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Melissa Sher Headshot

Why I Hope This Product Is the Low Point

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I read about the iPotty last week on Jezebel and can't stop thinking about it. I mean, I've stopped thinking about it at times. It would be weird if I didn't. But then I think about it again. This stupid iPotty. So, I've got to take a minute and tell you about this thing. It's a potty with a place for your iPad to "make potty training fun and easy!"

Do you want to know what's driving me nuts? It's not that the iPotty exists. That doesn't bother me. People invent products that they think people will buy. You want to design, produce and market something that you think people will buy? Fine! This is America and that's one of the things we do here. We make things that we hope people will buy. (We also like to drive around mall parking lots for long periods of time looking for the space closest to the door.)

My issue with the product isn't really that it exists. It's that people are buying it. It's available all over the place. Target. Home Depot. Amazon. Best Buy.

I mean, let's be honest: it's an awful product. Yes. Some families have extenuating circumstances. I get that. But please -- in general -- oh my goodness!

"It makes potty training fun and easy!" How fun and easy does potty training have to be? How distracted do our kids need to be all the time? How distracted do WE need to be all the time?

Jessica Lahey wrote a great article on the Atlantic on the importance of letting kids daydream. She argues that mental downtime makes people less anxious and helps develop creativity:

I'm talking about the kind of mind-wandering that happens when the brain is free of interruption and allowed to unhook from the runaway train of the worries of the day. When the mind wanders freely between random thoughts and memories that float through our consciousness, unbidden. Television, video games and other electronic distractions prevent this kind of mental wandering because they interrupt the flow of thoughts and memories that cement the foundation of positive, productive daydreaming.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Let our kids pee and poop in peace! Let them daydream! Let them think! Leave them alone!

Science writers Teresa Aubele, Ph.D. and Susan Reynolds wrote about the downside of multitasking in an article for Psychology Today. "If you are allowing yourself to be besieged by an influx of information, you are more likely to have trouble making the creative leap required for original thought or to make wise decisions," wrote Aubele and Reynolds.

Little kids don't need to multitask on the potty. Little kids don't need to multitask at all. Ever.

Please, let the iPotty be our low point. Let the product that combines pooping and an iPad be our low point.

Let us hope we've reached a point where we couldn't possibly add more screens and distractions to our everyday lives or to our kids' lives.

Let us hope that in 10 years, we'll look back and laugh at how we let these small, portable screens invade our homes and our most intimate moments. (Although, sadly, this is probably only the beginning.)

As for the iPotty? Maybe I used the wrong word to describe it. It's not just stupid. It's sad. It's sad that the buyers at some of our country's biggest and most profitable stores think that this is a product that deserves space on already-crowded shelves.

Actually, it's more than sad.

To borrow a word associated with the bathroom, it's sh*t.


Adapted from a post on Mammalingo.

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