The public toilet plunge

by Katie on July 21, 2015

My biggest fear in everything that could go on during potty training was most definitely public restrooms. And they have become every bit the torment I expected.

First, toddlers do not have an “inside voice”. They most certainly do not speak quietly. Everything that comes out of their mouth is just below a shout. Our toddler in particular has to announce everything she’s going to do, then give you a play-by-play of each moment as it’s happening. You can imagine the dose of humility one receives when accompanying said child in a public restroom. We won’t even go there.

Then there are the germs. Oh, the germs.

We are fairly certain we have the clumsiest child ever created. Bless her heart, she just can’t help running straight into walls and tumbling over her own feet every three steps, and couldn’t run straight to save her life. Now, I can say all of this very bluntly because she came by that physical trait very honestly. Those genetics are straight from her mama. It’s really the only physical proof she belongs to me at all. Any guesses where she fancies showing off her lack of coordination?

…Public restrooms. Particularly after we’ve washed her hands. Which makes me die a little inside each time it happens. Because, really? What’s worse than your toddler sprawled out, practically licking the floor of a public restroom? Not much, y’all. Not much.

On that note, you want to know what happens when you ask tell a toddler to not touch something? They touch it.

This includes every square inch of a public restroom, particularly each nook and cranny within the actual stall. That is, when they’re not desperately trying (and often succeeding) to open the door while it’s your turn.

Leyton’s favorite part of any public restroom is the opportunity to flush the toilet. I used to be able to convince her to let me pick her up to flush with her foot. Now? She demands to flush, preferably multiple times, and “Not with my foot, Mama! With my hand! With my hand!”

We also used to be able to avoid the toilet seat. When she first potty trained, I would scoop her up and just hold her while she took care of business in public restrooms. But now that she’s 2.5, and fully committed to the “I do it myself” stage for every. Single. Thing., she must simply be placed on the toilet, where she then has to grip the seat to hold herself up. And I stand there, staring down at my toddler’s tiny, precious hands gripping the seat shared with who-knows-how-many people and their backsides, and I physically shudder.

And then, the worst possible outcome of this situation happened over the weekend.

We were traveling back from a day spent in Prescott and stopped for Brandon to grab a quick bite at Culver’s. Thankfully, as far as public restrooms go, this one was top notch. But still, a public restroom.

There we were, Leyton with a death grip on the toilet seat, me watching in disgust, when…Splash!

She fell in the toilet, y’all. The toilet in a public restroom.

Surprisingly, I was able to laugh, rather than cry, and we both ended up with the giggles as we attempted to dry her off with the available toilet paper.

When we were safely back in the car, I was retelling the story to Brandon, and Leyton (as she always does when she knows we’re talking about her) was intently listening.

Brandon asked her, “Leyton, did you fall in the potty?”

“Yes,” she said, “I not ‘posed to do that!”

I hadn’t really gone over that fact with her after the incident, so I was glad to hear she realized it wasn’t something we wanted to add to our germ-laden public restroom experiences. Now if I could just convince her on everything else…




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