I'm curious how other parents handle public restrooms. I have to admit that taking a little one into a public restroom sets off my ICK alarm. Perhaps I am needlessly germ-phobic because it seems like other parents aren't really too concerned. How do you other folks for real handle potty trips on the go with young ages? Do you use public rest rooms? Do you use seat liners or covers of some sort or just let them sit on the seat? How old do you think they should be before you stop assisting? Do you worry about germs or feel there is no reason to? Please, chime in. I'd love to hear different perspectives and approaches!
How do you handle public restrooms/potty on the go?
My older son, I'd line the seat for him if he had #2 and taught him to stand when he was 3 or 4. I went in with him until he was six or seven, then started letting him go into the men's room by himself with me standing outside the door listening for any problems.
My future stepdaughter is 6 and either I bring her in, or her 13 year old sister brings her in. She still needs assistance because her focus is all over the place and without help, she'll throw her winter coat down behind the toilet, forget to line the seat, forget the wash, etc. (My older son was more focused at that age and could get the job done by himself before he was 5, so I think alot depends on the individual child.)
I don't know when my 9 year old future stepson and my 13 year old future stepdaughter started going in by themselves, because I wasn't there, but their Dad is reaaaaaaaaaaaally laid back about everything, so it was probably pretty early.
My little one is 2 1/2 and he just peepeed standing up for the first time ever at Burger King the other day, and that's what I'm gonna encourage him to do from now on. Whenever I've lined the seat for him, he's too wiggly for it to stay in place, and if he's got to poop, or if he's got to pee badly, there's still barely time to pull the pants down and get the kid on the potty, so there have been time where he's sat on a public toilet without covering the seat, with me cringing and praying he doesn't catch anything.
I totally worry about germs, or whatever, because a family member of mine, as a child, used a public restroom at The Girls' Club when she was three, and ended up having to be treated for genital warts.
Well, when I found out there are more germs and bacteria on playgrounds, shopping carts, and door handles, I worried less about bathrooms. Plus my kids are good hand washers, so I never worried that much.
Most places around here don't have seat liners, so they just sat on the potty. If you are really worried, you can carry a sanitizer in your purse and squirt some on TP to wipe the rim down, or just carry wipes. But realistically, there are more germs on the door handles. If the trash can is near the door, I'll use my hand drying towel to open the door, hold it with my foot, then toss the paper towel on the way out.
We also take advantage of cart sanitizing wipes.
DD is almost 3 and will ONLY go on an IKEA potty chair so I bring one along. It's usually in the car and if she has to go we have to go out to the car and she'll sit on her pot in the hatchback. It also fits in a large diaperbag so I carry it that way if we are going somewhere that we can't access the car. I put it at the bottom of the bag and cover it with a spare pair of clothes and misc. stuff so I don't look like a total nutter walking around with a potty chair in my purse. If she has to use it we will go to the public restroom and in a handicap stall. I kind of position myself and the bag so she has some privacy because it's low enough to the ground you can see her under the door. (sigh).
It's inconvenient BUT I don't have to worry too much about germs or her screaming about using a toilet. I am sure we'll need to come up with another solution soon but for now this is what works.
I do encourage her very strongly not to touch every. single. thing. in the cubicle. That has a much higher ick factor than the seat for me. And we wash our hands very thoroughly.
When they were very young (2-3)I would hold them over the bowl (to prevent slipping down). When they got older, I would wipe the seat if I saw urine on it. By the time they were old enough to go in a stall by themselves, I didn't worry about it.
I agree w/ Katelove that hand washing is most important.
Thanks everyone for the responses!
heldt123, I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse to know the germs are worse elsewhere!
And, Momasana, I don't think you're a nutter at all. I once traveled without my babe's regular little potty only to deal with total melt-downs about trying to use anything else. It was horrible for both of us, and set back potty training by months. I swore I would never go anywhere without that little potty again if I had to strap it to my head like a hat and walk through the airport that way! Of course, she eventually outgrew it, and luckily I have never actually had to walk through the airport like this. It would probably NOT start a fashion trend...
lol...sorry! I read a few articles years back that had studied germs in different areas and it really grossed me out, but on the other hand it made me realize that our bodies really can handle it.
Wow, I freaked out for a second and then checked this:
http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/3837/ "HPV cannot be spread by touching hard surfaces, like a doorknob or toilet seat. It also cannot be passed by sharing clothes or towels."
Seems like it's easy to get from people though even when they don't have warts...so maybe she got it that way?
It's really icky, but I just wipe the seat and line it with TP...although sometimes the way my kids sit, they knock the lining off anyway. We wash hands really well. Haven't had any problems so far.