I'm just going to say it. My child loves public restrooms. And by love I mean he wants to live in them.
He seeks them out, does his business, then owns them.
He loves to rub his little hands, little feet and face all around them. Time is not an issue, he has all day.
He actually took his 1st number two in a public restroom. The first time he EVER sat on a toilet was at a gas station. DISGUSTING. He was also wearing no shoes. I still have nightmares about that day and just cannot process how I let something like this happen. Who stops at a gas station and doesn't realize their kid isn't in shoes until they get in the stall? I'll tell you who...ME.
For those of y'all who don't know me, I'm a certified germaphobe. Unsanitary things scare the crap out of me. Of course, having a kid has really forced me to face my fear in very traumatic ways. I would say that public restrooms are one of my biggest fears. I literally cringe when I walk in a public restroom...and now we visit one EVERY TIME WE LEAVE THE HOUSE. I'm not just talking long trips to the mall. I'm talking, we have driven 3 miles and have to pull over. Come to think of it, I cannot remember the last time my child has had a bowel movement at home. I know this is gross but I'm just being honest. He intentionally waits for us to leave the house and enter a public setting to do his business.
I have accepted the fact that this is my life and I've decided that maybe my purpose as a blogger is to help other Moms whose kids have PRO (Public Restroom Obsesssion). Here is my list of advice for coping with a child who has PRO:
1.) Set a timer. This will limit their dragging out their business and give them a challenge. Otherwise you will be in there ALL DAY LONG.
2.) Bogart the TP. DO NOT, under any circumstance, let them handle the toilet paper except to use it to wipe. If you hand it over, it will be everywhere. Just trust me on this one.
3.) Don't let them go unsupervised. If you leave their sight, there is no telling what will happen. I once found my son in the same stall with a stranger. He had crawled under. I almost died. Luckily, she was a Mom too. "No judgement," she said. Needless to say, we have never gone back to that restaurant.
4.) Bribe, bribe, bribe. Promise them the world if they will just do their business in a timely and tidy manner. Cookies, cupcakes, whatever. You just do it.
5.) Always come prepared with wipes and hand sanitizer. I cannot stress the importance of both of these. If you have a boy, I think you are looking at a lifelong sentence with wipes. His aim will never be spot on. My husband is still being trained. Kids also rarely want to wash their hands AND, after you have been coaching them in the stall for 45 minutes to "Just go," you aren't up for wrestling them to wash their hands. I know, gross.
Just keeping it real.
6.) Always bring a change of clothes. Just in case you get to the bathroom and it's already too late or they decide to just pee in their underwear while in the stall. Happens all the time.
And last but not least....
7.) Make sure they are wearing shoes. Ok, I get that this seems obvious, but you would be surprised. You're wondering how I could make such a parenting blunder and I will tell you:
My son was just being potty trained. It was his first long car ride in underwear and he said, "Mommy, I have to Poopy."
He was screaming and told me he couldn't hold it any longer. I pulled over at the first gas station I saw and ran him inside. Well, while in the car he had kicked off his shoes. I didn't realize this until we got into the stall since I was carrying him. I wanted to go back to get them, but it was too late. He was going, whether I liked it or not. AND It wasn't just ANY public restroom. It was the WORST public restroom I have ever been in. There was water all over the floor from an overflowed toilet and grime in places I don't care to speak of. I will be honest, I cried a little. Then I scrubbed his feet for 2 weeks after that.We survived though and I became a stronger person because of it. It may be our biggest bonding moment as Mother and Son.
I want to stress the severity of Public Restroom Obsession and its effect on your sanity. I want to help Moms out there cope as best as they can and let them know they are not alone. We can tackle this, together.
*I hope that you take this advice to heart and please keep in mind these guidelines are not for every child, just ones with PRO.