Toddler Potty Training + Restaurant = Parenting FAIL

I get the trials and tribulations of toddler potty training.  It’s been an ongoing issue, and I’m only thinking that we’re finally at the point where we’re making some progress.  However, most responsible parents realize that there’s a time and a place for toddler potty training.

The key word here is “most.”

Leave this at home, thanks. Or at least in the car, or in a bag. Just not at the table, ‘kay?

I saw a link last night to a news article about a mom in Utah who thought it was a perfectly fine idea to put her twins on potty seats in the restaurant.  Other restaurant patrons thought at first that it was a booster chair… until noticing that the twins were stripped down for the event while eating their chicken nuggets.

I’ve seen and heard all kinds of responses.  Some were outraged… but I don’t think I’ve come across a single response that thought “Hey, that’s a good idea.  Next time we go out to eat, I’ll bring the toddler potty chair and get my kid to drop trou at the table.”

Some I’ve seen compared it to child porn.  Okay, I won’t go that extreme.  I think that’s a little ridiculous.  However, I won’t deny that there’s a possibility that there was a perv in the restaurant who sincerely got an appropriate amount of enjoyment at seeing two bare toddler bottoms over lunch.  I don’t think that it was particularly appropriate for the stranger to take a picture of it in the restaurant and spread it about the internet, either.  I don’t think it’s appropriate for strangers to take pics of any child and spread it on the internet, although I do understand the “OMG, ARE THEY SRS?!!” taking a pic because it’s too ridiculous to believe.

Here’s the deal: there are a whole lot of reasons for not parking your kid on a toddler potty instead of a booster seat at the restaurant.  But here’s the big ones that I can think of in 30 seconds or less:  1.) It’s inappropriate.  The purpose of potty training is to get your child to realize that there’s an appropriate time and place for going.  In the middle of the restaurant is not one of them.  2.) Can you say “health code violations”?  There are policies in place regarding the cleanliness of restaurants.  I’m pretty darned sure that a child voiding into a potty while other people are eating is a violation of those codes.  3.) It’s just gross.  We harp on people who tell breastfeeding mothers to go feed in the bathroom because we’re not okay with feeding our children where other people are defecating.  By that same token, the rest of the world is not okay with eating where your child is defecating.

As parents, we expect people to realize that we’re trying to teach our little savages children to be decent human beings who know how to behave in public.  As such, there will be times that we encounter unexpected things like a tantrum or an accident involving some sort of bodily fluids.  The inverse of this is that we actually need to teach our children to be decent human beings.  That means things like, oh, behaving like a decent human being ourselves… and not setting up the potty chair in the dining room of your local restaurant.

Yes, I consider this to be a huge parenting fail.  And a huge humanity fail, for that matter.  What do you think?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Pottys are for the bathroom, not the dining hall.

  2. I agree with you here. Are you really training them to ask to go to the bathroom if you constantly have the seat under them?

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