Q&A: girls peeing in public restrooms

Single dad Richard wonders:

"My 3-year-old daughter is almost completely potty-trained, and I'm beginning to wonder: Are women's rooms as disgusting as men's rooms are? I've been taking my daughter into the men's room and just changing her diaper at the station, but what do I do now that she's out of diapers? I can't take her into the women's room, and I can't imagine letting her sit on the toilet seat in the men's room."

Wow. Yet another thing I never really contemplated, what with being a woman and having boys.

I started thinking about how I'd teach a daughter to pee in the women's room. I would *not* teach her to hover over the seat, because that just causes a mess on the seat for the next person, plus a huge chance of bounce-back onto her. Instead, I'd teach her to make a seat cover out of toilet paper, probably with a wipe-off first (from the hoverer before her) and then a couple of layers.

I don't know that there's any reason Richard and other dads can't (or don't) do this. I think if I were routinely going into men's rooms I'd probably carry wipes with me, and maybe the dad could do a wipe first before making the toilet seat cover.

Or, there might be some gadget that's been invented for exactly this purpose that I just don't know about. If someone else is more up on Baby Skymall (the One Step Ahead catalog, featuring dubiously necessary baby gadgets) than I am, is there some miracle thing that lets little girls pee cleanly in a men's room?

If not, one of you dad should hop on that.

It kind of makes me want to move out into the woods where we can all just pee against a tree. But not really.

More elegant solutions than the toilet paper cover? Hilarious and/or disgusting stories of public restrooms? (I once had to pee in a public square in a small town in Mexico after spending the night in an ATM booth, because of massive hotel-related miscommunication. I don't miss my early 20s one bit.)

70 thoughts on “Q&A: girls peeing in public restrooms”

  1. Baby sky mall! *snort* That’s awesome.Here’s the thing though . . . they do have a product (http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=150774&cmSource=Search) and when my daughter was younger, we owned one, and used it regularly. It solved the gross seat problem both in the sense of not wanting her to put her little bum on a public seat, and the fact that she needed something to hold on to to keep from falling in. TP could do the first, but not the second.

  2. A Potty Question – I have a daughter after having 2 boys – Jessie is 2 and 5 months and skinny. When I put her on the seat, she is routinely peeing either back OVER the seat onto her pants or under between the bowl and the seat and it either gets on her jeans or runs down the front of the bowl. What am I doing wrong????

  3. My problem is that with pants on, she can’t open her legs because her legs are short and now bound together at the bottom by her pants? If she could spread eagle over the seat we wouldn’t have this problem – or am I supposed to undress her in the stall?

  4. I have seen little packets of toilet seat covers to carry when needed. I also used the Folding Potty Seat With Handles when my now 7 year old was little.

  5. Try the Potette 2-in-1 Travel Potty: http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0016L0MMSThis thing is just the best. It’s a folding potty with disposable bags that hook onto it so you have a potty anywhere. Also, you can pull the legs out flat and use it as a potty seat on a regular toilet. No parent of a toilet-trainer should be without this thing. If you think the men’s room is gross, think about the port-a-john at the park. Urgh. And it’s small enough to fit in a diaper bag so you have it at the inevitable moment your kid desperately needs the bathroom when you’re as far as possible from a bathroom.

  6. Yeah, it’s tough when they’re newly trained. You may not have the luxury of time to carefully disinfect and construct a cover. I have developed a strong sense of where is likely to have a decent restroom, and I shamelessly take advantage of the fact that people like to help cute little girls. Nice restaurants, hotels, real estate offices, even boutiques. “So sorry to bother you but could my daughter possibly use your bathroom?”will get you many many places.And it does help as they get a little older – Mouse is 5 1/2 now so she can usually hold it a bit if needed. When she was really little, she just hated public bathrooms. Hated them, was scared of the loud flushes, especially the automatic ones at airports and so forth–they’re not so fun if you’re sitting there and then you feel and hear a huge scary whooshing under your bum.
    OK, practical advice: Bear in mind, a 3-year-old doesn’t really fill up the whole seat anyway, so one thing you can do is carry one of those folding collapsible seats that is clean if you have room in your bag. Or you can support your daughter while she sits if your back can take it. One thing I’ve done in a pinch with a scared, desperate little girl, is to (keeping my clothes on!) sit on the back of the seat with my legs straddling it. It reduces the size of the seat and makes it a cuddly experience. Haven’t had to do that in ages and ages, but there was a period a couple years ago when it was really useful (and jeans go in the laundry just great).
    Good luck!

  7. @VHMPrincess, try having her lean forward with her elbows on her knees if she can. That will point things in the proper direction. (Of course, many little girls like to look down and check out what’s going on, but that does not point things in the proper direction.)

  8. @VHMPrincess – I have to undress (take his pants off) T when he uses the big potty or he won’t be able to sit far enough back on the seat to keep the pee from spraying all over us. It takes us a long time and he’s not even potty trained. He just likes using the big potty when we are out and about in public. Good times.

  9. I put my daughter on the seat sideways to prevent the peeing over the seat. The ones with the gap in the front of the seat were the worst, but having her sit sideways seems to help.

  10. Covering the toilet seat with paper is really wasteful, and can cause clogs and unnecessary mess. Honestly, the odds of anyone – even your child – getting any disease off a public toilet seat are terrifically low. (Have you ever, ever heard of this actually happening?) If you’re really fanatical about it, though, a better choice would be to carry some of those Lysol disinfecting wipes in your purse or backpack (just seal a few up in a ziploc bag) and use those to wipe down the seat prior to use.

  11. http://www.go-girl.com ! I saw this online the other day. Not sure it comes in child sizes too, but I thought it was hilarious.Me or my (future) children? I’d suck it up and just pee. It’s a toilet like anywhere else. But then again, I tend not to be too bothered by germs and related things.

  12. I have 3 girls and unless the toilet is visibly soiled, I don’t care. A visibly soiled toilet is either skipped or wiped off with our diaper wipes. We do a good handwashing when we’re done and we move on to bigger and better things.

  13. Am I gross that I haven’t even thought of wiping the seat down before my kids use it (unless they are visably dirty and then I try to find a cleaner one)? Probably, but they haven’t caught anything from a toilet yet, either.P.s. Glad to see you again Moxie.

  14. I take my 3yo daughter into public men’s restrooms a lot. I just wipe off the seat with TP if it needs it and have her sit sideways if there’s a gap in the front, which there almost is. Been doing it for years as we did EC, until she could sit I would hold her up over the toilet with the seat up. She used to get scared of loud flushes, but got past it. I warned her that there was about to be a loud noise, and then comforted her if she got scared and eventually it wasn’t a big deal.

  15. @Zoe – Those are actually really popular amongst backcountry skiers/snowboarders. It’s almost impossible to pee squatting down when you’re in really deep snow, and even more difficult to keep from filling your pants with snow when you’re flailing around.@anastasiav – According to my mother, you can catch “bugs” from public toilets. You can also lose your virginity to a tampon, so be advised!
    @Charisse – I love you. Or at least, I love the image of you and your daughter cuddling up on a public toilet seat. Now that’s *real* love and when you’re daughter is old enough to hate you, I hope you remind her of this.

  16. We have a trick that we used with two girls, currently ages 6 and 3– once they’ve stripped down to nekkid rears, the adult scoops them up from behind, settling the adult’s hands under the child’s knees. You can make a supported squat this way. Both parents use this for questionable toilets, pit laterines, and the “I Gotta Go Now” side of the road stop.The kids back is supported by your belly, and the aim can be better, while reducing splashback, or soggy clothing. Tis the same hold you can use on an infant for EC.

  17. I have a tiny germ complex due to my Nana covering the toilet seat as a child and still cringe when I have go in a dirty bathroom. She made such a big deal out of it that 30yrs later I can still hear her voice. I agree its wasteful and may give your child a complex like me:) I got some other really great goodies from that Nana but that’s another post!

  18. Eh, if the bathroom seems dirty overall, then we usually use a baby wipe on the seat, but most of the time we don’t bother. The Mythbusters just did a show on how dirty toilet seats are compared to assorted other items and money is *way* nastier than toilets.

  19. I’m with the don’t worry about it too much crew. If it’s visibly dirty we don’t use it and if it’s not, I don’t think it’s going to hurt anybody.

  20. Before we all write Richard off as a neurotic neatfreak, it’s important to keep in mind that men’s washrooms are disgusting in ways that women might not imagine. The toilets are used for one thing only in there, and for some reason it tends to make an enormous mess. It’s nothing I’d want to get close to, wetwipe or no wetwipe. I would stick with asking to use the washroom in places where they’re often clean, and I bet single dad with the little girl would probably be given a break and made welcome.

  21. Many places now have family restrooms. My hubby tries to take dd in those.I am a germ freak and go nowhere without my Lysol wipes. I wipe off the potty, then put down the potty seat cover if they have them. Or TP.
    DD was terrified of the noise of the auto flush toilets. I took stickers to put over the sensor, so it wouldn’t flush until she was done.

  22. I can’t believe I haven’t given all of you the name of this wonderful product that helps parents with this exact situation, yucky public restrooms.The product is called Glovies. It was created by a mom who was grossed out by public bathrooms. You put this disposable glove on the kids so they don’t touch the yucky stuff. This combined with all the other suggestions may really help. If there’s a place to say who referred you would you tell them you got this from ProActive Parenting, we’re in a group together.
    Here is the url, http://www.mymomknowsbest.com/
    Hope this helps.

  23. I to am not one to cover/wipe down. If it is visibly soiled I won’t use it/let dd use it figuring no wet wipe is going to be sufficient for that situation. DD is a generally healthy kid who has had 2 GI viruses in her 4.5 yrs of life (yay breastfeeding til ~4!) Washing hands is the only thing I insist on when we are out and about.

  24. Dad of twin girls here and bathroom trips are the part I dread when I’m out with them. I take them into the handicapped stall in the men’s room so I can manage one while the other is peeing. If the seat is wet I’ll wipe it, otherwise they’re on their own. They’re almost at the age where I can send them into the ladies by themselves (I’ve done it once at Costco). And once I had them sit on a urinal because their brother was using the toilet.

  25. My concern is actually less about the cleanliness (although mens bathrooms really are disguisting!) and more about bring a young girl into a mens bathroom. When my husband is out with our almost 3 yo daughter, he tries to find those family bathrooms. But we haven’t been doing potty training in full force yet.I know we talked about it a long time ago I think in a post about bring the opposite gender child into changing rooms, but at what point do people worry about fathers bring their daughters into the mens room? I think it’s a bit different than women bring boys into the womens room, because there are men standing at the urinals in mens rooms.
    Is anyone else concerned about that?

  26. @KC – actually you would be surprised. I worked for several years at a job that required that I clean a lot of public bathrooms indoors and outdoors every day (No, I don’t miss my twenties either!). The women’s rooms were almost always substantially dirtier than the men’s bathrooms, especially on and around the toilet. Oh the stories I could tell….Gals, if *everyone* sits then *no one* gets wet. We gotta make a pact – it has to be everyone! There is nothing worse than thinking it is clean, then sitting down and landing in a puddle of a stranger’s pee. Almost worse than a stranger’s gross fart in your nose.

  27. Family restrooms are fantastic, but since they’re rare, I wouldn’t blink if a man came into the women’s room with a little girl, or a handicapped female of any age. Especially if he gave a warning call on the way in. You do all of your undressing behind a stall door in the ladies’ room. I’d much rather have the occasional dad come into the women’s room than subject a little girl to the sight of men at urinals.Oh, and there is one germ risk at public toilets–IF you have a cut on your skin. A friend got a terrible MRSA infection on his butt from the gym locker room bench. It required surgery. If only he’d sat on a towel!

  28. We’ve gone with the “scrub hands very, very well after using the toilet, but especially well in public toilets” route because I can’t stop the 3.5 year old from touching everything, then her face. Every doctor I’ve ever asked about it says you can’t catch much of anything from your bottom sitting on a toilet seat– the problem is what you get on your hands and what you touch afterwards. But still, I avoid the wet and/or visably soiled, because they’re icky unpleasant to sit on.FWIW, my husband’s solution to the greatly dreaded situation of when he must take our 3.5 year old daughter to a public restroom with a urinal is to stick his head in and make sure the coast is clear, then go with her into the stall, and stay there until the coast is clear again. We’ve just not dealt with a situation where any more proactive/desparate measure is necessary. And we rigorously enforce the “potty before we go” rule to try to avoid it.
    FWIW, my husband cleaned public toilets at a grocery store for ten years as part of his job and thought the women’s room was always far messier and ditier than the men’s. I have no reason to doubt him, but no way to verify– I’ve never been in a men’s public toilet.

  29. Oh, here’s a story about how men’s bathrooms can be totally more disguisting than women’s rooms. In high school, I worked for a bookstore that sound magazines behind blackout covers, if you know what I mean. There were a few occasions when the person cleaning the men’s room found a magazine with some special spills on it. Seriously. We would fight over who had to clean the men’s rooms.Also, sometimes people would leave a diaper in the bookshelves in the childrens section. What is up with that? Now that I have kids, I STILL don’t get it. Especially since the bathrooms were open to the public.

  30. @caramama- I remember the earlier thread about men taking their daughters into the mens rooms, and I remember that someone picked the girl up and had her bury her face in his neck to get past the urinals.On the germ issue- urine is usually innocuous (gross, but innocuous), unless someone has a UTI. And it seems to me that this is an unlikely way to catch a UTI. As for tummy bugs (norovirus and the like), well… diaper wipes aren’t going to do much about that. So my vote is for don’t worry about it, and just wash everyone’s hands really well.
    But we’re just starting the potty training thing, so I don’t have much experience with this yet.

  31. If parent’s rooms are so hard to find in the US, then how about using disabled toilets? Here at least they are usually unisex and not inside the mens or womens but have their own entrance (to just one giant stall). If I can’t find a parents room to change my still-in-nappies toddler then I use the disabled stall cos there’s enough room in there (and sometimes a fold-down changetable too).But if you can’t find them (or if they don’t exist like that in the US) I would seriously use the women’s toilets. Just come on in, and be politely patient explaining yourself to nosy old biddies when necessary. As a woman I’d rather see a man bringing his daughter into the women’s while I was using the loo than think about that little girl going past all the urinals etc possibly in use in the men’s. My issue is more with her seeing strange men’s genitals on a regular basis.
    And seriously, what is with all this hovering etc? Big shopping centres here often include in the stall disposable seat-covers, but I’ve never bothered to use them. Are your toilets really that nasty?
    (But parents rooms rock – standard ones here in pretty much all shopping centres etc include a toilet room big enough for you to pee with a stroller or trolley in there too, plus a 2nd kiddie sized toilet for the newly trained, plus separate, curtained breastfeeding areas, several changetables etc, sinks and microwaves for heating bottles/baby food, and often something for the kids to play with. I seriously don’t know how you guys survive without them!! Whose arm can US parents twist en masse to get them? I’d be house-bound and crazy if it wasn’t for those parents rooms.)

  32. But what about the pee on the floor? Seems to me there is more of that in a Men’s Room. (My experience comes from years of working in punk rock bars, though. Maybe I’m projecting?) Pulling the pants/skirt down and not getting it peed on is dicey at best. Doing it in a puddle of nastiness makes it even worser. Even.

  33. Target carries thick disposable toilet seat covers in the infant and toddler section (look near potty seats). I’ve also seen a folding toilet seat cover (in One Step Ahead)that will fold flat into a diaper bag. It may have been plastic?

  34. I think Tor is Australian! Makes me glad we have lots of great family toilets. The big toilet / little toilet / sink / nappy change table in the one stall is just a god send. It is large enough to have your toddler on the toilet and your baby on the change table and still have the pram in their with you. AND you get to go to the toilet yourself without little ones escaping.But, in your situation, I would be more than happy for you to come to the ladies. Just knock on the door and announce yourself first “Dad with a little girl coming in”, give it a few moments, and then bring her in. Make lots of comments to her about how the nice ladies in her know that Daddies have to look after their little girls too, and it is much better for little girls to use the ladies toilets.

  35. I’m pretty sure that men in women’s rooms and the opposite comes down to a state law issue. In some states it may actually be illegal for a person to use the bathroom for the opposite sex. I have transgender friends for whom this has been an issue.Bathrooms for both genders can be nasty. I’ve had to explain a red bowl to a niece before. Sometimes toilets don’t flush but it seems that usually it’s people being disrespectful of their surroundings.
    If the OP has a choice in a place like Penn Station, a big mall or a Target bathroom I’d rather he take his daughter into the men’s room and use the biggest stall he can with perhaps a folding little seat and some purell wipes. Often big women’s bathrooms have a second bank of stalls or a second exit and he’s better off keeping an eye on his child so she doesn’t get turned around, lost or panicked. Better to risk seeing a man standing at a urinal (my brothers peed on trees in front of me!) than the alternative.
    Should he have time, though. Most big department stores have family rooms now. Restaurants, book stores, Gap Kids, William Sonoma brand stores, hotels, manicure shops, dunkin donuts and coffee chains almost always have a bathroom. Just ask! I bet you get the same kindness as a preggo woman with a toddler would.

  36. My husband has taught my 2.5 year old daughter to pee on the urinal in men’s toilets. I don’t know how she does it but I guess it eliminates the need to sit on a dirty seat.

  37. Just a follow-up comment, as one of the few guys here at the moment. I’ve never seen anyone’s junk at the urinals in all my years of using public restrooms. You just don’t look, and we’re not flashing it around either and the shape of the urinal blocks a lot and many of them have side screens too. And there’s very little talking either, oddly enough. Hence my decision to use the handicapped stall (since almost every place has those now) in the mens room is mostly for my comfort.@Tor – the US building code doesn’t have requirements for unisex handicapped accessible restrooms and no requirement for family rooms. In fact, in buildings with over 15 occupants, you’d have to provide two of them in addition to the standard restrooms. At that point most people will elect to just include the handicapped stall in the rooms. It requires enlightened owners, or those who can justify the expense because of their clientele that will build them.

  38. What I want to know is what people do with a young toddler when helping the older sibling use the bathroom.I have a 3.5-year-old daughter and a 17-month-old son, and I dread having to take them both into the bathroom. Even though DD is perfectly capable of using the bathroom without assistance, she always wants me to help her when we’re out. But then while I’m helping her, DS is busy peeking under stalls, trying to get into the receptacle for tampons and pads, unrolling the toilet paper, fooling around on the floor, etc. Often I need to hold DD up to the sink for her to wash her hands, and then DS is playing with the trash or whatever. I find it amusing and stressful at the same time. (The obvious solutions to me are strollers and carriers. However, I rarely have a stroller with me, and I can’t wear DS anymore because he is huge and I have a lot of back and joint problems.)

  39. On shielding little girls’ eyes from the sight of urinating men: I’m wondering what the reasoning is here. Seems to me that this imparts the lesson that men are so scary that we can’t even let girls look at them when they do something as banal as peeing. That strikes me as utterly counterproductive. In a world where girls and women face risks of male violence wherever they go, I view it as part of my job to demystify men for my daughters rather than build up the fear. I need my daughters to be able to tell the difference between men who are just peeing and men who are up to no good. I’ll have to check with my partner to see how he handles this.For girls under 3, I definitely prefer to have them pee in a portable potty whenever the need arises, as opposed to dragging them to some filthy public restroom. I have no problem with little kids urinating al fresco in the park, though I do mind it when grown men urinate everywhere. Yes, I live in NYC.
    When al fresco urination is not an option and the child is under 3, I hold her in a squat above the toilet, as described by others. Otherwise, I wipe the seat with toilet paper before the kid sits down. Afterward, we scrub hands as thoroughly as possible. I do carry hand sanitizer.
    On the question of whether men’s or women’s restrooms are more disgusting: I used to clean bathrooms in an office building as a youngster. Neither sex seemed to care much about cleanliness, but the men’s bathrooms were worse. More recently, at my place of employment, the single-sex bathrooms on my floor were made unisex in order to accommodate the transgender population. The hygiene in the former women’s bathroom has gone WAY down since the switch.

  40. I usually just suck it up and let her touch the seat, then wash her up REALLY well, but womens rooms are cleaner than men’s rooms.My ace in the hole is to carry a diaper and if the toilet is too gross to let her sit on, I let her stand up and pee in the diaper. She understands “too gross!” and does just fine peeing in the diaper, which we just toss after.

  41. I agree with the posters who suggest covering the seat with toilet paper, if a disposable seat cover isn’t available.On the subject of “hovering” in the ladies’ room, seriously, what is up with that? Most places do have disposable seat covers these days, which I think should be labeled with the following ditty:
    “Please don’t try to hover; you’re likely to miss.
    Use a seat cover when taking a p*ss!”
    🙂

  42. I like Nora’s suggestion, I could see that working for some kids, particularly mine when she gets to that stage.I’m thinking about bringing the folding potty seat with me out to job sites, b/c this discussion is reminding me of how un-fun it is to share a porta-potty with construction workers. Shudder.
    And LSR – my favorite poem is “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, please be a sweetie and wipe the seatie”

  43. Portland, Oregon’s PULUSH (for Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human) advocates for clean, safe, comfortable family/unisex stalls. We feel that men’s and women’s toilet rooms could eventually be eliminated all together in favor of a row of smaller toilet rooms with a single toilet bowl (or perhaps a children’s as well).We are especially conscious of the needs of opposite sex parents and caregivers as well as transgender people. For our design principles for 21st century restrooms, please see our website http://www.phlush.org Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

  44. I don’t have any suggestions, but just want to comment on the wetness found on some public toilets. I’ve noticed some of the more powerful flushing toilet will fling a few drop out of the bowl onto the seat. Still kinda gross, I guess, but it’s not always women hovering and leaving drops of urine.

  45. @ Tor and Rosemary – Your description of the family restrooms sounds divine. Makes me want to pack up all my extra u’s and move.And Dads – thanks for chiming in.
    I know I’ll be rereading this thread in a year or so when I need it.

  46. @Tor and Rosemary- when I was reading Tor’s description, my first thought was “Scandinavia”, but once you said Australia, it made sense. Hubby and I spent a few weeks there, driving up the east coast. One of my impressions of the country was that you really do put an emphasis on kids/family- so many of the tourist attractions we stopped at were really set up to accommodate families, in a way that is just not done here in the US.

  47. Amen @anastasiav!!! MythBusters recently did a show that proved that even public bathroom toilet seats are less germ-filled then most other public surfaces (door handles, shopping carts, etc). Please don’t teach your daughter to hover (and ladies, STOP hovering already! it makes a mess). A layer of TP isn’t going to protect you from anything. Just make sure she and you wash your hands well after using the potty. And if you don’t want her holding the seat for support, she can hold you.

  48. I bought a Potette (http://www.potette.com/) while overseas last week anticipating potty training for the nearly 2 year old. Google now tells me I could have bought it cheaper stateside.Anyway, it uses a special plastic bag with and absorbable pad or can be used on top of a regular seat. My plan is to save the special bags for real emergencies, when no toilet is available, and try the modified toilet seat approach.

  49. Piping in late but my comments are based on little boys peeing. One of my boys (4) needs to disrobe completely (top too) when he goes potty. It is pretty funny but we go ahead and do that in a public restroom. I’ve had the boys stand on the toilet and pee down so they wouldn’t have to sit (and it is less scary for them about the falling in aspect). Seems to work. Now that they are a little older and bigger my husband says he can get them to just stand facing the toilet (not on it) and reach.As for the two children and how to keep the one not peeing from getting into everything (or touching everything), I’ve told them to hold their elbows and then I tell them a story. That buys some time and holding their elbows keeps their hands busy.
    I definitely feel for the dads with the young girls as to what to do with them. I’m guessing I’ll face something somewhat similar once my boys get a little older and it is frowned upon having them go in the women’s room with me. (What age is that by the way?)
    And I agree @Charisse – I had the warmest fuzziest feeling reading your description of holding your daughter on the toilet. What a sweet way to go about it.

  50. i agree with eidolon – when my daughter was three, my husband and I would scoop her up and hold her so she could aim into the toilet. Very occasional wetfoot, and kept everyone clean. Now that she’s 4, she likes to go herself and we wash well. I think my husband still holds her up in the men’s room, though.As for the toddler kids – in the stroller if at all possible. Since I can remember, I have given the kids the v. specific instruction NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING. I don’t close the stall door all the way so I can see my son when helping my daughter, and I really bark at him to stay where he is and not touch anything. 17 mo is a little too young for this, and when you have to keep the other kid in your arms, I’ve had no choice but to let her brave the toilet alone.
    We had one fall-in at the public park where her hand slipped off the toilet while I was holding the younger one and it still gives us all the willies. But she survived.
    I never flush with the kids on the toilet, b/c I agree with Olivia that there’s backspray. I make them leave the stall first, for the most part.
    What I’m wondering about is what to do when the younger one (boy) starts training in earnest. He really likes to stand up and hits the toilet about 50% of the time.
    Ah, the things you never think about before you have kids . . . .

  51. It Italy parents suspend their children over whatever : a bush, potted plant or the rare public toilet bowl. It seems to work well. You pull down the girl’s pants and with her back against your stomach you hold her up under her thighs so she is in a sitting position. use your hands to spread her thighs/labia a bit so you get a jet and not a dribble. If you’re doing this over a bowl you can hold your child lower against your body. obvly this only works for tikes you can still hold (2-4 yrs)my fondest adult pee memory was in a park with my back against a tree and my 2 guy friends holding up a mexican serape to keep people from seeing. No one would have known if my pee hadn’t run downhill….

  52. Please forgive me for a bit of a hijack, but since we’re on the topic of going potty….At what age do you start teaching your kid to wipe themselves after going poo? I have a 4.5 year old boy who was toilet trained at 3.5. He’s completely on his own for toileting except for the wiping of poo. When should I start teaching him? When should I expect him to be able to do a good job on his own? Right now, in no way would he be thorough enough in my opinion. I’m all for letting him learn how to do things at his own pace and improve with practice, but I’m having a hard time with this particular skill. I pretty much want him to do a decent job from the get go. I doubt I’ll have to wipe his tush in college, but I’m not sure how I get from here to there.So, does anyone else share my fear of all things fecal and yet managed to successfully train a good wiper? How do I start? Like @sweetcoalminer said, things you never think about before you have kids…

  53. I once took my 3 yr old daughter and 1 year old son into a ‘family bathroom’ in a large store. As we strolled to the toilet there was a large bloody tampon and string floating in the toilet. Thinking quickly I yelled to the kids – “there’s mice in here; someone’s stomped on one and thrown him in the toilet”. They still talk about it today, 5 years later. The kids ( and I grinningly) still wonder how someone could be so insensitive to not flush the poor rodent down…. My son still comments on that mouse that had such a long white tail!

  54. @caramama I was going to write about the same thing! The diaper thing is so wrong! I worked for four years at a bookstore and it’s unbelievable what people do, even when not in the bathroom. Bookstore bathrooms are really questionable. My male coworkers found similar things. The baby changer in the men’s room? Porn Cache. Used pregnancy tests in the “ladies” rooms, etc. Do people forget they aren’t at home because of all of the comfy chairs, books and coffee? Not to be disgusting, but between the “after effects” of the magazines in the men’s room and menstrual blood in the womens’ room I don’t think it’s a bad idea to carry around some glovies and wipes. Thank you for this post, my daughter still wears pull ups in public and we are close to making the leap to public potties. Very timely and close to my latex covered heart.

  55. When I was little, my dad would be in the same situation with my sister and I. He’d cover our eyes (one hand per daughter) and shuffle into the men’s room to make sure all was clear. For travel, he’d pull to the side of the highway (we used to drive to an Aunt’s house in rural Washington) and put one arm under our knees and the other behind our backs and hold us so we could pee.

  56. I’m going to comment in lieu of my husband, just to say what I know he would say–that the issue of wanting to keep little girls out of men’s bathrooms isn’t to protect them from seeing men pee, but to protect them from possibly lecherous men getting a nice visual cue (even if they don’t see anything) of a little girl peeing. I just know he would be thinking that. There’s no way he would take either of our daughters into a men’s room, no way, no how. So that would be the issue for us, not cleanliness per se. Just throwing it out there as an aspect of this issue. A sad aspect.

  57. Tip: Use Post-It notes to cover up the sensor on toilets that flush by themselves. I wish I’d know that from day one. The first time the toilet flushed by itself, my daughter jumped off, peed on herself, and has had a persistent terror of those toilets for the past 2 years!

  58. I just came across this post and I thank Sharon for sharing my website with you. My name is Josephine and I’m the inventor of the gLovies which are disposable sanitary hand covers for toddlers to keep them safe from germs in public places. I’ve read through each of the responses and agree with many that if you can avoid the public restroom with a toddler–great! However, if you have no choice, this is what I do. I line the toilet seat with 2 paper towels–forget about the toilet paper because it just falls off–and I NEVER flush them. I put gLovies on my children BEFORE we enter the public restroom. TRUST ME, they really work—you will not be so stressed out and your toddler will not be afraid of falling into the toilet which is probably why they are peeing on themselves. The child can grip that toilet and feel confident that they have everything under control and you will save money on aging cream because you will not be thinking about all the germs or pee or …you get the drift. My product really works, trust me, I’m not just saying it. http://www.glovies.com

  59. A collection of your friend, leaving a string of romantic recall, Life is a rare, by a friend who knows you sincerely, Let us cherish life, cherish every move, we don’t meet, but did not know you meet and space, wish my friends happy forever! Happiness forever!

  60. Basically my life is just hard work, I can say that I live a seventy-year-old, is not that comfortable life than a month, like pushing a stone up the mountain, the stone kept rolling down and Tuishang Qu.

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