Mother Fined $2,500 for Toddler’s Public Urination

Police LightsA mother in Piedmont, Oklahoma was fined $2,500 when her 3-year-old son attempted to urinate in their own front yard on Sunday. While the ticket has since been thrown out, the case has garnered national attention.

According to the boy’s mother, Ashley Warden, her son was playing outside on the family’s two-and-a-half acre lawn when he unzipped to take a bathroom break. A police officer spotted the toddler and stopped him before he could pee. Despite the events happening on their own property, the officer wrote Warden a steep ticket because her son was in public view.

Warden told News 9, “I am disappointed that the officer thinks [...] what he needs to do with my tax dollars is sitting and harassing our family.” The Wardens filed a complaint with the local police department and had planned on fighting the citation since their son didn’t complete the act, but the ticket has already been thrown out.

Piedmont’s police chief, Alex Oblein, went to the family’s home to apologize and later commented that the officer should have used better judgment before issuing the ticket. Even Piedmont’s mayor, Valerie Thomerson, weighed in on the officer’s actions: “I have been vilified for saying this, but stupid is as stupid does, and this was just stupid.”

Image: Police Car Lights via Shutterstock 

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  1. by Sally Kabak

    On November 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    At least common sense prevailed. The police officer obviously had nothing better to do with his time.

  2. by Jennifer

    On November 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    My son is 2 1/2 & whenever we go to the beach, he usually just urinates in the sand before I put his swimmies on. I hope that I never get a ticket for that!

  3. by Traveler

    On November 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Jennifer, why wouldn’t you put the swimmies on BEFORE you go out on the beach?

    They actually need to fine people more often. For some reason, moms think it is cute for their son to expose themselves in public and think it’s ok. It’s actually against the law (public indecency, public exposure, lewdness) in several states. When I was a kid, my parents taught me to use the indoor facilities when available or if not, go back behind a tree or in the woods out of sight. (common sense)

  4. by Kat

    On November 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Traveller, you can’t put baby/toddler swim clothes on before you get to the beach. Swim diapers aren’t waterproof, so you have to have a regular diaper for getting there and a swim diaper once you arrive. (Regular disposable diapers explode in water, leaking crystals everywhere)

    It’s not cool to have your little boy peeing on the playground, but it’s another of those behaviors that should be corrected by the parent, not by a police officer. Would you also fine people changing a baby’s diaper on a playground bench? Fine toddlers who have an accident while potty training?
    These are kids, we have to teach them the rules before we can expect adult behavior.

  5. by Krista

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I thought we lived in a modern society…with established inventions called toilets…in private bathrooms…just saying!

  6. by jenny

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    This is why im slightly ashamed to live in Oklahoma. Not many people have common sense here. And I agree with Kat about what you said traveler. Toddlers don’t know any better, they are just learning the rules. You can’t expect them to just learn overnight, and swim diapers leak horribly if used as regular diapers.

  7. by jenny

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    This is why im slightly ashamed to live in Oklahoma. Not many people have common sense here. And I agree with Kat about what you said traveler. Toddlers don’t know any better, they are just learning the rules. You can’t expect them to just learn overnight, and swim diapers leak horribly if used as regular diapers. Do you even have children tracker?

  8. by Christine

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I agree with Traveler. If we teach our kids they can just whip it out and pee wherever they want, at what point do you then unteach it? It is not ok for a grown up to do, so why would we let our kids?? Peeing on the sand at the beach?? That is gross. I have never been to a public beach where there isn’t a restroom. There are too many pedophiles out there – why on earth would we want to invite trouble by having our kids expose themselves on the beach or right by the street? Even with my babies, I have changed them discreetly in my van or in a restroom, out of the public eye. And I teach my kids when they are old enough to understand that their private areas are just that – private. We’ve got to help them protect themselves from potential harmful situations. As for the ticket issue, I think just a word of wisdom on the matter from the officer would have been more appropriate.

  9. by Ashley

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Kat, I thought you said it perfectly!

    Kids act on their own often. They are not trying to be indecent. It sounds like he had to go, and went to do so. In my case, I would probably have laughed, told him no no honey, we do that inside remember. Then explained why. If we didn’t live in such an age of perverted adults, I wouldn’t have cared at all if it was on our property. It was nothing sexual, simply natural and should not be treated as a shameful thing.

  10. by Christine

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    “Toddlers don’t know any better” – exactly, they need to be taught appropriate behavior. My kids have never tried to use the toilet on our lawn, b/c they have never been told that’s ok and it would never occur to them b/c they are taught to go in the toilet.

  11. by Dana

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I agree with traveler (except for putting the swim diaper on before leaving if you have a distance to go). My son is almost 2 1/2 and is just starting to show interest in potty training. Whether training or fully trained, I would NEVER allow him to whip it out and pee anywhere he pleased. It’s disgusting, you never know who is watching, and it’s just down right wrong. And Jennifer, I really hope that you DO GET FINED for allowing your son to urinate on a public beach! THAT IS A HEALTH HAZARD LADY! Think about it; how would you feel if your son sat down to build a sandcastle – with his bare hands – with sand that had been urinated on, then came back to for lunch. GROSS! Behind a tree when there is no other option is one thing, but out in view of everyone, or in an area that will be frequented by other people and children – absolutely not!

  12. by Angel

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    When I am in a public place that does not have a changing station or I cannot get to the changing station because the tiny section they have it in is so crowded I change my 1 year old son’s diaper right where we are in his stroller. I do try to take the stroller to the side a turn it away at least but that’s not always possible. What’s a mom supposed to do when the proper facilities are not provided?

  13. by Margarete

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    This is silly. Jennifer, please take your child to the bathroom or put a diaper on before hand. Also, I used Luv diapers for my many children for swimming. Never once did they explode. They did expand though :) I did not leave them on after swimming; they were change in a timely manner. They worked better than the swimming diapers/pull ups.

  14. by Kisha

    On November 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    My son was outside playing once and he didn’t want to come inside to potty so he went to the bush and urinated. My neighbor saw him and reported me to the apartment manager and I was told that if it happened again I would have to pay a fine. It was crazy!!! He is 2 not 18!!!!

  15. by Ashleigh

    On November 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Really Dana…health hazard. Or did you forget that fish live in the ocean and need to use the bathroom as well. Not to mention fish eat other fish, blood and guts get everywhere, there are all kinda of bacteria, also people tend to pee in the ocean and a lot of times pools, oh and there goes a band-aid floating by. Pee is the least of my worries since it is sterile. Why do you think people drink it in the desert. Are you gonna still keep your kids from that too. If you are worried about his hands there is a thing called hand sanitizer. I bring that stuff everywhere with me. The kid is 3 and any mother knows that if you turn your head for a second anything can happen. Nobody is perfect and parents make mistake it is not only a learning process for children but for the parents too. So lighten up and don’t be a prude.

  16. by samantha

    On November 8, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I do not agree with a person being fined for their child pottying in their own front yard, but letting a child pee in front of people on a playground especially at the beach in the sand where other children play..should be fined..im sorry! When I change my 3 yr old at the beach from diaper to swim diaper or vice versa, I have my husband hold up a towel around my son, if he is not with me, I take my kids to the bathroom to change them..its not that hard to do! Oh, which by the way, the swim diapers ARE waterproof, just not for real long, I have put them on my son SEVERAL times before our commute to the beach and I even used one as a back up because we were out of diapers, and it held up just fine! If you arent comfortable with doing that and arent comfortable taking them to the public restroom, then change them in the car before you go to the water, simple as that!

  17. by Cassie

    On November 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Ugh, talk about a huge setback in potty training. I would have trouble peeing after I was stopped by an officer. Poor kid.

  18. by Mist

    On November 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I have to agree with teaching your kids to not do such things. I do NOT want my children seeing other children’s privates. Use restrooms and diapers or hide behind something! It is disgusting to let your kid whip it out and urinate where ever! My kids play in the sand at the beach, thanks for letting your kid pee there. So disgusting! Some people. I don’t think it is worth a fine! But have some decency. Would you just whip it out wherever? NO! So why let your children think it is ok. Good grief. It isn’t cute what so ever.

  19. by Carrie

    On November 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Yes a kid tried to pee on his own front lawn…who cares its not the end of the world. He’s a KID…and yeah its gross but nobody minds dogs peeing outside everywhere…I’m not saying its the same thing but sometimes as a kid…when you gotta go…you gotta go…and he’s only a toddler they will grow out of that phase…whose to say that wasn’t the first time the kid tried that and the first time the mom noticed…so if he does it a couple times outside that doesn’t mean he won’t ever learn to do it inside..it just means the parent can teach them to do it inside next time….if you never make a mistake…you won’t ever learn from it

  20. by Nick

    On November 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    This site is apparently infested with puritans – what is wrong with a two year old being naked, especially in their own front yard.

    Yes – for sanitary reasons a child shouldn’t pee at the playground or in the sand where someone could be walking.

    I guess I should expect a bunch of overparenting from people on parents.com

  21. by Josie Cooper

    On November 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Why do you people think that it is okay for boys to urinate in public? What about the millions of baby girls who have to pee also, it is not fair to them to have to wait until they are indoors, while their brother gets to use it wherever he’s at just because he has a penis! ” He had to go” is no excuse! Girls have to go too!

  22. by Kim C

    On November 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Seriously, the officer should be more than embarrassed. He should be ashamed! This was their son on the family’s own property and the boy is ONLY A BABY. Talk about going to extremes. This is an officer to be wary of because he apparently does not use his common sense. Was he that desperate to meet his quota?

    I don’t agree with parents deliberately allowing their children to urinate in a park. I saw a little girl (at least 2 years old with her mother) just squat and pee on a park sidewalk. The child had on no underwear and was ready set to pee wherever. Her mother had no problem with that. Now my 11 month old baby could have crawled into that urine since she was only a couple of yards away. I turned her in the other direction. At my age, (in my 40s) I wish that I could say nothing surprises me anymore.

  23. by katie M.

    On November 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    first of all it doesn’t take nudity for a pedophile to become attracted to you child… again many of them lurk around parks, elementary schools, and even churches/community centers where nudity typically isn’t taking place.

    My family and I typically go to the clothing optional beaches in hawaii where my son is able to go without a bathing suit. It is very common in hawaii for small children to go pee behind a bush or tree when at a park or beach. To each their own.
    What you may find to not be the norm, IS the norm somewhere else.
    If you are so disgusted with the idea of a child urinating in the grass or elsewhere, then maybe you need to be informed that animals urinate and deficate all over the parks and fields your children play at.

  24. by Christine

    On November 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Yes, “overparenting” is requiring my children to be clothed in public. Right. A FRONT YARD is public. Anyone can see. What is wrong with teaching our kids to follow the same social norms & laws that we are supposed to follow? And yes, pedophiles don’t need nudity to be attracted. So I guess that means we may as well let our children run around naked. Good thinking. Ok, I’m done. I don’t know why I ever visit these kinds of sites, it always turns into arguments and people insulting and calling names. Such a “puritan” “overparenter” I am to try to protect my kids to a reasonable degree and teach them how to behave properly.

  25. by Kelley

    On November 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Good lord, so many crazy uptight people.

    The fine shouldn’t have happened. Period. A warning, at the very most. He’s a toddler for heaven’s sake, things like this happen! And the parent wasn’t negligent. Sometimes kids do things you don’t want them to do, before you can stop them. My own daughter whipped her drawers down while at the park and peed before I could stop her, and I was standing right there. What was I supposed to do, pull her pants up while she was peeing? I was embarrassed as all get out (she was only two), as there were all kinds of people around. I explained to her that she wasn’t allowed to do that, she needed to go on the potty only. Had she ever seen anyone pee outside before? No. Don’t put this on the mother; kids will be kids, and sometimes they need correction, but a $2500 fine? I think not!

  26. by Whit

    On November 9, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Wow people here are prudes, so what if the boy took a leak on his own front lawn. That is idiotic and just plan mean of that police officer. I hope the prick gets fired. What a jerk off. And what’s the problem with peeing on sand it will dry and it is sterile you dumb bastards on here who are so uptight about there kids seeing the human body really probably shouldn’t be parents in the first place idiots!

  27. by Ashley

    On November 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I have a three year old daughter and it disgusted me to think that I could be driving down the street and she could see that out the window. I mean really do people not teach their children about privacy. I have a younger child and I don’t even like changing her in public restrooms.

  28. by Steph

    On November 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Lol! I’m pretty sure my husband has peed in the yard, so why wouldn’t my son? Of course, our property is pretty rural… People need to stop being so uptight.

  29. by Adam

    On November 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I pee where I want

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