My 8-Year-Old Daughter Uses the Public Men's Room to Pee

Mom Moment 72

public bathroomThe older my daughter gets, the more nervous I get sending her off to spend a day with her father. It's not him. It's the fact that, at some point, she will have to go to the bathroom. And then what?

Does a daddy take a little girl into the men's room? Does he try to find a one-seater ladies' room where he can feel confident standing outside the door? Or does he risk it, sending her into a big bathroom full of ladies without a single adult she knows as company.

This is not just a problem for mothers of little girls. A mom of a little boy recently got chewed out by women for taking her 5-year-old son into the women's locker room to change his clothes.

The mom reports that most of the other little boys in her son's swim class came with their fathers. But it was just her with her son, who she would help change in a stall in the women's locker room rather than send him into the men's room alone.

I don't blame her. My daughter is 8. She's old enough to change clothing herself and old enough to handle the various aspects of using a public toilet (layering toilet paper on the seat, wiping, flushing, etc.). When she and I go into a restroom together, I usually allow her to use her own stall while I use my own.

But I'm still wary of sending my child into a public bathroom alone, and so is my husband. If he's alone with her, he does what he has to do ... brings her into the men's room so she can pee.

The other options are just too scary.

Who knows who is in there and what they could do to her. Worse, they could do it relatively privately depending on the size of the stalls (I've seen some that are completely closed off like small rooms). Some even have windows or a second exit from which a child can be abducted.

Call me paranoid, but I prefer the term "cautious."

Only ... I don't know when to throw caution to the wind and just let her go. She's 8 now, should I have stopped years ago? Some moms would say yes. My brain tells me it's common sense for a mom to take her 5-year-old son into the women's locker room, and still ... people freak out.

But I know I'm not ready, and most moms I talked to agree.

And here's a fact that might make you feel better if you're a father taking your daughter into the men's room ... or you're a mom taking your son into the ladies' room: according to a chat I had with Dr. Charlotte Reznick, an associate professor of psychology at UCLA and author of The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety Into Joy and Success, kids' brains don't really become wired for handling tough situations on their own until around 12.

So how about you? When do you think kids should be banned from the bathroom of the opposite gender?


Image via thisreidwrites/Flickr

boys, family, girls, independence


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Irela... Ireland69

i was a single mom and i had two boys, i took my boys with me to the restroom i don't care what people think, i think people, that think is wrong don't have kids or have a dirty mind.  My boys were not in there to see any one in there.  I rather be safe than sorry.  If my sons got hurt or kidnap i am the one that would regret it not the women offended cause i two my two kids.

nonmember avatar Dawn

Simply use the family restroom. She can go in alone and no one else will be there. I personally don't think it should be a big deal. Since when should kids be made to feel ashamed for being taken care of??

nonmember avatar blh

Your husband better make sure theres no other men in there when she goes BC most men's bathrooms have the urinals out in the open

nonmember avatar MammaMel

I got crap from some old lady for taking my THREE YEAR OLD son into the womens locker room...apparently I am supposed to trust a three year old to do ANYTHING on his own??? I THINK NOT! Kids can be kidnapped in there! I think 10 is a good age to let them go on their own...

nonmember avatar motherlei

@Dawn-there are not family restrooms everywhere. Not so simple, is it?

nonmember avatar Anowscara

Five is about my limit. If they're too old to shower with an opposite gender parent at home, they're too old to use the opposite gender bathroom.

Todd Vrancic

It depends on the child.

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I am single mom and I let my nine year old son use public restrooms alone. I stand outside the door and if he takes a little while I just start questioning the men coming out, everyone's always been real nice and the usual reply is he's washing his hands. Do I get nervous sure but he knows the difference between girls and boys, and I am pretty sure I couldn't drag him into a ladies room. Also if your daughter uses them mens room aren't you concerned about the random penis she's gonna see when some old mans using the urinal.

nonmember avatar Kristi

My son will go with me until I say. It is way too easy for a perv to hang out in the restroom waiting for a kid to come in to fondle. Not far fetched either-it happened around here 2 years ago in a fast food restaurant. I am not willing to chance it.

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