Potty Training: Public Restroom Tips

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by ttarasiuk
Potty training doesn't take time off when you take the family out to the mall for an afternoon. You might be skeeved by the public restroom, but when they've got to go, they've got to go.

Here's how to survive the trip:

Do: Let the folks in line know you're potty training. If you ask nicely, they'll likely let you cut the line. I know I would!

Don't: Use your kid as an excuse to cut the line. Nothing breeds ill will like a Mom claiming her toddler's got to go, then sitting on the pot herself.

Do: Buy a foldable toilet seat cover with handles. You may be able to position yourself over carefully laid sheets of toilet paper, but your kids can't. And they will try to hold onto the sides of the seat to steady themselves.

Don't: Leave the mess behind you. Walking into a stall after a newly trained tot has exited -- and Mom hasn't clean up behind him or her -- is enough to ensure I'll lose the lunch I just enjoyed. Little boys don't have the best aim at this point, little girls drop their poopie toilet paper on the floor, and neither one is especially good about flushing.

Do: Beware of the automatic flushing toilets. "You can either cover the sensor with your hand or (a brilliant tip I got from another mom) put a post-it over it," advises my friend Kate. "Then you can flush once your child is off the pot, and preferably standing a few feet away. Once one of those toilets flushed while my son was sitting on it and he nearly took off!"

Don't: Expect a teeny little boy to stand and aim in front of a tall handicapped stall toilet.

Do: Wipe down the front of the potty with toilet paper if it looks dirty -- your kids won't be able to hold their legs (and pants) out far enough to avoid getting covered in grime.

Don't: Allow your kids to peek under the stall at the other people. Besides the germs, it's plain uncomfortable for everyone else.

What are your best tips for surviving the trip to a public restroom?

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