Urnial flies aren't just for grown-up guys

Julie Power, a Nudge blog reader with 7-year-old twins, knows that boys can be even messier than men. As she points out, “Most moms know nagging kids only backfires. They end up deaf to everything. And harassing boys about peeing straight is a losing battle.” Inspired by reading Nudge in her book club, Julie set out to adapt the urinal fly lesson to her home. She writes about the mission in the blog Moms to Work.

I wrote AIM in big red sharpie on the wall of the toilet bowl…in a spot cannily designed not to splash the seat or rim above.

It worked. The smell and odor has improved.

Spillage, not the word we use at home, has decreased markedly.

Only problem, my Sharpie pen keeps washing off. Next time, I’m going to try putting a sticker on the back of the toilet.


  • Jack

    Other techniques I’ve seen used is floating cheerios in the toilet bowl–much more sanitary than having to put your hand in the bowl.

  • Andrew

    A client of mine told me that her mother used a ping pong ball to the same end with great effect.

  • Jim Tobias

    The Sharpie washing off is a feature, not a bug. Target practice is more fun if something happens! I had my sons drop a square of toilet tissue at the back of the bowl, and urged them to “slice it up until it sinks into the water”. The paper is great because it’s anti-splatter. I wonder if it’s possible to make a toilet bowl out of something that’s hygienic but has the same “damping damping” effect.

  • http://www.chicagobooth.edu ChrisIann

    Check out the urinals at 110,000 seat Michigan Stadium — there are flies at the Big House.

  • barbara

    I teach Kindergarten. For many years I’ve wanted the school district

    to drain the toilets, paint a target like a dartboard game uses

    in the center bottom of the toilet, and see if little boys’

    aim improves. So far, no one has taken me seriously!

  • Julie

    An update: We reapplied the Sharpie bulls-eye ages ago and it has withstood the test of time. It is now just a blur, but it did it’s job and trained our boys to aim for the target. The smell has improved but with two boys and a man, and too many boys at our house for sleepovers, it is an uphill battle. May just have to go back and do a fresh target.

    BTW, I just realized that the link above links to an error page. Can you correct please? The right link is http://www.momstowork.com/12/18/ready-aim-nudge-helping-little-boys-pee-straight/

  • Julie

    please correct my misspelling below and delete this comment. It should’ve been its not it is .. groan .. as in “its job.” More haste, less speed.