Teaching toilet seat etiquette

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.
 
My mom never had a chance.
Me, my brother and my dad never put the toilet seat down after we finished our business.
Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

She must have realized early on that there was no getting through to us because I don’t remember her even trying to teach us to do so.

Maybe, I just flushed those memories from my memory. (Sorry about that).

I’ve brought this up because I’m trying to teach Ty to put the toilet seat down after he’s done.

Lori’s happy when the seat is down, so I gradually evolved after we were married. And call me enlightened – or whipped – or whatever, I like to make her happy.

And don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t easy, but she taught me to do it, so I’m passing that knowledge down a generation.

But like his aim, Ty is hit and miss when it comes to this.

When he’s done, his mind immediately shifts from peeing to playing.

He always manages to wash his hands before he runs back to his Lego, super heroes or sand box, but that toilet seat often stays in the upright and locked position.

I’ll remind him to put it back down, and he’ll ask why for the millionth time, but he’ll do it.

Eventually, it’ll take hold and he’ll do it everywhere he goes, which is part of the reason I’m trying to teach him this acquired skill. Not so much in men’s restrooms, but when he visits friends.

Or even grandma’s house.

If you have time, check out Brad Paisley’s song on YouTube.

Do you teach your boys to put the toilet seat down?

Is it a big deal for you to teach your kids to do it?

Do your husbands still struggle with it?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

39 comments Add your comment

JJ

July 19th, 2011
1:27 pm

I have a friend, who has two boys (5 & 9) and a husband. She makes them all use one bathroom, and THEY have to clean it. She has her own bathroom and she cleans it.

Since the boys starting cleaning their own bathroom, it’s not as bad. Even they don’t like messy bathrooms.

penguinmom

July 19th, 2011
1:34 pm

My kids have their own bathroom. I think it was my daughter who convinced my youngest that he needed to put the seat down. Not sure how she did it but he is very consistent in always putting it down.
I never understood the need to have the seat up in the first place. There is a pretty big hole in the middle of the seat. It’s pretty sad if your aim is so bad you have to have the extra 3 inches around the edge in order to be sure to make it in. Obviously, little kids have to learn to aim but as adults, really? If you can write your name in the snow, you should have enough control to keep it in the middle with the seat down.

BShepC

July 19th, 2011
1:35 pm

I feel like I have lost that battle…like your mom I am outnumbered over here. If given the choice, I’d rather see their aim improve. My god..the bathroom is disgusting…it looks and smells like a gas station. Doesn’t matter how often I clean it. Count me as defeated.

Janice

July 19th, 2011
1:40 pm

another topic would be teaching public bathroom use. i cannot begin to count the number of times i’ve gotten sick just trying to use a public bathroom due to lack of flushing. makes me wonder if people leave their home bathrooms in the same condition.

motherjanegoose

July 19th, 2011
1:54 pm

Mine are both pretty good about the toilet seat. If I could just get them to replace the toilet paper.
On the rare visits to my son’s apt. we always brought our own.

Son moved out of his apt. last month ( home for 12 more days) and his bathroom was a MESS. My daughter and I went over there to help him clean, so he would get his deposit back. He is a great kid but not a cleaner. We were not prepared for the work that needed to be done. I know of Moms who go to clean up their son’s apartment periodically. Not something I did or plan ever to do. I am not a neat freak but do not like dirty.

My daughter is typically good about keeping things clean. It will be interesting to see how her apt. goes this year. Her last room mate left her dirty underwear right on the dorm room floor and that creeped my daughter out. She told me that all sort of unpleasant things were left in an unflushed toilet on the girl’s floor bathroom….yuck!

Are most boys just messy or did I miss the boat in teaching proper cleaning techniques? My Mom was a fanatic and I did not want to be such a CRAB about it. My husband’s Mom did not keep a clean house.

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

July 19th, 2011
2:01 pm

another topic would be teaching public bathroom use.

Hello, exactly!

I have learned the hard way to, if at all humanly possible, avoid public bathrooms or at least those where “undesirables” and Section 8 renters shop/frequent/hang around. Nairy a good thing ever comes from that.

Unfortunately many people simply have worse habits than animals.

I’ve been known to drive several more exits down the interstate to go to a nice, clean chain store or major (clean, American-owned) gas station to avoid the filth and disease-ridden independent places.

jarvis

July 19th, 2011
2:02 pm

Grew up sharing a bathroom with an older sister….as my son does now. I learned early on that leaving the seat up had direct physical consequences. To this day I still lower the seat after each visit.

Knowing my daughter, I feel like my son will be taught the same lesson.

homeschooler

July 19th, 2011
2:02 pm

The 10 yr old. Not the problem. He has always put the seat down. The husband is the problem. Half the time he doesn’t even find it necessary to flush. (Tells me in a silly old man voice that he was only allowed to flush every 3rd time he pee’d as a child to conserve water). BS. You could eat off his mother’s bathroom floor. Even my 7 yr old daughter gets onto him. Oh to have a husband and children who are just a little scared of me. Most everything in this house is a losing battle to me.

If you want to get serious about teaching Ty to put the lid down, just tell him to see how fast or loud he can slam down the seat or lid after he goes. Little boys love that kind of thing. You might go through a few dozen seats in the process but they’re relatively cheap. I know b/c I often replace them rather than clean them. :-)

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

July 19th, 2011
2:04 pm

And don’t even get me started on what some Mexicans do with their toilet tissue!

I’ve been in countries where I had to pour my own toilet water into the bowl for “flushing” it, and where the streets were filled with garbage due to little or no sanitation services.

There is no excuse for bad bathroom habits for anyone living & working in a civilized country like the USA.

jarvis

July 19th, 2011
2:04 pm

Wow penguinmom, your knowledge of the penis is so limited I’m surprised you aren’t penguinoldmaid :-). The stream doesn’t always come out evenly.

shaggy

July 19th, 2011
2:12 pm

My wife warned me long ago that she knew I had to go to sleep sometime, and that she knew where the knives were stored. I made sure to pass that information on to my son, when I thought his “anatomy” was in jeopardy.
Strangely, you can actually understand a woman screaming at you at 3:00 AM…after hearing a splash in the bathroom.

RebelMom

July 19th, 2011
2:15 pm

Our oldest (6) is great about putting the seat down. And I have to say that I’m certain it’s because my husband has hammered that message since the day he started potty training. In fact, when he does make a mess, it’s my husband who forces him to clean it up. … I think when dads do the training, they send a message that this is the responsible way to do things and potty etiquette doesn’t become a male vs. female issue. That said, we’ll see how it goes with our youngest …

shaggy

July 19th, 2011
2:15 pm

“And don’t even get me started on what some Mexicans do with their toilet tissue!”

They don’t. NEVER shake hands with them with the left hand.

TuckerMom

July 19th, 2011
2:19 pm

Hey, Anj..

Hubby has to put down the seat so he’s reinforcing this with our son, who does pretty well with it. The kid’s aim is another matter entirely!

JJ

July 19th, 2011
2:31 pm

I’ve always wondered, WHY does the seat HAVE to be down. Why can’t a woman in a house with men, put the darn thing down when she has to go…..

Why the big debate. Don’t you look at the toilet before you sit on it? I do, because sometimes my daughter closes it……we try to keep the dogs out of the toilet water…..

Becky

July 19th, 2011
2:41 pm

My husband for the most part puts the seat down..If he doesn’t, it’s not a big deal to me..This has never been an issue for me..I have 4 brothers, so I’m not use to having the seat put down..

AngryRedMarsWoman

July 19th, 2011
2:45 pm

“Why can’t a woman in a house with men, put the darn thing down when she has to go”

Because the bathroom looks neater with the seat and lid down. I put the lid up to use the toilet and down after as you should always flush with the lid down anyway. This isn’t about men versus women, it is about being neat and clean – which is why you should also teach your sons to wipe the rim with a little piece of TP, toss it into the toilet, close the ring and lid and then flush. For gosh sakes, if it is that hard to be neat then you guys should just give up and sit down to pee.

JJ

July 19th, 2011
3:21 pm

Why should you flush with the lid down?

MomsRule

July 19th, 2011
3:44 pm

@JJ – because germs and fecal matter spray into the air – learned that from Dr. Brennan on Bones. LOL

April

July 19th, 2011
3:50 pm

“Well, some years ago, a microbiologist named Dr. Charles Gerba conducted a study that discovered a flushing toilet sends an aerosol spray containing bacteria and viruses all around the bathroom for at least two hours after each flush. Donna Duberg, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at St. Louis University, said, “Flushing aerosolizes all the organisms found in feces, and there are 3.2 million microbes per square inch of a toilet bowl.” That means that when you flush with the lid up, it’s like pressing the nozzle on a spray canister full of infectious organisms.

Admittedly, the amount of spray would depend on the amount of turbulence in the water. Some modern, low turbulence toilets would not be big offenders. In any event, you might want to put the toilet seat down just to be on the safe side.”

source:http://whitegloveonline.com/08b1quiznotes.html

MomsRule

July 19th, 2011
3:51 pm

I am the only female in my house. My husband and both boys put the seat down after every use. (Even in the boys own bathroom) — “Out of respect for your Mother and someday your wife” per my husband. As Shaggy mentioned…no good comes from Mom falling in at 3 am.

When they were little and learning, if they forgot, a friendly call back to the bathroom to correct their forgetfulness worked like a charm.

Also, when the boys were younger, they were taught to wipe the rim of the toilet when they finished. This rule isn’t really necessary now as aim has significantly improved but from time to time they will still wipe the rim if needed.

Most public restrooms are disgusting and many people are pigs. We flush with our feet and use towels to turn off the faucet and open the door to exit. I despise hand dryers.

Lori

July 19th, 2011
4:01 pm

I’ve given up on this with my son, because like you said, he wants to go right back to playing. Heck, I’m lucky if he remembers to flush, much less put the seat down. But he uses his own bathroom and I never use that one. He is responsible for cleaning his own toilet, so that encourages his not to “miss the target”!!

Michelle

July 19th, 2011
4:29 pm

Teaching them to slam the lid is effective (worked like a charm), but gets really annoying after while! Re: accuracy… I once asked my hubby why he misses so much, he replied, “Sometimes I get tickled.” hmm.

Rebecca

July 19th, 2011
4:31 pm

Ty needs a sister – she would force him to put it down. When Olivia walks in to go and Garrett hasn’t put the seat down, she puts her hands on her hips and calls, “Umm Gaaaarrrettt – you forgot to put the seat down for ME !!” Garrett learned quickly to keep her happy – good training for marriage I guess :)

homeschooler

July 19th, 2011
5:08 pm

True about the lid should be closed when flushing. I read once that the “spray” travels up to 4 feet. Still, even I forget to put the lid down when I flush. Might need to try to work on this. Our toothbrushes are within 2 ft. of the toilet. Gross.

penguinmom

July 19th, 2011
5:12 pm

@jarvis, I understand that but it’s not like you are standing across the room trying to make it in. Lean in a bit and shoot down. If it goes off track a little, it shouldn’t take but just a second to wipe it up.

I have started making my youngest (7) clean the toilet in their bathroom because he is the one who forgets to flush and sometimes misses. I’m hoping cleaning it will help clue him in that he needs to do a better job remembering to keep it clean as he goes.

@homeschooler – you definitely need to be a little more scary. I am also a homeschooler and my family lives by the rule “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy”. If they didn’t I think I would go insane. :-) They often go out of their way just to do something nice for me. They are not perfect but know beyond the shadow of a doubt when they need to get or stay in line. I warn them up front when I am not in a good mood or when they need to be extra-careful to be good. I also don’t believe it is in anyway my job to do things for them that they could do for themselves.

BlondeHoney

July 19th, 2011
7:21 pm

Like MonsRule, I was the only girl in the house however this was never a problem, as my ex learned early to put the seat down from his mom and sister and drilled it into our two boys. They are now (almost) 25 & 26 and still always put the seat down automatically…even the younger boy who is single :)

Andy Johnston

July 19th, 2011
8:12 pm

It seems like most of you have better success with your boys than with your husbands.

Rebecca — Ty will not be getting a sister, or a brother for that matter.

Michelle — I like your suggestion, but how durable are toilet seats? And commodes for that matter.

mom2alex&max

July 19th, 2011
8:43 pm

Ugh. I don’t know and I don’t care. The only bathroom in the house that I use is my own and they NEVER go in there. My husband is respectful enough to out the seat down. As for the boys, I don’t care what they do in the bathroom. I have spent entire weekends working on aim and proper manners and it never stuck. So while I can claim some wife-pleasing teachings like doing laundry, making beds, and basic cooking, their future mate will just have to deal with their lack of bathroom decorum.

And I never clean bathrooms. I have sacrificed in other areas of my budget so I can afford a cleaning service twice a month.

Aleebama

July 20th, 2011
6:34 am

I agree with several previous comments. Just shut the toilet when you’re done. Male or female. That solves the whole issue. Everyone in our household has been taught to close the lid & flush when they are done.

homeschooler

July 20th, 2011
6:55 am

Amen on the cleaning service. I haven’t cleaned a toilet since I hired mine 3 years ago. I cancelled cable TV and shop at Walmart and Aldi Foods so I can afford my maids. Take my job, put me on welfare in a trailer and I will have a cleaning service. It is a necessity in this house.

DB

July 20th, 2011
7:51 am

In our house, the seat goes down because otherwise, the dog thinks it’s a water bowl :-) I couldn’t get the men in the house to close it just for the gals, but they WILL close it to keep the dog out of it — tells me where I rate!

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2011
8:03 am

I do not understand the cleaning service thing, in that I clean my bathrooms a few times each week.
Can you actually go a week or two without cleaning your bathroom?

tracey

July 20th, 2011
11:34 am

oh gosh, i am the only girl in a house of boys. i vacillate on this issue. on one hand, if they leave the seat up, you know they didn’t pee on the seat. on the other hand, porcelain is cold at 3 am. i have fought a never ending battle about aim, and cleaning up after yourself for years. at one point, my boys would stand on each side of the commode, and aim for the screws on the side. after i made them clean it up, they stopped. now, i have my bathroom and they have theirs. i make them go in there and wipe it up daily, with antibacterial wipes, much to their chagrin. and other than that, i stay out of there.

Scooby

July 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

I can go a week or two without cleaning my bathrooms. With only 2 people in the house, working all day 5 days a week, and 3 bathrooms. None of them get used so much that it can’t wait for the cleaning lady every other Friday! I love the feeling of coming home to a clean house and I didn’t have to clean it!

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2011
3:25 pm

We have 3 bathrooms and typically 2 adults, although 4 now for a few more weeks.
Maybe we are really messy? I can put up with clutter but hate dirt.

Jeff

July 21st, 2011
7:21 am

I’ll throw a challenge to those who don’t understand the “aim” issue. Use an easily flexible hose, hold it with one hand, and hold it 2 feet above the toilet and watch what happens.

LeeH1

July 21st, 2011
1:22 pm

Hello? Whatever happened to women’s liberation and the equality of the sexes? In a house with a bunch of men and boys? When is the last tiem you left the lid up for the guy who comes afterwards? All these comments seem to try to impose the needs of women over men, especially control over men.

Women simply need to look before they leak. If you would fall in at 3AM because the rim was up, you would also sit down on the toilet with the top down as well, and so sit on a flat surface. No one is dumb enough to admit to that. But your lack of awareness of the surrounding area is not a reason to ceaslessly accuse men of not making the entire world easier for your use.

Butler9

July 21st, 2011
8:34 pm

‘Toilet seat down’ is not etiquette. It merely kow-tows to women’s preferences. The only real toilet seat etiquette is to ensure that it’s clean when you leave. Period.