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Public Restrooms & Kids

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
When do you begin to let kids (of the opposite gender), go to public restrooms by themselves?

I still insist that my ds comes w/me (his is 6 yo). Public restrooms, whether its a library, movie theatre or restaurant, still makes me nervous.

Thanks for your input.


post #2 of 29
Lisa my son is also 6 and he als uses the women's restroom with me. Occasionally if we are in a very empty public place and I can see for sure there is nobody in the men's room I allow him to use it- but he usually ends up wanting help or not being able to reach the towels, etc. I was wondering what ages most people let their kids do this also so I am glad you asked.
post #3 of 29
My older son is almost 7 and he still comes into the women's restroom with me. I have just noticed that he is beginning to get a bit uncomfortable about it - he has said "in the girls room?!?" a few times recently. I will keep bringing him in with me until he insists on using the 'boy's room' by himself. He is afraid to go in any public bathroom by himself at this point, but I am not sure how long this will last. I don't worry about what the other women/girls using the restroom think when we walk in...do you guys?
post #4 of 29
No I don't worry about them- there are always closed stalls in there and I figure someones minor discomfort is worth my son's safety.
post #5 of 29
I don't have a son but my dh would check the mens room to see if anyone was using the urinal and try and wait until it was empty. He would then take dd into the stall for her to use.

I've taken little girls into the ladies room before when the dads didn't want to come in but also didn't want to take their dd into the mens room. Usually it was a sitation where they looked like they were planning on letting her go alone but looked confused as to what to do. I would offer to take her of they wanted. I just waited outside the door for her to go and then walked her back out to her dad.

I don't mind men bringing little girls into the ladies rooms and helping their daughters. I would rather that than little girls going into a mens room with public urinals. Although I do think the best option is a "parents room" with all the things a parent of either sex would need.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Although I do think the best option is a "parents room" with all the things a parent of either sex would need.

Arduinna~I love that idea!!! I know some places offer that option, but not many

LEmama~I don't worry what other people think either. My ds still wants to be with me when he goes potty.

Its good to hear from all of you!!!


post #7 of 29
Love that parents' room idea ...

DS#1 is only 4, but I can't imagine letting him go alone in to a public men's room until ... well, a long time. A very long time.
Like maybe 'til he's 10. At least.

Call me neurotic, but too much stuff happens in them for me to be comfortable with it.

- Amy
post #8 of 29
You know I don't have a problem with dd going into the men's room. DD takes her in there regularly, and I never thoughht about it. I don't know, she watched her dad pee so I don''t have a problem with her seeing other men pee. Pee is pee to me LOL
post #9 of 29
Agreed with Krisday, no problem with little ones accompanying whichever parent into whichever-gendered bathroom is appropriate for the parent.

The key, though, is the parent accompanying. Public bathrooms are unfortunately targets for rather unsavory stuff, and children need protection from said unsavory stuff.

- Amy
post #10 of 29
Another 6yo DS here! He still goes into the women's restroom with me. I take all 3 of my kids in with me, and if there is one of the large stalls available, then I use that. He doesn't flinch at doing this, as it's what he's always done. He also goes into the men's room if he's with his dad. I don't ever worry what others think, and I've never had any negative reactions. I don't know when I plan on him using the men's room alone. I guess I'll wait until he asks and then reevaluate. I'll be watching to see what others are saying on this matter.
post #11 of 29
My dad used to take me into men's rooms when necessary. Because I had often seen him pee, it didn't seem strange to me at all. I do remember him telling me that it's not polite to stare at people using urinals. (MrBecca remembers his dad telling him that, too--it's a crucial rule of men's room etiquette! ) One time we went into a restroom in a mall and a man at the urinal yelled, "Hey, there's a girl in here!" and was so startled he lost his aim and peed all over the wall. I struggled not to laugh at him but succeeded, and my dad and I had a good laugh over it later! :LOL
post #12 of 29
My ds is almost 6. He is starting to tell me that he prefers to use the men's room. My answer depends on where we are. Library, YMCA, or church -- I just ask him to look inside and come right back out to tell me if there is anyone in there or not. Mall, grocery store, or very high traffic places, I say "no way." Several places locally have opened "family restrooms" and it is a HUGE help. The policy at the YMCA here is that boys six and under are welcome in the ladies room. And vice versa for the men's room.
post #13 of 29

public restrooms

What this thread really points out is that the idea of separate restrooms for the sexes is very silly!
My daughter is 8 1/2 and I am alert when she uses a restroom alone, and feel silly when I start to worry and then see she's been gone only 3 minutes. So I started noting the time when she goes in there. She's really only been using the restroom alone for, say, a year. If we're in a restaurant, I must say it's nice not to sink when I hear "I have to go to the bathroom," because she can go alone. In stores I try not to be far away from the restroom while she's using it alone.
post #14 of 29
Another 7 1/2 year old son that goes in the women's room with his mom! I like the idea of checking to see if anyone else is in the men's room first. Knowing me if a man tried to go in after my son did I would probably freak out and say "you can't go in there"!

You do want to teach your kids that the world is a safe place but I will keep bringing my son with me as long as he's comfortable. Thanks for the thread Lisamarie!

A funny story-one time I had a real bad stomach ache and had to get to a bathroom fast. We were at a public beach and I just ran in quickly. After I had been in there for a few minutes I heard some little boys talking. They said "I think that a woman just came in here!!!!!" and they proceeded to run out and tell their parents. When I came out there was a crowd of people there staring at me and some mothers that looked pretty rattled.

post #15 of 29
My older ds started going to the mens room by himself around age 8, and boy was I nervous about it. I told him that weirdos can be about and not to talk to anyone or come out quickly if he is worried. I would always wait outside close by, but not so much now he is older.

we often all crowded into a disabled toilet rather than send him off alone (I know some disabled people hate this, sorry)

also I have said to my boys that discreetly peeing on a tree can be a better solution (yes I know you can get busted for it)

there are some of the parent-and-child toilets here, they are clearly the best arrangement

never thought about the dilemma of dads with daughters!
post #16 of 29
When dad is around my dd usually prefers to go with him, but many times the mens room is abismally nasty. People probably think we're nuts when they see 3 yr old dd heading into the men's room with dad and 6 yr old ds going into the ladies room with me, but oh well. I'm not going to make more bathroom issues than we already have.
post #17 of 29
I still bring my almost 8yr old son in with me too! As mamaduck said sometimes when we are somewhere I know is safe like the library I don't worry as much. I think he is starting to feel less comfortable with it though.
post #18 of 29
I bring my ds#1 who's 8 in the ladies room but only in places where I don;t feel comfortable for him to go alone. He HATES it. He'd rather go in the Men's rm. alone. I am big beleiver in "peeing on a tree" if you can't find suitable restroom. I have no idea what parents of little girls do.
post #19 of 29
My ds is 6 and beginning to want to use the restroom himself. I, like some of the other posters, make the determination based on where we are and how comfortable I feel letting him go alone. It is so sad that we have to worry about perverts!!
post #20 of 29
I do worry about "perverts." I also worry about the fact that ds is absent-minded, and tends to wander in circles singing, usually half dressed, forgetting what he is supposed to be doing, dawdling, playing in the water, coming out soaking wet (leaving me to wonder, is it pee or water on his shirt?) --- well, you get the picture!
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