• Thu, Nov 8 2012

If Letting Your Kid Pee In The Street Means Pricey Fines Then I Owe Thousands Of Dollars

A mother in Oklahoma was recently slapped with a ticket that comes with a potential $2,500 fine for allowing her son to urinate in public. $2,500?!?! I spent the next 10 minutes thanking my lucky stars I’ve never gotten caught doing exactly that.

My son was potty-trained at the age of two and I used to justify this crude act by the size of his bladder.

“He can’t hold it until we get home!” I thought, especially since I had just read about the dangers of early training.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about “dysfunctional voiding” – a condition that can lead to sudden accidents, urinary frequency, and urinary tract infections, all because of early training – until after he was fully potty-trained.  At that point, I wasn’t going to send him back to diapers, but I was sure as hell not going to force him to hold it.  So I let my potty training toddler go on the street.

We were always discreet, choosing a spot where people would not be walking in it, and I shielded him from the eyes of any potential gawkers. Besides, we live in Manhattan where I can’t walk three feet without having to jump over an enormous puddle of disgusting dog urine, right smack in the middle of the sidewalk. Don’t even get me started on watching them deposit runny bowel movements on the very concrete on which thousands of people walk everyday.  For the record, I have never let my son do that! But the moment he told me he had to “go pee-pee” I shoved him in a corner and let him do his business.

Then two turned into three. I got stricter about allowing him to go the moment he felt the urge.  If we were close enough to home I told him he simply had to wait. If we weren’t, I started looking for public restrooms we could duck into. But just because he is three doesn’t mean he has some super bladder. According to pediatric urologist Steve Hodges, children just a few months younger than him ”should not manage their own toileting habits any more than they should manage their college funds.” Has his bladder grown that much in the past three months?  Is it safe for him to hold his urges now?  More importantly, is it safe for him to manage his own college fund? Because I’m ready to use that for a vacation if someone doesn’t convince me otherwise.

With these burning questions still keeping me up at night, I can be certain of one thing: I am glad the Piedmont Chief of Police doesn’t live in my neighborhood.  I would owe at least $20,000 by now.

(photo: Pitchayarat Chootai / Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Carinn Jade, on twitter.
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  • no

    Gross.

  • ipsedixit010

    People get very offended when you compare children to dogs…except when it suits their cause.

    Comparing it to a dog’s is ridiculous. If that’s the case, then ANYONE, adults included, should just be able to go in public “because a dog does it.”

    • Tinyfaeri

      You beat me to it. :)

    • Gosh

      So true!
      Also, these same mothers will complain against the town if the streets start smelling bad and look dirty because of all the kid pee.

    • Gosh2

      I googled the story and found out that the kid went in his own front yard, not even on the streets! Comparing that to letting your kid go in the streets is not fair.

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      In NYC we don’t have yards. I live in a multi-unit apartment building. And I can tell you I have never complained about the streets smelling bad – that would be an endless battle!

    • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

      Obviously I agree dogs and children are not the same, but in this case isn’t there some symmetry? An adult should surely know better and there is no excuse for public urination, but dogs and children have special circumstances in this case. Or at least that was my parallel here.

    • http://twitter.com/MissColeman3 Miss Coleman

      But there IS an adult that knows better. You. If the kid was alone, that would be one thing… but for an adult to allow, even encourage it is just disturbing. At what age does it go from being ok to being public indecency? Do you start weaning the child from street-peeing? How do you explain to him that its ok at 3, but not at 10? I’m willing to bet the vast majority of women in NYC raise children without letting them pee in the streets.

    • lea

      I agree. And I also think that dog owners shouldn’t really be letting their dogs pee in the street either! Gross.

    • Tinyfaeri

      The difference is that dogs can’t use the toilets at one of the 5 billion restaurants, bars, coffee shops and shopping centers in NYC or public facilities in the park, and children can. In major cities, a bathroom is rarely ever more than a block away – you might have to buy a soda to use it, but it’s there. Encouraging your child to pee in the streets is not only disgusting, it’s a bad lesson for him to learn that the world is his toilet. It’s not.

    • Kel

      Dogs also don’t know how to use toilet paper, thus they lick their own asses. Do you encourage your kid to do that too when you run out of TP?

  • danielle

    Of course toodlers in the city pee in the streets. I dont see any problem with it. There are no public restrooms except some disgusting ones in parks. Stores do not have bathrooms and most restaurants keep the doors locked or are down a flight of stairs ( making it ver hard for stroller wielding non-patrons to slip into.)
    A toddler is much more dog like than adult like in terms of bathroom habits. Just please curb your baby.

    • Oh Please.

      1. Sorry to break it to you, but your precious toddler is as, if not more, germ-infested than public restrooms. Disgusting, you say? I’d rather take my chances using a park public restroom than attend a toddler birthday party.

      2. SO SORRY life is hard when you have a stroller and you have to walk down a flight of stairs…Still doesn’t make public urination acceptable.

  • K.

    Jeez, you’d think that Manhattan was the kind of city where there wasn’t a restaurant or a Starbucks on every. single. corner. or something. Gosh, I’ve had a UTI myself and you know how those are! I’d never thought about dropping my pants right on 6th Avenue–but you’re right: I mean, the streets are disgusting already, and dogs do it, so why not let EVERYBODY pee on the sidewalk?

    Honey, I have a kid myself AND I’ve lived in BOTH Manhattan and Los Angeles, and your complaints are the complaints of an asswipe because let me tell you that if you can’t get your lazy butt to one of the 8 billion storefronts in New York to use a restroom, try having to pull off the freeway, drive around, and find someplace for the kid to go. You’re like the mommy who goes on a ski vacation and then complains about the burden of removing all the layers when her kid has to use the bathroom.

    Don’t be a mommy martyr. Have some decency. You don’t get extra liberties just because you had a kid. Deal with it. Please stop peeing on the sidewalks.

    • Venessa

      You are right about the stores! And I have noticed (from personal experience) that even if the restroom in the store is for employees only, if you ask them nicely and point out it is for your kid, they always let you use it.

  • chickadee

    What a special approach this is! Public urination IS against the law, and I can’t imagine that they make exceptions for children with immature bladders. I expect tgis waa suupposes to be a funny piece, but in a situation such as yours, in an urban setting, there is not much excuse. If he truly can’t control himself, you should get pull-ups. Public weeing by children is no less revolting than by drunken frat boys.

    • Venessa

      “If he truly can’t control himself, you should get pull-ups. ” – I wish more moms would just realize that. When I take my potty trained son to fairs or other places where there are no restrooms (or only filthy porta porties) I always put him in pull ups. If we are on the way somewhere near restrooms he goes there. But for the worst case scenarios..he is in a pull up so no accidents!

  • Tayer

    This is absolutely disgusting.

  • Renee J

    I hear of little boys being encouraged to pee in public, but never little girls.

  • chickadee

    Also, did you actually read the article you linked to? It’s a dead issue — the ticket was thrown out. But I guess it gave you a launching pad for talking about letting your son wee on the streets of Manhattan.

  • Rebecca

    And that is exactly why my kids weren’t potty trained until well after their 3rd birthdays. I put up with dirty looks and nosy comments about why my kids were still in pullups, but I wanted to be sure they were capable of holding it for short periods of time so we could actually leave the house without getting indecent on public sidewalks. Peeing in your own yard or in the woods on a nature walk is one thing, but manhattan??my husband works in midtown and we take the kids in all the time. I can’t imagine just letting them go on the sidewalk! I just don’t understand all this pressure about early potty training!

  • SMM

    First of all, you should be taking your toddler to the bathroom at least every two hours. I can not believe you do not come across a usable bathroom within two hour in the city. There is no excuse for teaching a child to urinate on the street. If you want him to water the plants in your apartment that is fine, but don’t make the rest of us suffer because your lazy.

  • Megan

    I know the focus is on the kids, but what about us moms? Many times I am out with the kids and need a potty break myself. Sometimes after they go I will go, but I find myself frequently being supermom and just holding it and then kicking myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity to relieve my own bathroom needs. Granted, sometimes this includes a #2 need of mine. Am I the only one who does this?

  • Peter Voth

    Peeing outside is fun. Little boys like to pee. Every little boy should experience peeing outside once in a while.