“Teamwork, confidence and patience,” my nine-year-old daughter said without hesitation when I asked her for tips on learning how to pee outside. I laughed.
She was exactly right though. It has been a long trail towards the mastery of using nature’s facilities. Now, in retrospect, the mishaps are mostly funny. The more nature has become our second home even I’ve improved at using the outdoor facilities. Nothing in the way I was raised prepared me for the statement, “Try not to pee on the rope”, while standing next to a new male climbing partner on a small belay ledge. I never imagined carrying my toddler crying and wet in the dark with her feet pajamas around her ankles, back to the tent for a change.
Perhaps the potty training at the crag experience is more intense for me because I started climbing and playing in the hills only six years ago, as a newly divorced single mom of a three and six-year-old. When I divorced at 28, I did not relish the thought of hanging out in what felt — at the time — like a “broken home.” If we were invited, we were going, and I was happy to make the effort. Luckily, I have a few more things dialed than I used to, including a family that sustains us all. I absolutely love so many things about climbing and the world it happens in.
The more I talk about this topic with other athletes and parents, the more I hear people’s stories. The triathelete who told me how her frantic attempts to undo a jammed backpack buckle failed, resulting in her first pee accident as a grown woman. The lady who feared passing out in a hot port-a-john during bike tours. The professional climber who shared with me that at an important photo shoot, his four-year-old really had to go poop and she only wanted her Daddy and no one else. When he returned to the ground and realized that she had an accident, he felt so guilty that he never took her out with him again as a toddler. It’s an issue for those of us who spend our lives in extremes outside. It’s certainly an issue for us as parents.
Well, I’m proud to say, my daughter and I exchange high fives on our “system” for peeing outside regularly now. Here’s a few lessons we’ve learned in the past six years that have led to our confident mastery of this skill:
I’ve watched children progress in their ability to potty with nature. They are seriously proud of it and should be. I love having the privilege of raising two little ones through all their firsts and learning to potty safe and independently outside is high on the list. My daughter would like to tell outside toddlers in training, “Don’t give up, relax, and don’t get mad even if you have to go.” Meanwhile, compliments, high-fives and kudos to the little ones who return to the crew dry and clean, and always offer deep understanding to those who return even more soiled.
– Kira Riedel
Kira, Ike (12) and Joslyn (nine) Riedel find an outlet for their athletic passions on the rock, snow and ice of Colorado. Kira is a rare woman in the finance world. She worked her way from secretary at 19-years-old in a venture capital fund to CFO, while caring for her family and attending night school. Kira is now bringing over 15 years of venture capital, investment banking and CFO experience, in her own way, to assist outdoor industry companies through her boutique finance practice, CFO Services www.cfoservicesnow.com.
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