Potty Training, Penises, & Pinot Grigio

by Shannon Hembree on July 19, 2012

I’ve always heard that potty training girls is easier than potty training boys. As I understand it, the rationale is that the primary caregiver is typically the mom, so girls are exposed to watching someone of their gender pee more frequently than boys see someone of their gender pee.

I am here today to pee all over this rationale. It’s not about role-modeling; it’s about penises.

Have you ever seen little boys with their penises? They are fascinated by them. They love to touch them. All the time. Have you ever noticed how easily distracted toddlers are regardless of their gender? Add those two things together, and it is a recipe for Clorox wipes and laundry. Every day. Sometimes every hour.

Little girls are different. You sit them down on the potty, and chances are, if they go, they are going to hit the target. You sit little boys down on the potty, and you are constantly saying, “Aim down!” or maybe you use, “Make bubbles in the water!” or how about, “Press the button!”

All of these are great in theory, but they fly out the window the minute there is any sort of distraction. They will be aiming down and concentrating really hard on the task at hand, and then they’ll hear the phone ring in the other room and look up to see what is going on. Before you know it, there is a trail of pee from the toilet to the sink.

Or maybe you are the more adventurous type and went straight for the stand-while-you-pee scenario. How did that go for you? Not so well here. First off, that’s a tough assist. Second, any position where they have the ability to walk around, turn around, or step back is – in my opinion – about as safe as going into a bakery right after you join Weight Watchers. Imagine if you will, they are peeing successfully in the toilet. A sibling knocks on the door. The peeing toddler turns quickly to see what the noise was. Bring on the Clorox wipes.

We have the added bonus in our house of having two penises to train. They don’t really put anything about that in the twin pregnancy books. Maybe because it would have given us a heart attack. Okay, that’s not true. At that point, we were so scared of the thought of giving birth to twins and being up in the middle of the night with newborn twins that something as far off as potty training never crossed our minds.

It should have. Potty training twins is a whole other level of crazy. Recent scenarios in our house have gone a little something like this:


The elder (by a minute or two) twin pees on the floor. Like a singleton, he is a bit startled. The look on his face reads, “What just happened? What should I do?”

The younger twin sees what has happened and starts laughing hysterically and pointing.

The elder twin – my initial pee-on-the-floor offender – gets a huge smile on his face and starts laughing as well.

The younger twin pees on the floor in a glorious imitation of his older brother and starts to dance in it.

Both boys are laughing hysterically and dancing in their own personal puddle of pee.

I write a heartfelt love letter to the creator of Clorox wipes.


My elder twin shouts, “Me need to pee!”

I rush him to the potty and get him situated.

The other twin shouts, “Me need to pee!”

I tell still-has-to-pee twin that he has to either use the potty upstairs or wait for two seconds (this is said largely in a begging tone with emphasis on the fact that it really will only be two seconds, since his brother is already peeing).

There is a brief pause during which I do not breathe at all for fear of jinxing it.

Still-has-to-pee twin shouts from directly behind me, “Me peeing!”

I write another love letter to the creator of Clorox wipes. I may – may, mind you – offer to prostitute myself for a lifetime supply of said wipes.

So to sum up: Potty training is easier for girls, because they do not have a penis. Unless it is harder for girls, because they often have that thirst for drama and a stubborn streak that puts Hollywood starlets to shame. Unless it is harder if you have twins, because that is a whole other level of wine consumption. Unless it is harder if you have triplets, because I don’t even know where to go with that. Potty training sucks.

Shannon Hembree is a stay-at-home mom of a kindergartner and twin toddlers. She will need to return to a paying job in the near future so she can afford vast amounts of toilet paper, Clorox wipes, and wine. You can follow her on Twitter @Shannon1Hembree.


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