Thursday, April 21, 2011

Incident Alert: Public Pooping Outside Dollar Tree

WARNING: This post contains description of graphic bodily functions. Proceed with caution.

My mom finds it a little perplexing that a large percentage of my son's vocabulary consists of the words "booty," "toot," and "poop." When I talk to my friends with small kids, though, they agree that potty language is high on the list for their children as well. And, after working on potty training with my son, I can hardly blame him for focusing on these words, because it seems that our days really do revolve around talking to him about taking care of his various body parts and bodily functions. In fact, we spend so much time focusing on pee and poop that we become pretty immune to how uncouth these topics sound to people not living in the preschool world. So, if this topic will gross you out, please don't continue reading!

As I have mentioned in a previous posting, my son recently graduated to wearing "big boy" undies. What I didn't understand before having kids is that, for most people, potty training is not an over-and-done matter. It is a process. I didn't think about the fact that kids will need help wiping their bums for a while even after they master pooping in the potty. I also didn't think about the fact that they while they may want to use a toilet, they don't always have the control to make it to one. "Holding it" is a skill all unto itself. This brings me to yesterday.

Yesterday, I was out running errands with my kids in Santee. Before we left our home, I made sure to have my son use the potty. He did so without any fuss, and so I hardly anticipated what was about to go down while we were out. We arrived at the Santee "Wal-Mart" shopping center, and although my first stop was to go to Michaels, I figured that we could also go by Dollar Tree after that to look at some last minute Easter goods. Rather than park by Michaels and then have to move the car, I decided to park by Dollar Tree instead. This not only saved me the hassle of an additional strapping and unstrapping of the kids from their carseats, but it meant I could get a little extra exercise and my son could burn off a little extra energy.

To the average adult, the walk to Michaels is not long, but in kid-distance it was apparently long and "too hard," as deemed by my son. I encouraged my little guy to keep up the pace. But then, as we were about halfway there, he started complaining that he was cold. Uh oh. This is his "tell" when he's got to go potty. Stuck walking between stores, while also juggling my wriggling daughter in my arms, I asked him if he could wait. The answer was no.

The panic level in my son grew nearly instantaneously. He could no longer walk, but just started nervously shifting his weight from foot to foot while continuing to complain about being "cold." I apologize for the possible public health hazard, but before I knew it, my son was pulling down his pants and peeing into the nearby planter. To my amazement and relief, (I think) we actually lucked out that he timed it perfectly when there happened to be no passers-by. The whole peeing incident was over in less than ten seconds. I told him to hurry and pull his pants up, and then we went on our way.

After our errand at Michaels, we started back toward our car and stopped in at Dollar Tree, as planned. Since my son had already relieved himself in the planter, I figured we were in the clear. I was wrong. We made it down two aisles, and then I heard his little voice, "I'm cold." Again? Our shopping trip was abruptly cut short as I quickly purchased the few items we'd already placed in our cart.

Re-staging of the incident
Luckily, this time we weren't stuck far from our car. I initially hoped that he would be able to hold it long enough for us to drive to a restroom-friendly establishment like Target or Wal-Mart since they are both so nearby. But, when I asked my son if he could hold it, the answer was a resounding no. My next thought was that I could have used the Potette that I've been diligently keeping in my trunk, but have just never had the opportunity to use. But, of course, it just so happens that we transferred it to my husband's car this past weekend. This is when my lifesaving Throw-Up Bucket came back into use.

A Throw-Up Bucket is something I invented when I was pregnant. As I had horrible morning sickness throughout both of my pregnancies, I would vomit often and with very little warning. This meant I never could guarantee making it to a toilet or trash can in time. I invested in four small-sized wastebaskets from the 99 Cents Only Store and strategically placed one in each of our cars, one next to the sofa, and one next to our bed. I lined the Buckets with shopping bags, soon learning which stores offered the most leak-proof ones, and whenever the urge came, I could neatly aim, contain, and then dispose of my throw-up.

Even though my pregnancy days are over, we have kept the Buckets in our cars, using them as makeshift trash receptacles. As of yesterday, however, the former Throw-Up Buckets have reclaimed utility as Poo-Poo Buckets. Returning to the parking lot outside of Dollar Tree, my son grew increasingly antsy, and so I rushed into action. I took out the existing bag of trash from the Bucket, emptied my Michaels bag of purchases to re-line it, and then set it on the asphalt with my propped open car door serving as a makeshift privacy guard. I instructed my son to go ahead and poop into the Bucket, and lo and behold, he did. We had extremely lucky timing once again, this time that the people parked around us didn't happen to return to their cars at that moment. My son was proud that he had avoided having an accident, and I was ever-thankful for the now christened Poo-Poo Bucket.


  1. Please don't hate me for laughing through this... You have a gift for storytelling!!! Nice writing job, GREAT parenting!

  2. I love you for laughing through it! It was pretty hilarious, especially when he stood up, looked into the Bucket and exclaimed, "A log!" It's not a story for for the easily offended :)

  3. Truth is always stranger (and usually funnier) than fiction!!

  4. Well you know what they say: (poop happens) great job mom!!