by Michele Zipp
You think you have a good grasp on potty training until you leave the house and your kid has to pee. Some kids just can't hold their pee. Or maybe they have been holding it for so long and the urge to pee strikes just when you are just far enough away from any kind of potty. Even when you've asked 74 times if anyone has to pee before you leave the house. I have twins who are not quite yet 4 and my daughter is just about all set with the potty training. My son, however, not so much. He's getting it (and getting it all over the place.)
So I do what any mom in my position would do. (Though I feel like I'm the only one sometimes.) I let my kid pee in public. Behind a bush. Next to a tree. In the dirt, all tidy like as best as can be. I figure dogs can do it, why can't kids? I know we're not animals, but when you're a kid and you have to go you have to go.
Before you go and freak out on this let me share some important details. I live in New York City. Brooklyn, specifically. And it just so happens I live in a section of Brooklyn that doesn't have a Starbucks on every corner so there aren't many places to duck in real quick so my kid can take a peep. I don't travel by car so there's no little potty in there we could use. And we walk everywhere so carrying around some sort of port-o-jon contraption just isn't going to work since we stopped using a stroller because we live up a large, steep, and narrow set of stairs and ... have you tried carrying up a City Mini Double up a tight staircase lately?
It should also be known that the first time this happened -- the first time my son told me he had to pee when we were no where near a toilet -- I whipped out a diaper and put it on him so he could go in that. I realized quickly that was going to be a potty training setback and we're already lagging in that area so I stopped that.
The next time there was a "Mommy I have to pee" moment we went into the park's public bathroom. Have you ever been to a NYC public bathroom before? With almost 4 year old twins who like to touch everything? The floor was covered in pee and wads of toilet paper. There were other questionable items around. And THE SMELL! As I lifted my son up so his you know what wouldn't touch the toilet rim when he whipped it out to pee, somehow my bag swung around from my back (there was no hook to put it on). The bag jolted the stream of pee directly onto my foot. I was in sandals. Perfect!
Now I'm not scared of a little of my son's pee on my foot (I may or may not have accidentally tasted it during those infant days and I didn't get to the diaper on time while on the changing table and no, I didn't have a pee pee teepee). But if I was going to let my kid pee on my foot, I would have rather just done it without the calisthenics of trying to lift him up and hover him just so toward the bowl as not to come in contact with the yick that was all around us. Also, my daughter may have been licking the stall door while this was all happening. Or she may as well have been. She touches everything and then sucks her thumb.
I'm well aware, my friends. I am totally winning Mother of the Year.
So after these joyful instances, I decided to what I thought I needed to do -- just let my child pee in public. In the most private part of the public area, of course. And only if it was absolutely no doubt about it necessary. He's not urinating on car tires or on people's front porches. He's taking a little whiz behind the bush 18 dogs peed in front of earlier that day. I figured we deserved the same privilege in such emergencies.
Once we master this potty training thing and have a little more control over the bladder, we won't be doing this public peeing anymore, but for now, if we get to a point where my son (or daughter) is crying in pain because they have to pee right now and they've been trying to hold it in but can't and there isn't a bathroom around but there is a tree to hid behind, I'm choosing nature's potty because ... have you ever carried a kid home 12 city blocks while that kid is soaked in pee and crying because he's wet?
Don't worry. Once he's 18 and potty trained I'll make sure he doesn't pee in public anymore.
Have you ever let your kids pee in public?