How to Get Your Little Boy to Remember to Lift the Seat!

The first two steps in the journey to manhood? Pacifier weaning and remembering to lift the seat!

As a mom of two little boys, one of the most common messes we’re confronted with on an almost daily basis is when they forget to lift the seat before going potty. And that trail of urine is all over the floor. If you’re tired of cleaning up this mess, here are some tips to help get your little boy to remember to lift the toilet seat.

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But first…does this sound like you?

For the first few months of the pandemic I had an ongoing joke with some of my mom friends that appeared in their DM’s in this way:

Captain’s log, day 4522 of the pandemic, still sat on pee.

Yes, I looked. Yes, the lighting is weird in our bathroom and seemed to hide a drop or two on the seat. Ugh. Nevertheless, no amount of reminders, stickers, bribes, etc would get my little boys to lift the toilet seat repeatedly and consistently for a time. Or so it seemed.

I first needed to shift my mindset to put this process on project status. Because I’ll admit, I was a bit lazy, a bit overwhelmed, a bit exhausted by the everyday stress of everything, and whether or not my kids peed on the floor or in the toilet was, for a brief time, the least of my worries.

First a bit of a disclaimer…For moms who have little toddler boys or recently potty-trained little boys, don’t worry! Standing to pee will come. In fact, don’t expect it to happen until your boy’s privates cannot reach over the seat while they stand. If it’s not quite there, yet, they’re not ready! It’s perfectly normal to teach your little boy to sit and pee into the potty, by gently pushing their penis down. In fact, many grown ass men still do this.

But for those of ya’ll be frustrated by that moment when you (as a grown-ass woman) have to pee but first realize there’s a mess…well…everywhere, or that you’ve cleaned the bathroom 19782626 times this week and still can’t identify the source of that pee smell…this post is for you.

Why is it important to teach your boy to “please lift up the toilet seat”?

It’s not just about saving you frustration, or the hassle of cleaning pee off the floor. It’s not just about the sanitary element of making sure your boy pees in the potty, although all of that is super important.

But there’s a social responsibility to other people, other women, and future roommates/partners/etc that you’re also doing the heavy lifting for.

I like to think that part of my job as a mom of boys is to raise future men who are respectful, clean, and healthy. And one small way of doing that is to teach them to lift that dang toilet seat.

The repetition is important, especially for this age group (and I’m specifically talking about ages 4 – maybe 8?) because without it, it won’t become a habit.

I actually have a good friend who gave up even trying to help her boys remember to lift the seat, and told them to go pee outside in the back yard. Yup! So, if you’re feeling at your wits end, there’s always that option as well! (But maybe only temporarily because…um. yeah.)

How to Get your Little Boy to Lift the Toilet Seat

There are several tried and true ways to help your little boy remember to lift the seat when he has to pee.

Here are a few of my most successful methods.

A Toilet Seat Lifter Makes it Fun

First, go through the entire process with a completely closed toilet seat. Buying and installing little toilet handles like these ones Help a lot. My boys LOVE the act of lifting the toilet seat, lifting the lid, peeing and then putting the seat down.

Just after we installed these, they literally shrieked “MOMMY LIFTING THE SEAT IS SO MUCH FUN!”

It’s important to demonstrate this in a calm, non-rushed environment (like not when they’re about to burst and really gotta go!). Lift the lid, lift the seat, pee, flush, close the seat, close the lid. Etc.

Have them show you the process a few times. Reward them with extra screen time, more play time at the park, a special treat or something else you know your kid will like. I’m a big fan of positive re-enforcement especially when it comes to this kind of annoying but necessary topic.

DIY Please Lift the Toilet Seat Sign

Either in addition to, or instead of considering a please lift the toilet seat reminder. Check out these designs on Etsy that are tasteful and also helpful.

Make a Silly Please Lift the Toilet Seat Reminder

If your son is a little older and you’re noticing that he’s not lifting the seat on his own, I recommend trying this: Grab your painter’s tape (or dry erase marker) and make the following image of a happy face/not happy face on the toilet (stick with me). I tell my kids to make the potty smile when they go into the bathroom. If they’re standing facing the toilet, they’ll see a straight line across the back of the toilet seat cover.

If they lift the seat, however, boom: Smile. With painters tape (you can also try a dry erase marker but I liked that I could clean this without having to draw it every time), create a silly face around the bottom of the toilet seat. You can see an example of ours here:

This SURPRISINGLY worked…until the paper tape started to fall apart, slash we needed to clean it off. Unfortunately, it also had limitations via forgetting to flush and/or put the seat back down.

Nothing a little more painter’s tape or dry erase marker couldn’t fix!

But it’s another tool you can use.

Reward Your Kids for Lifting the Seat With Cold Hard Cash

Alternatively, you can do like this awesome and innovative mom did by taping cold hard cash ($50!) to the bottom of the seat. Days…DAYS went by without the seat being lifted. And that cash stayed there the entire time.

I’m personally not willing to wait for my kids to find the money. But if you have older boys this is a really great idea.

How to Help your boy to remember to lift the toilet seat

While the above tips can certainly help jog your little boy’s memory when it comes to learning how to lift the toilet seat, the cold hard truth of this is that you’re going to need to practice.

  • Practice with him every time he goes potty.
  • Remind him when he goes to school. When he comes home. When you are out and about. As the saying goes, it takes 30 days to build a habit, and unfortunately the same is true for our little men learning this new but important task.
  • Consider rewarding your child for remembering either through a sticker chart, a marble jar, or even change! I’m not opposed to sending a little love toward my kiddos especially when they’re working so hard to remember this new thing.

As adults, isn’t it awesome when your hard work is recognized and awarded?

The same goes for our baby boys.

Consider using a sticker chart in the bathroom for each time your child successfully lifts the seat, flushes, and puts the seat down. A gold star on the mirror (check to be sure it can be easily removed first!) for a full week of successfully achieving this new habit! These stickers are great (and come with a gold star). Just put them on construction paper or make a fun reward chart using a link.

There are several different ways that you can help your little boy remember to lift the toilet seat when he has to pee, from using a toilet seat lifter to having a DIY please lift the toilet seat sign. No matter which way you choose, it’s important to practice with your child every time they go potty so that they can eventually make this into a habit. And don’t forget to reward them for their efforts!

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