Tuesday, 12 July 2016

OUT AND ABOUT


Many children dislike using public toilets, which are often not the nicest of environments.  A lot of parents will be able to tell stories of their children trying, and sometimes failing, to hang on until they get home when they need a wee, which can result in wet pants or an emergency wee behind a bush, against a wall, down a drain or beside the car.  They may be even more reluctant to do a poo on an unfamiliar toilet.

Many children prefer using the toilet at home
 to using public toilets.  This was certainly the
case with me when it came to doing a poo. (c)
In my case I had no problems using public toilets when I needed a wee.  Indeed, unlike many little boys, I did not regard the outside world as my personal urinal and would have to be really desperate before I would consent to urinating al fresco.  But it was a different story when I was away from home and needed a poo.  Although I was willing to park my bottom on a public toilet when I was very young, as I got older it became a complete no-no for me.

I think this probably came from my early experiences of using the Ladies as a little boy, with my Mum or older sister standing outside the cubicle urging me to hurry up.  I never liked to rush when sitting on the toilet so I stopped asking to be taken in the first place and simply withheld my poo in a similar way to what I did at home.  Naturally, this resulted in a lot of accidents, either on the trip itself, necessitating an embarrassing clean up, or after returning home.  After a while avoiding the toilet and withholding when on day trips and holidays became so common for me that I did it without even thinking about it, like it was an automatic response.  Even my mother’s expressed displeasure at having to change my pants on days out failed to change my behaviour.

After the age of 8 most of my accidents occurred away from home.  Avoiding public toilets when I wanted a poo had become so deeply ingrained in me that it was even harder to break the habit than withholding at home had been.  However, my accidents on trips decreased in frequency over time and eventually became very rare, helped by the fact I was now old enough to use the Gents by myself.

Aged 5, at Skegness with Paddington
Bear.  Days out were fun, but I often
had an accident in my pants.
One trip that sticks in my mind was when I was 10 years old and my mother took my sister and me away for the weekend to a wedding in Humberside.  Before we went my mother told me how she was packing spare underwear ‘in case you have an accident.’  It was one of the few occasions when I can recall her referring to my soiling problem while I was clean.

At the disco on the evening of the wedding I needed a poo and shortly afterward felt the need to wee as well.  Amazingly, the Gents contained only one toilet, and two men who also needed to answer the call of nature came with me.  As a child, I was allowed to go first.  I unzipped and emptied my bladder.  I hesitated for a second but then, despite the fact that these two men were standing outside the cubicle waiting, I pulled down my trousers and pants and sat on the toilet to do my poo and stayed there until I was happy I had finished.


I don’t know what gave me the confidence to poo in public toilets in such circumstances that weekend.  It might have been wanting to avoid the embarrassment of soiling myself at the age of 10 in front of so many people, or a determination that the spare pants my mother had packed would not be needed.  But looking back I feel it was a breakthrough.  However, I was still not completely free of accidents.

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