Potty Training is for City People

In the category of  Things I Don’t Enjoy Reading on Social Media: potty training updates of toddlers. Little kids are already without dignity; let’s not rub their noses in it. I know, there are lots of mom-tips for potty training in the comments and it’s a great support network, and my friends who post their child’s bowel movements online are terrific moms, I’m just not that into it myself. Really, I prefer not to see information about ANY person’s bathroom habits on my newsfeed. However, we’re in a family stage in which one member’s potty training is eclipsing every event, so I’m compelled to write about it on the interwebs.


Diapers are underrated.

Recently, Claire and Kate had a joint doctor’s appointment, to which Trevor tagged along because he’s 4 and the pediatrician is two hours from our house. I talked Matt into going because

3 Kids + 2 Hour Drive + 1 Waiting Room = Perspiration + Sinning.

Together, we picked Trevor up from school and went to Amarillo.

I had a long list of Possible Errands. If you know about hauling three kids around town, you know that most errands end up being Not That Important. With two kids, the limit was five.  I could get them in and out of the car five times, and after that, we had to head home. There are only so many times I can put a two year old’s shoes back on her feet between four minute drives and not losemymindiTOLDyoutokeepyourshoeson!!  We’re learning new boundaries with three children, especially with Kate in the toddle/walk/grab everything in sight/eat trash off the floor stage.

Anyway, we made it to town with time to spare, so we took a little family trip to Target. That dollar spot gets me every time! With my little helpers looking at all the junk, too, we ended up with some necessary Valentine’s décor, a slinky, notepad, and CheezIts. We actually went to shop for a new coffeepot because the Keurig went out.  On that aisle, Matt and I deliberated for as long as the minions would allow, and decided on a cheapo old-school percolator while Trevor and Claire fought over pushing the cart around and Kate ate three packs of filters.  (Let’s debate Keurig versus old-fashioned at a later date.)

imageA dad in Target?  Weird!

In the meantime, Claire had to “go potty.”  She’s not a fan of public toilets since they are very loud and frightening when you’re the same height as the toilet seat, so once we made it to the stall, she refused to go.  I told her fine, just hold it.  Which she did, until we were shopping in the electronics department, which is seventeen miles from the restrooms, and she had to “go potty.” Again.  So we ran back to the same stall as before, where she refused to go. Again.

This is absolutely not unusual.  I think “need to go potty” is now Claire’s filler phrase for when she can’t think of anything else to say. We have a travel potty in the car, much to my chagrin, which she also consistently refuses to use after telling us she needs to go.

We made it out of Target with all three kids and a cart full of junk and to the doctor’s office.  As he pulled into the parking lot, Matt said he thought he and Trevor would just stay in the car and nap for a little while.  He’s a funny guy!

We all traipsed into the waiting room, where Claire immediately had to go potty.  So I took her on the third trip of the day to the public toilets, where she, shocker, refused to go.  By this time my hands are sparkling clean from all the washing I’ve done after touching door handles and stalls all over town.  And I’m super thankful Matt is with us because I don’t have to hold Kate while trying to convince Claire to teetee on the potteeeeee.

Once we’re called back to the teenytiny jail cell exam room, Kate is in wild banshee form and Claire is two years old and tired of the toys I brought.  Trevor, basically self sufficient at this age, elects to stay in the waiting area by himself and play with the train table.  After an hour of waiting, two additional trips to the potty without any actual pottying, and a complete roll of medical table paper torn to shreds, we are all vaccinated and checked on and released from Purgatory.


imageWord to pediatricians everywhere: Don’t call the patients back until you’re ACTUALLY READY TO SEE THEM.  And turn the air conditioner on.

We grab Trevor and head to the mall food court, a place I would not have been caught dead at pre-kids but which now is our restaurant of choice.  Guess who has to go potty as we’re walking down the middle of the mall for a quick peek into GapKids?  I haul Claire through JCPenney, up the elevator, to the closest facility I can think of, and we run in.  She. Refuses. ToGo. Again!  My deodorant is not strong enough for this kind of fun.

By the time our ChikFilA order arrives and I’m literally holding the fork to my mouth for the first bite, Claire has to… go potty again. Because she hasn’t gone YET.  Matt, being the kind soul that he is, volunteers to take her while I tend to the other kids.  Trevor has been patiently manning our table and stroller at the food court while we ran the girls back and forth and ordered for everyone.  The kid is 18 years old, it’s fine.

When her dad carries Claire back to the table ten minutes later and she’s wearing a diaper and shoes but no pants, I’m aware that something crappy must have happened.  Very crappy.  In the men’s food court restroom.  Matt for President!  Let’s eat.

We quickly shovel food in everyone’s faces, allow Kate to consume an order of waffle fries, and purchase the promised smoothies for the kids who behaved all day.  At this point, there will be no shopping at Old Navy, or Sam’s Club, or World Market, or even the gas station. We are D.O.N.E.

And now we know the limit for running errands in town with three kids: three. Three times one can load and unload these people from the car, and then one must leave or cry.

Or both.


6 thoughts on “Potty Training is for City People

  1. I recently found a secret bathroom in Target. It’s in the electronics section, by the books. If you walk toward the employee only door, immediately on your right is a family bathroom, one stall, no distractions, sink, and paper towels because those damn hand dryers are just too loud for kids. It’s amazing, rarely used and a life saver many times for us! Don’t you dream of vacationing, I mean just going to Target alone? Like our young care free days when we had time to finish a white chocolate mocha and fill the basket with needless items for ourselves #idlikearoomforoneplease

  2. Oh Michelle, I feel SO bad laughing hysterically at your expense!! But I justify it because I was the mom of two that were 2 years apart…I totally can relate!! Someday you will look back & laugh…ummm, maybe!! Thanks for your posts! They brighten my day! 😊

  3. You made my day! And I only had shopping with one toddler at a time; but even then I refused to go alone. History sort of repeats itself…..at our age Peter and I limit the number of stores we can shop before we run out of energy. And we must know where the bathrooms are at all times! Very Important!

    1. Ha! The circle continues! After this trip to town, I found a new babysitter for the girls…At this point I am definitely willing to pay someone to keep them while I grocery shop alone!

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