Tinkle Tinkle Little Toddler (or Teenager) :: Tips for Teaching Toilet Etiquette

No more diapers! When we got through the diapers phase with my two sons (hurray!), we experienced an occasional “Can’t I go to the bathroom anywhere?” phase. My kids were outside constantly as toddlers — and often without diapers. They did not constantly pee and poop outside like our new puppy, but there were those times of “I can’t wait!” when they would pee in the closest bush. And the, “Look, Mom, a river! And now it’s a lake!” on the floor in the kitchen! 

I live in a house of boys (including our dog), and the toilet seat is always up! I have learned a lot along the way. With each age comes a new phase regarding bodily functions.

Now fast forward 10+ years past the diaper phase, and I’m wondering why it is that boys don’t know how to aim when standing up? Can’t they just point it in the right direction? I know I don’t have that body part, but how hard can it be? Will we have to re-grout the floor in the bathroom? Apparently there are a lot of things in the bathroom that might distract very busy and wired minds from concentrating on the sharpshooter techniques required to hit the target — the middle of the toilet bowl. 

Here are some things I tried when my boys were younger, and I’m now reinventing them for the teen years. (Note that some of these only apply to much younger kids and not teens.)

  • Give reminders of where to aim. Place a Cheerio in the toilet for fine tuning those shooter skills. Biodegradable, flushable stickers can be fun. Even simply aiming for the hole in the bottom of the toilet bowl can be effective! Or, try Post-It notes with hand-drawn arrows indicating which way to aim. (I did this one recently!)
  • Have him put on some rubber gloves and get out a rag and bottle of all-purpose cleaner. Show him how to clean up the pee off the floor and the seat!
  • Games seem to work, but I don’t recommend the “how far can you pee” experiment. My youngest used to proudly exclaim from the yard, “Watch me! Look how far I can pee!”
  • If your child is standing tiptoe or trying to hold his pelvis up while using the bathroom, it could explain why his aim is less than true. Get a cheap plastic step stool he can use to put himself above toilet level rather than right at it or below it. It’s a lot easier to aim down into the bowl than it is to try to pee up and into the bowl.
  • Remind him to raise the seat before he begins to pee. If you pee on the seat and don’t clean it up, the next person who has to sit down to use the bathroom will have to sit in your pee. How would you like to sit in someone else’s pee?!
  • Or… he could sit down to pee. What’s the harm in that?

Here’s to fine tuning the aim and keeping it straight and narrow in the middle of the bowl!

Kim Raubenheimer grew up in Franklin, Massachusetts and lives in Belmont with her husband and two busy teen boys. Kim has been passionate about Health & Wellness since she was in her early 20's. Now in her mid-50's, Kim has an abundance of knowledge from her personal journey and numerous certifications which she’s eager to share (especially with Moms!).  Kim started Your Health Sense in 2001, a Nutrition and Fitness Coaching business, while working full-time as a Print Producer and raising two boys.  Kim understands the challenges of maintaining self-care and now juggles her Nutrition and Fitness business while being a Mom and working part-time for her husband's Managed Services IT company as the Hiring and Compliance manager.


  1. This is a funny and practical article for a lot of moms of boys. You buried the best advice at the end though! We should really teach boys and men to sit down to pee at home. It doesn’t make them any less of a man and they can still stand in public.

    If they continue to stand at home I wouldn’t worry about the toilet seat issue. If it’s up and they aim well you’re doing better than most!


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