Tag Archives: public restrooms

Cinderella Wants You to Go Potty

Lately we’ve had a major potty training problem, but then when DON’T we have a potty training problem around these here parts? I know there will be a time in my children’s life when trying to prevent accidents and cleaning them up when they occur will no longer be the norm. Right now that time seems so far in the future that it’s on the verge of being fictional.

Anyway, ever since Rose was apparently mortally wounded by the sound of the toilet flushing at the park, she’s refused to use public toilets. Often she can get away with this, but sometimes she can’t. Lately she’s had a streak of bad luck and bad timing with her attempts to only go potty at home. Keep in mind, she is refusing to use pubic toilets even though I’ve gone to the trouble of carrying a potty seat with me wherever I go, have promised to NEVER flush the toilet while she’s still in the stall and have promised to protect her and make sure the potty would never ever hurt her.

No dice for forever. Rose was getting so upset about the prospect of having to use the potty in public or have an accident that she didn’t even want to leave the house. We’d have massive blowouts just to get out the door. It was absolutely ridiculous.

Finally after one particularly bad public accident, I had absolutely had it. I was ranting on and on about how public potties were FINE and she would be safe and what else could we do to make this better when it occurred to me that my thoughts on the matter had no effect on her. Who cares if Mommy wants her to go potty? I’m just nobody. There’s somebody in Rose’s life FAR more important than me.

So I called in Cinderella to help me to convince Rose to use the potty in public again.

“Cinderella wants you to use the potty!” I said. Her potty seat is actually in a bag with a picture of all the Disney princesses on it. I made the bag move to have Cinderella talk to Rose in a high-pitched voice. “Please use the potty in stores, Rose! I’ll be so proud of you! In fact, I’m going to give Mommy chocolate to give to you if you go to the potty in the store.”

Rose was intrigued and agreed to use the potty at the next store we went to. Even though we raced across a giant store to get to the bathroom, when we finally got there she was still apprehensive. Cinderella had to speak to her several times, but eventually she finally sat on her potty seat.

Unfortunately, it was too soon after her massive pee accident. Rose’s bladder was completely empty! She burst into tears and refused to leave the toilet!

“It’s ok! You can get down! You still get chocolate just for sitting!”

“NO! I HAVE TO STAY HERE!” Much wailing followed.

We were in that bathroom a LONG time before Cinderella and I finally convinced her that it was ok if she didn’t pee just now. The important thing was that she TRIED to use a public toilet again.

Then Cinderella slipped me some money and we bought her a big bag of Hersey’s Kisses.

“Cinderella is so proud of me!” Rose triumphantly announced when we got back to the car.

Though public potties haven’t been all sunshine and roses since this event transpired, she hasn’t had another accident and is using public potties again. She even admitted to me that maybe the flushes weren’t so scary after all.

“Flushes can’t hurt me!”

This has been your second public service announcement that even though it seems totally safe to send your two small children alone into a single stall bathroom while you stand right outside the door with a sleeping baby, you WILL pay for it. Shortcuts never pay.


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Potty of Doom: A Parenting Mistake

About a month ago, it was a gloriously warm fall day and I’d taken all three kids to the park alone. I wasn’t meeting anyone and my husband was at work. It was me v. three kids, one of whom needs to nurse pretty much all the time.

No big deal though. The baby was asleep and she’d been asleep for a while. If she woke up, she’d want to nurse and we’d have to leave the park. I can not keep track of two mobile small children while I’m pinned to a bench nursing a child. I just can’t.

We’d just gotten to the park and walked quite a ways to the playground when Lily announced she had to go potty. This is infuriating because a) she’d just gone at home and b) we were parked next to a bathroom. We walked back. The bathrooms are single rooms with one toilet in them and a lock on the door. They are cavernous and echo. If I took the baby inside the bathroom, she would surely wake up and I’d need to feed her and we’d need to leave. So I did what seemed to be a great idea at the time but turned out to be a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR parenting mistake: I told Lily to use the potty by herself while I waited outside.

Lily insisted on taking Rose with her because she was scared to go in alone. Fine. There was nothing to be scared of. It’s a single potty, a sink and a door. There is one entrance. I was waiting right outside it. NOTHING scary. But I let Rose go in there with her. HUGE MISTAKE. HUGE.

Several minutes later I heard the toilet flush and both little girls screaming “AAAAAAAAA!!!! MOMMMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!” at the top of their lungs. I was terrified something bad had happened. I ran over (leaving my sleeping baby in the stroller nearby, directly in my view). What was wrong? What had happened? Oh no! What had I done?

They were screaming because the toilet was too loud and it scared them. Nothing bad had happened. They were just scared of the loud noise. I comforted them, but basically told them to suck it up. It was just a noise. The toilet can’t hurt them. It was over. Or so I thought.

Little did I know at the time, but I created a major problem. Now every time we go to a public restroom, Rose is terrified to use the potty because she is scared it will flush too loudly. Forget the problem of my having to carry a potty seat bag. That’s a minor problem compared to this one. She literally will not pee on SOME public potties (not all of them) because she is “too scared” of whatever noise they may make.

At a return visit to this particular park, the best playground park in our town, she peed her pants because she was too scared to use any of the toilets. My husband dragged her to every restroom at the park and promised he wouldn’t flush it with her in there, but she still peed herself before she would use the toilet. All because I thought it would be ok to send a 5 year old and a 3 year old alone into a private room with a toilet while I stood outside. What was I thinking?

Last weekend, my husband had to drive her 10 minutes away from another park so she could use the potty at a different public toilet because she absolutely refused to use the toilet at the park. She was “too scared”. We couldn’t blame her that time though. It was a latrine.

This past weekend, she was “too scared” of the noise the public toilet would make at a rest stop and we ended up in a stand off situation. She screamed her head off while I repeatedly (and pretty calmly considering) told her her choices: “Pee in this potty right now or you have to wear a pull-up for the rest of the trip. Potty or diaper. Your choice. It’s not going to flush. I will not flush it with you in here.” After many many MANY tears were shed, she finally peed in the potty.

I induced a never-known fear in her. All this headache and tears over the fact I wanted the baby to stay asleep while the big girls peed. That bathroom totally would have woken her up even if we hadn’t flushed while we were in there. Still, I’d take an awake baby over a tantrum every time we have to pee in public ANY DAY.

Lesson: Even if it seems totally harmless to send your 5 year old and 3 year old into a totally private toilet to pee while you stand right outside the door, you are WRONG. It’s the worst. WORST. Don’t do it.

This is how fears are formed.



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Changing Station Week: Too Short

Living far away from family sucks. It means that MANY times a year you have to travel with your toddler. And maybe YOUR toddler likes traveling (unlikely), but mine does not.

Due to Rose’s propensity toward poop warfare* during such trips, I have visited almost every rest stop between Northwest Ohio and Northwest Indiana AND St. Louis. Most rest stops get changing tables VERY wrong. This time I was actually brave enough to take out my camera, yes my REAL camera, not a camera phone, to take shots of ridiculous changing station situations as I saw them. Here’s the first such situation– a rest stop somewhere in Illinois.

Is this supposed to be a potty-training cue?

Now, I know that since Rose is almost 2 years old we should be considering potty training and I also know that Rose is a little big for her age, but this is ridiculous. This changing station says to me that only newborns need their diapers changed. Anyone over the age of 6 months does NOT need to fit on the changing table. Clearly they should be changed somewhere else. Where, I’m not sure.

I mean, I know we could do this in the car, and have done this a lot, but if the back of the van is loaded up for a trip, there’s really nowhere to change her. She’s gotten far too big to change on the front seat.

So, changing station designers, take note. Some babies taller than 25 inches still need to be changed. In fact, I’d wager half the diaper-wearing population would not fit on this changing station.

While Rose was lying on it, Lily and I just laughed and laughed at how ridiculous she looked.

Rose was not as amused.

But seriously, who makes a changing station that short?


*Poop Warfare: When a baby poops more often than usual to get more attention or plans out her poops to delay naps or bedtime.



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The Worst Changing Station

Last year I wrote about how changing stations are never put in convenient locations. If a store even has the luxury of a changing station, it either blocks the path to the restroom stalls or is placed to closely to something with an automatic trigger, which goes off whenever you move.

The worst changing station situation I’ve come across is in every Indiana Tollway rest stop.

First of all, where are you supposed to stand to change your kid? Oh, at the bottom of their legs? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t fly with me. I mean, I can change a diaper from just about any angle, but my most skilled and practiced angle is with the baby horizontal to my front with her butt by my right hand. Changing her with her butt toward me is just plain awkward.

To the right, there’s absolutely not enough room to stand. I mean, I guess I could squeeze between the counter and the changing station, but it wouldn’t be comfortable. Besides, my butt would probably set off that automatic sink somehow. If I were standing there, I’d probably want to put my bag on the counter, but chances are it would fall in the automatic sink and get soaked.

I COULD possibly change her to the left of the station. I’d block the door to the stall that’s just outside this picture, and while I was changing her I’d repeatedly set off the automatic blow dryer right by her head. This would be uncomfortable and annoying for me, and disturbing enough to Rose to make her cry. This station is almost unusable.

I suppose it could be worse. There might not be a changing station here at all. I should be thankful for what I get, right?

But seriously, there has to be a better way. I’m not sure where they should be putting this station, but putting it here just makes changing Rose’s diaper that much more unpleasant. And yes, I could be changing her in the car. And I do. But when I’m traveling alone with the girls and it’s an emergency potty stop for Lily and Rose is poopy, I’m not about to head back outside with both of them.

So, businesses everywhere, I beg of you to consider how these changing stations are being used. This sort of set up just doesn’t work for any of us.



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