Jan. 10, 2022

Ask Margaret - My Boys are Bathroom Destroyers!

If you've got boys you probably have a bathroom in your house that no one dares walk into, but this doesn't have to be a permanent state! Here are some tips and tricks for how to keep the bathrooms in your house at least passable, if not perfect.

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Got young boys? If so you can probably relate to today's question of the week:

"So I have 3 boys, an 8-year-old and 6-year-old twins. They seem to destroy bathrooms and I cannot handle! They almost never flush, spray pee on floor and baseboards, squirt toothpaste on the counter, and almost never own up to who did it. I smell urine every time I walk in the upstairs hallway -- it's awful. Any bathroom tips or tips for figuring out what kid did which mess so they can clean it?!! "

The first response to this question is - it doesn't matter who made the mess. Shared spaces in the household are the responsibility of the people who share that space. This means that you can stop spending any time wondering about who is responsible for which part of the mess. Set a time when cleaning the bathroom happens and everyone involved in making the mess helps to clean it up.

You may be skipping the step of making sure that the kids know how to behave in the bathroom. Lean in on lessons on how to pee correctly, how to squeeze the correct amount on toothpaste, and all the steps of brushing teeth, including rinsing the toothbrush and putting it back in the cup, then wiping down the counter. These lessons should continue until the behavior improves even if you are greeted with a rousing chorus of "WE KNOW!" every time you explain it.

Making bathroom cleanup a weekly chore (every Saturday morning, for example) will do two things: it will keep the bathroom mess from getting truly out of control, and it will encourage the kids involved to maintain better bathroom habits so that the mess they have to confront every week is not quite so gross.

This is also something that gets better (generally) as kids age. We promise that their aim gets better, their ability to use toothpaste improves, and maybe most importantly, they'll be able to do the clean up with much less supervision.

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