-to punishment for almost everything. They'd rather do just about anything than clean toilets.

Amber said...

Hey, the thing that worked for my brothers (and for me) was the germ argument. The reason I keep the seat down (and heavily enforce it in my home) is the amount of icky germs that are emitted when the toilet is flushed. It's really gross to think about so maybe you shouldn't use this argument.

Carolyn V. said...

I have one son that forgets to put the toilet seat UP when he uses it. Yuck. But he's not ten yet, so there is still hope! =)

DeNae said...

Yep, it's simple math. Four ways to use the toilet, three involve sitting, standers must comply. The end.

NIKOL said...

In our house, we just always had the rule that you have to close the lid when you're done. It started as a way to keep the smaller kids from playing in the water, but it's conveniently kept the seat-up issue at bay.

Karen said...

I really hate when people leave the lid up. I had a roommate that used to always leave the lid up, and then she would express her concern about accidentally dropping her toothbrush into the toilet.

Yeah...I just don't know WHAT solution would possibly prevent THAT...

Charlotte said...

Logic works with your boys?!?

I don't even want to tell you how many times I've accidentally fallen into the toilet. Although I prefer having to put down a seat more than wiping down a seat that wasn't put up to begin with.

Mary Campbell said...

I'm still trying to train them to aim.

Heather of the EO said...

For some reason I had never thought of this argument before. I love you even more now. Off to lecture my husband....

Er...I mean...discuss this with Ryan.

See Mom Smile said...

I just became your 100th follower!!! Yay me. Do I win a prize? I have FIVE boys and constantly gross toilet seats. Thank goodness for bleach wipes!

Kimberly said...

Nice!

I like to have it down for aesthetics, myself. Even when it's been cleaned recently the inside of the toilet bowl isn't the first thing I want to see when I walk into the room.

Eowyn said...

You rock. That's all.

What I'd like to know is if it worked.