What did I learn this week?

Pee etiquette

This morning we headed off to Beacon Hill Park to meet with our Wednesday morning “hiking” group. When we arrived, C told me she had to use the toilet, so I said I would take her before the group headed out. On our way, one of the other two moms in the group arrived with her 3 year old boy and 1 1/2 year old girl, and I asked her if he needed to go too.

“No, he’s a boy, so he can just go anywhere.”

Uh, ok. C CAN go anywhere too, but that doesn’t mean she SHOULD – and not because she is a girl. This is what I am thinking, but, I say nothing. Of course, 20 minutes into the walk, the boy (along with the other two 3 year old boys who comprise the group) are pulling their pants down and peeing against a Garry Oak next to the path.

What if this kid has to pee downtown? Is he allowed to just slip into the nearest doorway or pee into planter box outside the coffee shop? Is he allowed to pee in the corner of the playground because his mom doesn’t want to be bothered to take him into the bathroom right next door?

I don’t think that it is unreasonable to expect people (and I do include children as “people”) to use a bathroom to pee in when one is available. Beacon Hill Park is not a forested or remote part with no facilities, it is a city park! The bathroom facilities are central, and, in my experience, quite clean and well kept. I have no problem at all with the use of bushes, tall grass, or the beach (by boys AND girls) if that is all that is available, but I am not for allowing boys to drop their pants wherever the feeling moves them just because it is more convenient than walking 2 minutes down the path to use the facilities that have been provided for this purpose.

And don’t even get me started on the mom’s suggestion that this is somehow OK for boys to do, but not OK for girls.

5 Responses to “Pee etiquette”

  1. Hmm!
    This of course is why teenagers and young men feel that it is OK to pee wherever it suits them, including elevators, parking lot stairwells, fences, and public swimming pools. Don’t these people have any manners or consideration for other people that they would actually TEACH their children to pee anywhere?

    BTW I was brought up in a household with Mother, Father, Aunt, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, six brothers and one cousin, we all used the toilet.

  2. Ok, I agree with you, of course, and humans should definitely be taught to relieve themselves in appropriate places.

    That having been said, women get some definite biological perks (milk-producing boobs, baby-producing wombs, mineral-regulating menstrual cycles, more aesthetically pleasing physiques – and YES I definitely view all of these as perks!) and given that there are decided down sides to having one’s genitalia swinging around all over the place and vulnerable to foot-delivered expressions of hostility and distaste, I don’t begrudge men the ability to pee outside more discreetly and with less hassle and bother than women. I envy them, I’ll admit – as a child who grew up in a place where snow was the primary means of entertainment for 9 months of the year, colouring and drawing in that snow had obvious value. And there’s a line, of course… but I think it might be a subjective line, and different people might draw it around different parts of the park.

    Also, as far as kids peeing in planters downtown… the elimination communication community certainly does use them thusly, and frankly I’m not sure I’m any more opposed to that than I am to dogs peeing against the trees downtown.

  3. I have to admit that I’m one of those mums. My three-year-old pees in the bush. Admittedly if there is a bathroom close by, I insist he uses it, but it has to be VERY close. He doesn’t yet have the bladder control to hold it very long. I know that’s slightly different than the scenario you’ve described, but I have a feeling it may still be frowned upon by many. If my daughter’s path to being diaper-free goes the same way as my son’s (i.e. it takes many months), she’ll be peeing in the bush as well, logistics notwithstanding.

  4. I guess I should clarify that I am completely fine with doing what needs to be done for kids with small bladders. My only issue is that if there is a bathroom right there (in this case, a 30 second walk away) AND it is clean, then why not have the kids use it? Also, why make a distinction between boys and girls? I mean, what’s the difference between a boy who pulls down his pants to pee and a girl? Girls CAN learn to pee very well standing up, if you are thinking this makes a difference (speaking from the experience of my own childhood 🙂 )

  5. Yup, I definitely agree that there shouldn’t be a distinction. I HATED outhouses as a child (was scared I’d fall in to the pit) and got very good at peeing outside. I used the squatting technique.

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