How to Survive Potty Training in Public Toilets As a Hermaphobe

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist, and New York Times bestselling author of My Boyfriend Is Boiling In My Purse … And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha About . Her flagship column, Ask a Pure Man, debuted in 2011. Here at Offspring we’ve launched a new iteration dedicated to parenting and all the mess it brings.

What do you do with potty training on the go and in public restrooms? I am a complete hermaphobe, and now we are at the stage where my two-year-old daughter asks to leave when we are not at home, and I’m just going crazy. I carry disposable toilet seat covers, folding potty seats, lysol wipes, hand sanitizer with me, but heck it’s a lot (and we live in New York, so it’s all in my purse now. and my back will be broken). What to do about it?

I’m going to level up and say it’s tricky to try and solve: There are basically two questions going on here, the first is, “Can I manage all these things down?” and the second: “How can I make public toilets not so dirty?” I don’t have good answers either! But I have answers, even if they are not the best.

Let’s start with the things: I think this is what it takes. The only thing that can be negotiable is a folding potty seat (stay with me here), but that depends a lot on your child and how afraid he is of the whole process of going to the toilet. From a tactical point of view, you can put her sideways on the seat to prevent her from falling, but not all kids will allow this, and obviously you don’t want to injure your poor child by forcing them to sit in the big man’s seat. if they are afraid to do it. If your child definitely needs a portable seat, there are models that are lighter and more compact than others, such as this one , that can help reduce the strain on your back.

The rest – Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and seat covers – are almost non-negotiable, especially given Mom’s germophobia. Fortunately, these things are not too heavy or cumbersome, especially if you switch to Lysol wipes, which come in a package , not a can. With that in mind, it’s probably a good idea to go back to using a diaper bag for now, as it will be more spacious and designed to distribute the weight of its contents.

When it comes to treating a public bathroom as a hermaphobe, I’m not going to dissuade you from being hermaphobic, but there are some things you can try to deal with the anxiety you are experiencing. Wipe the toilet seat with one of these Lysol wipes, cover the seat with a seat cover, and cover the flush valve, door locks and handles, and taps with a piece of toilet paper or paper towel. This is not necessary – washing your hands after using the toilet is more than enough to get rid of any germs you may come in contact with, but I am also not here to dissuade you from the fear you have.

Speaking of hand washing! This is a good opportunity to teach your child the right hand washing skills and a good opportunity to brush up on their own hand washing skills. So! As a reminder, the CDC recommends keeping your hands underwater, lathering with soap and rubbing on both the back and front of your hands, and between your fingers and under your nails, for 20 seconds before rinsing and drying.

This is a good topic for group discussion: What tips and tricks do you have for potty training on the go? What products can’t you live without? Have you overcome hermaphobia, and if so, how did you do it? And what portable potty seats would you recommend? Offspring editor Michelle Wu mentioned Potette , which she says will come in handy when you’re in a place where bathrooms are hard to find or where they are very disgusting.


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