The 15 Stages of Getting Your Kid to Use a Public Bathroom (GIFS)

public restroom

Oh dear ... the dreaded bathroom. And not just any bathroom, a public bathroom. One that many people use without a care for the person who comes behind them and literally has to deal with their sh**. Yeah, public bathrooms aren't ideal, but they are unfortunately a necessary evil -- especially when you have kids.


You deserve all the toilet paper in the world if you happen to be one of those moms who can handle her business in the bathroom without problems. Should, however, you struggle like the rest of us ... honey, you aren't alone.

In fact, there's a pretty good chance you've experienced at least one (or five) (or all) of these stages when your child tells you, "Mommy, I gotta go."

1. Disbelief/denial.

You already know the battle you're going to have with that bathroom, and you refuse to accept that one of your precious children would ever subject you to that hell.

2. Anger.

Didn't you ask your child if he or she had to use the potty before you left the house? And didn't you ask said child before you took time to put on his or her coat and shoes and strap your sweet offspring in the car? Yes, kids change their minds, but come on ... now we have to deal with a public toilet!

3. A feeling of calm comes over you.

Okay, okay, we're talking about a child here. Your child. Hulk down, and put back that Doritos bag you just grabbed. You don't need them anyway.

4. Once you've channeled your inner zen, you provide the perfect answer to your kid.

"All right, honey. Let's go to the bathroom." After all, you don't want to show your frustrations. Stuff like that will make pee creep back up, and then you'll have to deal with this alll over again.

5. And, thus begins your search for the bathroom.

There's normally some overhead sign that will point you in the right direction. Now, where is it?

6. Seriously, though ... where is that damn bathroom?!

As a mother, you know all too well that if your kids are telling you they need to go, there's a good chance they had to pee five minutes ago.

Time is of the essence.

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7. You start to panic as your child tells you, "Mom, I have to go right now!"

Trying your best to stay calm -- and pray that your child doesn't have an accident inside his or her clothes -- you make a mad dash for the restrooms.

Found 'em!

8. You remember you can't bring any of the unpurchased goods in your shopping cart with you ... and hope to God no one takes them.

Obviously, your kid is more important than the last item you found on clearance ... in your size ... and in the perfect color. But that doesn't mean you won't shed a tear should another shopper try to leave with your stuff.

Ah well. Bigger issues at hand!

9. You start frantically looking for the first bathroom stall that's open.

Please let there be one. Pleassseee let there be one.

10. You come across the most unthinkable and vile site -- ever!

For the love of all that's good, can people not clean up after themselves?! Yuck!

11. You finally find somewhat of a clean stall. (Yay!) You push your kid inside and hang up your purse, backpack/tote, and jackets. Time to get the party started! There's just one thing ...

No toilet paper.

That's okay, you think you have a few diaper wipes in your purse somewhere. It pays to be a hoarder!

12. Your purse, along with all your items, fall on the floor.

UGH! No time to think about this, though you do hope you remember to wipe everything down later.

12. You can't unfasten your child's clothes.

Oh, WTF -- seriously?! You're sooo close to the finish line. Surely you can get that last button or thing-a-ma-bobber open before your child explodes.

Work, Mom, WORK!

13. Meanwhile, your kid is having a field day touching the toilet seat (with bare hands) and throwing whatever he or she can find inside the bowl.

You were in such a frenzy to get your child's clothes off that you forgot one important thing: Your child is a kid, one who's curious and loves doing things that cause your hair to turn gray.

Yup, you're about to lose it.

14. Finally, when you have your child on the potty ... your son or daughter tells you, "Ma, I don't have to go anymore ..."

After all you've been through to make it to this point, ohhhh, you're gonna use the bathroom. But rather than show your frustration to your child (remember, that pee can creep back up), you hit 'em with the classic Mom statement: "Honey, just try for mama, okay?"

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15. And finally, your kid uses the bathroom.

In an ideal world, you would tidy up your child (don't forget to flush), grab your stuff, wash your hands, and head back to your shopping cart to carry on with your day.

That, of course, is the ideal ending ...

But what about the alternate ending? You know, the one where things never go exactly as planned?

Your child pees on the floor.

Your child poops on the floor.

Your child peed or pooped inside his or her clothes.

Your youngest child -- whom you had to put down for a second, because you aren't a Hindu deity with tons of hands -- decides it's cool to crawl to another stall that just so happens to have a person inside. Great!

Your cell phone falls inside the toilet.

You have to use the bathroom, but your kid decides it's fun to have an audience and opens the door.

More from The Stir: 7 Potty Training Mistakes Moms Make & How to Avoid Them

... It's never a dull life when you're a mom with a kid who needs to use the public bathroom.



Image via Jerry Portelli/Shutterstock

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