First, we had to teach Ella to raise the lid before peeing on, er, in the toilet.

Now we have to teach her to come inside the house, and into the bathroom, before removing her pants.

The good thing is that she’s getting the hang of recognizing when she needs to pee.

The bad thing is that she’s noticing this often, in the front and back yard, and she’s acting on the moment. Why shouldn’t she? We have three family members who pee and poop wherever they like outside. Constantly.

Friday, she was squatting in a flower bed in the back yard. “I peed on the bush!” she said, quite proudly. The “bush” was, ironically, a small peony.

Saturday, out in the rain, she came around to the side of the house where I was hosing mud off of Duke. Ella held her umbrella in one hand and with the other tried to remove her shorts. “I have to pee! I have to pee!,” again, quite proudly.

Yesterday I was washing the cars in the driveway and for several seconds I didn’t see or hear my wheel-scrubbing helper. I walked around the car and saw that Ella had successfully removed her pants and was slowly making her way to the front door. “I have to pee! I have to pee!”(I need to teach her past-tense; it would have been more accurate.)

“That’s great, dear,” I said, and I picked her up and headed inside. “But wait until you get inside to take your clothes off.” I tried to sound encouraging.


“Because we don’t take our clothes off in public,” I said.