Your Public Potty Training Ruined My Corn Dog

Sick with corn dogOn Sunday, my husband and I took the kids to the state fair as a last hurrah before school starts this week. When the time came for us to eat “lunch” (I put “lunch” in quotes because funnel cake and a corn dog are state fair lunch, not real lunch) we grabbed a picnic table on the side of the long line of food stands and got our nosh on. Then, about halfway into my corn dog, it happened: a couple walking by with their son stopped about ten feet from our table, pulled out a collapsible, portable potty, pulled down their son’s shorts and underwear, and sat him down on it.

In the middle of the food court. In the middle of the road. And I mean, in the middle. People had to walk around them to get their delicious elephant ears and cheese fries.

I was shocked. I was sitting there, watching a child take a poop in a public place. How do I know he was pooping? Because this particular portable potty came with a clear plastic bag to capture their child’s evacuations.

Oh yes. I’m serious.


I kept looking around, wondering if I was the only one who was seeing what I was seeing. And you know what? Not one single person seemed to notice what was going on. If they did, they were much more polite than I am and pretended not to see it. Or maybe they see this shit all the time, I don’t know. The state fair attracts all kinds. For me, however, this was a novelty.

I have been through potty training – twice. I know how hard it is. I remember when taking my kids to a public place for more than twenty minutes was nerve-wracking, potentially embarrassing, and required many wipes and changes of clothes. But you know what? I never for one second considered whipping out a potty chair and allowing my child to relieve themselves in a public place. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t extraordinarily inconvenient emergencies, and I would not have blamed this couple if that was what this appeared to be, but it wasn’t. This was clearly the norm for them.

The second this kid said he needed to go, his parents dropped what they were doing and pulled out the potty. Even if it were an emergency, even if there were pee trickling down my kid’s leg, I would respect his privacy (because he is entitled to some, even if he’s three) and the corn dogs of those around me and take the extra minute to move off to the side. These parents didn’t look AT ALL concerned because apparently, this is what they do. State fair, grocery store, church, wherever. When Johnny needs to potty, Johnny is going potty. Now. Look away, Grandma.

Well, guess what. This is not okay. These people had no excuse for not finding a more private place. They weren’t running from the law, and they weren’t in a barren wasteland without trees or shelter. In fact, I saw this kid on the potty a second time, while they were watching the cattle judging. Just right there on the ground amidst the legs of strangers.

Please, people, don’t be selfish — there are other people around you. Life doesn’t revolve around you and your potty training issues. Have a little common courtesy and don’t force people to watch your child take a dump.

Is that really asking too much?

(photos: Dragon_Fang / ShutterstockPotty Training Concepts)

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  • CMJ

    If you would not shit openly on a portable toilet in the middle of a food court, it is not acceptable for your child to shit openly on a portable toilet in the middle of a food court.

    The end.

    • BarleyD

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    • rockmonster

      Begone, idiot spammer!

    • PAJane

      OMG, we can delete those now? PRAISE YE INTERNET GODS.

    • Elizabeth Wakefield

      I feel like people don’t believe that little kid shit is still…shit.

    • brebay

      Sadly I think they think it’s only THEIR little kid’s shit that isn’t still shit.

    • Spitting_mad

      I would bet lots and lots of people would shit in a food court. They shit in fitting rooms constantly. There are youtube videos of people shitting in the middle of the grocery aisle.

      Humans are terrible, filthy creatures. You mock my cat for pooping in a box, at least he has the decency to go in a dark hole and bury his leavings.

  • AP

    We have a problem at my work with parents directing their children to urinate in the showers. Said parents are too lazy to help pull wet swimsuits up and down, or lift the kid up onto the public toilet.

    It’s disgusting.

  • Kate Dane

    Uh, hygiene? No?
    I thought the mother who changed the babies poopy diaper on the restaurant table took the cake. Nope.

    • JJ

      She or he must be friends with this person. I bet they are the best of friends and they bring potties to restaurants together and let their child sit on one in the middle of public meals doing their business while eating. And if anyone dares to god forbid imply they are rude they go, “parents gotta do what a parent has gotta do don’t you judge me”. Well parents should find restrooms or take the kid behind a building where no other people are and give the kid at least the decency to not expose them and their bodily waste to everyone eating in public.

    • tSubh Dearg

      I would bet real money that these people are also some of the ones who think that women should breastfeed in the toilets because “ewww that’s disgusting, no one wants to see that”

    • Iwill Findu

      Same mother older child.

  • LadyClodia the Modest Rat
    • rockmonster

      I so wanna see this movie.

    • brebay

      What is it?

    • rockmonster

      Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

    • Spitting_mad

      This moving caused a fight in the wee hours with my now-husband.

  • rockmonster
  • Katherine Handcock

    When potty training my son, I kept a potty in the trunk of my car for emergencies. I did NOT carry it with me, and it most definitely wasn’t clear plastic! Urgh. If your kid will have an accident before you get someplace private, that accident is probably happening anyway, honestly.

    Besides, if it’s a food court, doesn’t that mean the, um, facilities are right near by? I totally get that some kids will only go on what they’re used to – my daughter was like that – but that’s when you bring the potty seat/portable potty INTO THE BATHROOM.

    • noelle 02

      Yes. In the car is different. Now my newly potty trained son peed in public four times but that was NOT parent approved!

    • EX

      Yes. I actually still have the potty in my car even though my daughter doesn’t need it anymore (I really need to clean out my car). There were only 2 times in the early days of potty training that we brought it with us (out of the car). One was to the park in the spring before the bathrooms were open for the year. The other was to my sister’s house when we went swimming. I set up the potty near the pool because I wasn’t sure my barely potty trained daughter would be able to wait long enough to get dried off and go inside. And judging by the fact that I know many people who let their fully potty trained kids pee in the grass when they’re out at the pool, I thought this was pretty benign.

  • Layla

    Awful. Once at a park I saw the nanny take her kid to pee on a big tree right in middle of a big kids playground where kids had just been playing around. The sad part is there was a line bushes and trees at far end of park away from where kids were playing that she could’ve taken him too. I understand it being an emergency some times and having very few options but this nanny did not even make an attempt to find a bathroom (located fairly closeby) or use a more appropriate outdoor place before having the kid whip out his junk and urinate on the tree.

    • smishsmash

      Recently, I was with my bil and nephew at a playground. My nephew says to me “I need to pee per in the bushes.” I honestly thought he was confused because a) he’s two and b) we were two minutes away from the house. But nope, my bil whisked off the pants and had him pee right there on the side of the playground. Then it happened again a week later in my backyard. Did not know what to say about THAT one, that’s for sure.

    • Litterboxjen

      I was at a gathering of in-laws one time, inside one aunt’s house. My nephew went to the door and threw it wide open and started peeing on the front porch. Surprised the crud out of a cousin and his girlfriend who were outside having a smoke. Had the nephew continued down the hallway (a distance of *maybe* 10 feet), he would’ve been inside the unoccupied bathroom and able to use the fully-functional toilet.

      The boy I’m currently gestating will not be taught that peeing outside is acceptable unless it’s literally an emergency — it seems to me that boys taught to pee outside during toilet training end up preferring that method.

      My parents used to carry around a toilet for me when I was in toilet-training mode, and apparently I did pee in a parking lot or two. But I was beside their car, sheltered probably as much as possible, and it wasn’t inconveniencing anyone. I’d rather deal with wet pants or diapers than have my poor kids go through what the kid in the story above is going through. I don’t even like changing my kid’s diapers in front of others; she deserves her dignity, too.

    • Spitting_mad

      My neighbor’s kid used to actually come OUT of his house to pee into the spot between our yards. He was probably ten years old, too.

      Until the day my visiting grandma screamed “I can SEE what you’re doing!” and he literally pissed himself.

    • Litterboxjen

      I love your grandma and need her to visit me.

    • Blahblah

      Maybe he just wanted to show all the other kids that it was really his tree.

    • Layla

      Haha or his nanny did? This was nanny initiated – only my kids will play on this tree. :)

    • brebay

      Some kids tried that at school when my son was in Kindergarten and they damn near called the cops to explain sexual harassment/indecent exposure…one of them may or may not have been my kid…anyway, I NEVER had allowed that, I don’t know where he got it, but point is, people are taking this super-seriously, so parents who do allow it should stop.

    • C.J.

      Boys have been trying to pee outside when their parents and teachers aren’t looking since….forever. I don’t get this whole let’s call the cops over it. Whatever happened to sending them to the principal’s office?

    • brebay

      When they first called me I was so shocked I was like, “Okay, yeah, whatever you have to do.” But I changed my mind as soon as I hung up and decided my 5-year-old didn’t really deserve to have a man with a gun calling him a criminal when even the teacher who saw it said there was no intent to show anyone anything. A little girl saw it and I think they were really worried her mom would freak out, and wanted to cover themselves, but I was home at that time, and drove straight to the school and just pulled him out of class before they had made a decision about calling the police. We lad a long, serious talk, and he got it. Was never an issue again.

    • C.J.

      I think involving police sends a bad message at that age even if there was intent to show anything. Kids are going to do things like that at that age. How the adults handle it will have a lot to do with how they feel about themselves and their bodies. A serious talk seems like a much better idea than being scared by a cop.

    • Layla

      Like with everything these days things seem to be escalated unnecessarily. I.e. Fights on playground getting cops involved. Seriously? Like you said there are plenty of different avenues of discipline to explore first. These kids will end up as sexual offenders at the age of 5. People lack common sense

    • M.

      My son (3) is FINALLY potty trained, really just in the last month or so. A couple of weeks ago we were at a park in Chicago, visiting my sister. My sister and I were chatting on a bench while my son ran around on the playground equipment. I’d look around every couple of minutes to make sure I knew where he was and at one point I looked over and he was over in a grassy area with his pants at his ankles peeing in the grass. Just before travelling to Chicago we had been on a trip to a lake where sometimes peeing outside was a necessity…whoopsie doodle, I didn’t MEAN to teach him that it was ok to just whip it out and pee wherever, but these things happen. I was mortified enough, I can’t even imagine if cops had gotten involved…that just seems really excessive with the little guys who don’t have all this “society” stuff figured out yet. ENCOURAGING your kid to just let it go in public is another matter, tho…if you’re unsure about their ability to hold it, put them in a pull-up for the day, jeez.

    • Layla

      I think totally different if kid initiated! Kids pick up the darndest things :)

      And I wouldn’t have even minded so much if she had made an attempt to find a more sanitary place aka an actual bathroom (which are right there and I’ve seen her at this park before) or at least go way off to the side.

    • M.

      Oh, I’m totally with you. I don’t take my newly potty trained kid to parks without bathrooms right now because I’m certainly not trying to teach the boy to just pee wherever he is. That’s just insane to have them pee on a tree if there are bathrooms right there!

  • Elizabeth Wakefield

    I have only potty trained one little girl who was highly motivated by Ariel panties and her extreme disgust with messes, but here is my take…

    First of all, I think that potty training doesn’t just include learning to sit and pee or poop on the potty, but also understanding that sometimes you have to hold your pee until you reach a restroom.

    Secondly, in addition to the disgustingness of the oh-so-public poop, what message are these parents sending their child? That his immediate needs surpass the health of those around him! That’s a dangerous mindset to instill in a young child.

    And lastly, I hate to be that person…but if I were in the midst of hard-core potty training my child (like the, put them on the potty rightthissecond stage), I would probably not go to the state fair. It just doesn’t sound like much fun for anyone involved.

    And here’s a Captain Obvious question for you – what the hell did they do with the bodily waste after the little prince was done? And then they carried that potty around with them…after their son had pooped or peed in it? Fucking gross.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Agreed on all points. I’m betting the bag is designed to be sealed and removed. Which just gave me an image of the bag being thrown out in the food court garbage bin. Blergh.

    • momma425

      Agreed. On all points.

      There are hundreds and thousands of parents who have gotten through potty training and accidents and rushing to the bathroom- all without letting their child pop a squat and shit in public. I can’t even imagine being in a mindset where I would think it’s okay to let my kid get naked and poop in public.

      If I had been there, I would have said something.

  • Lindsey

    Couldn’t you move off to the side, at least? Or, better yet, move and bring non-clear bags.

    • Michael Weldon

      Yeah, even if everything else was 100% the same some black hefty bags would have been a far better call.

  • Aimee
  • tk88

    It’s not even “realistic” potty training. Part of potty training is a kid learning the signals from their body and learning when they can wait a few minutes to go and when it’s ABOUT to happen. The parents whipping out this travel potty IMMEDIATELY isn’t teaching their son when he really needs to go to the bathroom–which is sooner, so he can hold it until he is at a toilet. And even if he did have an accident…that’s to be expected. It’s just unacceptable to have your kid pooping in a public place. I might turn a blind eye to a little boy peeing on a bush, but not this.

    • brebay

      For real, that’s more like just a diaper that you don’t wear. Shit wherever you want, whenever you want. Potty-training…you’re doing it wrong.

  • jo

    If my kids potty training status was so precarious, I would have opted for a pull-up that day. One afternoon of pull-ups isn’t going to destroy your whole potty training regimen.

  • Mehra Sarethi

    That is fucking disgusting and rude!! Somebody needs to tell them that the world doesn’t revolve around their snowflake.

  • C.J.

    These are the kind of people that make it so people cringe when they see parents and children come in places. Most people aren’t going to do something that disgusting but everyone always remembers the ones that do.

  • jendra_berri

    Sometimes you have to take your struggling potty training kid places, like the grocery store or back to school shopping for your older child. There’s also appointments. The state fair will never be a place anyone has to be unless you are a carnie, and say what you will about carnies, they all know how to use the toilet and they probably learned to do it out of public view like everyone else.

  • ShanLea

    This explains everything!! The reason I’ve been having issues potty training my 3 year old?? No audience!! BRB booking the nearest concert venue

  • alexesq33

    Just as I was about to have breakfast….*projectile vomits*
    What the hell is wrong w/ ppl? As PPs have said – this does not teach a child how to hold it, which is the ESSENTIAL part of potty training. ARGGG


    wait… are these the same parents that let there snowflake defecate on the plane in the seat? maybe the same culture. STILL SO VERY WRONG!

  • Katja Yount
  • Véronique the Attachment Shark

    I have so many issues with this! (granted, I have not yet started potty training my daughter, I still have a few months to go)

    1- If this family JUST started potty training (as in, it’s been approx 3 days), they should stay at home until potty training is established. This is the ONLY time where you should be in a hurry to bring your child to the toilet.
    2- How in the world is this a practical solution to teaching potty training? A child has to learn to hold it in until they reach the proper destination for bathroom relief. If you’re teaching a kid to drop their pants whenever they feel the urge, and wherever they are, you’re not doing it right!
    3- If the place you are going to doesn’t have access to potties and you are potty training, avoid it. If not, pull ups exist for those accidents.
    4- Has anyone thought of the fact that toddlers could feel embarrassed by having to poop in front of others? I mean, lots of kids do have a sense of wanting privacy and feel shame, especially when it comes to poop.
    5- Who in their right minds thought that this was a good invention to sell???? The only place I can see this being partly acceptable would be on a road trip in the middle of butt-fuck nowhere, or on a camping trip that doesn’t have toilets. Or hiking. All of these have a common denominator of being isolated. Not in front of hundreds of people.

  • Jill

    This is a situation where I wish I could vomit on command. I’d just walk up and casually be like “is your child taking a dump in the food courrt”—-vomit on everyone there. I feel like sometimes you have to fight people like that with something they understand…bodily fluids.

  • MerlePerle
  • OneFunnyMotha

    Lordy, Lordy. That was some State Fair. What the eff is wrong w/ people? That be cray cray.

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