Would you ever allow your child to use a potty in a public place?
I don't mean in a discreet corner of a car park when your potty training tot is suddenly caught short. I mean in the middle of a restaurant or in the living room at a friend's house where there's a toddler birthday party in full swing?
I've got to admit that when someone asked me that this morning – ahead of a TV debate on that very topic – it took me a while to register what they were asking.
Is using a potty in a public place even a thing? Apparently so.
I've never seen it happen and NO, of course I wouldn't let my child use a potty in a public place like the middle of a busy restaurant. Why would you? I'm still struggling to grasp why this is a matter for national debate.
I've carried potties out and about with me at various stages of my children's potty training, um, adventures, but as far as I understand it, the whole purpose of a potty is its portability. It's literally designed to be picked up and carried. To the nearest bathroom.
Now that's not to say that I haven't whipped the potty out at the park on the rare occasions that my child hasn't been quite fast enough at answering the call of nature but I've always found a quiet, discreet spot for emergency potty use.
Yet this morning friends have regaled me with tales of mums brandishing potties in the middle of wedding receptions and allowing their little darlings to sit on the throne in the centre of the action as guests look on, aghast. WHY?
I'm not a fan of berating other parents for the choices they make. As my mother used to say, the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same. But there are some things, and very public use of a potty is one of them, that just doesn't really have any justification.
Yes, there may be exceptions where a child has a condition or medical reason why heading for the nearest bathroom isn't an option and no-one would argue with a parent taking whatever steps necessary to help their child under those circumstances.
But that's not what's being discussed - we're talking about parents who are seemingly too lazy to take their child to the bathroom to use the potty or toilet in private. Why wouldn't you nip to the nearest bathroom with your toddler and encourage them to use the potty there? Why assume that the people around you are ok with your toddler using the toilet right under their noses? And what does this teach a kid, and how does it equip them to have healthy and hygienic habits by the time they go to school?
I've also heard some horror stories from teachers who claim that lots of kids arrive at school completely unused to using a toilet, and in part blame that on the proclivity of many parents for allowing their child to use a potty in front of the TV or wherever else is most convenient.
As I've said, I've never witnessed this myself so I'm not convinced we're not just making up mad parenting antics for the sake of national debate but we'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Medical conditions and unusual exceptions aside, is it ever acceptable to allow a child to use a potty somewhere as public as in the middle of a restaurant?
Leave us a comment below, join the debate over on our Facebook page, or take part in our public potty use poll!
TOPICS: Parenting Tips