Farm Manure Of A Different Kind

by admin on July 15, 2014

I would like to preface this story by saying that I really try and not judge other people’s parenting styles and so I have made an effort to minimize my own thoughts and give a simple account of what happened this past weekend.

I went with a group to a festival at a farm about 8 miles out of town. The farm has an upper and lower section with parking in the middle and port-a-potties. The area is all dirt/gravel and the owners live on the property.

We were walking down from the upper field to visit the lower section, about 100 yards.  In the parking lot, a mother was standing behind the open hatch of her van helping her daughter use the portable, training toilet she had in the back. I would guess the child was close to 3 years old. When the daughter was done, she lifted her off the toilet in the back of her van. She then took the toilet and dumped whatever contents were in it on the ground, as far as I could tell it was just a #1.

Here are the points I am having trouble deciding what the proper etiquette is:

1. Letting your child use the toilet in the back of the car in view of anyone walking past.
2. Dumping the contents onto the dirt ground of the parking lot in a public place that was also someone’s home.
3. If there are any possible reactions I could have done if 1 and/or 2 warranted it.

Ehell readers, HELP! 0714-14

Years ago we lived on a small farm and conducted educational farm tours and oh, the things I saw.    But this is a new one.   My thoughts are that since you are the customer/guest and not the owner of the property it is not within your sphere of responsibility to address this issue directly with another guest. I suggest bringing it to the attention of the owners/manager and let them handle it.   I would have wanted to know if someone was dumping human effluent onto my property.

The mom was lazy and unsanitary by dumping the contents of the training toilet on the  ground when there exists medical waste bags that are specifically used for that purpose or even a ziplock baggy would have worked.

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Devil's Advocate July 15, 2014 at 8:17 am

I see no problem with the child using the training toilet in the back of the car. Two people cannot fit into a porta potty and a child (especially one is who is just learning) is unlikely to use one. In potty training it is important to stay consistent; once they are out of that diaper you have to keep it off. So there I think the mom was fine.

At the same time, the mom should have some way to dispose of the contents without just dumping them on the ground. It makes me wonder if she does that all the time.

OP you did better then I would have done because I’m certain I would have made a face showing my disgust.

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KMC July 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a portable training toilet, so long as you can manage to shield the view. Children deserve privacy too and I think it’s important to teach them that this is a private activity. But, two people can fit just fine into a port a potty. I took my three year old son into one just last week and he used it like any other toilet. I’m not small by any means.

I do agree the mother should have been prepared and found a responsible, sanitary way to dispose of the mess.

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Calli Arcale July 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I disagree; I’ve gone into many port-a-potties with my child. It’s tight, but not really any more so than a lot of public bathroom stalls. Heck, I’ve been in airplane toilets with my toddler and infant at the same time, and those are even more cramped. It’s totally doable.

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The Elf July 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm

The issue might be less physical space and more psychological – the child might be taking to training slowly and not want to do it in someplace unusual. I get it.

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Enna July 19, 2014 at 6:37 am

Maybe KMC and Calli Arcale have come across different sized port-a-potties? I think both posters do make very good points. If the mother thought the port-a-pottie was too small she should have done more to sheild the child: maybe put a blanket up? She can stand behind the car but in front of the blanket so no one sees anything.

One time when I finshed work I walk home past an empty overfloow car park that isn’t used now.I heard a child talking so – looked left and the mother had pulled the little girl’s trousers down and I saw everything! I said, “I do apologise you don’t want an auidence” – the mum laughed and I walked on. Less then fifteen feet away there is a wood with lots of bushes: why not go there? I saw no human waste by the girl so don’t know what was going on. I spoke to a firend who has long young children and she said she would of taken her children behind the bushes. She was pretty shocked and said you never know someone might take a photo.

I do like the term port-a-pottie. I tend to say port-a-loo or port-a-cabing but I’m going to start saying port-a-pottie now.

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Enna July 19, 2014 at 6:39 am

P.S why the mother in the OP’s post did not empty the waste in the port-a-pottie is beyond me. Admin is right inform the owners/management.

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Cecilia July 15, 2014 at 8:28 am

Completely disgusting. I work in a tourist attraction that also gives educational tours and I have seen some questionable parenting decisions. A parent put his toddler on the counter , the child promptly urinated, which soaked his clothes and ran all over the counter. The parent never apologized or offered to clean it up! He just went on his way and as far as I could tell, he never changed the child’s clothing. The child was there for hours in urine soaked clothing. Most parents I know bring a change of clothing (sometimes more!) while potty training. Luckily, we have on-site housekeeping that have all the equipment and disinfectants needed to clean and sanitize areas such as that.

Most recently, we had a child who splashed and wet their clothing in one of our water displays (parent ignored what child was doing- they were on their phone) . The parent then went to the souvenir/gift store, bought a large t-shirt, put their child on the glass countertop/display case and *completely* stripped the child’s clothing off – shirt, shorts, underwear, sandals – and put the t-shirt on them. One of the employees told them the it was unsafe to put a 2-3 year old on the glass countertop, as it might break, and we had a family restroom with a bench that they could use to change the child’s clothing, but they ignored the employee and continued on with stripping the child naked in front of everyone who was in the shop at the time.

I try not to criticize the way others choose to raise their child. When parents make the world their child’s toilet, I think the world gets to say something.

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Rebecca July 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

I feel bad for those kids, especially the second one. I doubt he/she wanted to be stripped in front of a bunch of strangers.

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Cecilia July 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Really! Even a young child deserves privacy and respect. Maybe if the parent had paid a bit more attention to the child instead of the phone, the child would not have required a change of clothing, but I will not get started on that…

We have a large, family restroom that the parent could have used to change the child’s clothing. I use the term “family” because our attraction really is for families and sometimes, dad has to take daughter or mom has to take son. If it is just mom/dad with 2 or 3 children, having a larger restroom with a bench for the others to sit on really helps!

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Raven July 15, 2014 at 8:35 am

Gross gross gross.

I get using the training potty – that is a good idea, since kids aren’t usually so into portaloos (who is, really?) and as someone else posted, you can’t really fit two people inside anyway. However, flinging around bodily fluids is just nasty. If you’re going to do that, what was the point of the potty? Mom might as well have let her daughter do her business in the bushes! Ick! I really hope the little girl didn’t see her mother do that – monkey see, monkey do!

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Alicia July 15, 2014 at 8:38 am

Wouldn’t the porta potty be the place to dump the training potty?

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Marozia July 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I would’ve thought so. Instead of dumping it on the ground on someone’s property.
The mother was quite OK using the kid-sized potty, if that’s what the child was used to, but at least flush the contents down the toilet. Completely vulgar!!

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BearsMom July 15, 2014 at 8:51 am

Dumping it in a public plcae is a complete no no that I would have notified the owners of.

I fully admit that we take the training potty with us for our young child when we got places to avoid having to use porta potty or dealing with nasty gross bathrooms that are only cleaned once a year in the park, however I make sure my child is covered up while using it (because she without a doubt will need to go) and I leave the contents in there until it can be disposed of properly in a regular toilet.

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lkb July 15, 2014 at 8:51 am

It’s even more — errr, interesting? — when it’s an adult. Just a few weeks ago, I was driving on a dirt road that was busy-ish for a rural road because it was quite near a paved road and a freeway. I could see a pickup truck facing the opposite direction from the way I was traveling. As I got closer, I could see a man was sitting on the front bumper.

As I got closer still, I marveled that the man’s upper leg was awfully — pink looking!?! Flesh-toned in fact….

…and his lower legs were still covered…..

As I passed him (the second of three vehicles to pass him in short order), I could not help staring as I could not believe that I was actually witnessing an adult man doing #2 (yes, I saw “it” drop) essentially in the middle of the road with three vehicles passing by. He did not even go over to the side of the truck, which would have perhaps given him a little privacy. Or over behind the trees lining the road.

I kept looking in the rear view mirror (mainly because my brain could not comprehend what I had just seen), I saw a woman get out of the truck with what certainly looked like a roll of toilet paper.

When I returned home along the same road, about an hour later, there was a little pile of what looked like toilet paper in that spot.

Who does this?

Okay, I shouldn’t have stared but…..

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Cecilia July 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Wow. Holy smokes.

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The Elf July 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Well, I’ve had “potty emergencies” and intestinal distress. Not often, but enough to be sympathetic to anyone dropping a duece at the side of the road. You know they didn’t want to! Who would, short of an exhibitionist with an elimination fetish anyway? The one time I’ve had to do it, I went off the road a good distance and behind a tree. It was either going to be that or my drawers! Mr. Bumper Squatter and Ms. TP hauler should have done the same.

With long distance hiking/camping, I carry a small spade and “green” tp for that purpose. Dig a cathole, pop a squat, bury the evidence. You reduce the human impact on the environment and avoid an unsighly mess for another hiker or camper.

But what both of these things have in common is 1) emergency and 2) no proper place to go. You make do under those circumstances. This situation did not fit into those categories, and I think it’s likely the two people you saw did not make the best of a bad situation. I have no doubt the little girl was having an emergency – she’s a kid in training, it’s all or nothing always! But there was a proper place to go, so there is zero need for it to be dumped on the ground. That’s just nasty.

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Lkb July 16, 2014 at 5:32 am

Just to be clear, he was done in the middle of the road, not the ditch. He made no attempt to hide at all. He could have run to either side of the road where there were trees. It was also a busyish road.

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NostalgicGal July 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Totally tacky. I grew up farmgirl and though ‘watering the ditch’ was often done, you pulled over, got OUT of the road, and went down in ditch or up into a treeline to do your business. NOT ON THE ROAD EVER. If you had a chance to go to proper facilities, you did that INSTEAD.

Toilet training toddler, yes, the porta potty was the place to dump the training potty, NOT the grass, plantings, or parking lot. Ewwww.

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DGS July 15, 2014 at 9:02 am

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a training potty in the back of the car; with potty training, consistency is key, and a child is likely going to be intimidated and reluctant to use a portapotty (heck, I’m an adult, and I would try to avoid using one as much as possible and would prefer to scour the surrounding countryside for a rest stop or a gas station where I could use the public restroom). However, dispensing the contents into the bushes was disgusting. The mother should have emptied out the contents into the portapotty or secured them until she was near a bathroom where she could have disposed of them appropriately.

I have routinely changed my children in the back of my SUV, where I have a portable changing pad and an extra supply of diapers, wipes, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and diaper rash ointment, and I always keep 2 changes of clothes on hand (one in my bag and another in the car), as well as an extra towel or two (in case of vomit). I also have Ziploc-style baggies and plastic bags in the back of the car. Sometimes, public restrooms are disgustingly unsanitary, or the changing tables provided are broken and unsafe, or in certain settings (a festival or community fair), there might be a long line for the restroom, or traveling to the restroom might necessitate a really long walk. It’s safer, more hygienic and more convenient many times to simply change a soiled child in the car and then, travel to the nearest garbage can or the restroom to dispose of the dirty diaper. For my almost-potty-trained toddler, there is simply the routine of taking him to the bathroom EVERY 30-35 minutes (as inconvenient as it might be on occasion) but also putting him in a Pull-Up when we are out and about so as to avoid him soiling himself needlessly and having to change him. It’s a lot easier to throw out a damp Pull-Up than it is to change a wet, dirty child (and I would never dream of doing on top of a glass counter in a store…Jeez Louise. Not only does that convey disrespect to the store owner and the store patrons, it also conveys disrespect to one’s child. I would not want my private bodily functions displayed in public view; what makes it okay to do that to a child?)

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Terra July 15, 2014 at 9:09 am

She could have dumped the pee in the porta toilet. That’s just sheer laziness.

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Jaxsue July 17, 2014 at 11:21 am

I totally agree. Lazy…and disgusting!

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OP July 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

I am the OP. Thank you all for your input. I do not have any children of my own so the troubles of potty training are foreign to m.e

Your comments, admin, gave me an idea: Use the portable toilet in the back of the van, perhaps back in next time, though not necessary, and line the bowl with a medial waste bag. Easy disposal!

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tasryn July 16, 2014 at 3:46 am

You’re absolutely right, OP! In fact, as standard with these portable potties, they usually come with liners inside the bowl. Therefore, when you’ve child has completed their “business” you just tear off the bag and do it up (like you would if your dog had gone to the toilet and your were cleaning it up) and dispose of it in the nearest bin.

The other thing I have to point out is that small children learning to potty train sometimes don’t have the time to reach a toilet, even if it’s close by. They are still learning to recognise the signals that they need to go and often reach the “emergency” stage where they have to go immediately and there is no time to locate a toilet, stand in line, etc. Therefore these portable toilets are a godsend to pull out of your handbag for these emergencies. So I’d give her a pass on using the toilet but as everyone else said, disposing of human waste without the benefit of a bag is completely disgusting. Although this woman probably thinks “Well dogs urinate in those bushes all the time so what’s the difference between dog pee and baby pee?” But it’s still in bad taste and not something that anyone else shoudl have to see.

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Meegs July 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

Maybe I’m rude but I don’t really see a problem with either of these things. Its pee. On a farm. Just doesn’t really seem like a big deal to me. I probably wouldn’t have thougth twice about it.

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Nicole July 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm

It’s doesn’t matter that it’s a farm. It’s someone else’s property. Would you want someone peeing in your yard and justifying it by saying, “It’s just pee, on the ground”? The rules of etiquette require you to show respect to other people and their property, which the mother in this story did not do.

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Meegs July 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest, and I have a very nice yard. It’s only pee and sinks right into the ground. I just don’t think it’s a big deal.

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LovleAnjel July 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Pee kills grass. that’s why my neighbor has so many brown spots in the backyard- he lets the dogs out everyday instead of taking them for a walk.

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Season September 13, 2014 at 7:10 am

Pee only kills grass if you are a female dog. Otherwise, no problems.

Rieslingbamko July 16, 2014 at 7:51 am

Meegs, I was having the exact same thoughts. I don’t see what the big deal is. If it was a #2 I would feel a lot different.

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Marie July 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Glad I’m not the only thinking this wasn’t a big deal. Does everyone really believe “critters” aren’t peeing all over lawns all the time? Urine is clean and it soaks into the ground. She probably should have tossed it in an out of the way place, not right in the middle of the dirt/gravel parking area, though.

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Pat July 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Sorry Marie, but the “dumper” really had no way of knowing how the owners of the farm would feel about it. Maybe you would not be bothered, but to just assume it’s ok to dump the contents of a toilet on someone’s property is pretty rude and disrespectful.

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Shoegal July 15, 2014 at 9:19 am

Why aren’t babies/children human beings too? That mother probably wouldn’t dream of using a porta potty in the back of the van with the door wide open!! I see nothing wrong with having the potty available, it is cleaner than the public porto potties but why did the door to the van have to be open so that the whole world could see?

My mother was a big advocate that children be dressed and treated the same as everyone else. Would anyone else wear just a diaper or their underwear to the swimming pool with nothing else on or their PJs to church?

The mother was clearly lazy and could have carried the urine to the appropriate place to dispose of it properly. Dumping it on the ground in the parking space was the same in my book as littering. People are pigs and extremely lazy and want to do the easy thing – and not the right thing.

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Chelle July 15, 2014 at 9:39 am

Wow! Have any of you ever potty trained a child?
It is completely unreasonable to expect a young toddler to use a porta-potty. Good for those parents for being prepared. We kept a toddler potty in our for traveling too- sometimes we even pulled over to the side of the road to use it. When a toddler has to go, they have to go.
While, yes, mom should have walked away from the cars to dump the pee, is it really that big a deal? It was outside, gravel, just #1 (assuming no solid waste). The fluid is going to go right through the gravel. Do we expect pet owners to contain their liquid waste and carry it home in a ziplock bag? (Solid waste, absolutely – that’s a hill to die on for me) but urine? Really?
Outside at a farm? So not worth getting upset over…..

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Emmy July 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I thought the same thing. Nobody would expect a person to put pet urine in a ziplock bag and carry it home. Dumping the urine wasn’t polite, but it doesn’t seem that much worse than letting a dog urinate in the parking lot (or anywhere that isn’t the dog owner’s property). It would have been more polite to dispose of it in the port a potty or another more appropriate place. I have a child who is just entering potty training age now. She is tiny for her age and I would be afraid of her falling in the potty (that may be irrational, but I wouldn’t want to take any chances). There is also issues of lines and space in the port a potty. A parent should try to be discreet when having a child use the training potty, but total privacy is often not an option.

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admin July 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Our local Petsmart store has a dog “toilet” area in the parking lot. One can safely assume that people choose to not walk through that toilet area and have a reasonable expectation that the Petsmart store does not have puddles of dog pee they must avoid.

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Cecilia July 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

I have potty trained 2 boys. Having a portable potty toilet in the car and using it is fine, but children deserve privacy for a private act. I lived on a farm growing up, but we did not do tours. I think my father, mother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who ran and/or lived on the farm would not like someone dumping urine in our driveway, parking area or yard. It may just be “outside at a farm” to you, but it was our home. I’m sure they people who ran this farm wouldn’t appreciate someone dumping urine on the ground when they provided port-a-potties, because this was also their home.

If you had a visitor who dumped their child’s urine in your yard, would you feel the same? Sure, it’s outside, but still, it’s your *home*.

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Lenore July 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm

If she’s ok with throwing urine on a surface that could be regarded as public thoroughfare (parking lot), then chances are pretty good that she’s ok with throwing feces on the ground. Or vomit. Which is not couth or cool.

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LizaJane July 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm

This really isn’t a fair assumption. Feces and urine are NOT the same. Urine doesn’t sit on the ground. Most people still think urine is sterile, which was only recently disproven. I know plenty of people who would pee on the ground, say a farmer working in a field, but wouldn’t think of defecating there.

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ryo's girl July 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Agreed. A toddler would ceeate no more urine than a medium sized dog at most and no one would expect the owner to take that home. On the other hand, I think the mom could have disposed of it a little further away from the cars. And I think the lack of privacy for the child is inconsiderate although I agree with carrying the potty for the child to use for consistency’s sake.

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Amy A. July 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I think the problem with comparing a toddler to a dog is that, for most people, your dog doesn’t use a portable potty. It goes directly on the ground. In this case, however, there was no reason to dump urine on the ground; it could have easily and safely been disposed of properly. The mother in question simply chose not to, and that’s what’s rude about this.

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The Elf July 15, 2014 at 9:47 am

The port-o-potty was right there! I can understand if there was no where good to dispose of it, as kids gotta go and potty training is difficult. But the proper place to dump it was right there!

Regarding your first point, I’d give the mom a pass there. The kid is learning and that can be problematic, from what I understand. I don’t see it as much different than using the back of the van to change a diaper. Maybe if the kid were better trained, the port-o-potty would be the better option.

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Wild Irish Rose July 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

On a camping trip years ago, I was in the back seat of my aunt and uncle’s car. My cousin was being potty-trained at the time. She had to go, so my aunt let her use the potty in the car as we traveled down the highway (I swear I’m not making this up). She then opened her window and dumped the contents. I’d like to say she dumped them on the road, but no. That stuff flew right back in and hit me square in the face. Fortunately it was only urine, but no less nasty.

Just a little reminiscence. The mother in OP’s story should have dumped the contents into one of the port-a-potties.

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Byaboo July 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

My mom told me a story that happened almost a year ago. She was in the Walmart shopping center eating fast food, she had been running around that morning and didn’t want to go grocery shopping hungry, when she sees a large pick up truck pull up. This truck was an extended cab truck with four doors. My mom sees a woman get out and open the back door. With both the drivers door and the backseat drivers side door open the woman proceeded to pee in the parking lot. She then got in her truck and drove away. If it was an emergency then I can at least feel some semblance of compassion for the woman, I’ve been there when my body decides okay you have to go to the bathroom NOW so I understand being desperate, but my mom said this woman just got in her truck and left.

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Library Diva July 15, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Ewww! You know, every Wal-Mart I’ve ever been to has a public bathroom inside that you can use no-questions-asked. Why didn’t she just park the car and walk inside?

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Byaboo July 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

My mom and I both had the same statement. We both did our grocery shopping there and while the bathrooms had the typical mess, paper towels left on the sink or a little toilet paper on the floor, it was other wise clean (i.e. the toilets weren’t dirty nor the sink). I just don’t understand people some times.

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kingsrings July 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I saw something similar a few years ago. I was waiting in a long line at a food pantry. A woman also in line had to use the bathroom. The food pantry people refused her access to the restrooms on site no matter how much she begged them. Unbelievable! When people have to go, they have to go. So, she walked over to a little empty field nearby and did her business there. Disgusting, but she had to go, and they were refusing her the bathroom. Now if it had been me, I would have demanded to use their bathroom and simply just walked in and used it. I guess she was afraid of being kicked out permanently from the food pantry services, though.

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NostalgicGal July 15, 2014 at 6:53 pm

There was a store with restrooms and the person used the parking lot… NO. If you were in the middle of nowhere with no chance to pull off to a rest area or the like… it’s still take the ditch.

I don’t want to step in your puddle. There are diseases that can be transferred from bodily waste hence the reason why human waste is different and should be properly ‘deposited’ or otherwise handled. The woman using the parking lot is so wrong… she could have gone in and used the restrooms in the store!

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Byaboo July 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

It was a little bit of a joke with my mom and I that if there was a puddle in the parking lot to avoid it no matter what. I’ve had a medical issue that caused me to have to go to the bathroom immediately with very little time of warning and urgency. I would understand finding a ditch if I couldn’t find a restroom but if I knew the place had a bathroom I would power walk to it and not traumatize people with the potential of seeing something/stepping in something that could potentially harm them. I also wanted to add that I have walked into bathrooms before and said nope and walked out but the difference is I held it until I found a clean enough bathroom; this bathroom was in the clean enough range, there were usually a few paper towels laying around some toilet paper on the floor but the toilets were clean (and always were whenever I had to go). I don’t get people sometimes.

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WillyNilly August 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

This is a situation I was in a few months ago. I even happen to drive a truck. I found myself driving a distance of about 70 miles, with only my 5 week old twins. The highway had rest stops but due to construction many were closed. I also encountered quite a bit of traffic. And it was 11°f. I found myself in need of relief. Due to the limited rest stops the one I pulled into had a full parking lot – parking near the building was not an option. I had to make a decision. And I decided, instead of parking, taking out the stroller, loading 2 newborns into it, crossing a busy freezing parking lot, to no doubtedly wait in line for a restroom stall – which would undoubtedly not easily fit me and the double stroller, to instead park in a far corner, open the front & back doors (to give 3 walls of privacy at least) and squat & pee in the parking lot. I wasn’t thrilled to do it, and I’m sure the people in the two cars who drove by wondered why I would pee in the lot when a rest stop was right there, but I felt, at the time, it was my best option.

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Anonymous July 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

That’s gross–allowing the child to use the training potty in full view of others, and dumping the contents on the ground as well. As for potty training in general, I don’t think it confuses kids to transition to underwear slowly. When my brother was in that stage, my parents put him in underwear at home at first (during the day), and diapers when we were out and about, or when he was sleeping. Then, it became underwear while awake, and diapers for naptime and bedtime, and so on, and so forth, until he was in underwear all the time. My point is, it didn’t confuse or traumatize him, because he was fairly smart, and because my parents explained it to him clearly, concisely, and on a two-year-old level (which was probably no easy task). I don’t remember my own experience, because it was too long ago, but my parents probably did it the same way. Another thing–part of potty training is teaching kids how to use public bathrooms, and that includes port-a-potties, if the situation arises. So, I don’t think parents are doing their kids any favours by dragging the little plastic potties around everywhere, because that doesn’t actually teach them the right way to handle their bathroom needs in public. So, this mother was not only being rude and disgusting, but she was teaching her daughter a whole bunch of wrong lessons while she was at it.

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Elizabeth July 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

Perhaps the parent should have dumped the toilet’s contents into the Port-a-Potty toilet?

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Daisy July 15, 2014 at 10:24 am

In similar situations, I draped a car blanket over the area to make a little Mommy and Daughter tent that at least gave a nod to modesty. The part I find completely revolting is throwing the contents on the ground. How far away were those porta-potties, half a day’s walk? Why not take daughter by the hand and take the pot over to one to empty? Then Mom and daughter both clean their hands with wipes, properly dispose of them, and return to the car happy with a complete lesson in modesty, toileting, cleanliness, and consideration for others.

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MM July 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

Yeah, that’s gross and rude too – not just to the owners of the farm whose property this was, but also to any guests who may walk over that area. I don’t understand why the mother couldn’t just take the contents of the training toilet and dumped that into the “hole” in the port-a-potty.

Since others are sharing awful “children and toilet training” stories, here is one from when I interned at a museum that was in the heart of city. We had a group of 3- and 4-year-olds come visit us one day from the suburbs. I think the group leaders hadn’t planned this trip well, because it was 45 minutes each way on a bus for these children to come to us. When they finally arrived, one of the group leaders walked up to my supervisor and said, “It took so long for us to get here that one of the children had to use a bottle on the bus” and then handed her the bottle containing the child’s urine! Instead of asking where a trash can was, this woman expected us to dispose of this child’s pee-filled water bottle. It was so, so gross and I can’t believe anyone would think this was acceptable.

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AvidReader July 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

I have no problem with the training potty in the back of the vehicle. Actually, rather a good idea during toilet-training rather than having a child in need and a parent frantically looking for a facility in a rural location. Any parent in the midst of toilet-training can relate. I do take issue with the mother just dumping the contents out in the open rather than walking over to the provided porta-potties.

As to issue of small children and public urination, different standards apply in different countries. 25 years ago, when DH was in the army and stationed in rural southern Germany, DS was three years old. I was astounded when I saw German mothers taking their little boys somewhat out of view to relieve themselves. Everyone knew what was happening. Then I had a little boy in need. No one batted an eye when we wandered off to behind a bush. This did permissive standard did not apply to older children or adults.

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Pax July 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

I’ll preface my remarks by stating that I do not condone discarding human waste in a public area.

That said, I also understand the difficulty the mother could have been going through to manage her toddler, successfully have her use her training toilet, and possibly have to manage other children (if present) as well as the aforementioned toddler. The mother may not have been able to manage her family, make it to the portable toilet to discard the waste with a toddler in tow, and do this all while not spilling the waste. It sounds quite complicated. I understand why she made the decision she made. Again, I don’t condone the decision, but I can most definitely see why she chose the option she did. Can anyone offer a legitimate alternative? I’m genuinely curious.

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The Elf July 16, 2014 at 8:27 am

The port-o-potty was in the parking lot, where the van was. I’m sure she could have managed her children and dumped a toilet, even if it wasn’t the easiest thing. It would be the polite thing.

Alternatively, line the toilet so that the contents are less likely to spill, then as they get in the car to drive away, pull up the port-o-potty, get out, dump the toilet, put it back, drive away. The kids would be in car seats (easier to manage) and the van would be right next to the appropriate spot to discard the waste.

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JD July 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

We actually used to carry a training potty with us when our kids were training, and so did my daughter when training her child. The difference was that we shielded the child from view, with our bodies, blanket, whatever. We figured it might shock some to see it and so hid it, but we also didn’t want to teach our kids that such exposure was okay — too many weirdos out there, you know? And we dumped it in an appropriate spot — such as a porta-potty’s toilet or bag.
But no, I didn’t take toddlers into a porta-potty — they are usually too dirty, and a toddler can’t hover or keep her hands to herself in such a situation.
Funny — I just remembered that I always used an outhouse on my grandfather’s farm the many, many times we were there, without a worry in the world. At least only family used it, not a bunch of strangers.

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Princess Buttercup July 15, 2014 at 11:15 am

I think at the dumping part we pretty much all went “eeewwwww/yuck!”.
I get the potty chair. Porta potties are bad enough to adults, many kids are down right afraid of what might be down there in this basically open hole in the wild. It’s hard enough to potty train a child without adding in undesireable or frightening bathroom locations. (Though mom should have some consideration for her child and attempt to create some privacy for the kid so not everyone could see her private moment.)

But dumping it on the ground?! I probably would have involuntarily voiced a “gross” that depending on distance she may have heard. But I don’t imagine there is much you can do. Confronting the mother would likely result in an arguement since if she was fine with openly dumping it then she has no shame. And I don’t imagine there is much the home owners could do after the fact, especially not having seen it take place. Maybe set up some sort of block for that area so people don’t walk through human waste which could be dangerous but that’s about it.

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Kendra July 15, 2014 at 11:18 am

I can see why some people are disgusted, but I don’t know what else the mother could do. There is barely room in a porta pottie to turn around, much less empty something into it. And at the end of the day, the stuff is biodegradable. Animals go outside all the time. ;-)

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The Elf July 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Open the door, lift the lid, dump the training toilet. I don’t understand the not enough room point. It’s not like Mom had to get in there with the toilet – she could just reach or barely step in enough to dump. Should be plenty of room for an averaged sized human and an average sized training toilet.

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Lenore July 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I’ve been in my fair share of porta potties. There is indeed enough room to open the door, empty a training potty into it and flush with a minimum of fuss. Plus, the fact that she felt that a parking lot (which sees a lot of foot traffic as well) was the best place to dispose of human waste is gross.

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DanaJ July 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

If there were portaloos, why didn’t the mom just dump the potty contents into the toilet?

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CookieChica July 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

It is nasty but if you are standing/sitting in a public place as you read this, urine has been there. If you’re on a farm, urine has been there at least twice. It doesn’t make it less gross but it is true.

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LizaJane July 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I agree that she should have just used the bag in the travel potty. But it was #1, they were on a farm and there are already animals peeing outside everywhere.

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admin July 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

UH, no. Animals are contained within pens and most farm animals have a latrine area where they will defecate. Dumping human urine and feces in a public parking lot where people walk is unsanitary and unexpected.

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DanaJ July 15, 2014 at 2:06 pm

On a related note, with a group of friends an acquaintance was complaining about walking to and from work, past the nightclub district where all the doorways and alleys just reek of urine from men relieving themselves after leaving the nightclubs.

A male acquaintance said, “Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go. Sometimes you can’t find a bathroom easily and you have no choice.” To which someone countered: “And how many women do you see squatting in the alley? Somehow 50% of the population manages to find a bathroom when they gotta go.”

The world is not your toilet. Don’t pee in the park or parking lot. Diapers and potty contents should be dealt with properly.

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Kate July 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm

DanaJ, I absolutely love this response and will use it next time one of my male friends mentions the ‘need’ to urinate in an alleyway. Yes, you can have an urgent need to urinate when you’ve been drinking…but most people manage to locate a toilet first.

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Dominic July 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm

This!

And with no disrespect intended toward animals: etiquette, rules, ordinances, and laws = humans do not behave like animals (hopefully)

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JAN July 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I’m not condoning the mother’s action, I’m potty training a two year old myself and I put a blanket up for privacy and I have special sealable bags that line her portable potty chair that we keep in the back of our van. However, while livestock may be contained in pens on a farm, wild animals (such as the many rodents that search parking lots for munchies) urinate everywhere. Additionally, people routinely walk dogs and allow them to urinate in grass, on sidewalks, trees, and yes, in parking lots. I’m not excusing her behavior just letting you know that the outdoors is not “urine free.”

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admin July 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

A few months I ran a story about 2 female rugby fans who were caught on camera phone urinating in the bleacher seats rather than leave to use the toilets and miss any part of the game. By your reckoning you would view this as acceptable since urine is everywhere in nature?

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LizaJane July 16, 2014 at 8:24 am

No. Because a rugby stadium is not nature.

The Elf July 16, 2014 at 8:20 am

Aren’t we supposed to be more civilized than rodents? The port-o-potty was RIGHT THERE.

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LizaJane July 15, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Feces is an entirely different thing, I did specify urine. Wildlife is peeing everywhere, also. It soaks into the ground. I understand that I’m looking at this from the perspective of a rural dweller. In town/city it’s unacceptable.

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Lanes July 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

This was my thought, too. It’s a farm – chances are you’re already standing on some kind of pee or poop, notwithstanding whether the space is currently being used as a car park or not.

That said, the mother shouldn’t have dumped it in a puddle in the middle of a space that would clearly have foot-traffic any time soon. Walk a few steps and put it under some bushes, or a fence line – some place where people are unlikely to trod through it in the next week or so to give it time to ‘return to the earth’.

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admin July 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm

There are some farms which either restrict visitors from entering the barn or have them step in a antibacterial foot bath. Transmission of zoonotic diseases between humans and animals can be a serious matter for some farms.

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Lanes July 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Indeed Admin, but given this area was being used as a car park and the farm being used for a festival, I doubt the area was restricted in this way.

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Magicdomino July 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I realize that on a farm, the animals urinate and defecate on the ground. That doesn’t mean humans should be adding to the supply of raw fertilizer.

I won’t go into the training potty question, as that is better answered by people who have (or had) young children. (Can you buy disposable liners for this kind of situation?) But please don’t dump the contents out where others have to smell it. That’s disgusting.

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sofie July 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

If it was just #1, really, who cares? Dogs do #1 on sidewalks, grass, parking lots, parks, etc. every day. You may not like that fact either, but as long as that is the way it is, I think it’s relatively unproblematic to add a tiny amount (and when it’s a small child, it *is* a tiny amount) of human urine to the ground as well. Since it’s not really a health issue, but more one of provoking disgust in onlookers, I think the mom’s actions may not have been be perfect, but other observers might actually be more disgusted by her carrying the toilet or a bag of urine over to the port-a-potties.

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Tessa July 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm

A few years back, I had a garage sale. A lady pulls her truck up in front of the barn and proceeds to get out and use the front bumper to keep her balance as she peed. Fortunately, hubby and brother didn’t pop out of the barn at that moment. I just happened to be looking out the garage window. She then came in to shop. :)

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lafred July 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I live in a small Victorian village, with extremely narrow streets and houses very close together. At a recent village-wide event that took place in the evening, people were walking around, stopping to talk, and happily socializing. I was on my front porch talking to some neighbors when a mother and her 5-year-old daughter stopped next to a tree in someone’s yard across the street. The daughter exclaimed “Tree mommy, tree!” and started pulling down her pants and squatting right next to the tree (not even behind it). I called out that I had a bathroom they could use, but the mother said, laughing, “Oh no, she’s jealous that her brother can pee on a tree so she likes to do the same when she can.” I was so taken aback I was speechless! Disgusting!

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kingsrings July 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Omg……but part of me is just lol, too. It brings back memories of when I was a young child walking home from kindergarten with a little friend of mine. Every day on our walk home without fail he would stop to relieve himself behind a house. I can’t remember if it was his house, but I doubt it since he would have just gone inside and used the toilet. The homeowners had no idea! Of course being a little girl I thought it was fascinating and was quite jealous that I couldn’t pee that way, too.

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Jane July 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm

The owner knew someone was urinating. When the same spot is used over and over it has an obvious odor.

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Ladyxaviara July 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Ugh. I don’t mind the person using the potty in the back of the van, but dumping it on the ground? Gross.

At my old apartment building, a man and his young child were in the elevator with me. The child dropped his pants and peed on the elevator. His father said nothing. I looked at him and said “are you f******* kidding me??” (Not graceful, I admit)… People seem to think the world is their toilet.

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doodlemor July 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I actually saw long distance peeing on a webcam several years ago. I was looking at Gullfoss, Iceland, when it was very, very late at night there during the summertime, because I wanted to see the midnight sun. A man got out of his camper in the parking lot, peed behind it, and got back in. Yuck.

In today’s anecdote, I think that the woman was very rude to dump the pee on the ground where others would be walking. I wonder how she would feel if her child walked through someone else’s pee mud wearing sandals.

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ermine July 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

A little bit of kid pee is probably the least of your worries if you’re on a farm. I bet that whole place is coated in dog/cat/sheep/cow/goat/etc. pee. Lighten up.

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Whodunit July 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Everyone I know carries a potty for the toddlers in their car. Sure no one wants to see it, but it is no more gross to pour urine out than whatever from drink bottles and cups. And yes chickens walking around are defecating wherever they want.

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Anonymous July 16, 2014 at 6:31 am

What? No……it’s much grosser. I’d much rather accidentally step in mud created by water, or apple juice, or whatever, than in someone else’s bodily fluid. Also, when did this “bring the potty everywhere” become a thing? It seems like a fairly recent development.

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Joni July 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I remember my parents using them with my siblings in the 1980s, so they aren’t THAT recent a development.

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Allie July 15, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Nothing you should/could have said directly to her, but no, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to have your child using the potty in open view – be more discreet, for everyone’s sake, and dispose of the waste properly. It may be a farm, but that’s no reason to act like an animal.

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Mya July 16, 2014 at 3:08 am

I have no comment to make on the potty situation that hasn’t already been made but I agree with the consistency in potty training statements.

I REALLY disagree (to a point) with the universal condemnation of ‘discharging human effluent’ onto the property. I agree completely that it should NOT have been emptied onto the ground by the car as this wasn’t an appropriate place for multiple reasons, however I have to disabuse the notion that ‘ARGH Pee is bad, castigate the demon spawn’. As a farm (and indeed any undeveloped area) most wild animals will be peeing wherever they please and the majority of urine is water. Urine is actually really beneficial to plant life and as a veg gardener we routinely collect our urine and use it on the crops – Rhubarb in particular. When I was on the contraceptive pill I couldn’t use my urine due to the artificial hormones in it but now we’re trying for a baby it’s fine. Since a child is unlikely to have artificial hormones in her urine I’d have to say that on balance the benefits outweigh the ‘risks’.

That being said, as the OP mentioned the car park area was gravelled the mother COULD have chosen a more discrete place to empty the potty – in a grass verge or under a bush where ‘foot traffic’ would have been unlikely to encounter it.

If I were the mother in this scenario I WOULD empty the urine onto the ground but I would choose a more appropriate area.

I don’t think you’re wrong OP, but at the same time I think your concerns are misplaced.

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LizaJane July 16, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Great post.

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Huh July 16, 2014 at 8:18 am

I was just at a hotel swimming pool and witnessed a little girl walking into the pool area with her parents who walked over, stood right next to the pool and peed. (I know, I know, don’t think about how many kids pee in the pool, I’m trying not to.) My mom had been walking in behind them and said she heard the mother tell the girl to just pee there! Apparently they didn’t want to go back up to the room, and didn’t realize the pool had a bathroom a few short steps away.

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LizaJane July 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

What gets me most about this woman’s actions is that since she didn’t use a liner, the residue was in the potty when she put it back in her car.
For everyone talking about people relieving themselves in urban areas, you’re right, it’s gross to spray the side of a building or other hard surface. But that’s not what this story is about.

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BagLady July 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

I’ve never toilet-trained a child, but I know something about portapotties. My SO and I keep one of these in our tent when we camp (for No. 1 only). http://www.amazon.com/Sanitation-Equipment-Passport-Potty-Liter/dp/B0007L9J3Q

It’s a little bigger than a milk crate and seals up tight so there’s no odor. The seat detaches from the base, which holds the “stuff,” and it’s fairly easy to walk the base to a portajohn or regular toilet* to empty. I’ve never had a problem fitting inside a standard portajohn or bathroom stall with it, and I’m not a small person.

(*For the record, I’m talking about freestanding restrooms. I wouldn’t dream of carrying it through a store, restaurant or other facility.)

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PWH July 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I, like OP, don’t have any children. I have no qualms about a training toilet. It would have been nice if the parents would have provided the child with a little privacy during the act. I’m sure it would have been difficult if it is a rush situation though. The dumping of human waste is a big no-no in my books. Given that the portapotties were close by, the mother could have easily dumped the toilet there. You don’t know how long it will take for the waste to absorb into the ground and someone could easily step in it.

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Angel July 16, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I have potty trained two girls. Never took a training toilet with us when we went somewhere. I would use the porta potty with them and hold them over the toilet seat. Was it difficult sometimes? Yes. But I knew they had to get used to the adult sized potty sometime. To me it’s ridiculous to take a bunch of extra stuff with you–beyond an extra change of clothes and some wipes. A portable potty is a pain to dump out and to store. I think dumping it out onto the ground is gross. Like another poster said she might as well have urinated onto the grass directly. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

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Ginger0630 August 14, 2014 at 9:18 pm

I don’t mind the training toilet because the child is learning and port o potties are filthy. She’s too short to “hover” over the bowl like many women do while using a public restroom lol! As long as someone can shield her, I have no problem with it.

That being said, it’s DISGUSTING that the mother just poured out the pee onto the ground. That’s human WASTE. Diseases were spread that way in the Middle Ages and in places that have no indoor plumbing. That mother is showing the child that it’s ok to pour human waste wherever they are. She probably has no problem littering either.

I would have said something like “Ew!” with a disgusted look on my face and kept walking. I would have found the manager or someone and told them what happened. It’s NOT ok that this mother did this.

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