Is It OK For A Toddler To Use A Potty In Public?

A recent story, posted to a parenting forum, has sparked debate over etiquette when it comes to toddlers using a potty in public.

Potty training can be quite stressful for most parents. When to start, if they’re ready, how to do it, it’s a bit of a learning curve for all involved. The last thing any parent needs is judgement from a stranger.

But, a recent story posted to parenting forum, has sparked debate over etiquette when it comes to toddlers using a potty in public.

As a mum of four, I feel strongly that children should be allowed to use a potty in public. They are usually young when they are potty training and it is unreasonable to expect a mum to stay indoors with her potty trainer until they’re fully trained. With each of my little ones, their potty came everywhere with them. We used it as appropriately as possible at the time, but when they need to go, they need to go!

Mums often have other children and errands they have to attend to and to stay in the home for weeks is just not possible. As the name suggests these toddlers are ‘training’ they are learning how to use the toilet. In my opinion, it is just unrealistic to think a child could go from nappies to being able to feel the need to go, communicate that need and also hold it until they reach a toilet. I’m not even sure at the beginning a little one's muscles are strong enough to hold it yet?!

It is also unfair and confusing for a child who is potty training to be told it is okay to go in a pull up if we are x, y or z, but not anywhere else.

But many I know don’t agree. Parents took to the forum to give their opinions.

“Absolutely foul, I never had to do this. Why not take the potty to the toilet and let the child go there? They have to learn they can’t do their business anywhere they want!”
But some parents did agree.
"I have done similar many times," said one person. "I'm pretty sure I was judged, cause that's how perfect everyone else is. Especially those who have no idea what potty training entails or how difficult it can be. I promise you, you will be eating your words when your time comes."

Another recalled a horrifying moment at their local supermarket: "I saw someone whip one out in the frozen section of our local large Tesco and vowed never to use one."

A few admitted to carrying a potty around in a similar manner.
"It’s really hard in the early stages of potting training. I had to take a potty everywhere but I always tried to be discrete about it though," wrote one.

Another attempted to explain why: "My DS (darling son) uses the potty in public wherever he needed to - middle of John Lewis once I recall. When they got to go they got to go! A toilet 30 seconds away is too far for a child who is only just learning to hold it. He probably wouldn't have made it to the toilet if I'd made him wait. That would have been wet clothes, him being upset and a step backwards. As it was because we were so open and chilled about potty training he cracked it very quickly."

Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.


Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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