The words you dread when you are in public. “Mommy, I gotta go potty.” You can’t let the kid wet herself. The “back-up” potty is two levels above you in a parking garage. You have no choice. You’re miles and miles away from home. You have to take the bladder in the shape of a juice box to the public restroom.
What’s the big deal? Everyone who doesn’t have a stick up their ass does it every day. Yes, we have all done this. But with a potty-training toddler, it’s a different marathon. Everything that can happen on those germ-infested porcelain latrines, will happen, because toddler. Here’s why:
There’s nowhere to hang your bag
Even if I could leave the bag at the table with hubby, I can’t. Why? Because I need to schlep the reward candy, the sticker to cover the sensors, the hand sanitizer, the disinfectant spray, possibly a magazine, and flushable butt wipes. And what happens if the bathroom doesn’t have a place to hang it? I either gotta rope the giant ass bag around my shoulder or put it on the pee-infested ground.
The toilet itself
No amount of toilet covers and folded toilet paper squares can save you or the squirmy child from the germs, dry yellow pee and maybe even brown marks on the seat. You might as well mop it all up with small human buttocks and scrunched, thin paper. Do Hazmat suites have butt zippers?
You know the term “scare the shit out of them?” Doesn’t happen when their little tushes accidentally get splashed with water and the toilet makes loud noises with no warning. Guess little Suzy can’t go anymore, thanks to this helpful invention.
The second thing toddlers and dogs are terrified of: the eardrum-blasting noise of a hand dryer. Thanks to the “earth friendly” lack of paper towels, the child refuses to dry his soapy hands underneath the lukewarm contraption that looks like it could take a finger. So you either hold the child’s slippery hands or let him wipe his soapy hands on your pants.
The trash can
If it exists in the bathroom, the child will find a way to touch it, used tampons and all. It’s always within kid reach, it’s always halfway open and it always contains the things you never ever want kids to touch … but to the kid, it’s a treasure chest full of fun toys to discover (and possibly a used balloon).
The escape route
When you decide to use the toilet yourself, suddenly your toddler decides this is the perfect plan to find all possible escape routes. They will try to grab the shoes of the person in the stall on your right. Poke their head into the stall to your left to strike up a conversation with that woman. And they will certainly unlock those shitty locks to make a bolt for it. Ever had to chase your toddler out of a Costco bathroom with your pants down? Yeah, me neither.
To use the handicap stall or not
To have me, child, toilet, large crap bag, and infested trash bin all in one tiny stall is insane. Sometimes what doesn’t belong in the toilet, ends up in it. The handicap stall is the penthouse of bathrooms. We get space, a place to set the bag, and sometimes our own sink, but guilt is always in the back of my mind. Did the person who just came in need to use this for its original purpose? Will I walk out with the kid to find a line of people who truly have to use that one and only stall?
But if it means a quick, painless, and germless trip to the bathroom with a toddler, it’s worth going to potty etiquette hell.