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I Never Knew I’d Have So Much to Say About Toilet Paper, Then I Had Kids

By Chris Jordan

This post is brought to you by Quilted Northern Soft & Strong®
I always hear people complain that their family members can’t seem to change the roll of toilet paper when it runs out.  I don’t have that problem. It was solved the one time my head spun around in a full circle and pea soup spewed from my mouth,  frightening my children into submission.  I do have a different toilet paper problem, one for which I can’t manage to muster as much outrage. See for yourself…

So tell me, how do you get your children to throw away these toilet paper tubes?

In fact, just tell us your ideas in the comment section or send in a video (link to it below or email it to contact[at] and you’ll be entered to win a year’s-worth of Quilted Northern toilet paper and a $50 Visa Gift Card (all generously provided by our sponsor). Please keep it family-friendly, ‘mkay? We’ll be randomly be selecting the winner. (Update: we’re extending it all– we’ll close the comments and giveaway next week, November 15th at 11:59pm EST. Also, feel free to comment on the follow-up post to this one to be entered in the giveaway. )

Our giveaway winner is… Sunny!

Just, don’t suggest placing the garbage can next to the toilet.  In a house of boys who, in spite of their athletic prowess have trouble aiming, this is not a good idea.  Trust me.  The pile of paper on the floor?  I pick that up and roll it back on the roll.  I like to think it makes up for the fact that I don’t really recycle.  Also, I don’t use this bathroom.  Win-win-win!

Please join the conversation at or on Twitter each week @QuiltedNorthern for opportunities to win free Quilted Northern Soft and Strong® and help make the taboo talkable.

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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  • Ali

    November 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    LOL Chris, theyve managed step 1 too bad you don’t have more pea soup for step 2.

  • Sunny

    November 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Small Basktball Hoop above the garbage can? Maybe a competition to see who collects the most in a given period of time?

  • Julie

    November 4, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I would tell you if I could figure out how to get MYSELF to do that, much less anyone else in the household. I claim they’re cat toys. 🙂

  • Nicole

    November 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Good luck!  I finally have my husband trained, just in time to have kids.  My gym went ‘green’ and now has the toilet paper without the tube, its a bit strange, but a clever solution.  

  • Kathleen

    November 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    We save them all for crafts. So I have a plastic grocery bag hanging on the doorknob. Doesn’t look great. But it’s on the INSIDE of the door, so you don’t see it walking by. We DO take it off when guests come over. Usually.

  • Jenn S

    November 4, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Get a pet that requires that you have empty tp tubes on hand all the time for it! We have a hedgehog named Jeffie Townsbottom, and since hedgehogs like to play with tp tubes by sticking their heads in and running around like that, we’re super motivated to give them to him so he can be funny again!

  • Jaymee

    November 4, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    This made me laugh!!

    Here’s my suggestion: Why not go tubeless? Then you wouldn’t have to worry about it!

  • Tracy

    November 4, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    What if you have some sort of string system starting by the toilet, so that the kids could just slide the roll down into the garbage can?

  • Leslie

    November 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Have you tried moving the garbage can next to the toilet so they just drop it right in?

  • Ann from St. Peter MN

    November 5, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I have no answers for you – my kids throw them away. However, they can’t seem to empty their garbage can until the trash is stacked four feet high… It always something! I think you should check out that tubeless toilet paper, too – is that a Northern product?

  • s

    November 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

    no ideas since this is true at our house too – they don’t leave them on the floor though – usually they stack them on the back of the toilet (and most often with a square or two still attached so when I ask WHY didn’t you throw it out, they say “in case someone wanted to use the last bit” – umm for what?

    in the warm weather, they usually stick them on the window ledge.

    I am thinking of making some tp roll structures so they will fall on their heads when they go to the bathroom…but with my luck they’d fall into the toilet and cause a huge backup (and yes, our plunger too is not just for show)

    oh, and my husband is no better about this.

  • Julie w

    November 5, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Every kid I know is super vigilant about recycling. If your municipality recycles paper/cardboard your kids should be all about recycling those tubes! I never thought about how I should recycle the tubes until my (13 y.o.) cousin pointed it out.

  • lissa

    November 5, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    We use ours for crafts or toss in the recycle bin. Sometimes we dig them out of the recycle bin to use for crafts. My kids were actually the ones to ask “why don’t we recycle these, they’re cardboard too?”

  • Dawn K.

    November 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    My stepdaughter is on a recycling kick, so she can ‘save the polar bears,’ so she’s more than happy to comply at this point. We also use them for craft projects, so she actually pretty excited when we’ve used up another roll.

  • Misty

    November 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    This cracks me up!  My mom and her sister used to talk about this phenomenon all the time when I was younger and I thought, “seriously?  Like there aren’t more important things in life?  Just stick a new roll back on and stop complaining….”  But now that I’m married and have a baby…  I get it.  It drives me nuts.  As if I don’t have enough things to do around the house, you leave THIS for me too?  

    I have no idea how to get others to stick the new roll on, or how to get your kids to toss the tube.  But maybe you could put a little “basket ball hoop” above the garbage can and make it fun to toss them in the trash?  Good luck…

  • Kathy from NJ

    November 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Trade for it – maybe waffles on Sunday night for a week of tube-free floors. For the 5 yr old – donuts on Sat morning (on the way to the football game) for a week of TP-free floors.

  • Fabs

    November 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    We have a shelf unit above our toilet (one of those white ones you put together yourself) and we put the empty tube above that. Then we recycle them. The kids are pretty good about it because they’re into recycling.

  • Bethany

    November 6, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Solution: don’t have kids! My husband is very clean and usually manages to change the roll just fine 🙂

    This will all change in about 5 years when my yet-un-conceived firstborn gets to be the right age…

  • Krystal

    November 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    We recycle ours so the responsibility currently falls on my husband and myself to take the empty rolls from the bathroom to the daily pile of recycle items to go out that is in the kitchen. I imagine that job will soon go to my 7 year old though since she’s asking for chores that she can start doing.

  • MommaFergie

    November 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    That is hysterical.. I can see how it would be maddening 🙂

    Here’s my solution:
    Start collecting them and put them in your child’s backpack. Trust me…. If they are at school with their friends and they open their backpack and see empty toilet paper rolls they will trash them pronto. When they get home and ask you how they got in there tell them… “I figured you were collecting them for a school project, otherwise you would have thrown them away in the trash”. Repeat this procedure as many times as necessary. Eventually (if they don’t get it the first time) they’ll learn. Good luck!

  • Jennifer Clark

    November 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    @MommaFergi – LOL – Love the “school project” reason (grin)

    My kids love to recycle, but my son (6 yrs old now 🙂 Always wants to roll for either a pirate telescope thing or to cut and make something with … 

    I do like them for crafts as well … 

    There is always borrowing the “basketball hoop” idea that is so popular now for boys laundry baskets and trash cans in their rooms :0) Maybe? ……

  • Kate

    November 9, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Charge every one of them $1 for each roll you have to pick up. Money is the only means by which anything gets done in my house. Speak their language! Good luck.

  • PollyS

    November 9, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I really don’t know why, and I’m not asking, but my children LOVE to change the toilet paper. And they manage to put the rolls in the garbage. I can take no credit for this.
    My daughter used to do the same thing as your son and roll too much paper on the floor. When I corrected her, she tried to stuff it all in the toilet and yes, I keep a plunger next to my toilet too. So, I stopped correcting her and she stopped stuffing the toilet.
    Fast forward a couple of years, she uses almost a normal amount of tp when pottying.
    Cute story: It is tradition that when a Cub Scout earns his Bobcat badge, the badge is pinned on upside down. He must do a “good turn” to have it put on right side up.
    After my son earned his Bobcat he could think of NOTHING nice to do as a good turn. One day I was in my office (next to the upstairs potty) he came running in telling me he had done his good turn. He had gone into the linen closet, gotten a new roll of tp, and changed the empty one. I could not have been more proud.
    My future daughter in law can thank me later!

  • Lynette

    November 9, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I love MommaFergie’s idea! We have the same pile of toilet paper on the floor! Nice to know we’re “normal”. My suggestion to you is to buy some Guinea Pigs (HA! Because that’s just what you need!)…Our kids love giving the toilet paper rolls to them! A perfect solution! Hahahaaa!

  • Mrs. D.

    November 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Suggestion 1: Put a toy basketball hoop over the garbage can. No boy can resist scoring 2 points!

    Suggest 2: Let one of the kids get a gerbil. Gerbils love cardboard tubes!! lol

  • Ellen W

    November 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Either I save it for a craft project or my 4 yr old is more than happy to put it in the recycle bin (most of the time).

  • Cy

    November 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Well, I’m glad everyone else’s children are way into recycling. My kids–who have known recycling as a way of life, their entire lives–are useless at it. They’ve even been known to throw cans in the garbage. For some reason, the tubes usually make it into the trash, whereupon I fish them out to recycle. And THAT is the “cycle of life!” Here anyway.

  • Kaitlin

    November 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Pay them per roll 🙂

  • Jaime

    November 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    ummm…. our bathroom is the size of a closet so the roll just drops in the trash can. And I totally put the trashcan there on purpose.

  • Jaye

    November 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I know you said not to suggest this, but just put the trash can beside the toilet! 

  • Jen

    November 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Sadly, my kids have yet to master the skill of changing the toilet paper. In fact, in their bathroom I do have the garbage can sandwiched in between the vanity & the toilet w/ a step stool in front of it. My 11 yr old son, in a sleepy stupor one night, apparently emptied ALL of the contents of his bladder IN the garbage can instead of the toilet. : / Unfortunately for me…there really is no other option for garbage can placement in their small bathroom. Hopefully he will sharpen his aim as he grows & matures (PLEASE GOD, PLEASE!!!!).

  • Melodie

    November 10, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I have no helpful suggestion, but just wanted to say you are one step ahead of me. Your toilet paper at leasts gets changed!! I am forever in need of a new roll……………..

  • suzie

    November 10, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Tee hee.  Same exact thing here.  Except since they are girls, I probably should move the trash next to the toilet … or maybe they should put the damn rolls in the trash? 

    [and maybe I won’t say anything about how quickly (or not) the rolls end up in the trash in my own bathroom ….] 

  • Anne/Navhelowife

    November 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Oh no help here. I fight both battles. Continually. Finally bought one of those silver things at a big box store that holds extra rolls out in the open. 
    But the empty tubes? I just sigh and pick them up. 
    Although the backpack idea? totally rocks!

  • annie_a

    November 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    get a dog!

    preferably a Golden retriever puppy – he will gladly eat up cardboard tubes, along with any other debris left on the floor or within his reach such as erasers, pens, gloves, candy wrappers, yogurt containers, etc.

    said chewed/eaten debris will be disposed of naturally. Have children and/or husband pick up natural waste left by the puppy, and voila!

  • hope

    November 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    i would put yellow sticky notes on the wall- please place empty rolls and in the garbage.

  • Nikki

    November 11, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Wall-mounted basketball hoop over the trash can?

  • beccalecca

    November 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    duct tape any that don’t end up in the trash to each child’s shirt. Hope that eventually they tire of that fashion statement and learn to throw better.

  • virginia

    November 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    WOW my kids (and husband) do the exact same thing in our little 1/2 bath off the tv room. I thought I had the laziest family around, but apparently it is not just them!

  • Tami

    November 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    At least yours manage to stay in the bathroom… I find mine all over the house. They think they are telescopes. I like the basketball hoop but from the other post that doesn’t seem to help any.

  • Daisy

    November 13, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Pay them a nickel a roll to throw them in the garbage. The older kids might not care, but maybe Miles or your daughter would.
    Mine like to set them on the back of the toilet, IF they change the roll in the first place. A very, very rare occurence in my family of seven kids.
    Another idea would be to draw silly faces on them and tape them up on the wall around the toilet. Just being random. 🙂 Best wishes for success.