Let’s be honest: Potty training can be a nightmare. It’s that in-between phase where you’ve committed to the diaper but your child hasn’t quite mastered the art of “holding it” for more than five seconds that’s the worst. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve raced through the mall in a full-on sprint with a 3-year-old who just said, “I have to go pee” in my arms.
One mom — or perhaps grandmother, it’s hard to tell from the grainy photo – in British Columbia, Canada, skipped the mad dash to the potty, though, instead hoisting her toddler above a garbage can, pulling down his pants and letting him aim right into the trash. This being the age of the ever-present iPhone, a fellow shopper of course snapped a pic of the offense and shared it on Twitter; from there it went to reddit and onto local media outlets, and people proceeded to go a little nuts.
Here’s a sample of some of the comments on a national news site:
- “I find this quite disturbing. If the kid wet the floor, or had an accident, I would have no problem whatsoever. But this is planned action and it is totally unacceptable behaviour.”
- “At least he is not going in his pants, or on the floor...as a mom of three boys, I know that when a a child needs to go, they need to go!”
- “This mother has the same standards as most pet owners. The whole world is just one big toilet.”
- “When you gotta go, you gotta go. This coming from someone who vividly remembers being 4 years old, trapped in a traffic jam and my desperate mother unwrapping a brand new pot from the backseat so I could pee. Life happens.”
- “Do you know what I did when any of my 3 children had to go to the toilet, at the mall ? …I took them to the toilet!”
- “Oh come on.. he’s just a little kid. I’ve worked with kids for 19+ years now and this is normal. Especially for boys!”
There has been plenty of speculation as to the motivation behind the garbage can tinkle — perhaps the mom is practicing “elimination communication,” maybe there was a long line at the washroom, maybe culture plays a part, or maybe that little boy just really had to go. Whatever the reason, this is hardly the first time public potty training has made headlines.
Would I have stripped my kid half-naked and held her over a public garbage can? Probably not. More likely, I would’ve tucked her under my arm and made a beeline for either the nearest washroom or the nearest exit, depending on how much time we had — even if that meant an accident along the way. That being said, I’ve been caught in many situations I never dreamed I would since becoming a mom: I’ve had my children pee in parks, at playgrounds, on beaches, on embankments along the side of the highway; I’ve mopped up vomit at the bookstore, spit-up from a deli display case. It’s not always pretty, this motherhood thing.
Had I been at the mall that day, though, I hope that instead of taking a photo to share on social media I would’ve maybe just, with an understanding smile, pointed the way to the nearest bathroom.