View Poll Results: When is a child/was your child old enough to use public restrooms by themselves?
4 or younger 6 11.76%
5 12 23.53%
6 5 9.80%
7 3 5.88%
8 or older 25 49.02%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-18-2011, 02:22 AM   #1
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Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

I'm wondering about this because I recently took my niece, who turned five this month, to a musical. During the intermission, she had to use the restroom, and I went into the stall with her. The reason was so that I could lay down toilet paper on the seat for her.

I don't want her skin touching such a questionable surface. She probably wouldn't know to put down a good amount of toilet paper herself, so I do it for her. When she was lighter, I would hold her over the seat and let her go that way. I'd teach her to "hover" like I do, but she's not tall enough for that yet...

So what do you guys do? When is a kid old enough to visit a public restroom without assistance/unattended?

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Old 05-18-2011, 03:43 AM   #2
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

I think you have two questions there. My 6 yo has used the public restroom unassisted for a couple years now. However, I don't send him unattended unless it is a single person bathroom and I can see it from where I am located. If I take him, I just wait by the sinks for him to finish. (Yes, I take him into the women's room which I'm sure is another poll all together.)

My 3 yo still needs assistance, so I not only take her, but also go in the stall with her.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:58 AM   #3
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

It probably really depends on the child, but yeah I would say around 5 or 6 unaccompanied into the stall would be fine.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:57 AM   #4
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

Heather is 4 and I let her go into the stall by herself...spmewhere like walmart I might wait by the sinks or by the outer door...somewhere like our local Mcdonalds where I can see the door to the family restroom from the play area I let her fo completely by herself and just keep an eye out for her...we live in a small southern town tho...somewhere I'm unfamiliar with, I would def. wait by her stall door or the sinks...
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

DD is only 2 so I obviously take her to the bathroom but just wanted to toss out there that your cell phone is dirtier than that toilet seat. Also the laying toilet paper down thing doesn't do anything to protect against germs. If feces and urine can go through multiple layers of toilet paper and end up on your hands then toilet paper on the seat isn't going to do anything. There have been studies on both of these..wish I could find some links.

Anyway..I would say that once the child is capable of handling things on their own there is no need to go in the stall with them. But I would probably still accompany my 9 year old cousin into the bathroom if it were multiple stalls and wait for her. You never know who is in there!
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:14 AM   #6
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

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Originally Posted by TalkinBoutMyGirl View Post
DD is only 2 so I obviously take her to the bathroom but just wanted to toss out there that your cell phone is dirtier than that toilet seat. Also the laying toilet paper down thing doesn't do anything to protect against germs. If feces and urine can go through multiple layers of toilet paper and end up on your hands then toilet paper on the seat isn't going to do anything. There have been studies on both of these..wish I could find some links.

Anyway..I would say that once the child is capable of handling things on their own there is no need to go in the stall with them. But I would probably still accompany my 9 year old cousin into the bathroom if it were multiple stalls and wait for her. You never know who is in there!
This exactly. As soon as the kid can get on & off the seat & wipe (if needed) independently, I say wait by the sink or outside the stall. TP on the seat doesn't protect you, & hovering just means you pee on the seat for everybody else to sit in (especially when we're talking about LO's who don't have great control). Last time we visited, I took my 3 y.o. niece into the stall, but she's not tall enough to get on & off by herself....and she will wad up a whole roll of TP b/c she doesn't yet understand how much is enough . I think being in the bathroom until they're tall enough/responsible enough to wash hands after going is important, too.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:30 AM   #7
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

I read the poll as going in unattended, so I voted as such. My DD is 7.5 and I don't usually allow her to go unattended. But, she certainly goes into the stall by herself, as does my 5 yo. My 3 yo needs some assistance, but mostly just reminders not to TOUCH every little thing in there... Most often, we all huddle into a family washroom together because we are traveling in a pack anyway, but if there are only small stalls, my big kids go into their own, and I take the little man into one with me.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:31 AM   #8
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

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This exactly. As soon as the kid can get on & off the seat & wipe (if needed) independently, I say wait by the sink or outside the stall. TP on the seat doesn't protect you, & hovering just means you pee on the seat for everybody else to sit in (especially when we're talking about LO's who don't have great control). Last time we visited, I took my 3 y.o. niece into the stall, but she's not tall enough to get on & off by herself....and she will wad up a whole roll of TP b/c she doesn't yet understand how much is enough . I think being in the bathroom until they're tall enough/responsible enough to wash hands after going is important, too.
Hehe. I need to follow you around with a The bolded is a serious pet peeve of mine. There is no reason that I should have to come in after someone, walk in their pee they dripped on the floor, and wipe their pee off of the seat so that I can sit on it without having to dry my legs off. If germs freak someone out so badly that they must hover and create a nasty mess for others, they should carry clorox wipes with them and wipe their seat down before and after they use the toilet. Those are much more likely to kill the germs than wasting layers and layers of butt wipe.

I quit going into stalls with my oldest around 5-6 when he was old enough to get up on the seat and responsible enough to not make a mess. Now, at age 9, I let him go into the men's restroom all by himself while I stand outside the door and fret.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:36 AM   #9
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

Ew... and the whole hover and splash thing annoys me as well. If you cannot use a public toilet without splashing and creating a mess for the next person, then pee at home.

Interesting to think that the people who are most worried about germs in public restrooms are the people possibly making the most mess... Not directed at the OP, more at the splashers... LOL
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:53 AM   #10
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Re: Age and accompanying kids to restrooms

We have an awesome grocery chain here that has "seat cleaner" sprayers mounted onto the stall wall, perfectly aimed to shoot onto the seat, wipe off w/ TP, & voila! I wish all public restrooms were set up like that.

OTOH, I learned in college (thanks to a great PP presentation) that there's very little you can actually catch from a toilet seat--unless you're rubbing an open sore or mucous membrane ON the seat IMMEDIATELY after somebody else deposited the offending organism on the seat. Not that I get my health info from Web MD, but they explain it pretty well. I'm more freaked by the hovering "sprinklers", as I call them (just b/c of the ick factor...think about it, knowing "I'm sitting in someone else's urine right now"...mmmhmmm...ick ! & there's nothing you can do about it), & the non-handwashers who grab the door handle/push the door open...JM.
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