Parenting

Toddler Forced to Wet Herself After Airline Refuses Access to Bathroom

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Potty training is the pits. There is nothing I hate more in this parenting journey than the potty training period. As soon as I get them into big girl/boy pants, I live in a state of panic and fear that they will have an accident (especially in the car seat) that will be supremely unpleasant for everyone. Stacy Osmond was a grandmother in that exact position when she took her newly potty trained 3-year-old on a vacation. Since she hadn’t traveled with young children in a long time, Osmond forgot to pack a change of clothes for the trip. But she did arrange for seats near the bathroom for frequent trips. Although she chose the seats nearest the business class bathroom, their tickets were actually in coach. When she tried to take her grandchild to the bathroom, she was told they weren’t allowed to use the one in business class. But the bathroom on the other end of the plane was blocked by the drink cart. Instead of accommodating a toddler with a matter of urgency, the Air Canada flight attendant refused access and the child wet her pants in her seat waiting for the cart to move out of the way.

“The second or third time I tried to take Ruby to the bathroom, the flight attendant told me, ‘I can’t have you coming up here anymore,'” Osmond said.

The nearest bathroom, you see, was in business class.

Osmond protested: “I said, ‘She’s a baby. I was given those seats by a booking agent for that reason, so that she would be close to the bathroom.”

Making matters worse, the little girl had to sit in her wet seat for the rest of the flight. What kind of nonsense is this? I am reminded of a gas station that refused to allow my sister to use the bathroom at around the same age. My grandmother, who was taking her on a trip, had her go number two right there on the gas station property and left it there for them as a thank you. It was an extreme response to an unnecessary denial of service. My sister, to this day, is mortified by that story.

Airlines are asking for it if they start denying children the right to relieve themselves. They can’t hold it. It’s not possible for a small child to do. And is anyone in business class really bothered by a toddler using their super special bathroom? Maybe the flight attendant should have taken a poll by a show of hands of who in business would object to a little girl relieving her bladder in their bathroom.

My solution to no potties when you need one has always been to bring a portable potty on long trips in case we run into emergencies. A good hack is to put an open diaper into the retention bowl of any training potty and let the child go on it, then fold up the diaper and throw it away. (Don’t forget a roll of toilet paper or wipes.) There are travel potties for sale or you can use the training potty you have. This solves the issue of a child who gets offended at the suggestion of wearing a pull-up diaper but still addresses the problem of having somewhere to go on very short notice. I used this method on a 12-hour car trip and the kids found that it was much nicer to just go in the car than to navigate gross bathrooms on the road. It cut down on our trip time too. But I never thought I would need to use such a thing on an airplane. Why is it necessary to have rules that subject children to humiliation and pain?

Haven’t the airlines had enough bad press?