Lisa Kern

Lisa Kern
Pennsylvania, US
March 28
I'm a mom of three boys, a needy dog, and an insolent cat. When I'm not writing, vacuuming up pet hair, or cleaning pee off the toilet seat, I like to fantasize about jeans that actually fit and an all-you-can-eat-chocolate-and-cheese diet. Welcome to my party.


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NOVEMBER 6, 2008 10:58PM

Purgatory is Found in Sharing a Bathroom with Boys

Rate: 20 Flag


(Or:  My Aim is True, Shouldn't Yours Be, Too?)


I live in a household with four males.  I’m used to noise, dirt, salamanders, an assortment of befriended insects, and general mayhem all around.  I’m unfazed by legions of Legos, World of Warcrack, stacks of proliferating Pokemon cards, and grass stains on brand new school pants.  I routinely empty pockets full of feathers, rocks, paper clips, and other assorted boy tchochkes and never (OK, rarely) complain.  One thing I will never get used to, however, is sharing a bathroom with them.


If you’re a woman reading this who lives with males, you will understand immediately what I’m getting at:  you’ve sat down on the toilet on more than one occasion and gotten a wet behind.  What’s worse is that it’s often our jobs to clean up these errant aims.  It’s maddening and yet in my house anyway, no one will admit to being the culprit.  


How on earth can they possibly get pee all over the seat?  It shouldn’t be that difficult.  For crying out loud, they’ve got a built-in handle on that thing.  Can’t they at least steer it in the proper direction?  Do they do a hula dance or something while they’re taking a leak?


I’ve done my best to help improve the situation.  I’ve spent countless hours instructing them on how to improve their aim.  When the kids were little, I’d float bits of toilet paper in the bowl and let them practice aiming. Sometimes, for the “you-sunk-my-battleship” kind of fun, I’d float Cheerios in there.  You would think that with so much practice, by the ages of 8, 12, and 18, they’d have gotten the hang of it.  I’m now thinking that they might need a remedial course.  Maybe even Summer School.


I’ve asked nicely:  Can you please clean up any dribbles after you’re finished so I don’t have to sit in pee?  I’ve threatened:  If I sit in your pee one more time, you’re going to come in here to clean it up.  I’ve tried rewards:  One week of pee-free sitting and it’s water ice for everyone! Wheee!  Nothing has worked.  I still find pee on the seat. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that this, as my old Italian grandmother used to say, must be my cross to bear.  It is what it is and I will have to deal with it.  As long as there are boys in the house, I’m fated to have to check the seat every time before I sit.  As long as we share the same address, I’ll always have to inspect the bathroom for wayward drops before guests use it. 

 The only thing that keeps me going?  They can’t live at home forever!


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If you sprinkle
when you tinkle,
Be a sweetie,
Lift the seatie.

I want permisson to print this and post it in the bathroom of my house. this post speaks for me.,
Lisa, I was in a family of three males for many years so I feel your pain. But yes, as you say, they do leave and you kind of miss the pee on the seat.
A mother of three daughters and one son, I found that teaching my son to lift the lid when he peed did wonders. Easier said than done but since he was outnumbered, he did learn. You, my dear, are also outnumbered, but that's to your detriment.

Hopefully your esposo won't be moving out, which means this "cross" of yours might be life-long, so maybe HE can take the lead and teach HIS sons proper bathroom etiquette.
You shouldn't have to put up with what is essentially discourtesy to you. My mother fixed us by assigning the bathroom to the boys to clean and meaning it. If you have to clean up the bathroom, you take better care of it to start.
At least they're leaving the seat down.
My boys aren't old enough to have this problem yet. But if my brother and I are at my parents house at the same time? Holy Moly it's like deja vu! Wet seats, lid up, everything! It at least embarrasses him now. Maybe by the time he's 30 he will have it figured out!
I've been there. I love your sense of humor.
yup, yup and yup. Oh, and never-ending amusement with their own flatulence. It's the cross that a mother of boys must bear, I guess.
LK ~ I also suffer from yellow stains on my behind. I have four sons who are more interested in inspecting their "goods" than checking their aim and a husband who likes to pee in the dark in the middle of the night. Yes, I also believe it is incurable ...
Sometimes, I lock the door on the hall bathroom. When they can't get in, they go pee on their own toilet seat in their bathroom. Then I sneak over with the little (canned meat twister) door key and sneak in for a dry seat. Another way to keep at least one toilet clean enough for visitors is to put a stack of towels on the toilet (on the lid of course) ... I have learned that my men will walk three doors down to take a leak rather than put those towels away!
Good luck, girl!
Comments - how wonderful! Although I'm sorry that so many of you are going through the same thing.

o'stephanie - I'm going to make that into a sign and put it in the bathroom. I've heard the last two lines as "please be neat and wipe the seat" but I like yours much better.

suzy - permission granted!

Lea - it's hard to imagine right now that I'll miss it someday but I suppose you're right. Still, I'd be happier missing, say, their messy rooms or their ability to cluster within a four square foot area of me as I'm trying to cook dinner. Much less "ew" factor!

VintageBerry - the bad thing is that they are lifting the seat, but they are aiming so poorly that it hits the lid and then drips down onto the seat. I think they're aiming too high. Maybe I need little stick-on targets for inside the bowl: "Aim here." Do they make such a thing? If not, this could be my million-dollar idea!

Jocelyn - Yep - the only thing worse would be having to sit on that cold porcelain rim. Yuck!
I totally agree. I can understand a bit when it's my 4-year-old, but not when it's my 35-year-old husband!
MzEll - Yes! It seems to be a condition (I'll call it that since it's so widespread) that they don't seem to outgrow.

Faith - Thank you! Looks like we moms of boys should form a club or something.

Robin - oh the flatulence... that's a whole 'nother post right there.

Koakuma - I like this idea and am embarrassed that I hadn't thought of it. Bathroom duty is now 100% theirs. A good gross-out will do them good. What's worse than cleaning up your own pee? Cleaning up everyone else's. Brilliant!

1_Irritated_Mother - This is a great idea, too. I'll keep the downstairs bathroom locked and they'll be forced to have to go upstairs. How do you survive with four boys? You're my idol. It's a post for another day, but I'd give up a kidney for a way to persuade them to turn their socks rightside out when they take them off. Nothing worse than having to stick your hand inside a nasty, crunchy, stinky sock to turn it the right way for the wash.
buckeyedoc - Yes. The little ones you can excuse, but 12 year olds and 18 year olds? And grown men? No way.
I referred to the bathroom as the latrine when my three boys were younger. That's certainly what it smelled like.
I thought that I was the only dribbler.
I keep one toilet in the house for myself and one for male guests. My bathroom is my territory. I don't even let visiting women in there. Men can be so disgusting. I broke up with a guy for his bad behavior in the bathroom. He never lifted the seat, had lousy aim, and left beard hair all over the sink. The sitting to pee is a good idea. I had an ex whose mother toilet trained him that way and so he pissed sitting from then on out.
Amy - Latrine! That's a perfect description. Can I borrow it?

Umbrella - My family is too used to me freaking out. They look at me like I forgot to take my meds for the day and high-tail it away from me. Not the reaction I was hoping for.

Roger - I thought I scared all the guys away with this post. Only you and Koakuma showed up (but I'm glad to see both of you!) You have plenty of company with dribbling, though.

ChangeAgent - Sitting to pee sounds like it would be great at home but awkward in public restrooms. Don't men, um, compare things in there at the urinals? I do like the idea of a separate me-only bathroom. I could even hide in there, too.
Let's not forget that this is impolite, unsocial BUT ALSO an atavistic need to mark territory. Primitive buggers. (I remember when a nine-year-old took my doggie for an evening "walk": He came back an announced he had a new name for my pooch: "MARCO POLO!")
Sitting down to pee does work, although apparently, men can feel emasculated by it for some reason that as a full time sitter I don't really understand. Still, there are not nasty smells when they use courteous behaviors -- that is key to me -- cannot stand a pee smelling bathroom.

I used to "judge" (not nice to judge) a potential boyfriend by his bathroom manners at my home. Seat up, or pee everywhere was considered "not cool". Maybe the boys are old enough to want to learn good habits just in case they are concerned about what their future girlfriends might think about their toilet manenrs? (Guilt 'em for the future>)? Good luck!

PS One more thing: Until I got into real estate, I never noticed something about boy's rooms. I might still have never noticed it except for one agent that pointed out to me that young boy's rooms have a peculiar smell.

She looked at me like I was crazy to question her and said, "You know, it smells like critters". I cannot walk into a room obviously decorated for a teenage boy without taking a sniff and thinking "critter". :)
Lisa, FYI most men do not compare things while taking care of business. In fact, I always look straight up or straight down; never left or right. Speaking for myself, of course.
Another thing I hate - stumbling blaery-eyed and barefoot into the bathroom in the dark early morning hours, and getting a wet foot as I sit down.

Don't they care- these boys I live with? Why don't they just dig a hole outside in the bushes and do their business in the sort of environment that they seem most suited for (urologically, of course).
I guess I'll never understand. Males use the seated position on the toilet much less than females, I would hazard to guess. As a male I have learned to notice the position of the seat, before being seated. Why is that concept so difficult for some females to get the hang of? While this my be more information than desired. the fact of the matter is, if the nozzle is on target, often the stream will go in an unwanted direction, with out warning. Yes sons should me taught to clean up after their messy misses. But over the years what parent was present most during potty training?
What? I've lived with many roommates and I've never had a wet seat problem. It's not that we don't ever hit the seat, it's actually harder to aim than you might think. In the morning, you don't notice, you're all groggy and tangled up in your hair, you spray everywhere. But I've never lived in a house where the guys didn't clean up their standing-up mess.

What bugs me is that guys can't clean up their razor clippings around the sink. It's not hard, but you can never keep a clean sink.
e.varden varden - cute story about your 9-yr-old! I don't think my guys are marking territory as much as being too much in a hurry to do the job right. What is it with those male dogs though? The ones I've had couldn't walk twenty feet without peeing 10 times.

lalucas - I think boys' rooms have a definite smell but I'd always thought it was stinky socks (where on earth do all of the socks come from? They're like rabbits or something; they multiply.)

Kempsay - I would hope that men wouldn't spend time comparing things, but I really don't know. I did wander into a men's room once at a rest stop on the turnpike (while my husband wandered into the women's room - we were talking and not paying attention) but, lucky for me, there weren't any men in there.

Louise - In our old house, there was only one bathroom, so I've had that happen to me as well. Now my husband and I have a bathroom in our bedroom and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hubby might dribble but he doesn't usually miss the bowl entirely. :)

Doug - Ok, you get that point. Mothers are the ones who are primarily involved in toilet training. Maybe fathers should have that honor instead?

Cliff - beard stubble on the sink - that's a gripe for a different day.

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read, comment, and in the case of the guys, educate me!
My partner and I are raising two boys, 3 and 5 and we have been diligent in getting them to lift the seat, aim, and put the seat back down "for the ladies." Time will tell how this works out...
When I sit on a wet seat it's at work in the women's room. ICK! How do women get pee all over the seat? I don't get it.
Julie - I know what you mean. How on earth do women get the seat wet? I figure they must be doing the hula for sure. What else could it be? Thanks for reading and commenting.
This story is so true--it seems we all have these same struggles with the men in our lives. Sometime I'll have to tell you about the time I got locked in a bathroom with five 3-4 year old boys for an hour--it was when I was working at Headstart, and I was taking them down to the restroom before lunch. Somehow, while we were in there, the lock malfunctioned on the door. The other teachers slipped me books, and I sang songs with them to keep them entertained--but it was an hour I'll never forget, trying to keep five, hungry and cranky little boys calm. That's my purgatory/bathroom story! :-)
Oh, Kerry - that does sound like an ordeal! That one hour you spent locked in there is the equivalent of 15 hours in preschool years. I'm glad you escaped and lived to tell the tale. :)