How to take a toddler to a public restroom

Congratulations! You have successfully potty trained your toddler. No more flushing (pun intended) your money down the money pit called diapers! No more gagging as you change an especially precocious bowel movement! You are ecstatic and proud to take your toddler out into the world armed with only an extra outfit and underwear, just in case. (But you know your toddler’s potty prowess renders even that unnecessary).

And then it happens. You are in a public place and your toddler walks up to you and informs you that she has to go poo poo. Oh. Righto. The car is all the way in the parking lot, and your only option is the (cue ominous music) public restroom. This contingency never occurred to you in your diaper free induced euphoria. But there is no turning back now, so you gird your loins and lead your toddler by the hand into that well known vat of germs and the raw sewage of complete strangers.

You give her Rule #1 of going into public restrooms: DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. “Yes, mama,” she chirps, completely oblivious to the massive importance of that instruction. You squeeze her into a stall with you and reiterate that important command. She runs into the stall, puts both her hands on the toilet seat, looks into the toilet and squeals excitedly, “Look at this potty, mama!” Being of the stoic Cuban temperment, you immediately screech, “Don’t touch that!!!!” You drag her away from the toilet and try to keep calm. This is going really well already. You take the obligatory first piece of toilet paper off the roll and toss it straight into the toilet. Because, you know, someone could have touched it with their poop hands. Then you use the rest of the roll to pad the entire toilet seat. Meanwhile, your toddler is touching just about everything. The walls, the floor, the door, opening the lid of the little trashcan for feminine hygiene products and peering in, etc. You grab her, pull down her pants, and sit her on the toilet. You both stare at each other, her with a placid smile on her face and you with a grimace, until she has finished doing her business. Then you help her clean up and pull her pants back up.

Since you are pregnant, you naturally also have to use the bathroom. When your toddler hears you doing your business, she immediately starts clapping and cheering loudly so that everyone in the restroom can hear her. “Yay mama!!! You went peepee in the potty! Good job!” You thank her graciously for the support and encouragement. When it comes time to leave the stall, your toddler wants to flush the toilet. So, you dangle her above the toilet and try to get her to kick the flusher. She is unsuccessful at this endeavor with her tiny toddler legs, and not wanting to spend the rest of the afternoon in this stall, you give up and kick the flusher yourself. Cue toddler tantrum because she wanted to flush the toilet.

You drag her out of the stall kicking and screaming and up to the counter to wash her hands. The prospect of hand washing brightens her up considerably. You hoist her up to the counter and balance her against it while you turn on the water. She complains that her sleeves are not rolled up. You drop her back down to the floor and roll up her sleeves. Then, you hoist her back up to the counter. You wet her hands and then shift her over to where the soap dispenser is and instruct her to hold her hands under it. She fails to understand the soap dispenser concept. You demonstrate, shifting her weight to one arm and placing her hand under the soap dispenser with the other. But every time you let go of her hand to push the soap out of the soap dispenser, she moves it out of the way again. Repeat this step a few times as the soap pools on the counter. Give up and take some soap off the counter and put it on her hand. Toddler is frustrated with herself and shows her frustration by putting her soapy hand in her mouth. She is distressed by the taste and your squawk of dismay. Cue second toddler tantrum as you wipe off her tongue with a paper towel. You rinse her hands off as people stop to stare at you, drop her to the floor so that you can wash your own hands and pray that she doesn’t have one of those tantrums where she throws herself facedown on the floor. You finish your hand washing in record time, pick up your screaming toddler, and head out of the door, wondering why the heck you ever decided to potty train her in the first place.

So, whenever you hear a first time mom wondering if she should go ahead and start potty training her 13 month old, you just can’t stop yourself from grabbing her by the shoulders and saying to her in your best prophet of doom voice, “Nooooooooo!”

2015/01/img_3157.jpg
She looks so innocent . . . .

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About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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18 Responses to How to take a toddler to a public restroom

  1. Omg you are hilarious! I love reading your blog. It makes me feel like all the struggles I go through with my son, and the thoughts I have about it are perfectly normal. 🙂 I’m dreading having to potty train my son. He likes to throw himself backwards on the floor and kick off for his tantrums.. I don’t want to get sprayed with pee. Lol Good luck on all of your potty training adventures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Haha, all of these potty training stories with boys are cracking me up. I never knew what a huge difference it was. One of my girls could spray us on the wrist a bit when we were changing her, but that has been the worst of it, lol. And thank you!

      Like

  2. morgan says:

    laughed so hard. Sorry. This was really really funny. Must check my heritage again 😉 Although I gave up on telling them not to touch anything, because I think they just do it on purpose after I told them.
    I always almost end up in tears after any bathroom trip, because… they always need to go in groups. My daughter needs ENDLESS time (what does she do? count the tiles?!? I have absolutely NO ides). My eldest tries to leave as soon as he is finished. They start arguing because daughter needs to much time (thanks for telling her that… so I don’t have to do that). My youngest either tries to undress himself (he shows all signs of being ready to get potty trained, but every time we try putting him on the potty when he starts to undress himself, he runs away screaming.). My youngest tries to create havoc in the bathrooms and / or tries to crawl into the (locked) stall next door, because he wants to know what’s inside. My daughter throws at least one trantrum because I dare leave her side (hello? what do you need me for? hold hands while you… count the tiles?…) to catch one of the runaways. At least one of the boys throws a tantrum because he wants to leave / crawl into that stall / upend the waste basket.
    And then not 5 minutes after I finally managed to wrestle those troops out of the bathrooms without any damage to furniture, buildings and persons 😉 someone pipes up: “mama I have to go potty” … “no If I don’t go NOW I WILL PEE / POOP MY PANTS!!!”
    Needless to say: I TRULY HATE THOSE TRIPS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      I have been fortunate so far in that someone is always there to watch the other two, but soon I will have to go ahead and potty train Rosie. Ack. I am really dreading taking more than one in!!! I think I might have a meltdown as well, haha.

      Like

  3. Yeah. We are terrified. I am pretty sure Finley is just going to pee outside….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. unsimplelife says:

    LOL… we had quite an ordeal toilet training our little guy… https://unsimplelife.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/potty-inception/

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Yeah, it was not as simple as those “three day method” optimists said it would be. It was more like a three month method for us. I am hoping against hope my second child who I have to train soon will be much easier.

      Liked by 1 person

      • unsimplelife says:

        haha indeed, it took us about 8 months in total to get it all sorted. I have everything crossed that number 2 when he/she comes along wont be so hard. We certainly learnt from our mistakes first time round! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • sylcell says:

        Each one has their own unique challenges, we have found. So, just when you think you have it all figured out, the next one comes along with a completely different set of obstacles! It’s good, though. Keeps your mental faculties sharp, reduces your risk of Alzeimers;p (I just made that up, but that is what I tell myself).

        Liked by 2 people

  5. dsudatta says:

    You’re hilarious!! I used to think I’m the only one yelling “Don’t touch that!!” in the public restroom. Glad I have company 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. katylady says:

    Imagine my terror as the hot-headed, very verbal 19-month-old shows all the signs of toilet-training “readiness”… She may be ready but I’m not!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      I know, I keep procrastinating with my 27 month old. I guess I need to bite the bullet. I really don’t want three in diapers. Can’t wait to take all of them to the public restroom!

      Like

      • Kara says:

        I’ve been procrastinating too….I can’t wait to get my 2yr old twins out of diapers but I don’t want to have to clean them both up when they have an accident while potty training….I think they are ready but I don’t know if I am…..

        It took almost a year before my older one (now 5) to get potty trained….I thought it would never happen but it finally did….just have to work with him to go potty at night and not in his pull-up that we put on him….ugh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • sylcell says:

        We’re in the same situation. My 3 year old still has pee accidents and is not night trained at all. But I really don’t want three in diapers and my two year old is so ready. Hopefully she will be much easier to train! I am just preparing myself to not have any high expectations, lol.

        Like

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