Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Fear of the Public Toilet

Ah, the joys of potty training. Megan wasn’t the youngest child to potty train. We tried when she was about 29 months, and she got so upset about accidents, it was clearly not in our best interest to keep up with her. We tried again at 31 months, at daycare’s request, but after a bad accident there, she wasn’t eager to keep going. Finally, at 33 months, she turned a corner. I sent her to daycare in underwear at their request, and she held it all day. 9 hours. That’s clearly not a good thing, so as soon as we got home, I sat with her until she went. And when she went, boy was she excited! Ever since, she’s been potty trained, and has had just a few accidents in several months. Poop training is an entirely different story altogether, but the good news is, she waits to go until bedtime when she’s wearing a pull-up, thus saving Mommy and Daddy from ever having to deal with the vileness that is poop in underwear.

Obviously, she can hold it for awhile. Which is nice for the most part, but not so much when she holds it because she refuses to go in a public toilet. I would take her in any restroom outside of home, daycare, or her grandparents’ house, and she’d refuse to go, scrunching her face into this awfully sad look that said, “I just can’t, Mommy! Public toilets are bad!” But, we were about to go on vacation. An 8-hour plane ride to Hawaii, followed by 10 days there, and she sure as heck couldn’t hold it for 10 days. I asked her pediatrician if there was anything I could do to help her along, and in all of his helpfulness, he said, “Some people just don’t like public toilets, so I have no suggestions.” Gee, thanks. So, we bribed Megan to use public restrooms. We told her she couldn’t go to Hawaii if she wouldn’t use a public restroom. Finally, she used it. That’s not to say she’s happy about public restrooms, but I can get her to use one when it’s a necessity.

Now, I’m thankful that she’s not all that excited about public restrooms, because it means I don’t have to make a mad dash for them at the grocery store or while shopping, and I haven’t had to see the most unsavory of them and try to convince my child it’s okay to use them. But, it was a bit of a problem on the airplane. Have you seen the cleanliness studies on airplane bathrooms? Not pretty. And I don’t care how much of that blue water you suck down an airplane toilet – it’s still a dirty, dirty place. So trying to convince my child otherwise was less than simple. I’m sure it would have been fun to watch us squeeze in there, though. Me in my pregnant glory, doing my best to wipe every surface down with an antibacterial wipe, all while trying to comfort a nervous toddler and convince her that going potty in this terrible place was a good idea. And once I did get her to go, washing her hands and shoving her out of the bathroom as quickly as possible to try to avoid her coming into contact with any more of those nasty germs than necessary, all while doing my best to flush the toilet quietly so it didn’t scare the crap out of her. Because come on, that toilet IS scary!

But we survived. It’s still a battle to use most public restrooms, but at least we’ve made progress. I think my child is just too clean for bathrooms used by so many other people!

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