What to do when… (Part 1: Public Restrooms)

What to do when…

Welcome to my new blog series!  I wanted to share these stories with you so that you feel like you have an option out when stuck in a sticky situation.  As a parent you’ll often find yourself stuck in the strangest situations and feel crazy for what your thoughts are as to what to do or even crazier for the actions you take.  Don’t worry, if your actions have your child(ren)’s best interest in mind then you made the right choice!

Transitioning from changing diapers to taking your toddler to the bathroom is always fun!  Each child goes through his/her own potty training experience which is more like a crazy roller-coaster ride.  To parents that are currently in a frustrating potty training situation, don’t worry about it, we’ve all been there and trust me, one day you’ll look back and laugh!

Now that Sophia is potty trained we’ve entered into a new world or public restroom usage.  When your child says: “I’ve gotta go!”  Well, you better get goin!  When I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon, Sophia was in the middle of being potty trained so when she was along for the ride in the jog stroller I had to be sure to properly stake out where I was going to be running so that we could easily access a bathroom.  Please note that this wasn’t something that I thought of ahead of time, it came after the fact when running on a paved trail one day she said those direction changing words and I had no clue what to do so she used “the tree line” (as Troy calls it).  From then on I knew to run where there would be plenty of bathroom options and I always made sure she “tried” to go before we began.  Since then, whenever we are out in public, I immediately stake out where the bathrooms are.  If I’ve been somewhere, you better believe I know the location of every bathroom!

Yet I haven’t been everywhere so with each new place that we go, a new adventure is awaiting!  Now that we live down in SouthEast Georgia, we’ve been going to the beach a ton.  We purchased a year pass for our Odyssey so that we can go to Jekyll Island whenever we want; it’s been great!  Yet Jekyll Island isn’t within walking distance from Fort Stewart, it’s about 70ish miles from our door to the beach.  For a toddler, that distance can be a bit tricky.  We make sure she “tries” to go before we leave but as you all know, that doesn’t mean she always goes.  Sometimes we make it all the way without having to stop and other times we don’t.

This past weekend, we had to stop.  We stopped somewhere we had never been before.  It was a McDonalds/Shell gas station.  I take Sophia in and turn the corner to where I think the bathroom will be (after a while you realize most places like this are set up the same).  I turn the corner and notice that there is a huge line for the lady’s room.  I glance at the mens room and notice that there’s no line.  With Sophia now screaming how badly she has to go, I walk into the mens room and straight into a stall (mind you it’s a tiny 2-stall restroom).  I help her go potty, and when I open the door to the stall, well, now there are men in the mens room.  I look straight at the exit and carry Sophia out and get shouted at “Hey, you’re in the wrong room lady!”  I keep walking.  When I exit I get strange looks from the ladies staring in line.  I keep walking and go to the car.  We were on our way to the beach so I didn’t have time to stop and talk to them about why I did what I did.  So hey, if you are reading this and you saw me do this, GET OVER IT!  My toddler had to go to the bathroom and the ladies in line weren’t about to cut a screaming toddler doing the potty dance any slack so I used the “wrong” restroom.

I have many issues with public restrooms in this country and I know I’m not alone.  I think that people need to have better manners when it comes to using public facilities.  I could go on and on and on about the things that occur in public restrooms that annoy me – not flushing the toilet is a huge one.  I know from personal experience that the toddler situation can ruin a day, especially for the child, having an accident when they’ve been accident free for a long time can be detrimental to them.  What’s worse is when that accident could have been prevented had someone been kind enough to let the toddler take his/her spot.

So please, when you see a parent with a toddler doing the potty dance or a pregnant lady or an elderly person, please cut them some slack and consider offering your spot in line to them because it may not be as easy for them to hold it in.


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