Did this title conjure up nightmares: memories you’ve stuffed into a dark place? For any parent whose only option was to bring their kid or kids into a Porta Potty–you know what I am talking about. My Porta Potty nightmares came to life most recently at an event. There were no public restrooms available, not that they are much better, but they are in this sort of situation. My daughter, despite my best efforts to have her go potty before we left, inevitably had to go potty. Of course I ask her, incredulously, “Are you sure?”. I always ask this question, like a dope. The answer is always the same; “Yes, Mommy I have to go really badly!”. Great. I push the double stroller with my 2 year-old son sitting in it. He has the life–eating fried dough, not a care in the world. At least he is still in diapers so he won’t have to use the Porta Potty.

We approach the impressive line-up of Porta Potties. I am not impressed, not at all. My insides turn because I know I am about to go into a mini, portable Hell. The fact that I have my son in tow, who will not fit inside the Porta Potty with me, makes this even more stressful. I need to keep my eyes on him at all times so he’s not kidnapped, while keeping my eyes on my daughter so that she doesn’t fall into the muck in the hole or touch the little air freshener in the tiny urinal, or touch her face after touching everything else that I asked her not to touch. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

There are many times I wish she were in a diaper to avoid this situation. That’s how much I hate it. It’s disgusting. No amount of pungent air freshening scents can mask what is really going on in that Porta Potty. A for effort but F, overall. Maybe they should try Febreze, that seems to solve all things malodorous. Great idea for a commercial for Febreze (someone take note). Anyway, I put myself on Mommy repeat and go over the “don’t touch”. I try to put down the toilet paper on the seat which always does one of the following; 1. Falls-in as soon as she tries to sit down 2. Stays but sticks to her leg upon dismount, lands on the floor and she tries to pick it up. Oh, I also have the door wide open, held ajar by the double stroller so I can keep tabs on my Son, throughout my Porta Potty coaching session.

She goes, the toilet paper sticks to her and falls to the floor. I go to pick it up, before it catches a ride on the bottom of one of our shoes, and turn to see my daughter poking the air freshener circle in the urinal. “Ah, no, don’t touch that! I said not to touch anything!”. She says, “But Mommy, I thought it was a little soap in this sink.” Yuck. I kind of would like to puke, but I am also laughing a little because I could see the resemblance to a sink and soap, especially to a 4 year-old; a sink sized perfectly to her. I hold her hands out like she’s touched a toxic substance, because in my mind she has done that, and drag her over to the silly sink trough nearby. At these troughs, I successfully splash water all over us, there are no paper towels. But, I will gladly take the hand sanitizer and bathe us both in it. My son stares at us, like we are crazy. I am verifiably crazy when I’m living the Porta Potty nightmare.