9 Things Potty-Training Toddlers Do In Public

Our nearly 3 year old is mostly potty-trained. You might be thinking I’m very excited about this. I mostly am.

Except for all those times I remember it’s 1,000 times easier to tell her to just pee in her diaper while we’re out to dinner than it is to take her to a public restroom.

It’s also 1,000 times less embarrassing.

Having potty-trained 2 toddlers now, and heard many a potty-training in public battle story from my comrades over wine, I feel I should compile this list of things toddlers will do in public. Just so those of you new to this are prepared.



Source: iStockPhoto.com

1. When dining out, they will suddenly, urgently need to go RIGHT NOW the moment your food gets to your table. As your hot plate of food is placed in front of you, your toddler will begin to shout, “OH! I have to poopy. I farted! There are poopies in my butt! I have to go now. NOW!” 

2. They will narrate everything. And then they will expect you to repeat back to them what they are narrating so they are sure you heard them.

“We’re going to the potty! Mommy, we’re going to go poopy on the potty! We’re going to take off our panties and go poopy! Mommy! MOMMY!”
“Yeah. Yup.”
“Mommy! We’re going POTTY! POOPY ON THE POTTY!”
“Right. Yes, poopy on the potty. Okay. Got it. Please don’t touch that.”

3. They will insist on getting completely naked. People outside of the stall with see a pile of toddler clothes on the floor next to tiny bare feet because no, you can not leave their shoes on. Are you crazy?

4. They will look under the stall. And then talk to the person next to you.

“Oh! Hi! I wike your shoes! I went poopy. Are you going poopy?”

5. They will cheer for you when you sit on the toilet, and then try to reward you for your efforts.

“Yay! Go poopy!”
“Oh, mommy just needs to pee, honey.”
“SQUEEEEEEZZZZE your tummy. SQUEEEEZE. YOU GET A CANDY CORN when you go poopy!! You can do it!”

6. If they find a Tampon in your purse, they will insist it’s a snack.

“Nack, mommy! I want a nack! Open it. OPEN IT!”

7. They will try to open the stall door while you are physically incapable of stopping them without leaving a stream of urine behind you.

8. They will lick the sink and other disgusting things that are sure to give them ebola.

9. They will tell the WHOLE RESTAURANT that they just pooped in the potty. Like, literally try to run up to tables and announce it like it’s that evening’s special.

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  1. And if your toddler is male, he will be bare-assed and peeing standing up (at a toilet he’s far too short for) with the stall door open in a well-populated women’s bathroom before you can even get the damn stroller and baby through the bathroom door.

    And THEN he’ll decide to
    completely disrobe and dis-shoe and sit sprawled backwards on the toilet because the potty is so big he’s afraid he’ll fall in if he can’t latch on like a spider monkey to the back of the (Public! Disease-infested! Fecal-matter-spattered) toilet plumbing. So much gross. So little dignity left in my life.

  2. It’s like you were with me in the stall at Friendly’s on Monday. 🙂

    I have the added bonus of carrying a fold up Sesame Street potty seat in my purse and she will ask me the name of every character on said seat the ENTIRE TIME we’re in the stall. People must think we’re crazy. We are…but I try to keep that fact under wraps.

  3. So my hubby took our daughter to six flags when she was 4, and obviously she had to go potty sometime. He had no choice but to take her into the men’s bathroom so before going in he knelt down and told her the rules. ‘Eyes forward, no touching, everything is gross, let daddy help…’ They get inside and she just starts yelling ‘its’ ok dad, I’m not looking and I know not to touch because everything really is gross!’ He said she had every guy in there laughing.

  4. Yep, ticked off the majority of these, except the naked one but I do have an extra, our dd likes to use the tap-tap on the potty, cue dada where de taptap I need a weeeeee weeeeeeeee

  5. Tiffany Crawford on

    I’d like to add another one – your toddler will comment on the noises of other bathroom users. For instance, if someone is in the next stall having a rather loud BM, she will proclaim “is she pooping?” or tell you that “it stinks” and you will not be able to contain your laughter once the said patron starts to laugh as well.

  6. Nordica Salminen Burns on

    Oh boy do I ever remember the naked phase. My middle son was like 5 before he stopped stripping down to his birthday suit to poop. Err mah gerd.

  7. It’s especially lovely when my 3 yr old walks in to the bathroom and says, “Somebody’s stinky, somebody’s really stinky, it smells in here,” and you end up knowing the stinky person.

  8. Jecelyn Morgan McClintock on

    My almost 3 year old had been potty trained for about 5 months now & I’ve never experienced any of these wonderful things…. Because she’s so scared of public restrooms that I carry her potty chair everywhere we go & take it into the bathroom for her to use. I get a lot of stares walking through a restaurant carrying a potty chair. 🙂

  9. My grandsons other grandmothe told him that little boys do not pee outside! I could not stand it! I found a ceramic birdhouse that looked like a fire hydrant so I bought it and put it out by the pool and taught him to pee on it! I said yes little boys do pee outsid

    • Not that I disagree with you, but teen and adult “boys” get arrested for “indecent exposure” when peeing outside in public, so maybe she was giving him a simple explanation, instead of saying, you can pee outside here (in the yard), but not here (on a fire hydrant in the middle of town), until it’s easier to explain the difference.

  10. I am so in the toddler potty-training zone right now. Is it weird that when she cheers for me while I sit on the toilet that I feel proud for just a moment?

  11. Ashley Ritchie on

    When my son was 3, and mostly potty trained, we went to the state fair. Not once, but TWICE that day he whipped it out and attempted to pee on posts while waiting in line for rides. The second time it was dark outside so I just let him finish!

  12. I used to work at Walgreens’ and one day there was a 3 year old and her dad standing in line a few people from the counter. As they walked over I heard her announce, loudly, that she did a “POO POO IN THE POTTY!” When they got to the counter, I said something about potty training being an adventure and dad just smiled!

  13. I will never forget when I was a nanny for a 3 year old boy and took him to the bathroom in a Barnes and noble. He asked me if I had a penis and I about died. I prayed no one heard him or my explanation that only boys do and thankfully he didn’t ask anymore questions before I quickly changed the subject.

  14. one thing that keeps happening more and more are the observations……i only have two boys, so there’s a lot of weiners in this house. and then in a public restroom they make sure to point out that mommy does NOT have a weiner. funny observant kids.

  15. So, yeah, um, were you next to us in the bathroom yesterday? It went something like this:

    K: Mommy, who’s that (points at shoe in the stall next door)? Me: Its a lady going potty. K: Nope, no its not, its a man (because she had on black, horribly ugly shoes, sorry lady). Me: Nope this is a women’s bathroom. K: Well that’s silly, Mommy I’m pooping, but my poop isn’t coming out the right way. Me: Well honey it only comes out one way. K: No mommy it, oh there it goes. Hang on mommy there’s another one coming, HERE IT COMES. Me: (Dying laughing) Good job honey, are you done yet? K: Not yet mommy, (lady next to us farts) WHAT IS THAT NOISE? DID YOU HEAR THAT? THAT IS CRAZY!!

    Kids are so terribly embarrassing and yet, so hilariously funny.

  16. Blog installment 2.0: When this all happens at the airport – Why forcing you to check your double stroller is the most evil thing airlines do. Explaining to an airline employee that it’s impossible to hold your 3 year old above a toilet two times wider than she is AND keep your 1 year old from crawling all over the extremely busy public rest room floor and out of the handicapped stall altogether because the flight attendants like to use the family bathroom right when your kid’s about to bust sadly gets you nowhere.

    I feel your pain. Also, 10 out of 10: blog is completely true.

  17. I just found your blog today and DIED laughing at this post. So true and so hilarious. Especially the kid saying “squeeeze your tummy”. Consider me a subscribed reader.

  18. this just made me laugh so hard. like, real tears flowing and holding onto my post-baby bladder for dear life, laughing. i just adore this because everybody seems to try to nudge you onto the next phase of baby/childood development and that is crazy. chill. and it just goes to show you that the next “better” phase of development isn’t easier, it is just different. and quite often, more work. there is no subtraction in time or effort, just a whole lot of ANDs or ORs.

    “breastfeeding is so time-consuming, won’t it be nice to let her eat real food?” noooo…breastfeeding AND teaching a child to eat like a person is time-consuming. and all those milestones: rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, cruising, walking… that just means: baby gates, outlet protectors, restraints, no’s, don’t touch’s, falling, and maternal exhaustion as you run around picking up bizarre messes. “diapers are gross! i can’t wait until she is potty trained…” that just adds a new world of oopsies and poopsies and pretty much everything you just described. {hashtag the joys of parenthood} you made my day, lady.

  19. Kylie Harang on

    Dying laughing! Also reading this while “Nina Needs To Go!” is playing in the background. I have a 15 month old, and I’m slightly dreading potty training! But I need to bookmark this, for when I’m exhausted and need a good laugh. Thank you!

  20. I lost it on #9. I was laughing to hard when reading these aloud to hubby that I couldn’t even get through it. He said he looked over the monitor to see my head just shaking because I was nearly convulsing with giggles. Thumbs up, good lady. Two of them.

  21. Stacia Ellermeier on

    Ooooh I’m seriously crying right now reading this. I just read it out loud to my husband and could barely breath. Hiiiilarious.

  22. We are selling our house and a couple arrived early to see it. I opened the front door to tell them we would be leaving in just a minute when my daughter says ‘hi!’ to them from behind me. I turn around and realize she has gotten off the potty and is standing and greeting them pants-less.

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