The Story Behind: Parental Time Dilation Principle #9

The Story Behind: Parental Time Dilation Principle #9 There is no such thing as a quick pit-stop when you’ve got a toddler in tow. Then, time slows to a glacial pace. Two-years-old, three-years-old, it doesn’t really matter. Waiting for a kid to do his business — especially when he’s still getting the hang of it — will make you feel like a clown in a Beckett play. Pee … poop … Godot. Doesn’t matter what you’re waiting for; it never comes.

I remember one night midway through potty training my son. He hadn’t quite put all the pieces together yet, though he love-love-loved sitting on the potty. We were having Sunday dinner with my entire family — my parents, my sister, her husband and their kids — at a restaurant packed with others having Sunday dinner with their families. I was just tucking into my decently-grilled-for-a-chain-restaurant salmon when …

“GO POTTY!” my son shouted as loud as his two-year-old lungs would let him. Then he bolted for the restrooms. And, naturally, I scrambled after him.

Once in the spacious handicapped stall, I hoisted him onto the bowl … and waited … and waited for something to happen.

The minutes ticked … ticked … ticked … on. I was starting to suspect that the kid wasn’t going to actually do anything more than swing his legs against the cool porcelain and sing a happy nonsensical toddler tune. But antsy as I was getting — and hungry for the salmon growing cold back at the table — I was reluctant to leave. I was still really new to this parenting thing, pretty much second-guessing myself every moment. I’d never potty-trained a kid before. Maybe this here, right here in the Mimi’s Cafe restroom, was going to be the Break-Through Moment when my son finally put the whole potty thing together and realized that the bowl he was sitting on was where his bodily wastes belonged. I didn’t want to blow it by giving up too soon.

So I waited. And waited. I got so damn tired of standing around waiting, gritting my teeth through my impatience, I actually sat down on the public Mimi’s Cafe restroom floor so the boy wouldn’t feel rushed. And no, there is not enough Clorox in this universe to get over that.

Alas, my sacrifice was in vain. After a few more rounds of nonsensical toddler tunes, my kid was all done with the “potty game” and wanted to go back to the table. He didn’t leave so much as a droplet in the bowl.

Sigh. That was twenty or so minutes of my life that I’d never get back. Though the server did offer to reheat my salmon.



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  1. I remember these days so well. I hated potty training for this very reason. So much time in public restrooms!

  2. Norine Dworkin-McDaniel :

    OMG, yes! So glad those days are done!

  3. This is beyond awesome- you have wholly captured the essence of the “waiting for the kid to poop” phenomenon. In fact, you seem to capture the essence of MANY aspects of parenthood- which I think means that you are excellent at what you do. You win the “Nodding-Along-While-Reading” award!

    I have totally sat on the floor of a public restroom myself. Sigh. How the mighty have fallen.

    • Norine Dworkin-McDaniel :

      Ahhh, thanks so much. You made my day. And I am officially hiring you as SOP’s Secretary Of Fabulous Compliments. We’re keeping a running tab! You’re the best!

  4. Ugh! I have a 3 year old, who does that same exact thing! Drives me insane. Great post

  5. I do the same thing as a thirty-something! Sometimes I just like to yell “GO POTTY!” and then run to the restroom.

    Granted, I had my gallbladder removed, so it’s usually true, and it’s also usually #2 and not #1, but you get the point.

    Lesson: Don’t go out to dinner with me or your son when he was potty training.

    I’m just glad they heated up your salmon. I hope they had a fresh glass of wine waiting for you too.

    • Norine Dworkin-McDaniel :

      HAHAH! I will totally go out to dinner with you. I always have to go. We can shout it in harmony!

  6. I can remember times that I was about done eating by the time my husband and son came back to the table. What you have to look forward to in a few more years is when you let them go into the men’s while you stand outside the door. Many MANY times, I’ve wanted to go in the bathroom at Barnes and Noble and say, “Are you alright?”

  7. Ugh, potty-training. These days I’m thankful to have an iPhone, so I have something to do while they’re sitting there. Before the phone, I used to do leg lifts…anything to get me through that time without rushing them and pulling my hair out.

    • Norine Dworkin-McDaniel :

      Yes, these were the days before iPhones. Impressed with the leg lifts. Occasionally, I’m still held captive. I’ll try those next time. Might as well try to get in shape while I’m standing around!

  8. yes that’s happened to me too! My husband actually came looking for me once. Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up

  9. UGH! I feel your pain. I would purposely wait until AFTER my Lola had gone to go pretty much ANYWHERE! And she STILL likes to visit EVERY POTTY in EVERY PLACE we ever go. My husband taught me how to combat that one now though, just tell her “in a minute, in a minute” until you get to the end, it will be obvious if it’s for REAL or if she’s just wanting to be a puppy and mark her territory :)
    I have ONE MORE KID to go through that with!

    • Norine Dworkin-McDaniel :

      “Marking territory …” Love that. Never thought of it that way, but sure, makes sense.

  10. We have a rule – if it’s the son my hubs is up and I get the daughter. Historically the hubs has had many more poop emergencies than me since my daughter would rather crap her pants than miss a minute of anything going on. Thank god those days are over :)

  11. I think this is some form of super secret toddler right of passage, or it could just be something from their evil “Things to Test a Parent’s Patience” handbook.

    With #1 son, I had a wonderful home daycare lady that had a son of the same age, so she potty trained them together. It was like getting a housebroken puppy. Son #2 is special needs and we haven’t hit the potty training time yet. Dreading it.

  12. Norine Dworkin-McDaniel :

    Thank you!


  1. […] no such thing as a quick pit-stop when you’ve got a toddler in tow in her blog post entitled “The Story Behind: Parental Time Dilation Principle #9″ (impressive title!)… Time will cease to elapse while crouched in a public bathroom stall […]

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