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Humor / Motherhood / Potty Training

Potty Training in Public: A mom’s inaugural encounter

Potty Training in Public: A mom’s inaugural encounter

A mom and a toddler walk into a public restroom… This is uncharted territory for the both of them. Up to this point their potty training efforts have been confined to the house, daycare, and grandparents houses. But this? This was public.

The mom’s palms were a bit clammy as she entered into what was surely a toddler mom’s rite of passage.

Luckily the giant public space was empty except for the two of them. Relieved the mom ushered her son into the “cleanest” of the stalls and started explaining to the boy how this was not like home. 

Mom: “Don’t touch the toilet, okay?”

Boy: “Why?”

Mom: “It has yucky germs.”

Boy: “I don’t see them.”

Mom: “You can’t see germs.”

Boy:  “Oh.”

::pauses for reflection::

Boy: “What about this? Can I touch this?” ::puts finger on the little trash can hanging from the stall wall::

Mom: “No. You can’t touch that either.”

Boy: “Germs?”

Mom: “Germs.”

Boy: “What about this? Can I touch this?”

This game continued until everything in the stall had been touched at least once by his curious wandering finger. By this point the mom, a public-restroom-potty-training novice, was negotiating how to properly have her boy’s ::a’hem:: “parts” be where they needed to be.

Did I mention he was wearing a Halloween costume?

It was clear the shoes had to come off. The boy was now shoe-less in the public restroom.

One pant leg also had to come completely off.

::door to the restroom opens and in walks a woman::

Mom’s internal dialogue: “please don’t say anything embarrassing, please don’t say anything embarrassing…

Boy: “What’s that noise?”

Mom: “Someone else is using the potty too.”

Boy: “Oh. Who is it?”

Mom: “I’m not sure, sweetie. ::says in a whisper:: It’s really none of our business.”

At this point the poor innocent woman does what one does in the public restroom.

Boy: “What’s that noise?!?” ::starts giggling::

Mom: “Don’t worry about it, buddy. Are you done yet?”

Boy: “Not yet, mom.”

Mom: “Okay, tell me when.”

Boy: “Mom, can I touch this?”

Mom: “Okay, bud. I think we’re done”

The boy is redressed into his clothes, his costume, his shoes. They exit the stall and wash their hands.

Boy: “But my hands aren’t dirty.”

Mom: “Yes they are because you touched every. single. thing. in the bathroom and have to wash our hands before we go eat.”

Boy: “Germs?”

Mom: “Germs.”

Out the bathroom they walk. The mom feels pretty good about how it all went down. She was proud of the both of them and was thrilled to have this inaugural round knocked out. They join Dad and Baby Sis back at the table for lunch.

Dad: “How did it go, guys?”

Boy: “That’s none of your business, Dad.”

Well played, son. Well played.

Kendra is a full-time working mom to a precocious two-year old boy, nine month old baby girl and wife to her long-time sweetheart. At “My Full-Thyme Life ( she writes about how she attempts to balance her cherished roles and all the fun along the way. 

Photo credit:

Kendra Scott
Author: Kendra Scott

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  1. Two words: automatic toilets. My worst nightmare when it came to potty training. 🙂

    • Oh, man! I didn’t even think of that! We have yet to have that encounter. Still beats diaper changes, yes?

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