“is this how some people teach body positivity now?”

no shoes

“Dear PoPville,

There was a man standing in our walkway when I went to take the dog out this morning, and when I opened the door I discovered he had a 2-3 year old little boy with him. Neither had on shoes. I know it was a boy because the child had no pants on. They were “exploring the garden.”

Neighbors, is there a hippie family new to the street? Or parents, is this how some people teach body positivity now? The dad had no backpack or bag, so if it was a diaper malfunction he had thrown away everything the kid was wearing from the waist down.”

71 Comment

  • Eh. I grew up in Berkeley, CA. Pants were definitely optional until well after age 3.

    • General Grant Circle

      And in SF you can walk around in the buff at any age. Just have a towel to put between your bum and publich benches

  • justinbc

    I’m pretty sure most parents don’t allow their kids to do things with the idea of “body positivity” in mind as a goal, but who knows what fads are in these days.

  • They’re potty-training. No big deal.
    You should tell them how this makes you feel. And if they don’t react in the way that you feel they should, read them the riot act. That’s apparently how we do things now. I’m opposed, but no one asked me.

    • I know nothing about potty training, so please excuse my cluelessness. Is the idea that “a bear goes in the woods”? How does pooping in someone else’s garden help you learn how to use a toilet? I know I’m wrong, and it’s ridiculous, but I really do not know how this is potty training.

      Is it like walking a dog frequently enough that eventually it will go in the right place and then you praise him?

      I’m so sorry…this sounds like I’m joking, but I really do not know.

  • It is a common way to teach potty training. Usually you wouldn’t go outside without loose pants, but if they are doing the three day method this poor dad has been trapped inside for three days. He probably just wanted to go outside for a bit. The pants free part is done after a week or two. Cut him some slack.

  • +1 This is a ridiculous thing for the OP to be bothered by, let alone write in to a neighborhood blog about. “I saw a toddler’s knees, do you know of any resources available to help me process my morning?!”

  • To be fair, as the OP states, these folks were on his/her property, so that sort of made it the OPs business.

  • If I’m understanding this correctly the OP found the neighbor and his naked from the waist down kid standing on their property? Yeah, that would set some warning bells off in my mind.

  • OP here. I said good morning and introduced them to my dog. Honestly no judgment, just gave me chuckle. I’m used to finding people drinking tall boys out there; the pants-less toddler was new.

    • Your comment about “exploring the garden” and the “new hippie family” definitely seemed a bit judgmental.

    • Blithe

      Would you mind clarifying a bit? By “our walkway” do you mean that they were on your private property?

      • On the walkway from the sidewalk to our front door. They were a couple feet from the front door, where generally only people entering our home, or the mail carrier, would be.

        • They are probably neighbors who went out to get the mail, see a dog, whatever and they wondered a bit beyond their property.. Yes sometime kids esp those in the potty training years are outside without pants on. Next time talk with your neighbor if you don’t like them on the lawn say so but please this is such a petty thing to write about on a neighborhood forum.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Bullshit – it’s not like they sent a photo of the kid. This is where we can discuss such things. For all those who wouldn’t bat an eye to such a thing – good for you but there is no harm in talking about this. Public shaming? Good lord – this is odd and if it happened to me – I’d be like WTF? And if somebody told me, it’s toilet training or something I’d be like cool that makes sense. Why a discussion can’t be had is beyond me. For those so offended about the mere discussion – you don’t have to participate.

          • I definitely learned something from this thread — i.e., that some toilet-training techniques involve pantslessness. I’d imagine a lot of other non-parents didn’t know this either.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Her husband, “Matt,” clarified in another post above. Yes, the dad and the kid with no pants were on Matt & Sara’s private property, and I’m with them, physically entering somebody else’s private property is plenty weird enough, and doing it without pants takes it to another level.

        • I agree! This is very strange indeed!

        • My toddlers often run up onto people’s yards and walkways when they see something interesting. Sometimes I grab them, sometimes, I don’t. They are curious about something and have no sense of propriety (or decency!) and just want to see a dandelion or some such thing. If that sets off alarm bells, I hope you don’t have kids because the din would be insufferable. Or the bells would overcome you and you’d start to let your toddler run onto someone else’s property because they have a puddle to stomp in or something harmless and fun like it.

          • I think most people understand that toddlers cannot be controlled as if by remote control. That said, a wandering toddler with no pants is unusual, to say the least, and certainly not what one expects to see when taking the dog out in the morning. Lol. 😀

    • OP I am totally with you – the commentariat has gone insane. A barefoot and naked 3 yo in his/her own house or backyard is perfectly normal – but not IN A STRANGER’S FRONT YARD, with no explanation from dad aside from “he’s exploring the garden”

      WTF people

      • SilverSpringGal


      • I feel like this is a perfect explanation. Morning time, dad takes kid out of the house to let mom sleep in, dad doesn’t put shoes on because they are just going to patrol the block, kid sees some plants that look interesting, dad says, “No harm no foul,” they step up to look at the plants. What explanation were you hoping the dad would give that would have normalized the scene for you?

        • We don’t know if the dad/kid are actually the OP’s neighbors — she just found them in her front yard.
          Hanging out in someone else’s front yard pushes — if not crosses — boundaries. The only possible explanation from the dad that could have “normalized” what’s not a normal scene would be something like this: “Oh hi — Junior here wanted to get a closer look at the _____, so we walked in. Hope you don’t mind.” And sheepishly delivered.

  • Ditto on the 2pm posts.

  • HaileUnlikely

    The OP stated that the guy and the kid were on his (OP’s) walkway. I don’t know whether he means “sidewalk,” or a walkway that is part of an apartment/condo complex, or whether he means a private walkway connecting the sidewalk to his house, or something else. In any event, if they were in the OP’s private property, then I think their presence is legitimately his business, regardless of what the man or the child was wearing.

    • even so , would OP have been angry if the kid had pants on…. this might go down as one of the dumbest complaints on PoP a naked toddler..

      • HaileUnlikely

        If a stranger who was not delivering mail, selling something, trying to convert me to their religion, or at least pretending to sell something in the interest of scoping me out as a burglary target, I’d find that plenty weird in and of itself. If they had a naked toddler in tow and were just chilling my yard like they thought it was theirs, I’d find that even weirder.

  • I was out in front of my house one fine summer morning, letting my 2 year old fill the plastic basin at the foot of a tree in front of our house with water from our rain barrel. He got all wet, so I took off his pants and diaper and let him continue. I went and sat on our front porch while he worked. Soon after, the police stopped by in response to a complaint of a naked child seen wandering the neighborhood. I did appreciate that the neighbors were looking out for a toddler in need of help, but what kind of person is worried about a 2 year old child seemingly walking the sidewalk alone and naked and instead of going out to see it, calls the police and does nothing else?

    • Was your two year old packing some serious heat?

    • I’m not certain the complaint was about specifically your child, and more a concern that potential sexual predators wandering the area would get what they’re looking for and possibly come back to see if it happens again. I totally get the rationale for letting it happen, but in a city of ~700,000 people, the creeps are out there. I don’t think this was a case of nosy or over-reaching neighbors.

  • -1 Have standard’s people. Really, it’s ok.

    • And you’re the one who gets to determine and enforce those standards? Because by my standards, a pantsless toddler is not worthy of comment, and definitely doesn’t deserve a snide attempt at public shaming.

      • HaileUnlikely

        In other people’s yards? I’m being completely serious here. It seems to be lost on you that they were not on their own property, they were on somebody else’s property. Is it cool if they just take a seat on the bench in my back yard and chill there for a while (clothed or no)?

        • like someone else said above; it’s not clear if they were in a condo/apt property. lighten up y’all for real

        • Blithe

          I’m being pedantic here, but since it’s not yet clear what “our walkway” means, it’s possible that they were on their own — communal — property or even the public sidewalk. If they were, indeed, on property solely owned by the OP, then I totally agree with you.

        • HaileUnlikely

          This has been addressed both above and below. The OP and her husband have both clarified that man and kid without pants were on OP’s own private property, a couple feet from their front door.

        • They were on property owned by the OP and I (her husband).

        • Yes, being on someone else’s private property makes it weird. Not public-blog-shaming weird, but possibly something to bring up with your friends at the bar when interesting topics have been exhausted.

        • My kids have entered other peoples yards , mostly when they see a cool decoration , i met my neighbors because their kids ran up my walk way to see my cat in the window. this is DC , if someone had a picnic on my lawn that would be odd but if i saw a person and their son in my walkway i would probably just introduce my self not blog about it.

  • It’s kind of hard to MYOB these days. It seems parents these days have zero problems letting their children run around with complete disregard to others. People need to reel in their special snowflake and teach them some discipline. No, it’s not a major accomplishment that Jr. just scaled the shelves of the grocery store and dropped several boxes of cereal in the process – and all mom and do is praise the little brat.

    • I have literally never seen that happen. Not the shelf-climbing, not the praise of misbehavior. Did your mother praise your strawman-building ability?

  • I guess it’s a little different in the city, but my little sister rarely wore clothes until she was maybe 3 years old. Granted it was usually in our backyard and no one could see anything.

  • when i potty trained my kid for a few days the wore nothing from the bottom down. it helped relieve the stress of having to pull down pants and un-bottom buttons just for the first few days. We only did this for a few hours in the house but i am sure that may have included our porch or garden. We may have even walked to the mail box. I mean its a 3 year old probably less then 5 feet from his/her house. Chill out OP

    • HaileUnlikely

      Was not in their own yard. Was in OP’s yard, within a few feet of OP’s house. Work on reading.

      • i did read thank you. maybe they went tot get the mail, maybe they saw a dog and the kid walked a bit beyond hisyard. Is OP in her right to ask the neighbor to get of her property yes sure but this seems like the biggest waste of PoPs wall space.

  • I’m with the OP. I thought anyone out in public is expected to be fully clothed, regardless of age. If I’d seen this scene I would have done a double take and wondered what was going on.

  • Wow, so much snark and defensiveness in the comments on this thread. (Granted, the original post was maybe a little snarky, but not enough to warrant so much snark in the comments.)
    I would be weirded out by finding ANYONE in my front yard who claimed to be “exploring the garden.” It sounds like the dad needs to take his kid to a park or a community garden (or the Arboretum or U.S. Botanic Garden). Other people’s front yards are not meant for random exploration.
    To people unfamiliar with the full range of toilet-training strategies, seeing a pants-less toddler is a little odd (though not really a big deal). I’m surprised that the dad would choose for him and his kid to walk around barefoot, though — there’s all kinds of crap (sometimes literally) on D.C. sidewalks.

    • Right? I would have gotten a weird vibe from the situation and would have at least wanted to be sure the child wasn’t with an adult who was mentally unhinged.

  • I have to say, if I was caught in someone else’s yard with or without a pantsed or pantsless toddler, I would very likely give a fuller explanation than “exploring your garden.” Why didn’t he say, “oh sorry we’re potty training and your tulips attracted his wandering attention” or something… Obviously it’s not the end of the world, and maybe it’s not even PoPville-worthy news, but it seems really odd to be chilling in someone else’s yard and not volunteer an explanation when encountered.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Exactly. Now I halfway expect that when I get home, this guy and his toddler will both be chilling on my sofa watching the television in my living room, both buck naked, and when I walk in, the guy will tell me “I love National Geographic.”

  • Somewhere Will Sommer is reading these comments while masturbating with great vigor.

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