I was making my fifth trip through Timmies today when I saw something strange.  I turned my head back for a double take just to be sure my eyes were not playing tricks – they were not.
There sitting in the middle of a Tim Horton parking lot was a child about 3 years of age sitting on a potty, pants down, for the world to see – well at least those driving through the drive thru, with who I assumed was his father standing there beside him van door open.
WTH?  Correct me if I am wrong but since when does potty training take place in a parking lot?  I have been through the whole potty training thing six times so far and never have I seen anything like this!
I get it, trust me I do.  Once we start to teach our toddlers how to go on the potty we want to remain consistent and keep the momentum going, but seriously – in a parking lot? 
Here are some of the things that I have done in the past (and probably will again in the next year or so) that have worked for me:
I never use pull ups – they are more absorbent than diapers, and really the fact that some of them change colour when they are wet actually made my kiddies WANT to wet themselves and go in the pull up because it made it exciting to see neat things happen with the pull up.
Most of the time my older kiddies would show them how it is done – enough said.
Instead of pull ups I would use the really thick cotton underpants, this way they could feel when they were going but not create a huge mess.
I waited until they showed signs of readiness.  Staying dry at night, taking an interest in what the older children were doing in the bathroom, and informing me when they were going in their diaper , either by running away to hide, pulling at the diaper and wanting me to change them.
Finally, I never made a big deal out of it.  No stickers, no special potties, just a “Great job! You are using the toilet like the big kids!”
What are your thoughts? Would you place a potty in the middle of the parking lot? What things worked for you?
Until next time,
  • Heather!

    Saw a related thing on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. A friend of mine had posted a picture of a family in a restaurant, and their toddler-age daughter was sitting on a potty chair. In the restaurant. At the table. Pants down, doing her thing. From what I understand, other patrons were not very happy about it, and commenters on the story expressed horror. Yup.
    Oh, hey…just found it.

  • Chantel

    That is exactly what I thought! Put the potty in the van at least not in the parking lot! My children never were interested in the fancy potty’s – maybe because I never made a big deal of it. I too put them on the real toilet with the nice cushy smaller seat, this also helped avoid any fears of the “Big” toilet. Worked like a charm.

  • Chantel

    Carla I have seen that several times and shudder every time! I totally agree with teaching them to wait and hold it. If they had an accident well there was always spare clothes on hand:)

  • Chantel

    I agree Jen we all do something that makes us say WTH? later on. I just couldn’t believe he did it where he did – I hope he realizes that there are other options soon……

  • Chantel

    Julie I love the portable seat! I used to have one as well for my older guys and it was great! I will now have to go buy a new one for the twins:)

  • scorkum

    On the most part the kids used the regular toilet with a smaller seat. However, we traveled with a potty for “just in case” issues. Sometimes on a 13+ hour drive, there just isn’t a restroom when they have to go. But using one outside a restaurant? If there’s a phobia about germs, what about at least letting them use the potty inside the van?

  • http://genuinelyliving.blogspot.com Carla

    I have a friend who’s daughter has to go while we were at a playground. (a school one so there were no washrooms). She just pulled her daughters pants down and had her go by a tree! I can only speak from the experience of two kids but mine learned to hold it and wait early on. Besides, my house was not far away!

  • Jen

    I agree, Chantel. Wait until they are ready and there is no need for a big deal.
    Peeing in a parking lot is just bizarre. It is amazing what lengths parents will go to when desperate! We’ve all done things that we later look back on and say, “WTH?” Hopefully this is one of those moments for this dad 😉

  • Julie

    i never used a potty for my girls…the thought of me cleaning it out is vomit inducing. the toilet is there…use it and flush! not use a separate container, pour it in to the other one to flush…completely gross. i can understand using a potty like that at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere but to do it in a parking lot where there are lots of bathrooms to use is a bit beyond me.
    the one thing i liked using for travel was a portable travel seat. it fit over the large, gaping holes (and questionably clean) public washrooms so that their tiny bums could at least not fall through. it folded up into quarters and was so easy to slide underneath the passenger seat.

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