Entitlement: The Game Other People Get To Play

November 24th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  4 Comments


What in the hell kind of term is premature potty training? What kind of sadist thinks this stuff up in reference to boys? Are they trying to give the kids a fricking complex?

I came across this wonderfully ridiculous bit of kiddie jargon at Cafe Mom, a blog that makes more money than DadWagon. From a post entitled, “Kids Aren’t Dogs: Don’t Let Them Pee in Public”:

We’re still in diapers and, admittedly, I haven’t put much time, thought, or effort into potty training my 22-month-old. So maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about here, but seriously … isn’t it just a bit uncouth to lean your recently potty-trained toddler over curbs, shrubbery, and boutique shoe stores to pee? Yes, public peeing.

They’re toddlers, not street vagrants or dogs. What’s with this public urination trend that’s taking over my city? I’ve even seen some parents cradling their kids’ butts in such a way that they can poop in public!

Color me scandalized. I mean, why bring a plastic baggie when you could just bring an extra pair of pants?

Perhaps I’m a bit Victorian in my child-rearing, but I believe a good accident can go a long way in teaching proper elimination dos and don’ts and testing your child’s readiness for the responsibilities of a diaper-free lifestyle. I believe this whole public elimination thing is a result of premature potty training.

Gack! First, I’d like to point out that if you start a post by saying you don’t know what you’re talking about, you probably don’t. Not that I mean that too strongly–given that bit of writerly logic we wouldn’t have an internet. But it’s something to bear in mind.

But back to premature potty training. I don’t really understand this. Isn’t the trend in the other direction? Aren’t we keeping kids in diapers longer than we used to? According to my mother, both my brother and I were free and easy—and peeing in the park!—by age 2. JP was tenaciously clinging to his diaper past 3, and still needs a pull-up at night (any suggestions on how to break him of that would be greatly appreciated). I know some girls in JP’s cohort who are potty trained by 2, but mostly 3 is the new 2, no?

Let’s put that aside for the moment and address the post… uh, fuck that. Let’s make fun of the way the woman posting this apologizes for potentially being too Victorian… while writing about elimination… and referring to homeless people as street vagrants… and equating them with dogs!

Classic! She’s right, of course… It is Victorian to describe natural bodily functions as animalistic tendencies best supressed.

Query: What the fuck is a good accident? What is she talking about? Isn’t the idea to avoid accidents but if they happen not to make too much of them? Is she really suggesting shaming as a form of potty training… in reverse? Anti-potty training as in support of social decorum? Holy shit, I LOVE THIS WOMAN!

Last, and to be very clear, it kinda irks me when I see kids letting it fly in the park. But, hey, they’re kids, and when they gotta go, they let it flow (rhyming!). JP doesn’t it do it, and if he has to go in public I find a bathroom for him. It hasn’t really been an issue with him, though, as he’s pretty capable of holding it. But if he really had to and I had no other choice, I wouldn’t have him go in his pants to protect someone else’s feelings.

One of the interesting notions in this sort of post, and in the responses to it at the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, which is where I found it, is that parents are supposedly expressing a sense of entitlement by letting their children urinate in public. I don’t understand that. Parenting, at least in NYC, doesn’t strike me as a way to development entitlement. Everything here is stacked against you: schools, transportation, shopping, expenses—hell, the dogs, who we shouldn’t be allowing our children to emulate, have it better in this town. Everywhere is a bathroom for them.

Frankly, if I have a sense of entitlement, I would like someone to demonstrate what exactly I am getting for it. What are the benefits that redound to me as a parent? The fact that you might get your toes scraped by my stroller on a crowded sidewalk? That my kid might kick your chair on an airplane? Is that it? That’s all I get?


  1. Tim says:

    November 24th, 2010at 12:46 pm(#)

    I’m afraid it’s been a while so I can’t remember where I read about this technique, only that it was a reputable source (Dr. Sears, probably):

    1. Put a waterproof mattress pad on the kid’s bed.

    2. Send him to bed without a pull-up.

    3. Wake the kid up roughly at the halfway point of his nightly allotment of sleep and take him to the bathroom to urinate.

    4. Profit.

    It was an unholy bitch at first, and it seems really counterintuitive, but I think the theory is that it somehow strengthens the brain-bladder connection and helps “train” the bladder to stay closed. What happened after about 10 days of this was that my son would wake up by himself to go, and then eventually he stopped and slept through the whole night without any problem.

    As for OutdoorPeeGate, the lesson, as always? People are crazy. We should be encouraging our children to pee on the streets and sidewalks if only to hasten the rinsing off of all the dog urine.

  2. dadwagon says:

    November 24th, 2010at 2:42 pm(#)

    Tim–definitely going to try that. happy turkey–Theodore

  3. karen says:

    November 24th, 2010at 3:10 pm(#)

    The other week (prior to the current below 0 cold snap on the west coast) my daughter yelled on the crowded playground after school — Mom!!! LOOK AT ADAM!!!

    My three year old had his pants down around his ankles and he was relieving himself down a grate.

    Oh my!

    But heck, at least my kid knows not to pee in his pants, right?! Yeesh. That woman needs to stop using bee sting remedy as an inhaler. I think you know why.


    Lids on Kids (and on their Reluctant Fathers) - TIME Healthland

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