Is it OK for a child to use a potty in public?

Is public potty training ever acceptable? [Photo: Getty]

A mum has sparked a heated parenting debate about whether it is OK for children to use a potty in public.

As any potty training parent will likely appreciate sometimes when they’ve got to go, they’ve got to go.

But what if you’re out and about and there’s nowhere private to pee or poop? Do you just pull out the potty and roll with it? Or is popping them on the potty in public a massive parenting faux-pas?

That’s exactly the debate currently raging on parenting site Mumsnet after a mum went online to express her surprise at spotting a toddler being toilet trained in the middle of a fair.

“I’m pretty easy going, bordering on complacent to mumsnet standards,” she wrote.

“Went to a fair today. Kid and dad in queue. Dad whips out Potty and the kid does their business there and then. Is this what I have to look forward to? Mine’s not potty trained yet.”

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She ended her post by asking others what they thought and questioning whether it would have been better for the dad to take the child somewhere more private.

“Would most people at least go hide behind a bush or something? There were loads of people around. Place was heaving,” she wrote.

And users were quick to offer their own opinions on the divisive subject. Many stepped in to defend the decision of the dad to put his child on the potty there and then.

“If the child is very new to potty training it has to happen whenever, wherever,” one user suggested.

“How close were the toilets?” asked another. “Unless they were 10 foot away without a queue then I’d say you’re unreasonable. You don’t know if the child would have wet themselves if they left to find a toilet.”

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A mum has sparked a parenting debate after asking if it is ok for kids to use a potty in public? [Photo: Getty]

But others agreed with the original poster that whipping out the potty somewhere so public was unnecessary.

“I never did this with either of mine,” one user wrote. “In general I waited until they could at least hold it for a few minutes to dash to a toilet or secluded spot then I stayed in for a few days until they got the hang of it and we were off.

“What happens if you're in a restaurant? Or a school play? If your child can't wait even a minute they're not ready!”

“Ridiculous,” another parent agreed. “I saw someone whip one out in the frozen section of our local large Tesco and vowed never to use one.”

Other users revealed their own similar stories about being force to use a potty somewhere less than ideal.

“I have done similar many times,” one mum shared. “I’m pretty sure I was judged, cause that's how perfect everyone else is. Especially those who have no idea what potty training entails or how difficult in can be. I promise you, you will be eating your words when your time comes."

“This could have been me today,” another shared. “On week two of training went to the high street toddler needs a wee so put her in a closed doorway on the potty. There are no public toilets around and she has to go 'now!' Would you not rather a potty than a pee or poo all over the floor?”

It isn’t the first time the topic of potty training has made headlines. Back in 2017 a childcare expert sparked a discussion after revealing she charges mums and dads up to £500-a-day to potty train their children.

And earlier this year an unnamed infant school caused a stir after hiring someone to change nappies because so many pupils aren’t toilet trained when they start their education.

The news came after a watchdog warned teachers were being tasked with looking after children who are not toilet trained.

Back in December a report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) revealed that parents are failing to teach toilet training to their school-age children.