A few years ago, in a shopping plaza parking lot, I saw a mother grab her young son out of the car seat, put him over a sewer grate where he promptly did his business right in plain view.
At the time, I was horrified. At the time, I didn’t have children.
“What kind of mother,” I wondered, “would let her son pee into a sewer grate!?”
Now the mother of a three-year-old, I get it. And that mother could easily be me.
My three year old has been potty trained for about six months. But I’m learning it’s more of a process than I had anticipated. And lately, he has had quite anew accidents.
So when he shouts from the back seat— “Mommy! I have to go pee pee!” I have seconds to pull over and find a spot off the beaten path.
I do it. No matter where I am.
Hartford Hospital pediatrician and mother of two, Dr. Peg O’Neill points out, at this stage of the game, they’re still learning.
“They’re figuring out what those urges mean, so it’s important to go with that,” O’Neill says. “We need to listen to our kids. Sometimes—obviously, only if it’s safe—you need to stop the car.”
O’Neill points out, it’s best to remind our kids before they get into the car, so going to the bathroom isn’t an emergency.
“You don’t necessarily want to wait until he tells you,” O’Neill says. “Usually, by the time that happens, that ship has sailed.”
So I have learned.
I keep a small potty in the back of my car for these moments… and for long trips I have been known to pull out the pull ups. Dr. O’Neill suggests putting a pull up over the underwear, so your child still gets the wet sensation, and parents don’t have a mess to clean up.
Still, there are few things that make him prouder than marking his territory on the local landscape, especially in our back yard.
“Hit that tree, Mommy!” he smiles.
At least it keeps the wildlife away.