Boys In the Restroom With Mom

Cynthia Dermody
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I'd like to think I do what most other Toddler Moms do when I'm at a store alone with my son and I have to pee--I take him into the restroom with me--if not in the actual stall, then I tell him to wait right outside the stall door.

When tiredmomfor2 walked into a public women's room with her 3 1/2 year old son recenty, she actually got a dirty look from another woman--can you believe the nerve?! But tiredmomfor2's story does raise a very good question: How old is old enough to leave your son outside the restroom while you run in to pee?

"I have a little girl who is one and she will be potty training in a about a year," tiredmomfor2 says. "I can't see myself leaving my five year old outside the restroom while I take my daughter to go potty. And I can't picture sending him into a men's restroom by himself. There are some serious sickos out there."

I'm with her. My 5-year-old will have to tolerate my tinkling for the foreseeable future. Luckily, many stores now have "family assisted bathrooms" for moms of little kids and also adults who need help from family members. But what happens if you or your son has to go potty and the only choice is a women's or men's room? What age should we start letting our little boys stand outside the door, or venture into the men's room alone?

"As soon as you trust him to wait outside and not run off?" rockonrugby35 suggests in the Advice for Moms group. "It also depends on how well behaved he is. If he's that kid that's curious about everything, I would just have him wait outside. And if you're really worried, tell a cashier to please glance over and keep an eye on him for a couple seconds. Personally, it makes me uncomfortable, but I understand why women bring their boys in with them. It's not a huge deal, if I go to a public restroom and there's a little boy in there, I just wait until he and his mom/whoever are finished and out of the restroom before I even bother with my business." 

"If my husband is not with me, my son, 7, will come with me," says mommyjof2. "I don't care what anyone thinks. I am not leaving my child alone in a store or going to the bathroom by himself. The world is way too dangerous." 

"I say keep him with you until he can defend himself," says Brooklynsmom119. "I make my 9 year old cousin come into the bathroom with me (not in the stall). He waits outside of the stall so I can see his feet."

So, moms of sons, what's your public restroom policy? What age is the right age to let your little guy wait for you outside, or go into the men's room alone?

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