Charges Dropped Against Mom Threatened With Jail for Her 3-Year-Old's Potty Training Emergency
The mom of two was facing up to 60 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
When you're the parent of a 3-year-old, you know accidents are going to happen. But for a woman named Brooke Johns, an everyday toddler accident could have translated to 60 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Thankfully, her case was dismissed on Thursday, July 11, according to CNN. "The mom was trying to be a good mom," lawyer Ben Allen said on behalf of the state. "The child had an emergency come up, and Mom took care of the emergency. That's what we expect of all good moms."
Johns, who was expecting her second L.O. at the time, was driving in Augusta, Georgia on March 29 when her 3-year-old Cohen said he needed to use the bathroom, according to local news station WRDW. So, she pulled into a gas station parking lot.
“He's like, 'Mom, I've got to pee. I've got to pee!' I was like, 'Well, hold on,' and he's like, 'No! I've GOT to pee! I've got to REALLY pee.' And I'm like, 'Baby, there's nowhere for me to go, and he says, 'Momma, I'm about to pee in my pants!" Johns explained to the news outlet.
Soon, she realized that he wouldn't be able to make it in time, and she wouldn't be able to expedite matters by scooping him up. “I can’t pick him up,” she said. “You know, I’m not supposed to lift him.”
So, instead, Johns did her best to cover Cohen while he urinated in the parking lot. “He was peeing before his pants were even all the way down, so obviously he had to go,” she explained to WRDW.
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A Richmond County deputy spied the incident and chose to cite the mother with a disorderly conduct charge. The ticket reportedly stated, "She allowed her male child to urinate in the parking lot. I observed the male’s genitals and the urination. Public restrooms are offered at the location."
Johns believes the alternative option—carrying him into the gas station—would have made matters even worse. "Accidents happen," she said. "And he was like, ‘Take him in the bathroom.’ What if I would have ran in the bathroom and someone had been in there? What I was going to let him do? Pee on the floor of the gas station?"
In the wake of the incident, news of the "potty-training emergency" was shared by WRDW anchor Meredith Anderson on Facebook, and commenters were understandably appalled by the citation. One woman named Colleen Schnitzler, who identified herself as Johns' mother, wrote, "This is my daughter you are talking about. The whole thing is ridiculous. She's a Great mom! I don't understand the thought behind this charge. She is suppose [stet] to appear in court the week before she is due! Talk about stress! So unfair to her or my grandson who just could not wait to go potty till they got inside! He's a child!"
Monique Smith shared, "Thank you, Officer 'Petty,' for cleaning up the streets from such an epidemic of toddler heathens! Perhaps you will now get your dream job of club parking lot duty, where you can write tickets to unruly, disorderly, peeing adults to your heart's content!"
Katlyn Attaway wrote, "Absolutely ridiculous!! We as mothers of boys are all guilty when they have to go! They have to go!!"
While it's disheartening that Johns had to face an unnecessary battle, it's a relief to see that ultimately, justice was served.