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Oops ... somehow, there are two posts, minutes apart, and I can't figure out how to delete! Sorry about that!

Hello ... There's a phenomenon that bothers me a little, and I'd like to know if it's just me. DD and I attend a playgroup that meets at a playground when it's nice out. Very often, potty-trained toddler boys will walk over to a tree, take their pants and Pull-Ups all the way down, and let 'er rip. Sometimes, they do this on their own, and their mothers kind of shrug and giggle. Sometimes, the mothers guide them to do this. Last week, a boy was on the swing, his mother said, "Oh, do you need to pee?" and walked him over to the tree like this was perfectly natural, and like this was the appropriate place to go. It didn't seem to be an accident kind of situation, like it was either tree or wet pants. There is no restroom actually at the playground, but there are local businesses right across the street with clean restrooms and nice staff. When this one boy depantsed and peed on the tree, two or three other boys wanted to do it, too. So there was a little peeing circle. Then my DD wandered over, despite my attempts to redirect her, and she didn't get why she couldn't do it, too, and then she saw her friend's penis and was very curious. That part's OK -- I suppose she had to see one sometime, but I just wasn't prepared for it (though I guess few parents are prepared for that first big "reveal" of the opposite gender's "parts").

I'm not sure quite what bothers me about the scenario. Maybe the public nature of it? The trees are near a fence, and the fence does not obscure the view from an alley, an apartment complex, and a park that is usually full of adults. Sometimes there are suspicious people hanging around. I guess I wonder whether parents should be teaching their boys (or girls,for that matter) that it's OK to just whip it out in such a public place. Also, except in a total emergency, isn't it a bit counterproductive to potty train but then encourage/reinforce peeing outside? And I have to admit, part of my irritation was that DD saw an activity that looked like fun, but she couldn't join in -- I know she'll learn someday that boys stand up and girls squat, but it felt like a weirdly sad moment for her!

What do you think of this? Should boys just fire away in public outdoor places, or should parents try to teach them to announce their need soon enough that they can get to an actual toilet? And am I just a prude?
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