Yesterday, quite literally, ‘marked’ the first time this season that my four-year-old peed in the backyard. A few years ago, I was watching an episode of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ (my guilty pleasure) back in the days when Brandi Glanville was still a cast member. I remember one of the oh-so-serious story lines involving her two young boys peeing outside on one of the other wealthy characters gorgeously manicured front lawn. The other fancy-pants ladies were appalled for weeks. Brandi was, well, Brandi, and like, ‘Whatever. They’re boys!’
Well, the weather, finally, is nice outside and my almost five-year-old took his first al fresco pee last night. He was having way too much fun playing with his sandbox (ten steps from the back door) to, y’know, take an extra 30 seconds to use an actual washroom indoors on the main floor. Either that, or he believes in The Theory of Least Effort when it comes to urinating and, meh, why should he waste his time going inside, when he can just pull his pants down right there!?
How much did I care? Not much. After all, it’s my backyard. That and I’ve always thought that one of the beauties of being male is that you can pee anywhere. I’m not suggesting grown men should pee anywhere—they most definitely should not!—but at least they have the option. I’ve been with my partner, who is in his forties, a few times when he’s needed to pee immediately, and we have to pull over so he can relieve himself in some hidden bushes, or behind a dumpster. Yeah, we’re all class.
While my male partner can just pull over, I’m the one stuck in the car, thinking, ‘I’m not thinking about how I’m not thinking about how badly I have to pee. No, not thinking of…damn, now I’m thinking of waterfalls!’ Yet, I’m pretty good at holding it in. That, and I just can’t pee outside.
My son basically learned how to toilet train in our backyard, when he was about two…just without a toilet. I blame (or thank) our dog. I really do. Because my son grew up watching me open the back door to let the dog out to pee every morning and evening, he also wanted to pee like the dog. So, for many, many months, as we were getting him out of diapers, every single morning, I would pick my son up, under his armpits, and carry him outside, where he’d pee near the barbecue, always in the same spot. The only difference between my dog peeing outside and my son peeing outside is that (luckily) my son never sniffed the grass for five minutes beforehand.
Sure, you’re probably asking, why didn’t you just pick him up and take him to the toilet? Well, for one, when your toddler tells you they have to pee right this second and refuses to use the toilet, in lieu of going in the backyard with the dog, there really is no time to get into an argument. I just thought, ‘I would rather you pee in the backyard than pee all over yourself, or worse, me!’
Plus, it did help him potty train. Once he started peeing outside, he was completely done with diapers. In any case, I hadn’t seen him pee outside since last summer.
I’m not a four-year-old boy, but I can completely understand, because of the equipment he has, that he doesn’t want to waste minutes of fun before bedtime by going inside to pee. Who wants the arduous task of lifting that toilet seat and then having to flush, when he could be done in seconds outside, near his toys? Plus, I do think boys (and girls) think it is fun to pee outside.
People have very strong opinions on young children peeing outside. In rural areas, it seems to be more acceptable—which makes sense because there’s a lot of outdoors. In mid-town Toronto? Not so much. ‘Unless it’s an extreme circumstance, everyone should be using a bathroom like a civilized human being. Just because they’re boys and it’s easier for them to pee outside doesn’t mean they should act like dogs,’ one poster wrote on a parenting website thread about this topic. Another poster? ‘If you are teaching your daughter to pee in a restroom, I think it’s plain lazy to not teach your son the same. I hate when I see little boys outside peeing in the park or on the side of the road.’ (Yeah, I don’t think you’ll be getting an invite to my home anytime soon!)
Before I was a mother of a boy, I’ll admit, I couldn’t stand to watch my nephews pee outside. Once, on a drive to the cottage, my brother just let his kids pee in a parking lot at a gas station, not even bothering to hide them since there were no people were around. I thought it was actually pretty disgusting and, yes, uncivilized. At least, I thought, my brother could have taken them somewhere a little less public. Nope, my brother did not care and I wondered how he could just let his sons pee like that as if it were nothing. But then I had a boy and of course, my views changed drastically.
First, anyone who has a kid under the age of six knows that when a kid has to go, they REALLY have to go. I can’t recall how many times I had to pull off a highway, when my daughter was toilet trained but still young, to find some strip plaza for her to pee in. Once, we ended up in a dentist’s office so she could use their washroom. It was not only stressful but a pain in the ass. We didn’t have a dog then, so she never learned to copy a four-legged friend and never wanted to pee outside anyway.
Now, when I drive with my son, and he says he needs to pee, I am way less stressed out—simply pulling over, well, anywhere, and finding a patch of grass, or even the side of the road, so he can go But he knows, that outside our backyard, barring any emergencies, he is not to whip it out, let’s say, in the middle of the field during his Saturday soccer practices. Then again, I suppose it could happen and I’d be (mildly) mortified. I definitely don’t encourage the peeing outside. I’m just saying it’s really not something to get worked up over.
Now that it’s nearing summer, I’m sure other mothers, either from the sidelines or because they have young boys, will be seeing boys (and girls) pee outside. So, does anyone want to join me for a drink in my backyard? And may I suggest you wear shoes?