Throwing Caution (and pee pee) to the Wind

(Stopping to take in a view of the city.)

My son will be 3 years old next month. Thankfully, he is nearly fully potty trained.

As those readers with older kids know the whole potty training process can be quite an ordeal as you and the child are going through it day after day, month after month. Instilling in a little person the importance of being mentally aware of when and where they have to do their business takes a whole lot of patience, understanding, fortitude and trust.  Parents try to gently support their child in learning concepts that need to become second nature in order for the child to be fully successful.  And, a good parent will listen and respond when possible when the child tells them they have reached their limit.

My wife and I had just one of those moments yesterday with our son. He is in underwear now and after a few months where we took him to the nearest bathroom on a pretty regular schedule, we have recently begun to put our trust more in him regarding his potty schedule. Anyway, we were out for a long, scenic bike ride in our neighborhood and were pedaling along the boardwalk at Seattle’s crowded Alki Beach when Lukas who was nestled in his bike seat between my legs, announced to me that he needed to pee.

We quickly pulled over in order to have a conversation with our son. “Can you hold it until we get to the next bathroom Buddy?” I asked. He responded by shaking his head no. “I have to go Daddy.” he repeated. I looked over at my wife, since we are amazingly collaborative in such matters. We both then scanned the surrounding scene. We were on a path next to a busy road to our right. There was a long drop-off to the ocean to our left. On the path in front and in back of us were several people walking, riding, or skating along. My wife then pointed to a lone, small tree (more of a shrub really) not too far away. “Take him there”.

I was reluctant since that small tree provided practically no cover, but decided in that moment that my speculations about the opinions of a few strangers when seeing a small child peeing in public weren’t worth the larger trauma of my son wetting himself and having to either endure a full on public change, or else riding to the next rest stop in sopping wet pants. I took him straight away to the tree, pulled down his pants and in 30 seconds the whole thing was over.

“No one even gave you a second look.” my wife assured me. However, in reality I didn’t need her assurance to know it was the correct decision. My son had told me he had to go and couldn’t wait, and I trusted him. I believe that trust has, and will, go a long way in getting us over the final hurdles of potty training. Likewise, I believe that wherever you can develop small, or large measures of trust between yourself and your child, you should always strive to do so.

It will help them empower them to make sound decisions as they grow and face the tough challenges of adolescence.

How about you readers? Have you similarly let your child do their business in public in order to avoid a traumatic accident? How did that make you feel?

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