When nature calls….. the kids need to answer immediately

Ethan at 2yrs old with Isabel. That was when he started potty-training.

Recently, as I was scrolling down a Facebook group for mummies, I came across a post where one of the mummies ranted about another mummy who let her toddler pee in a plastic bag in the car when the toilet was just 3 minutes away. The mummy asked the other group members what was their take on this matter.

Fortunately, all the mummies who replied said that it was totally acceptable for toddlers to do this as they can’t hold their pee for long. I could totally relate to this as my son has done this countless times.

I was fortunate that my kids’ babysitter potty-trained and toilet-trained them and I did not have to do it myself. Both my kids did not have any problem transitioning from diapers to potty and then to the toilet. But if you asked me how to potty-train kids, I would have to say I don’t know.

This transition from diapers to potty had been quite an adventure, especially with Ethan, when it came to answering the call of nature when we were out and about. The babysitter started potty-training him before he even reached 2 years old. He generally learned pretty quickly but he always had lots of pee, even till now. He would pee before going out from the house but would need to pee again not too long afterwards when we were in the car.

There was one time when we had to pick up Daddy from KLIA. As it was going to be quite a long ride, I made sure he peed first before leaving the babysitter’s house in Subang Jaya. But 5 minutes after we left the babysitter’s house, he said he needed to pee. I could not stop immediately and I told him to hold on. He couldn’t hold it for another second and peed in his pants. I tried to keep it cool and told myself it was ok. We had another spare change of clothes in the car anyway. No big deal. Plus, my nose was so insensitive that I could not smell the pee. Another half an hour later, when we were on the highway, Ethan said he needed to pee again. There was absolutely no way I could stop at the side of a busy highway though the thought did come to my mind for a second. But I knew that would be an extremely dangerous thing to do. So I told him to hold it again and I will stop as soon as we reach the rest stop. I was so relieved when I saw a rest stop within 5 minutes and quickly turned in. I parked the car and Ethan was all ready to get down. But alas, he couldn’t hold it another second and peed the second time in the car. I looked at him and he looked back sheepishly. I didn’t scold him as I knew he had tried to hold it as long as he could and he couldn’t control it anymore. Anyway, he already peed once in the car, so what’s the big deal with another? When we finally reached the airport, I cleaned him up and changed him into clean clothes. When we were done, he said he needed to pee again. I quickly carried him and ran as fast as I could to the nearest toilet. I really wondered what did he drank earlier that day to make him pee so much!

There were also the frequent nature calls on the way to the babysitter’s place every morning. Ethan would always need to pee or poo on the way there even though he had done his business before leaving the house. That was when Isabel was just born and I had to send both of them to the babysitter’s place by myself. I definitely could not leave Isabel alone in the car while I bring Ethan to the toilet. Neither could I stay in the car and ask Ethan to go to the toilet by himself as he was just 2 years old. And I also could not carry Isabel to the toilet with us as I won’t be able to hold Ethan while he did his big business as he was only potty-trained and not toilet-trained at that time. So what did I do? I would usually park at a petrol station and let Ethan pee at the grass, making sure that my car would block anyone from seeing him. And if he needed to poo, I always had the potty lined with a plastic bag in the car. That was how I managed his call of nature for those 2 years.

Now, he still needed to go to the toilet every now and then when we were in the car. I would always ask him to hold on until I reach the nearest petrol station but there had been many times when I knew he could not hold it any longer and I had no choice but to stop at the roadside of a residential area and let him go down to relieve himself. There were also many times when there was no where I could stop or if were stuck in a traffic jam or a long traffic light that I held a plastic bag for him to pee in it. And yes, this still happens now even though it is not as frequent as it used to be!

Isabel was much easier. She did not need to stop so frequently at petrol stations as Ethan. And there was no way that I would let her pee at the roadside. That would be much too disgusting for a girl! But there had been 2 occasions when she could not wait and peed in the car. Once was in Daddy’s car, when they were 2 minutes away from the kindergarten. She told Daddy that she needed to go to the toilet just as they were going to turn into the housing area where the kindergarten was. Daddy asked her to wait just a little while more but she couldn’t and peed in the car, wetting her uniform. The other time was in my car, also when we were on the way to kindergarten. When she told me she needed to go, we were just 1 minute away from the petrol station. I parked my car and asked her to quickly get down. She looked at me with a shy smile and I knew she peed in her uniform already.

Both Ethan and Isabel had made me visited more public toilets than I ever had before having them. I had been to countless toilets in petrol stations and coffee shops, all of which I used to try to avoid as much possible. The public toilets in Malaysia are simply too filthily disgusting. And the floor is always wet. This is why I stopped wearing open toes sandals when they started potty training. I felt so disgusted every time my feet got wet. Imagine the amount of bacteria on the floor! So from that time on, I only wore platform shoes and closed-up shoes whenever I go out with them.

I suppose this phase in their childhood will end soon enough and we will continue to face more challenging phases as they grow up. We are definitely going to to look back to these times in their early childhood and laugh about it 20 years later. I already miss the times when Ethan and Isabel were babies…. Oh, they really do grow up so fast!


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