Girl Toddlers in Men's Restrooms -- Appropriate?

kids in public restrooms
Flickr photo by Jim Epler
When we're out and about as a family, my husband is in charge of taking our daughter to the potty. It's not something we've ever really discussed, but I always think of myself as on "half-duty" on the weekends and he takes over certain tasks -- cooking her dinner, putting her to bed, and taking her to the bathroom. Neither of us has ever given it a second thought.

After all, moms take little boys into public restrooms all the time.

But some moms have clearly spent some time thinking about whether it's okay to bring a toddler girl into a men's restroom, and the experts over at Parents Ask have the answer, or at least, an answer.


Here's what Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley had to say:

"It’s always been acceptable for mothers to bring both little girls and little boys into public restrooms, and these tend to be very private with separate toilet stalls for each person. Having Dad bring his daughter into the men’s room is a little bit different.

"I turned to the expert in our house for [sic] solution to his [sic] dilemma. I asked my husband what he used to do when our two girls were little. He said that it was never a big issue for them. If the men’s bathroom was a single room, he’d just bring her in with him and lock the door. If he could find a single-room restroom, he’d use that. If the only option was a room with multiple stalls, he’d scoop her up, tuck her head into his shoulder to cover her eyes, and walk quickly into an individual stall."

This doesn't seem like rocket science to me. And I guess I don't understand why this dad finds it necessary to "cover [his daughter's] eyes."

Would he cover her eyes in front of the Statue of David? Doesn't covering her eyes make her think there's something exciting to be seen that she's missing out on? Why make an "issue" out of human anatomy? Plus, she's probably more interested in the noise the hand-dryer is making or the color of the ceiling.

Then I realized -- I don't even know what my husband does when he brings our daughter into the bathroom. So I asked him.

Me: What do you do when you take the baby into the men's room?

Expert in my house: What do you mean what do I do? I take her in and we go into a stall and she goes to the bathroom.

Me: What if there are other men in the bathroom?

Expert in my house: So? There are other men in the bathroom. They're entitled to use it.

Me: What if they're all lined up using urinals?

Expert in my house: So? It's nothing she doesn't see me do every morning. What am I supposed to do, cover her eyes? [emphasis mine]

Me: Why wouldn't you cover her eyes?

Expert in my house: What's the big deal? Her daddy is the only man in the world with a penis? Now, I might do it out of consideration for the men, who might be embarrassed at having a kid seeing them pee, but no one has ever said anything about it.

Does your husband take your girl toddler to the men's room? Is it a "dilemma" or no big deal?

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