Showing Oliver how to pee

I was showing Oliver how to pee this evening just before dinner (this falls into the class of “things you never imagined you would be teaching someone before you had kids”) and I had a thought: one of the most powerful pieces of information you can have when you’re struggling with a problem is the information that someone else has or is going through the same thing.

Whether it’s peeing, or relationships, or illness, or sex, or work problems, the simple act of knowing that you’re not carving new territory, that others have “been there,” is sometimes enough to remove the stress from a struggle.

This is why the meme that Rob Paterson is trying to spread through health care, that self-help groups trump traditional medicine, is so powerful.

It’s also why those parts of our lives that we’re afraid to talk about or demonstrate in public — peeing, relationships, illness, sex, work — are often the most stressful parts of our lives. If we were less uptight about these things, more willing to talk about our struggles in these areas with friends and family, I’m willing to hazard a guess that much of the stress would melt away and, in the ensuing flood of information and tip sharing, the problems themselves wouldn’t be too far behind.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on August 25, 2003 - 22:46 Permalink

So did you go with the traditional stand-up/straigh-on technique — or some fancy off-the-wall/around-the-back method?

As to sharing how we do things — yes — I totally agree. It’s working in open source software, and Patterson is winning me over in terms of education and health care.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on August 26, 2003 - 00:03 Permalink

Ok I can’t resist — Peeing outdoors was a great way to start. You have some suitable trees in the yard — have a competition — so how you can go — he will surprise you — these young streamers can pee over mountains!

The other best way quite frankly is to let Oliver watch you — we seek to emulate — soon he will want to borrow your razor

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on August 26, 2003 - 00:06 Permalink

This is driving me nuts..did I teach my son to pee? ARGH, I can’t remember..Did my wife teach my daughter — <sigh> imponderables. Now I won’t sleep tonight.

Alan's picture
Alan on August 26, 2003 - 02:13 Permalink

All I remember is sneeking a peek as to what was occurring at the business end of the process and getting a face full. Then again that might have been undergrad.

Brad Pineau's picture
Brad Pineau on August 26, 2003 - 05:59 Permalink

Best way to teach a kid to pee — put cheerios or fruit loops in the toilet, and tell the kid to try and sink em.

Works in the movies, it must work in real life.

stephen good's picture
stephen good on August 26, 2003 - 16:42 Permalink

One thing I’ve learned as a parent is that we teach kids a lot less than we think. the flip side is that it’s important to teach them what we do teach them really well. I was showing my son Liam the other day how to cut the lawn and the main point I kept driving home was “it doesn’t matter how you do it, but you have to have a plan”. this was after letting him try the “walk randomly around the lawn and cut some places 3 times and leave other spots totally uncut”. but i realized when i was doing it that whether he becomes an engineer or a brain surgeon or an artist or a chef or a policeman, that sense of “having a plan” will always serve him in good stead. for me, the most amazing thing is teaching kids how to read — it seems like such an incredible undertaking but they just get it. it is definitely a process with a “tipping point”. you need some idea of how you are going to go about it, but most of the driving force comes from the kid — “hey, if I learn to read I can read the Bionicle books and Captain Underpants and not just Morally Uplifting Stories for Recalcitrant Children”. of course, the trick is on them because Captain Underpants doesn’t only teach you how to read, it shows you how much fun books can be (once you get to the “conversion page” and realize your name translates into Stinky Pizza Pants it’s hard not to want to translate every name you know). like teaching a kid how to pee — you teach them a little bit but it’s more the “I do it myself” thing that kicks in — peeing on your own means no more diapers which means no more “come here oliver so i can change your nappy” which doesn’t look good on the sidelines of the soccer field.
p.s. to peter — have you read Small Pieces Loosely Joined — very nice book about the internet and your thoughts on “neighborliness”. it’s about power and authority — people in big organizations hide behind it, regular people know they can’t bludgeon respect out of other people, they have to earn it.

cullegar's picture
cullegar on June 25, 2004 - 15:23 Permalink


Carl's picture
Carl on February 5, 2005 - 16:25 Permalink

My son is 13 years old and we were once waiting in a public toilet waiting to use a cubical, as a good father i let my son go first, then he came out and i went in i noticed that he pissed all over the seat and on the floor, i knew because it was still dripping, and i thought to myself “does he know how to piss or not” i was wondering if i could get some advice on it, and maybe a method in detail. sincerly Carl

juliepotty's picture
juliepotty on September 17, 2006 - 01:05 Permalink

As a young girl I love peeing alone or with friends