We’ve all been there: holding a toddler on our laps while we pee. Sheparding a preschooler into the potty and hanging out reading a picture book while she does her thing. Being barged in on by an older kid with a suddenly urgent need to show you her homework problems Right Now, nevermind that you’re on the toilet.
Welcome to the family toilet. Probably no one warned you when you welcomed your bundle of joy into your life that peeing in private was about to become a luxury.
Tracy Moore has a hilarious piece up on Jezebel about peeing with her toddler in her lap rather than force even a brief separation from her very Mama-focused baby. I so completely hear her. My kids are a little older than Tracy’s, and I wish I could say it gets better.
It does. At least the kids are no longer in my lap when I’m doing my own potty business.
Now the issue is mainly that the little one wants company for hers. At age 4, she has suddenly decided that she has to have a grown-up in the bathroom with her at all times, to protect her from the Scary Thoughts that come up in her head when she’s sitting on the throne. Also vampires. Not sure how the vampires are supposed to get into the bathroom, but it hardly matters. The Scary Thoughts are enough.
This started when she started preschool at the big kids’ school this fall, leaving the cozy nest of the little co-op she went to last year. Suddenly she wanted someone with her whenever she went into the bathroom, even though she’s been going on her own since she was 18 months old.
Fine, I thought. I indulged her in it, patting myself on the back for honoring her transition stress and letting her have what she wanted in this small thing.
I created a monster. Now I have a kid who would rather wet herself in the middle of the living room floor than face the horrors of going to the potty on her own. Which means that every time that kid needs to pee, I need to drop what I’m doing and follow her into our tiny bathroom.
This too shall pass, I know. Some day I will look back on these shared potty days with the same kind of bittersweet fondness I have about our family bed. Remember when I only got 90 minutes of sleep at a stretch and routinely woke up covered in spit up? Aw. Those were the days.
In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to wean my kids into the notion that “potty time is private time”. It’s too much to ask that they both go do their business on their own with the door closed, but I’ve at least introduced the idea that I’d like to be left alone when I’m peeing.
Do your kids insist that potty time be a social activity? How do you persuade them that some things, including this one, are best done solo?