Would you let your children poo
I, by the way, would answer that question with an emphatic no.
But it appears, things aren't as cut and dried (pun intended) for everyone.
Some years ago, browsing souvenirs in a seaside gift shop, I sniffed a pungent pong that wasn't coming from a burger van across the way.
On the other side of the store, my friend Georgie had unfurled a portable potty. Her daughter Sophie had left us a present to remember. The sales assistant's face was a picture.
Never had the expression looking down your nose at someone been more fitting.
I couldn't believe it. I expressed my horror but Georgie didn't care. She considered it natural, as normal as breastfeeding. My protests that it wasn't at all the same fell on deaf ears.
The next time, Sophie was at it in Primark and so was her little mate, Frankie.
I was even more disturbed. There was a very nice shopping centre loo yards away.
But I was outnumbered - both my mates thought it was OK. Days ago these memories came flooding back when I saw an onlooker kick up a stink on Twitter about a very similar incident.
A child had used their portable potty in a coffee shop. Yes a coffee shop. I hope the mum or dad with them was given a stern talking to.
How have parents reached such a sense of entitlement for our little darlings that they think this is acceptable behaviour?
I accept there may be times when a rushed visit to the loo is needed – an emergency even. But surely they should remain just that – an emergency dash to a private cubicle, not a case of encouraging your little one to whip out their bottom when nature calls.
My friend Kim agrees. She acknowledges sometimes a child needs a wee in the most awkward of places and that a portable potty could come in handy. But she adds foraging in your handbag for such an accessory in the middle of a shop for a number two, is beyond the pale.
"There's a time and place for everything," says Kim, mum to Ollie, four.
"You have to teach kids at an early age to hold themselves while you find the nearest toilet. Letting them poo in a coffee shop seating area? No, just no."
Mum-of-two and blogger Pippa from A Mother's Ramblings
says she considers it an excellent idea for parents to travel equipped with a portable potty.
But she adds they aren't needed when there are plenty of public toilets around.
She says: "When toddlers are just learning the signs of needing the toilet, it's often a rather quick dash to the bathroom and if you are out and about this can be problematic.
"Having a portable potty with you can ease some of this worry and can make the toddlers feel more secure in their own choices about when they need the toilet," says Pippa whose daughter is now eight and her son, four.
"Both my children have used portable potties. We actually have three of them now for some reason. They live in the car and are rather useful for when someone is feeling travel sick."
Pippa doesn't share my enthusiasm for decreeing when and where such an aid should be called upon.
She says: "It depends on your own circumstances! I would never tell someone they were using them too much as they might always be out and about.
"For us we had them with us at all times when we were potty training on family walks, but we didn't use them when we were in a shopping centre for example.
"Now they live in the storage space in our car floor for the just in case moments.
"They are emergency use only now that my two are fully potty trained and an emergency is when we are on the motorway and nowhere near a services. When the children were first learning an emergency was 'I need to pee now.'
"My son has just been diagnosed as a diabetic and so we did have a few moments in the last couple of months where he needed to pee every ten minutes or so and the potty was invaluable then."
"I'd rather if the children need to go they went in a potty than stood at the side of the road peeing into a bush or similar.
"It makes sense to me to have something like a portable potty with you to use because you are teaching toddlers there are appropriate places to go to the toilet rather than in their nappy or underwear and so having a potty when you are out is saying pee goes in the toilet or potty."
I admire Pippa's even handed and thoughtful approach.
But if I ever chance across a toddler caught short within breathing distance of my cappuccino I may not be so understanding.
What do you think?
They can pee right off.
Would you potty train your child on a portable potty in a shop or cafe?
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Are you sure? So you’ve taken just as many pictures of your second child as your first then? A study by scientists at the University of California suggested 65 per cent of the mothers and 70 per cent of fathers had a preference for one child - however subconsciously.</p>
- Doing their homework
One study shows that nearly half of parents have done their children’s <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/24/mum-petitions-for-abolition-of-homework/" target="_blank">homework</a> at least once. It seems many either can’t resist the temptation to help their children do well in their studies or would rather do it than spend their lives whingeing at them to stop watching telly.</p>
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It’s the ‘not now, maybe later’ syndrome. Your child wants you to read them a story or go the swings but you are ‘just too busy’. Or is it really that you can’t be bothered because you’re texting, checking emails or even watching telly yourself! Figures show that, on average, parents spend just 36 minutes a day <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2010/11/05/do-i-play-with-my-child-enough/" target="_blank">playing</a> with their offspring.</p>
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Blaming the kids is always the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/baby/why-having-a-baby-makes-the-perfect-excuse/?icid=parentdish|DL_2" target="_blank">perfect excuse</a>, whether it’s not having to go to a social occasion, the house being a mess, being late for work, forgetting someone’s birthday, the list goes on...</p>
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Whether it’s giving them chocolates or sweets as a bargaining tool for chores or simply to ward off a tantrum we often find ourselves bribing our kids. We’re probably well aware that research shows this could lead to obesity - but heh, anything for a quiet life?</p>
- Giving them a smack
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Surely not? Well have you ever eaten their chocolate gift from a relative - because you were ‘saving their teeth’. Sadly that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Findings from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks showed that more than half of parents with children aged five to 12 have raided their kids’ piggy banks!</p>
- Fibbing to get them into a school
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- Writing them a dodgy sick note
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When it comes to getting some kip every sleep deprived parent has a guilty secret - whether it’s letting them stay up too late so that they just flake out, letting baby fall asleep on you, rather than putting it down in its cot or simply allowing them to sleep in your bed.</p>
- Swearing in front of them
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- Not having a sit down family meal
Did you know that children are 24 per cent more likely to eat vegetables if they sit down to a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/food/small-cheats-for-big-family-meals/" target="_blank">family meal?</a> But how often have you let kids eat their dinner in front of the telly? Only 30 per cent of families eat together at least once a week.</p>