Potty Training

Potty Training

…Or Why Urinating is Self-Care

I have talked with a handful of women in the past few weeks who have trouble going to the bathroom. I don’t mean they are having difficulty with it, I mean they put off going potty for as long as they can.

It’s no surprise, really.

Our culture is very good at creating ‘nice’ people. People who say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’; people who don’t want to hurt others feelings; people who do what is asked of them. People who don’t go to the bathroom when they need to.

It’s important to point out that ‘niceness’ is very different from ‘politeness’. Politeness is using socially appropriate language and gestures to begin or maintain a relationship with someone and show mutual positive intentions. Niceness is going beyond your comfort zone of appropriate behavior to help others or maintain a relationship to the point that you feel stepped on or overwhelmed.

Both women and men are polite, but I think women are more often nice- we have been trained to be ‘nice girls’ from the start. It also seems pretty clear that women are especially unlikely to pee when they need to because we’ve got so dang much to do. Projects to finish, people to help, bosses to deal with, children to support, friends and loved ones who count on us. We are capable, smart gals who accomplish a lot (and thereby often get more piled on the plate).

We unwittingly believe we will be thismuch closer to being done if we just wait to whiz.

How It Looks on the Inside

Let me paint you a picture of what happens when you don’t go wee wee: the urine sits in your bladder, which has a little room to give, but not much. When the bladder is full, the tubes from your bladder up to your kidneys also fill up. And then it gets backed up into the kidneys. I don’t need to tell you what happens when liquid sits around- you’ve seen moldy soup, you’ve smelled the milk that’s been sitting around a little too long. Hello, UTI. (That’s “Urinary Tract Infection” for the uninitiated.)

The Radical Act

There are many ways to address this problem:

  • Logical– if you save 2 minutes not peeing does that make up for a longer bathroom break later?
  • Emotional– even a few minutes in the stall can provide all manner of rest, not just elimination
  • Financial– is it worth the chance of developing a UTI, for which you will need to visit a physician and pharmacist and hand over your hard-earned cash?
  • Comical/Social- you know what The Potty Dance looks like, do you want people seeing you do that?

My favorite is this: Self-Care and Self-Esteem. You and your body deserve to go to the bathroom when needed, even at the first moment of inkling that you have to go tinkling.

Moving from “This is so important to me and those I care about and I need to get it done…so I won’t pee just yet” to “This is so important to me and those I care about and I need to make sure I take care of myself so the job will be done right…and I won’t be distracted by thinking about going pee” can be a pretty radical step to take. Your goals, your work in this world, is so important; supporting that work by taking care of yourself is just as important. (Say that again to yourself.)

Take care of yourself, believe in yourself- take the radical step of (politely excusing yourself, and) going potty when you have to go.

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