Rule #79: Never Stop for Bathroom Breaks on Family Road Trips

in Rules of Parenting

road trip no bathroom breaks

Oh come on, like you've never seen a urine-filled Gatorade bottle before.

There’s no good reason why you need to get from Omaha to Yellowstone in 12 hours, other than your brother Nick said he pulled it off in college in a VW bus.

And Nick has pretty much been humiliating you in everything from dating to badminton to mustache-grooming since you were teens, and you’ll be damned if this douche-bag of a brother is going to hold this road-trip-timing record over your head.

Which is a long way of saying that you’re not stopping at McDonald’s or the interstate rest stop for your children to relieve themselves.

But the reasons for not stopping go far beyond Nick.

Not stopping for bathroom breaks builds a whole new dimension of character in your children. Truth is, they’ll learn as they squirm.

What they’ll learn exactly is open for debate among urologists and circus people, but as a parent who tries each day to instill values like forbearance and whole-body humility, it’s critical to press your heavy foot on the full bladder of life. (We’re been waiting for months for the right time to use that metaphor, and we’re pretty sure we’ve just wet ourselves.)

You won’t get too much resistance from the family if you offer these bathroom-break alternatives:

“Straight Shooter Bucket Game.” Relieving yourself in a bucket in a car traveling 85 mph is nothing short of exhilarating—but it’s pretty easy. Make it a challenge, and make it a game: Just when Tommy is in full squirt, swerve to miss an imaginary skunk and see if the lad can maintain both his balance and aim. Repeat as necessary. Hilarity ensues, and kids love the challenge.

“The Teen Diaper Toss.” Teenagers definitely don’t want to be left out of the frivolity—that’s why, after they make Big Gulp water into a granddaddy-size diaper, encourage teens to grip the contents like a water balloon, open a window, get into toss mode, and see who can nail left-leaning-hippie-looking cads driving Audis and Saabs in close-by lanes. You’ll notice their angst disappear.

What will also disappear is the annoying “Are we there yet?” refrain on family road trips…it will be replaced by, “Yes, lots more Pepsi for me, please. I don’t ever want to get there.”

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