A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.
March 29, 2011

Not to wax on about something that nobody else cares about, but would you like to know what my biggest problem with potty-training is?

My child feels the need to caress every single toilet in existence.

I mean that.  If there’s a toilet within half a mile of my daughter, she is going to want to subject it to her scrutiny.  Whenever we arrive at some place new, Charlotte wants to carefully assess the facilities.  She wants to see the faucet, splash her hands in the water, chant JI JI JI (dry dry dry) while haphazardly slapping the towel.  And then she wants to check out the toilet.

The kid approaches every new toilet as though she were sizing up the competition, like the toilet is a beast to be conquered.  She eyes it, looks to the left, looks to the right, peeks down at the bowl.  Yeah, she seems to say, you’ll do.  Then she wants to touch it.  Everywhere.  She wants to touch the lid and run her fingers along the length of the seat.  She wants to lift the seat and slam it up and down against the bowl a few times.  She wants to sit on the seat and stuff her fingers between the seat and the bowl.  After she’s pulled up her pants, she wants to flush the toilet.  She wants to peer inside the tank or look at the pipes or try to stand on the back.

All that learning would be cute, but it really grosses me out.


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  1. By Mary @ Parenthood on March 29, 2011

    At least she’s not trying to lick it! Elizabeth went through a phase of trying to taste the toilet.  We squashed that quickly.  TOO gross!

  2. By kbreints on March 29, 2011

    SO funny. But checking out the facilities is part of being potty trained. The curiosity of seeing EVERY potty in existence is part of the deal…

  3. By Cynthia Krajcarski on March 29, 2011

    Oh man… We just keep reinforcing that the toilet is dirty. Yucky. Gross. Disgusting. Ewwwww. Whichever word captures her thoughts and make her forget about touching everything.

    Now Isla waits for me to grab some toilet paper to cover the handle so that she can flush the toilet herself, so we’re moving forward and there is a light at the end of your disgusting poop sprayed tunnel. The only thing I can think about now is how all that toilet water sprays about when it’s flushed, and how Isla’s face is a foot above the toilet bowl. All public toilets should have lids.

  4. By Alicia S. on March 29, 2011

    I just love the way she experiences everything in her world hands on. She’s such a little explorere.

  5. By Amelia Sprout on March 29, 2011

    I remember those days, though we never caressed them.
    Our big issue came when she encountered the autoflusher.  They are loud, and they scared her.  A difficult run in with them at the zoo set us back months in public potty using.  Still loud flushers freak her out, and she’s been potty trained for nearly two years.

  6. By Jeneva on March 29, 2011

    So cute and so gross all at the same time. Yet another reason I didn’t mind waiting. By the time Olivia decided she already knew not to touch. However, it was like Pavlov’s Dog.. whenever she saw a bathroom she needed to squeeze out some pee.

    And don’t even mention the issue of the auto flushers. She is quite protective of her pee and poop so when those flush before her all hell breaks loose.

  7. By on March 29, 2011

    That would gross me out too and I’m a total germ-a-phobe! We haven’t gotten to the potty training part yet so I cant imagine what it will be like when she actually has to use a public toilet, icky!

  8. By on March 29, 2011

    Be careful.  During the second week of potty training for my daughter, we were visiting tons of random toilets and then came down with the most awful stomach flu.  It was one of the worst weeks of my life.

  9. By The Mommy Therapy on March 29, 2011

    Hand sanitizer sounds like it should be your best friend for all that toilet caressing.  At least she’s interested…right?

    Good luck!

  10. By on March 29, 2011

    Gloves—the latex, or nonallergic equivalent—I don’t know, Sarah, but I am totally grossed out by the thought of her fingers anywhere near the seat and the bowl. And man, I am NOT easily grossed out.

    Sounds like you need to back that truck out and try coming in again with a new set of parameters: gloves or NO touching anything but your legs while she pees. The atomization issue, mentioned by astute commenter Cynthia, requires careful consideration; I have heard and read that very theory many times and it is a real problem. Get their faces out of the bowl or anywhere close.

    I’m not germ-phobic, but we are growing some strains of very resistant bacteria in our bodies.

  11. By Sarah Christensen on March 29, 2011

    Lynda - Right now, I’ve been toting some cloth wipes with a soap solution to wipe down the seat before use and another set of cloth wipes with soap for her hands in places that don’t have running water and soap.  I also hold her and turn her away so that my body is blocking her during flushing, but I can’t stop that she won’t get on the toilet until she’s figured out how it works.  The good news is that she’s already starting to see certain consistencies - like the seat always lifts and comes back down - and then she’s less interested in the rest of them.  I’m hoping that after awhile she’ll realize that all toilets are pretty much the same and she’ll lose interest!  It’s still super gross though.

  12. By Cambria on March 29, 2011

    That’s funny! And would weird me out too. Unfortunately, Hadley will have nothing to do with the toilet. Sometimes she is into her little potty, but not the big one. So while I’m grossed out with you, I sorta wish we had that challenge.

  13. By Courtney L @ Bundle of Wonder on March 29, 2011

    While it is gross, it’s so awesome that she’s so interested in learning things!  But this too shall pass.  I’ve noticed that with Harper.  Usually within a week or two of exploring something (licking, pinching, looking into cabinets, etc.) she’s over it.  Hopefully for your sake that’s the case!

    And please, keep writing these posts about potty training!  I care about them!  These situations might not happen to us, but it prepares me for them in case they do happen!  Thank you!

  14. By on March 29, 2011

    Yes, Sarah, the consistencies you speak of will certainly help-I hadn’t thought of that yet-thanks. And kudos for the wipes-sounds like you are doing all you can during this amazing time of her life when she is learning so fast she can barely take it in and yet somehow she does. They all do and it is the most precious gift our world can give us—the love and respect of a child. That’s why even at 53 I still provide care for little kids and their grandparents.

  15. By sabrina on March 29, 2011

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  16. By sabrina on March 29, 2011

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  17. By Marisa @ I failed Math. on March 29, 2011

    Toddlers + Toilets + Hands = Lots more mess for mommy to clean up.  LOTS.

  18. By on March 29, 2011

    Eh, just sounds like an opportunity to focus on proper hand-washing after using the potty.

  19. By Sarah Christensen on March 29, 2011

    Erica - THAT IT IS!!  Lol, and also an opportunity to learn how to make lotion.  Our hands are getting really dried out from all the washing!

  20. By spakly jules on March 29, 2011

    My mother was convinced that the only reason I had to go to the restroom everywhere we went was to check out the decor.

    She was right.

    Heh.

    ;-)

  21. By Jill Anderson on March 31, 2011

    Oh that would be a tough one. On one hand your happy she is interested in the toilet, but on the other, yes that would gross me out too.

  22. By on April 04, 2011

    Keep writing about potty training please!  My little one is about four months younger than yours, so it’s been fun reading about what might come down the pike.

  23. By on April 04, 2011

    Thanks for the warning!!! I’ll make sure our toilet is freshly cleaned for her :)


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