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The other day a really unfortunate event happened during my daughter’s swim team practice.  A little girl did not make it to the bathroom and peed while standing waiting for her turn to swim.  It was not my daughter, but it could have been (although she would tell you that it really could not have been).  It made me think how would I support my daughter if it had been her.

At dinner, this event became the main topic of our discussion.  I shared my traumatic story of trying to “hold it” while standing in a very long line for the bathroom at a big event.  I was about my daughter’s age and I really had to go.  The line was about 20 people long and after about 10 minutes, I just could not hold it anymore.  It was embarrassing, but luckily it was in Hawaii and far away from my daily life.   I did not have to face those people again ever.  The little girl on the swim team would have to face the kids again.

The big question was, “what would you do if this had happened to you?”  My husband was adamant that he would have to quit the team.  I wanted to say I would handle the incident with dignity, but truth be told, when I was a kid I would have ran for the hills.    The main point is that embarrassing things happen and it is in how we respond that makes  the difference, which is why we decided our kids needed to learn what to do if you really have to pee and you are at the pool.  So here are our words of wisdom for what to do to keep an accident from becoming too embarrassing to bear…

  1. When you have to go… go.  Seriously, don’t hold it if you don’t have to.  Just go to the bathroom.  It is far better to miss a little bit of instruction, than it is to pee yourself.  At a meet, make sure you go before before it is time for you to swim.
  2. Get in the pool!  I know we should not avocate peeing in the pool, but when it comes to peeing down your leg onto the deck or peeing in the pool, I will take the pool every time.  If you are waiting for your turn and you know you cannot get to the bathroom in time.  Just jump in the pool (or a fountain, lake, etc).  You may get in trouble for not waiting your turn, but play dumb.  You lines like “I totally thought it was my turn!” or “I am so sorry I just got too excited!”  Again, no one will remember that you got over zealous, but they will remember the yellow puddle you were standing in.  If you are wearing pants, sit down.   It is much easier to camouflage a big wet spot on the back as opposed to the whole pants legs.   If possible, spill a drink and then sit down in it if you can.
  3. Create a diversion.  So you can’t get to the bathroom and you can’t get into the pool in time and you feel the pee starting down your leg.  There is only one thing left to do and that is try to deflect everyone’s attention from yourself.  Point to something in the distance and yell out something to get people to look.  May be point outside and yell…”Is that a bear out there?”  They may give you a hard time about your eye sight, but it is better than alternative.   Also remember to move away from the spot as soon as you can and try to act as normal as possible.  If you do need to tell them about it to clean it up, do not mention that it was you that did it.  Be vague!  Say something like… “I noticed some yellow water over there… I am not sure what it is,” or “Someone may have had an accident.”   The important thing is that they know about the incident to clean it up.   This is also the preferred option if you are not at the pool as well.  I recommend falling in a puddle or spilling your drink on yourself as the best diversions if you are fully dressed.
  4. Be a good friend.  Try to help a friend out!  You could make a diversion for them by doing something that would attract attention to you.  Another nice thing to do is to make sure they know that you do not care that you saw it and that it does not change how you feel about them.  They are bound to be embarrassed, but if you treat them as if you did not see anything then they will relax a little.

Any other words of wisdom about what to do when you just gotta go?

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