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The Bathroom Quest

Just when you think life is going to get easier because the kids are out of their nappies, comes the next challenge – finding a bathroom every time the little one needs to go – which is about every 10 meters or every 5 minutes. And there’s no use telling him/her to wait. At this age, bladder control is not yet fully developed.

In my case, it was two little almost 3-year old twin boys asking to go all the time. There were times when I was really tempted to put their nappies back on – except that they refused point blank. “We’re big boys now, Mommy. You said so.”

This problem, of course, can put a damper on travelling plans even if only to the supermarket. But don’t worry, this phase is transitory and will be over before you know it. Here are some survival tips:

Have a bathroom directory in your head. Like having a built-in GPS, a mom or dad should know exactly where the closest bathroom is, and how fast one can go from point to point, with or without a push chair.

Make kids go even if they don’t have/want to. As soon as you see a bathroom in sight, you shout “let’s do it!” despite the little one’s protest. I suppose psyschologists will have a lot of things to say about forcing kids to go. I had the problem of having 2 boys who never seemed to want to go at the same time. And one is always complaining about being dragged to the bathroom without wanting to go – only to ask to go 5 minutes later. I say, be opportunistic and make use what is within your reach. It’s a matter of survival.

Be flexible – and be creative. What happens when there is no bathroom in sight? Sometimes we have to resort to drastic measures that may not necessarily be hygienic. I say, the bushes should do in times of emergency. Or anything, just to keep the kids from wetting themselves and making a mess. My sister-in-law’s girl needed to go urgently and there were 10 ladies lined up in front of them. Nobody offered to let the little girl go first so her mom placed her over the bathroom sink. Of course, she cleaned up the place afterwards. Once in an airport, I was pushing a cart laden with luggage plus 2 boys and there was just no way we could find a bathroom in time. The rubbish bin had to do that time.

Teach the kids the road signs. The big letter “P” sign on the motorway means parking. For my boys, it means “pee” literally. They were trained to ask themselves when they see this sign “do I need to go?”

Have some spare clothes all the time. And a plastic bag for anything that gets wet. Even with their newly found independence – “I need to go but I can wait” – accidents still happeneded to my 4-year olds.

But then it’s over before you know it. My boys are now 5 and feel old enough to go to the bathroom without Mommy. “I know where it is and I can go alone.”

And then they’d be scornful about little ones still in nappies and laugh their heads off about their Mommy’s bathroom tales. And then you’d be asking yourself “what was all that stress for anyway?”


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