The potty’s the place…

Jun 18 • Uncategorized • 1117 Views • 13 Comments on The potty’s the place…

I've invited Karin Joyce from Café Bébé to write today's post. She wants to hear your thoughts on a wee dilemma…

While perusing our local newspaper a few weeks ago, I stumbled across an article that caught my eye.  Accompanying the article was a picture of an incredibly sour faced mother with her two-year-old son standing in front of her.  In her hands was a plastic potty like the ones used by many families in their homes for potty training. 

The article went on to tell the tale of this mother and her fury with town residents for their “prudish attitudes” to her pulling out her son’s potty in shops or on the high street when he needed a wee.  She was stunned with the reactions to her son weeing in public. 

Mind you, the potty was not one of those portable, travel potties but the solid, plastic type sold in shops.  Although she claimed to be discreet whilst using the potty, she also claims to tip the wee down public drains after her child uses the potty.

My initial response was to gasp and think, “How very dare she?”  I am the mother of a two-year-old daughter who is in the early stages of potty training.  I have not yet braved going out and about without my daughter being in pull-ups so I don’t have the “on the job experience” that this mother has.  I have to say, however, that I would never pull out a potty in the middle of a shop and have my child squat on it to have a wee.  I want to protect my child from the “weirdos” of the world, not encourage them to approach us!  I would carry around a “travel potty” which could be used in the privacy of a bathroom stall or public toilet or I would ask a shop owner, if we were particularly desperate, if I could possibly use their toilet.  I know that there can be issues with insurance and store policies but I would guess that if faced with a child weeing on their floor, most shopkeepers would feel compelled to assist.

What do you think?  If you’ve had the joy of potty training your child or are currently doing so, would you stop in the middle of a shop or on the high street, plop down a plastic potty, yank down your child’s trousers for all the world to see and let them wee?  If you are in this camp, how do you do so discreetly and best of all, what do you do with the result?  I’d love to know your opinion as in the coming months Little Miss and I will be out there on the High Street with only a pair of pants between us and a potty accident.  What is proper potty training protocol?     

written by Liz Jarvis


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13 Responses to The potty’s the place…

  1. abby says:

    Having seen a little girl outside Harvey Nichols in Leeds have pant pulled down, picked up and waterfall wee I firmly believe to avoid giving a kid a complex toileting should be a private thing. I have 3 girls, youngest is still a baby but with the oldest 2 we played at potty training at home before they were 2 yrs but once they were just over 2yrs and were ready for it they toilet trained fully (even going through the night) in about 4 weeks. I think they key is not to do it until they are ready and it is pretty obvious when this is – a kid that uses the potty as a hat or stool has not yet realised what it is for. We found the taller pottys were better as they sit rather than crouch and is more comfortable. Also get them using the toilet as soon as possible – we have a loo seat which has an integrated childs seat which we got from B&Q.

  2. Janet says:

    (As posted on Facebook) Personally when a child is being toilet trained when they wanna go they’ve gotta go! I used to take a pottette around with me when my son was in the early stages and whipped it out in the middle of shops/car parks etc. They haven’t got the capacity to hold in their wee initially and making them embarrassed about needing to go or worrying them … See moretrying to find a toilet does not make it easy to train them (and results in an unhappy child and flustered mummy). My husband use to put my son on the pottette whilst they were in a football stadium. Taking three children under 10 on his own, there was no way he’d be able to get our youngest to the toilet in time – and what would he do with the other children?? Discretion is always best but I will ALWAYS put my children’s needs above that of the general public and if they have a problem with a child needing to do a wee then good – go tell someone who’s bothered. I think people in this country need to get over themselves. I bet it’s those same people who are bothered who would make a breast feeding mother sit in a toilet as well…

  3. zooarchaeologist says:

    Personally I agree with Janet, you must always put the needs of the child first. Having blogged just this week about a nightmare experience in a high street shop where they refused to let toddler boy use the toilet and actually said they would prefer him to wet himself. I have no issues with children weeing outdoors in the street or whereever, when needs must they must and I think the number of weirdos is possibly a little bit exaggerated. I dont walk about with a potty as my boy refuses to use one whether at home or outside so its pointless. It all depends on the child and your attitude. Its fairly easy to be discrete in a corner with a buggy!

  4. Janet says:

    zooarchaeologist that is just awful that a shop refused use of the toilet for a toddler – what an awful attitude. Unfortunately I feel it’s far from uncommon. Absolutely no public place (even in parent and baby change areas) cater for young children to use a toilet – no steps, no smaller seats etc. And I can bet you if there’s a queue a lot of people wouldn’t offer your child their place ahead on themselves. I think carrying a full size potty around is perhaps a tad extreme but until our children are sufficiently catered for when out and about then what options do us mum’s have?

  5. nappyvalleygirl says:

    I’ve never carried a travel potty but trained my little boys to wee behind a tree if they really need to go. (Obviously this doesn’t work down the High Street; I find Starbucks usually does the trick). The only problem is that they don’t seem to understand yet that weeing by a tree should really be done away from where other people are sitting enjoying their picnic….have to work on that one.

  6. Beetrootandgherkins says:

    I think until you actually come to potty train full time i.e out and about then there is no way to know how you’ll deal with the situation. As the first time you are in a shop no where near a loo, that is when it dawns on you!! Luckily we have always made it to a loo or a babychange though. I know pulling down a childs pants in public view is not ideal but when they have to go there is no holding on and bless em if they have mastered the art of telling you then you can’t really go ten steps back by making them hold on till you find a loo as they’ll undoubtedly wet themselves. I have emptied a potty down a drain before, I don’t really see the problem in that? Mo has also had many an emergency wee behind tree’s! The art is to always carry around wetwipes and nappy bags to ‘dispose!’ the contents of your potty same as you would a nappy oh and tons of handgel. I agree with the comment that the people who have a problem withit are probably easily offended by the likes of breastfeeding etc and agree this country needs to get a bit more kid friendly!

  7. Karin @ Cafe Bebe says:

    Well, what interesting responses. Obviously not being in the potty training full time yet, I don’t know what it is like but I still can’t imagine having Little Miss squat down in the middle of a store. I do appreciate everyone’s opinion on this though. I’ll let you know how we get on when we’re fully training! 😉

  8. Mummywhisperer says:

    I’m a fan of the pottete & trees in emergencies. But I never really used a potty – I got a seat for the loo & max went straight to there, he didn’t fancy the potty I bought. We messed around at home until he did his first poo on the toilet – only then did we lose the nappies. If I was in those first major stages, I just wouldn’t go shopping – easy for me tho cos I’m a bit of a geek and you can get everything on the Internet! I remember taking the pottete with me for a few months – def not a proper potty though, that’s a bit yukky ;0) not sure what willow will be like though.

  9. MaeKellan says:

    My daughter was fully trained just after her 2nd birthday. One day while out shopping a store would not let my daughter use their toilet and the public ones were 2 blocks away. I got outside all flustered with my daughter and her newborn brother and watched as she walked over to a tree right outside the front of the shop and pulled down her pants and did wees, much to the disgust of the shop keepers. I smiled pulled up her pants and gave her a pat on the back as we walked back to the car. She HAD to go wees!

  10. samantha says:

    When a kid’s gotta go a kid’s gotta go. It’s unfair to let them have an accident if it can be avoided. In every instance I first try to get them to a toilet, but sometimes this is simply not possible. What do you do on the tube? I had prepared for this when my daughter was only a week out of nappies by taking along said potty and a towel. When she needed to go I discreetly put towel around her, slipped potty under her and popped towel in potty afterwards so there was no spill. Potty and towel went into empty carrier bag, no fuss, no mess and even though there was a bloke sitting opposite, he didn’t appear to notice, never mind be put out by it. If I hadn’t done this, she would have wet herself all over chair/ floor, then how would everyone feel??????

  11. MTJAM says:

    Sorry Karin, but I agree with some of the others – I won’t let my children have accidents just for modesty reasons. My kids wee on the grass in the corner of parks, behind bushes, on the pavement when we’ve been desperate, into a nappy held in my cupped hands, and even into a travel potty in the corner of a cafe. If I go out with my three children (3, 2 and 2) it is extremely likely that at least one of them will have to squat somewhere on the way!

  12. lindsay says:

    I’m in the stage of potty training and haven’t gone out the house with out a pull up ether, i can’t see my self making my 2year old sit on potty in public, i haven’t seen anyone else do it with there children and it makes me think are you allowed to do so and when you are in a shop or anywhere where do you put the wee or poo?? At the moment she wees alot during the day and she goes when she feels like it on her own accord and doesn’t tell me when she needs to go!! Its feels like i’m suck and don’t know where to go from here?


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