PARENTS

Would You Let Your Children Poo In Public?

16/04/2013 23:58 | Updated 22 May 2015

Would you let your children poo in public?

I, by the way, would answer that question with an emphatic no.

But it appears, things aren't as cut and dried (pun intended) for everyone.

Some years ago, browsing souvenirs in a seaside gift shop, I sniffed a pungent pong that wasn't coming from a burger van across the way.

On the other side of the store, my friend Georgie had unfurled a portable potty. Her daughter Sophie had left us a present to remember. The sales assistant's face was a picture.

Never had the expression looking down your nose at someone been more fitting.

I couldn't believe it. I expressed my horror but Georgie didn't care. She considered it natural, as normal as breastfeeding. My protests that it wasn't at all the same fell on deaf ears.

The next time, Sophie was at it in Primark and so was her little mate, Frankie.

I was even more disturbed. There was a very nice shopping centre loo yards away.

But I was outnumbered - both my mates thought it was OK. Days ago these memories came flooding back when I saw an onlooker kick up a stink on Twitter about a very similar incident.

A child had used their portable potty in a coffee shop. Yes a coffee shop. I hope the mum or dad with them was given a stern talking to.

i

How have parents reached such a sense of entitlement for our little darlings that they think this is acceptable behaviour?

i

I accept there may be times when a rushed visit to the loo is needed – an emergency even. But surely they should remain just that – an emergency dash to a private cubicle, not a case of encouraging your little one to whip out their bottom when nature calls.

My friend Kim agrees. She acknowledges sometimes a child needs a wee in the most awkward of places and that a portable potty could come in handy. But she adds foraging in your handbag for such an accessory in the middle of a shop for a number two, is beyond the pale.

"There's a time and place for everything," says Kim, mum to Ollie, four.

"You have to teach kids at an early age to hold themselves while you find the nearest toilet. Letting them poo in a coffee shop seating area? No, just no."

Mum-of-two and blogger Pippa from A Mother's Ramblings says she considers it an excellent idea for parents to travel equipped with a portable potty.

But she adds they aren't needed when there are plenty of public toilets around.

She says: "When toddlers are just learning the signs of needing the toilet, it's often a rather quick dash to the bathroom and if you are out and about this can be problematic.

"Having a portable potty with you can ease some of this worry and can make the toddlers feel more secure in their own choices about when they need the toilet," says Pippa whose daughter is now eight and her son, four.

"Both my children have used portable potties. We actually have three of them now for some reason. They live in the car and are rather useful for when someone is feeling travel sick."

Pippa doesn't share my enthusiasm for decreeing when and where such an aid should be called upon.

She says: "It depends on your own circumstances! I would never tell someone they were using them too much as they might always be out and about.

"For us we had them with us at all times when we were potty training on family walks, but we didn't use them when we were in a shopping centre for example.

"Now they live in the storage space in our car floor for the just in case moments.

"They are emergency use only now that my two are fully potty trained and an emergency is when we are on the motorway and nowhere near a services. When the children were first learning an emergency was 'I need to pee now.'

"My son has just been diagnosed as a diabetic and so we did have a few moments in the last couple of months where he needed to pee every ten minutes or so and the potty was invaluable then."

"I'd rather if the children need to go they went in a potty than stood at the side of the road peeing into a bush or similar.

"It makes sense to me to have something like a portable potty with you to use because you are teaching toddlers there are appropriate places to go to the toilet rather than in their nappy or underwear and so having a potty when you are out is saying pee goes in the toilet or potty."

I admire Pippa's even handed and thoughtful approach.

But if I ever chance across a toddler caught short within breathing distance of my cappuccino I may not be so understanding.

i

They can pee right off.

i

What do you think?

Would you potty train your child on a portable potty in a shop or cafe?

Suggest a correction