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)