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Boy Pees in Mall Garbage Can

Which Is Worse: Where This Boy Peed or the Reaction He's Getting?

Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this one on a potty training faux pas.

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.

Related: 15 magical ways to get your infant to stop crying

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 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.

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Join The Conversation
April14377653 April14377653 3 years
As if it's not embarrassing enough for the mum n child to have to do it where they did, but now some judgemental twit posts it online! No one but the mum herself knows the circumstances behind this. We adults try to get to the loo on time, children have a mind of their own- and it's usually focussed on toys/ play/ food! My kids have had emergency wees everywhere! But not in the middle of the shopping centre lol I can only pray our soon to be trained young boy doesn't pull stunts like this!
CoMMember13613660115019 CoMMember13613660115019 3 years
It's very surprising to me the things that get people in a tizzy. A toddler peed in a trashcan. Who cares? I can see why people would be up in arms about it being captured on camera without permission and posted on the internet though.
Iris-Crystal14872788 Iris-Crystal14872788 3 years
well, forget the little boy, I"ll tell u what I would do if I had to go to the bathroom and its to far for me to get to it, go outside and hide in the or trash can and pee, my mother use to tell me it's easy to drop your pant then to walk around with pee on you
SavannahDaugherty SavannahDaugherty 3 years
Who the hell takes a picture like this?! No one in their right mind should be photographing a childs genitals. >.>
ParsiGonzalez ParsiGonzalez 3 years
I completely agree with Kathy. Now that's a mom! Lol when I was little and I had to go, my mom, she usually wore long and wide skirts so being that I'm from NY my mom would let me squat at the end of subway station and cover me with her skirt.... Wow I can't believe I remember that lol
ParsiGonzalez ParsiGonzalez 3 years
I'm starting to train my 22mo old little girl, so something tells me that I'm going to have to put a portable potty in my van so she can have all the privacy she needs when we're on the go lol
Stacey14871270 Stacey14871270 3 years
i agree with kathy i cant even take a pic of my own child playing in sand ect at baby social incase any one elses child ends up in pic so it is wrong to take pics like this of other peoples kids and fare enough she should have tried to get kid to toilet maybe even taken some potty training nappies out with her for this kinda reason but at the same time alot of grown men urinate in streets and so do some women when drunk and that is just as bad
JenC7082 JenC7082 3 years
While I don't think anyone should have taken a picture, I also don't think the mom should have had her child urinate in a garbage can :( Part of potty training is teaching your kids to hold it until they get somewhere appropriate to go, and this is NOT the place. I've seen what happens when you let your child "water the weeds" wherever they are, at the exact time they need to go and it's not pretty. In a public park on the ground - NO, people sit on the grass, kids play on it, and while I don't want my kids to play in animal excrement or urine, the same goes for human waste. I get it, the kid had to go, so you do what you can - run like mad to a toilet! And before anyone gets upset and says something, yes I DO have kids and I've done the potty training bit, all without letting them use the world as their personal toilet.
Hollie69452 Hollie69452 3 years
I agree with Kathy14870068......well said!
Kathy14870068 Kathy14870068 3 years
I will echo what many others have said. Since when did it become okay to photograph someone else's child and post it on the Internet! And, for that matter, their naked child! No, I don't look at this and see anything pornographic, but some sicko might! I am pretty sure it's illegal to post pictures of a child's genitals for the world to see! I even recently read a story of parents who were arrested and deported for taking naked pics of their baby, which showed the genitals! Plus, who cares if they were from China or not. And, how very ignorant of people to assume that, just because someone looks Asian, that they are not American? Plus, this didn't even happen in America, it happened in Canada. Canada has Asian citizens too, ya know! Good Lord, the ignorance is blinding! As the mom of an Autistic little boy, I've had to let my child urinate in public before. We had no access to a bathroom and he HAD to go and wouldn't even think of going in a pull up or in one of his little sister's diapers. He cried and cried and cried some more! So, I found an area in the parking lot, provided him as much privacy as possible, and let him pee. None of us know the circumstances here. And, I honestly don't care. He's a baby, for God sake! If I had witnessed this, I'd have helped the woman provide the tiny child some privacy. I'd NEVER have snapped a picture of a little boy and posted it online for it to go viral! Shame on the person who took this photo! The mom, or gmom, has nothing to be ashamed of. And, neither does this little guy.
BonnieHsia BonnieHsia 3 years
My son experienced a VERY traumatic time on an excessively loud and forceful auto-flush potty last month. Now, he would rather hold it until its physically impossible than to use a public toilet. In the interest of his bladder and kidney health, the therapist suggested that I continue offering him opportunities to use toilets, but also said that it's perfectly reasonable to "water the weeds" in the parking lot until he can outgrow this phobia. It is frustrating as heck to deal with this, but even with peeing right before we leave the house, it is sometimes unavoidable. Desperation is a powerful motivator for parents!
JodieFraser JodieFraser 3 years
omg.. since when has a little boy peeing become "child pornography" if you think it's "porn" then you're the sick one.
ginachan33615 ginachan33615 3 years
This had nothing to do with emergency, many people from china would do the same thing even though there's a toilet next to the bin or the bushes whatever.
LinneaCaldwell LinneaCaldwell 3 years
Ha well this is EXTREMELY normal and common in China. Seen that and everything else. We in America are so uptight about where kids pee. At least it's a trash can meant for waste.
MandyVickery MandyVickery 3 years
I agree with most of the other comments - more disturbing than a little boy peeing in rubbish bin is that someone took a picture of it and distributed it around the world!! Better to pee in a bin than have people slipping in pee all over the floor 'cause he couldn't hold it! Now he and his caregiver are made to feel ashamed - when the person who took the photo and didn't help cover this little boy's modesty should be the one feeling ashamed!! Shame on you -I hope you have to deal with a small child who desperately needs to pee one day and see what you do about it then.
PaulaShearer PaulaShearer 3 years
Oh good grief. A little boy peed in a trash can. Big deal. When a little boy that age has to go, he has to go NOW. Why on earth would someone take a picture of that and post it where everyone can see it The poor kid.
SarahHansen SarahHansen 3 years
I am not offended by the fact that the little boy is peeing in the trash. I am more ungrateful that a person has stopped and taken a picture of a young child basically naked and plastered it all over the internet. Where I am from that is child pornography. Why didn't the person go stand and block the other people from seeing it instead of taking a picture. I know it is not the best thing to do to encourage this but no one knows the circumstances why this person has their child peeing right there.
CoMMember13611620346852 CoMMember13611620346852 3 years
I'm a lot less offended by the peeing in a trash can than I am by the person who created and distributed child pornography.
HeatherBeckwith HeatherBeckwith 3 years
The person who took the photo should be charged with child pornography. The poor kid had to go. lil ones can't always hold it. The mom/gma did the right thing.
14868984 14868984 3 years
It is a garbage can made to contain waste! If the kids couldn't hold it in - GOOD THING SHE CAUGHT IT! and that he didn't have to get drenched in piss and feel like he failed when he tried to communicate his needs but was too far from the toilet. AND WHAT A SICK PERSON TO TAKE A PICTURE OF A CHILD WHILE THEY ARE NAKED AND POST IT ON THE INTERNET!!! This parent should press charges - for all we know there could be some sick paedophile freak checking the kid out in a vulnerable position! Nobody has the right to distribute photos of a naked child
DoreenStodolski DoreenStodolski 3 years
Leave It to the Forigners !,,,, Why not the rest room of the mall ?, the Outside,,,,or better,,,Her Purse ?,,,L O L !,,,These Ppl have NO REGUARD for us Here in the U.S.!
Sheri14868851 Sheri14868851 3 years
To be truthful, this is a sad commentary of our times. As a mother of 4 boys potty training is tough enough without people judging your every move. Was this the ideal place for any child to pee, probably not. When did we as a society become so voyeristic that it is appropriate to video or even photograph anyone's child in this matter?? Shame on the person behind the camera. Atleast the little guy was trying to what was right!!! Can you say the same for yourself??
marie77686 marie77686 3 years
PSS: I remember going into a second hand clothes store our son was 6 yr s old, he desperately needed to do a number 1, pee that is, as I Mother I asked politely to use the shops toilet for our child, I was refuse to, and I had not where else to take him, so I had to take him out side and pee in the bush, I felt awful for our son being refused to have to go our side, but what was I to do? I did tell them how unreasonable they where but was not going to stand and argue, as it was not them I needed to help.... if I worked in a shop of corse I would allow any Mother to send their Child to the Toilet. Would any one? All that's in a Mother's mind is to " quickly help their children rid of any uncomfortable situation for their kids, and not worry what others think or say, its not and no an intention to do some thing bad, thus is not a crime committed. Jeeeps... Now go and find and talk about something worth while....
DawnEberlyValley DawnEberlyValley 3 years
If I am correct they look they could be Asian. When we were in China adopting our daughter there were children everywhere relieving themselves when needed. The children wear split pants instead of diapers, usually due to cost but there are children everywhere urinating. A store owner told me to take my then 5 year old daughter out in the alley when I asked her where the restroom was. She is my biological child so was used to the American culture and was not about to use the alley as her bathroom. So I think we need to first remember that she may be used to a different culture than we are before people pass judgment.
CoMMember13631190471612 CoMMember13631190471612 3 years
Maybe he had already wet through all the clothes he had spare and the woman helping him there thought not another pair, just let him go here. It's only urine, it's not like you eat out of bins!
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