Peeing on the Go- In the Park

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 A PSP member asks fellow parents, "I'm in the process of potty training my 2 1/2 year old daughter, and I think we're ready to venture out of the house without a diaper. I'm looking for advice on where people go when they're in the park - particularly at the 3rd Street playground where we frequently play. (I'm new to the neighborhood and to the potty training, and would love to hear any advice on going out in the area diaper free....)"

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PSP member replies:

“I love the potty-on-the-go (about $10). Foldable, small, it is always with me in my stroller or my Mommy's purse so I have nothing to worry about wherever I am. I'm not there with potty training and can't imagine my son using one of these - but my good friend uses one (Potette) with her son – very successfully...”

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“I know that it's a bit late to chime in on this thread, but people really shouldn't get so worked up about germs on a public toilet. Just make sure that you wash your hands afterwards and everything will be fine. I don't know if a wipe will do as well as washing, since some of the bathrooms don't have soap.
There was just something about this in a recent NY Times article in the science section.”

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“The Villa right next the 3 St. playground has bathrooms on the ground floor and the second floor. Just go up the hill and through the door on the ground floor. it's usually always open during reg. hours. otherwise, a tree works well!”

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“I know that a lot of people get "skitched" out about the toilets at local toilets being dirty so here is an idea that worked for my daughter and I. Instead of trying to hold her over the potty or worse yet, clean the toilet seat (which I've heard spreads more germs than sitting on it), I would sit on the toilet with my clothes on (usually jeans) and sit her between my legs. She's not on the yucky toilet, and you don't have to worry about balancing her so she doesn't fall in.
OH! And just a pet peeve. I find that women's bathrooms are many times more disgusting than men's--SO-- If you are a "floater," and sprinkle when you tinkle-- be a sweetie and wipe the seatie!”

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“Usually we disappear behind the trees for that. IMO the bathrooms are too filthy.”

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“We are in the process of potty training too and recently bought a travel potty. It folds up to fit in the stroller basket or a bag and you use it with disposable plastic bags with paper inlays. We got ours at Fidgets but I am sure they are available on line or in other stores as well. I also ran into a mother who had bought a foldable travel toilet seat that fits on top of the big toilet seat and she was very happy with that.
That being said, I think it is perfectly acceptable for kids to pee behind a tree when roaming the park or the woods, but the travel potty is great for the playground or while shopping etc. as so many of the public bathrooms are absolutely disgusting.

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“When my daughter was first going out in big girl underpants, I always took along extra pullups - if she had to go and we were nowhere near a bathroom, i would slip off her underwear and slip on a pullup (she only wants to wear dresses which made that easier). She would usually go right away and then we'd just change back into undies and throw away the pullup. this worked well for us in emergency situations. Within a few months she was able to hold it long enough that we could take the time to search out a clean bathroom."

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“Avoid the 3rd St. Playground when toilet training. It's the perfect playground for tots and preschoolers but the bathroom is too far for trainees to make it next door in time. I recommend 9th St or Berkeley (Berkeley betw. 5th and 6th). Have a change of clothing ready just in case.
Today at the playground on 5th Ave between 3rd and 4th Streets (by the Stone House) the bathroom door was locked at 11:15 a.m. The entire area around the House reeked of urine. My son is completely toilet trained, but there was nowhere to go. Lots of us are willing to use yucky toilets to save the park from becoming one big toilet. But they have to be open.
Kids peeing on trees or in the green spaces surrounding a playgroud is a particularly tough issue for me to deal with. On the one hand I am well aware of my toddler's bladder limitations, on the other hand I am a garden designer working for the NYC Parks Department.
I have to say that peeing behind a tree is acceptable when you're roaming though acres of woods in semi-inhabited regions, but a city park is no place to pee on a tree.
Keep in mind that we all have to share the city's parks with millions of other people. People often enjoy sitting at a tree to read a book, enjoy lunch, or just relax. No one wants to sit where someone urinated. Also understand, especially with garden areas, someone has to tend them. I recently installed a garden surrounding the playground at Washington Square Park and on more ocassions than I care to recall I have had to weed/plant/prune etc where someone has let their child urinate. Besides possible damage to the plants my staff and I are subjected to that unpleasantness.
I have found that most emergencies wouldn't be emergencies with certain precautions - go before you leave, stop at a known clean restroom as close to the playground as possible, pack supplies to handle emergencies - whether that's a portable potty, alcohol wipes to clean a toilet seat, a change of clothes, etc. While I am no fan of carrying more than is absolutely necessary, no one's diaper bag or stroller is going to burst with the addition of one of these items.”