Where Do You Stand on Kids Peeing into the Lake?

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Hello, Mothering.com readers,


I need your opinion. Where do we as liberal, holistic, natural parents stand on the issue of kids peeing into the local swimming hole?


Here’s my particular situation. Last week I was with my two boys, ages three and seven, at a lake just outside town. It was a bit early in the season, so only one other family was there.


Towards the end of our visit, my seven year old had to pee. I didn’t want to schlep up to the bathrooms, especially because I suspected we would find them locked, and if they were locked, by then, my son would have to go really badly.


I had seen a parent earlier in the week instruct her five-year-old to pee into the lake. I remembered this and told my son to do the same. But my son didn’t realize that he should wade into the water up to his chest and be discreet about peeing.


I’m not trying to teach him to be tricky or dishonest, it’s just that you don’t want to flaunt an in-the-lake pee in everyone’s face. He went in just about waist-level and you could very clearly tell he was peeing. And it was a long pee.


I saw the other dad on the beach watching and noticeably wincing.


So, now I felt bad. I can’t tell if my actions were:


A) Fine. After all, lots of animals pee into the water. It’s natural.




B) Appalling, and I should find the dad to apologize and then be summarily banned from the beach.


What do you think about a seven-year-old peeing into the water? Opinions appreciated.


Thanks in advance,

Brian Leaf



Brian Leaf

About Brian Leaf


Brian Leaf is author of the yoga memoir, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. You can find him online at www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com.

19 thoughts on “Where Do You Stand on Kids Peeing into the Lake?”

  1. well, I am a conservative, so not sure my opinion counts but……
    I say pee in the lake.
    Just explain to your son that next time he should go farther out and be more discreet.
    no biggie, everyone pees in the lake. That guy probably does too.

  2. Yes, pee is usually fairly sterile so it’s not like there’s a real health concern. And it’s a lake. For better or worse, it’s full of a lot of things far worse than boy-pee. If someone can’t stand the thought of a kid peeing in the lake, then they probably shouldn’t be in the water in the first place owing to everything else that’s in there. I think it’s a non issue.

  3. Pee in the dang lake. Pool, too, for that matter– that’s why there’s so much chlorine in public pools, I would guess; they expect it. Just don’t make a big deal of it or draw attention to yourself!

  4. baahhhaa! With boys I would tell them to go in the woods a bit rather then pee in a lake. The ocean I would totally let my kids pee. I would have laughed if I had been the other dad.

  5. Just go ahead and pee. I took my kids to the lake last week and there were easily a hundred people there, mostly children. Guarantee the majority of them peed in that lake. If you really take the time to sit and think about swimming in a lake full of urine, it’s gross, but if you remind yourself that pee is sterile, and you’ll be showering when you get home anyway, then it’s really no biggie. I have a harder time knowing there are fish and bugs in the water, than I do with pee, lol.

  6. I would say just to make sure he does it while standing in the lake, and not to get out and stand there directing his stream into the water.

  7. I agree what harm can pee do to the lake. And with little boys its all about teaching them to be discreet. I don’t think you did anything wrong, just the other day we were at a park with friends and her son striped his clothes and peed in the grass in front of everyone, Its just what boys do!

  8. The swimming area of our local lake gets closed down several times a year due to a high bacteria count which is mostly the result of peeing and otherwise relieving themselves in the water instead of taking a moment or two to get out and walk behind a bush. Another local lake became infamous after so many children ended up running high fevers after swallowing water. So I’m not particularly in favor of teaching a child that everyone pees in the water where other people are swimming. It just doesn’t seem to be that much of an inconvenience to get out for a minute and either walk to the test area or pee behind a bush. What they learn to do in the lake, they will do in a public or backyard pool.
    I’m surprised that anyone would teach a child that it’s okay or normal practice to pee in a public pool. The reason public pools often smell like they’re overloaded with chlorine is because so many kids pee in them. Chlorine doesn’t have much of an odor in clean water. It develops an aroma when it mixes with urine or sloughed off skin cells. Have you ever been in a public pool right after a large group of day campers have been in swimming? The water is murky and it stinks of chlorine because so many kids pee in the pool, even though there’s a rest room at poolside. Frankly, it’s very unpleasant for everyone else. I’d rather swim in clear water than in urine.

  9. By the way, urine isn’t bacteria free if you are incubating an infection. It also contains substances which are irritating to the eyes and skin. My take is that children who pee in the lake will probably also pee in the pool, so the considerate thing to do is teach them to get out of the water to relieve themselves.

  10. Thanks, trendy4970. I’m not liberal either, and I think our opinion still counts.
    When I was growing up in Nebraska, there were lakes outside the city where I lived. My dad had a jetski so we went there in the summer and even before he had it, we went there to swim sometimes. I don’t remember there being a public restroom around most of the lakes, so my brothers and I peed in the lake or held it until we got home. We knew we weren’t supposed to pee in the public pool. Claudia makes a good argument that makes sense; however, if the lakes aren’t near a restroom like the ones I went to, I think it’s still okay to occasionally pee in the lake when you don’t see another option. That’s my two cents anyway. But your’e right Claudia 99% of the time.

  11. Pee away! Boys don’t need to be discrete, ours pee off the boat all the time. Everyone pees in lakes, there’s no point in hiding it.

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