What Chicago dads encounter when they take their daughters to public bathrooms

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood  of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, who is disgusted by your restroom habits.

Several months ago in this blog I said I had no intention of potty training my child – I was kidding at the time, but now that potty training is a fait accompli in our house. (The books are right, if the kid isn’t ready, they won’t do it – when they are ready, it’s done in a weekend.) I realized that I wasn’t so far off bemoaning the notion of a potty trained child. Why? Because now I exist in a perpetually distressed state: trapped between the Scylla of potty accident and the Charybdis of dirty public washroom.

As a guy, and a guy with no particular health issues, I have, by and large, avoided much use of public restrooms for more than 35 years (but less than 40, just so we’re clear). Now that a few times a day my 2-year-old daughter says, “Daddy, I have to go *insert cute word for elimination here*”, I’m off to the wonderful world of communal evacuation. I had no idea the waking nightmares that awaited! And it’s not for my own needs – if it were I might be able to “go to my happy place” mentally and survive a trip to a gross bathroom – but instead I have a tiny little girl who needs to be lifted and tended to, and who runs the risk of touching all the foulness or even falling into the terrifying abyss of a public toilet.

Now that I am up close and personal with public washrooms, I have to ask you, the public, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Why can’t you use a toilet like a damned human being! My 2-year-old doesn’t leave the bathroom looking like there are sprinkler attachments on her naughty bits, so why do you??? SERIOUSLY – it’s not that difficult to make yesterday’s meal leave your body and enter a fairly wide aperture on a porcelain bowl – why can no one handle this without turning an entire room into a Jackson Pollock of filth and biohazard!

Let us assume that there will be accidents, and we must have compassion and patience for those who have trouble getting to the facilities on time – the very young, the ill, the differently abled, the elderly, and patrons of Wrigley Field – but then there is the sloppy majority that is everyone else. Do I need to send you all an Elmo video on how this works? GET IT TOGETHER! Do NOT spackle the walls with the contents of your guts.

I think it is really starting to bother Viva, as well – she nearly perforated a bowel rather than be held over the Sarlaac Pit that was a street festival port-o-let, but that’s an extreme case – places with exceptionally high volume of people and much alcohol. But it’s almost as bad everywhere – she looks wide eyed at the Lovecraftian horror that is the average Target bathroom as well. HAVE SOME SELF-RESPECT, PEOPLE! Practice at home or something. Stable yourselves. Aim. Settle down. Dispose of toiletries down the appropriate chute. Oh, yes, and stop flinging excreta like it’s the Rise of the John of the Planet of the Apes!!!!

What I wouldn’t do to just be changing a few stinky diapers with a smiling Mickey Mouse on the outside and flinging it into a landfill for future generations to deal with.

My toddler is potty trained. Society, potty train thy-selves!

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