30 Easy Steps to Take Your Kids to a Public Bathroom

by Kristen Hewitt
Originally Published: 
A child washing his hands in the bathroom

We’ve all been through it, and it’s not easy no matter how many kids you have. But with multiple children, navigating a public bathroom is no fun. Check that – it’s torture. It seems, however, to be the place that’s most intriguing and exciting to our girls. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, store, Disney World, or any other place we are visiting; inevitably within ten minutes of arriving someone announces, “I have to go to the bathroom!” And then the other will chime in, “me too I really have to go.” Regardless of the fact that we went right before we left the house 15 minutes earlier.

And then it begins, the hunt for the nearest potty spot they can’t wait to check out! What sort of soap dispensers will they have? Hand blowers or electric paper towel dispensers? Are the toilets automatic flushing or do they get to push the button? Public restrooms are all the rage (if you aren’t in the know), and though they are fun for the kiddos, moms in particular groan when they hear those seven words. And apparently men’s bathrooms are so hideous, it is always the mother’s responsibility to handle this particular task. (Either that or my husband totally has me hoodwinked.)

Since I seem to have perfected the art of potty problems, here are the 30 quick and easy steps to taking your kids to a public bathroom.

1. Stop your kids from running to the bathroom. “It’s not a race, no running in the restaurant!”

2. Arrive quickly to learn all the stalls are taken.

3. Wait impatiently for the ‘big’ stall, which usually is occupied by someone who is taking their sweet time fixing their hair and makeup.

4. Calm your kids when they start whining that they really have to go. “I know baby, it will just be a couple more minutes. I’m sure whoever is in there is REALLY HURRYING” (you gently prod, hoping they can hear you).

5. Finally get in the stall and break up the argument of who gets to go first.

6. Start putting the seat cover on; stop to remind urgently, “don’t touch anything!”

7. Go back to putting the seat cover on and grab your child to lift up onto the potty when the seat cover falls in.

8. Put toilet paper on the seat instead, and finally lift child number one onto the potty.

9. Yell at the other one, “get your hands out of there now!” What is the fascination with the feminine disposal bucket?

10. Wipe or get the toilet paper for number one.

11. Stop number two from pulling all the toilet paper off the roll.

12. Get child number one dressed and situated and start at step six again.

13. Lift child number two onto the potty.

14. Try not to lose it when she says, “No pee pees! I’ll try again later.”

15. Through gritted teeth remind child number one to lock the door and don’t open it again.

16. Gently tell child number two that she has to try again.

17. Watch child number two genuinely try to go, including real grunts, but with no result.

18. Get child number two dressed.

19. Go potty yourself because you are here and you might as well go.

20. Yell at child number one when she open the door as you are trying to pee.

21. Get yourself dressed and take kids out to wash hands – unless there’s a sink in the bathroom you are currently occupying.

22. Lift up the kids to get soap, they still can’t reach.

23. Wash both of their hands, then point them in the direction of the paper towels or dryer.

24. Clean up soap puddles left behind that are dripping down the sink onto the floor.

25. Clean up excess paper towels strewn all over the floor.

26. Watch in awe as they put their faces up to the dryer to get their “crazy hair.”

27. Clean up toilet paper that’s been unraveled for no good reason.

28. Grab a paper towel to open the door with now that your hands are actually germ-free for a nanosecond.

29. Start walking back to wherever you came from – and hear from child number two whine, “ I have to go pee pee – for real this time….pweeeease….”

30. Turn around and start all over again.

These are the things you don’t read about in baby books, and never anticipated when starting this motherhood journey. But potty breaks in public could be one of the most annoying things we moms have to do…especially with newly potty trained toddlers. Though I cherish the baby and toddler stage, some days I can’t wait until the day we can rid our cars of car seats, and they can wipe their own damn bums!

Related post: 10 Reasons To Delay Potty Training

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