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23rd Nov 2021

Should I complain to my son’s nursery for discouraging him when he peed in a bush?

Laura Grainger

This mum was “privately pleased” her son had peed in a bush instead of wetting himself.

A mum has considered complaining to her son’s nursery for discouraging him as he peed in a bush onsite.

In a now-deleted post on Mumsnet, the woman said she’s worried about sending “mixed messages” to her “recently toilet trained” son about where he can pee.

She explained she has been “encouraging him to wee in the bushes” when they’re “out and about and there’s no toilet” so that he doesn’t pee his pants.

Yet when the child did the same in the nursery’s garden, he was discouraged by teachers, prompting the mum to consider making a complaint.

In her post, the mum wrote: “I picked him up from nursery a couple of days ago, and the person who did handover said ‘just to let you know mum, we were in the garden today and he pulled his trousers and pants down and weed in the bush’. The obvious subtext was ‘this is not allowed’.

“I do understand that they would prefer to avoid this, but I was privately pleased that he’d done that rather than wet himself.”

She said she and her husband did, however, try to explain to him that at nursery he should tell someone he needs to use the toilet.

When they were next at a park and the boy needed the loo, the mum tried to get him to pee in a bush.

“He wouldn’t and kept running back down the path, looking for somewhere else to go,” she continued. “I tried to stop him and get him to go in the bush but he wouldn’t, and got more and more distressed until he stopped and weed in his pants.”

As a result, the mum is worried her son has gotten “mixed messages” over where is and isn’t appropriate to pee.

Her post continued: “I’m not sure whether to raise it with nursery along the lines of ‘what was said to him when he did this/I’m not sure it was particularly helpful to treat this as a wrongdoing in the context of ongoing toilet training/can we agree a consistent message for him going forwards’ or whether actually this is entirely on us as parents.

“Obviously if he’d done it indoors there would be no ambiguity, but isn’t it fairly normal for little boys to have a wee in a bush?”

Her post was met with criticism from amazed mums.

“I can’t believe you would seriously consider reproaching the nursery about this,” one replied. “You can’t have children weeing in the garden, it’s very unhygienic.”

Other mums who had daughters were disgruntled by the seemingly double standard.

“Stop encouraging him to urinate in public and the problem goes away. The male entitlement here is just ridiculous,” one wrote.

“…That is what the parents of young daughters must do because encouraging them to expose themselves in public is obviously not acceptable. Little hint, it’s not acceptable for boys either.”

Another said: “Of course you shouldn’t raise it obviously. I mean what do you want them to do, allow your child to pee wherever he feels like? That’s not really being toilet trained is it? The clue is in the name – he should be using the toilet.

“Nurseries can’t have children learning the lesson that they can take their clothes off outside or anywhere they like. Imagine Ofsted [the UK’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills] coming and being treated to little boys pulling their pants down in the garden and using it as a toilet, presumably where other kids then play with toys.

“And what about girls? Should they just pull their pants down and squat? It’s just an issue on so many levels.”