Monday, July 11, 2011

Toilets - Mens, Ladies, Disabled.....

I'm having an issue with public toilets at the moment.

Recently I used the disabled toilet with my 6 year old boy because he's too scared to go into the men's by himself (and I don't want him in there alone) and there's no way he's going into the ladies (it's way too embarrassing).

So a couple of weekends ago, on a frequent trip to Bunnings, we had only three options...mens, ladies and disabled. We went with the disabled...because we could both fit. But both of us had a shocking case of the guilts.

And this brings me to my question...

Are disabled toilets supposed to be exclusively for disabled persons?


Are disabled toilets there for everyone as well as accommodating the needs of disabled persons?

I mean, often have you seen a disabled person waiting at the toilets anyhow...and if they did have to wait one...two that unreasonable?

It's not like an exclusive disabled carpark. They really are only meant for disabled persons...just in case you weren't sure. I would never park in one of those. The time your car is parked is quite a bit longer than the time your butt is parked on the toilet. It's not the same.

Which brings me to my main point for writing this post.
Why are parent toilet facilities not available everywhere!?
And what are we supposed to do with our big-little kids if they aren't available??


  1. I have this dilemma often. I have 3 boys, eldest turning 7 next month and there is no way on earth is he going into the men's toilet alone.

    If there is no disabled option available, then yes they do come into the women's toilet with me. Yes it might be a bit embarassing, but i'd much prefer that than to have something happen to them whilst using the men's toilet.

    I fully agree with you, why are there not more parent toilets around? We went to the shops today, and my Mr5 had to go, so off we went to the parent toilet. Yes, toilet, only one. In a big shopping centre in our area, they only have the one parents room which has one toilet. The line up was 4 deep, and when you are 5yr old, that equals a damn long time. So off to the women's toilet we go yet again.

    We often use the disabled toilets, and if someone wants to have a go at me for it, then so be it. Until they start providing for parents in today's day and age, then I will continue doing what we do.

  2. Excellent point - and I don't have an answer.
    I think it's even more difficult for Dads + big/little girls.
    They definitely don't want to be taking their daughters in to be bombarded by a urinal scene.
    I didn't give too much thought to using the disabled toilets (and I still do use them with Magoo when the need arises) until my friend became disabled through a horrific accident. She has opened my eyes to the liberties we take at the expense of the disabled.
    You'd be surprised by the number of establishments that are completely wheelchair/disabled unfriendly when you made aware of it.
    So, sorry - no answer!

  3. my girls aren't that old yet, ( 4 and 3) but if the mothers room is packed, and there is too long a line at the women's.. i have used the disabled for them.

    My son is far from being old enough to use the toilet, but i will not be sending him into male toilets by himself, and i can definitely understand the embarrassment for them of going into the ladies.

    I think that unless there is a disabled person waiting, there's no problem using those facilities.
    Most people (even disabled and elderly) will recognise your dilemma and not mind you making use of the disabled toilets.

  4. I never have this problem because she's a girl, so I take her myself,
    but when she's with him I know they either go to parent rooms or to a disabled toilet.

    But a little boy is a loud to go into a ladies toilet until they are 8.

  5. I just don't leave the house. too hard. On the rare occasions that I have left the house with both children I have been lucky enough that my son is only 3. I would use the disabled if I had to because a 3 year old plus a pram is not going to fit in a cubicle, but it's tricky and I wouldn't feel completely comfortable doing it.

    I was once in the parents room with my daughter and I saw a couple come in and the mum sat and fed the baby and the dad used the ONE toilet in the parents room. By himself. For a really long time if you know what I mean. When he finally got out, there was a line of 3 very angry mums and wriggly toddlers. RUDE.

  6. Why are parent toilet facilities not available everywhere!?
    And what are we supposed to do with our big-little kids if they aren't available??

    I use them with my daughter. Not as a general rule (of course!) but if all others are taken up - or, I daresay, if I had a son and we were in your position - we use it. We do make it quick (who hangs around in toilets longer than they have to anyway?!) and, as you say, it's quite different to taking the liberty of using a disabled car space.

    I've had looks thrown at me before from women of a similar age, who are queueing up. I usually make an apologetic "She's four, we can't wait!" and sidle in to the loo they're all not using. But I've also seen able-bodied women use the disabled toilets when the others are packed. It's a human need. I don't see the point - if there are no people with a disability waiting - in not using a toilet when there's one there and a line forming.

    I fully agree with your first commenter.

  7. No, it's not like a car park... anyone can use the disable toilets. There have been way too many horror stories of boys in mens toilets... J has only just started being allowed to go to them by himself... and I stand in the door way ready to yell, or run in!
    You're boy won't like it but.. this is an area we can't be too over protective.
    Daddy always takes the girls to the disable too. xx

  8. I think anyone is able to use the disabled toilets? My Dad has a disabled parking permit, but he doesn't need a permit for the toilets... so I guess anyone can use them. I have with the kids when they were younger, but now they can hold on. My son goes in to the mens by hi self now, has done for a few years (he's 12) but the rules are in and out. Then again the same applies for my daughter. No on wants to hang around in the public loos!

  9. A great question Thea and one that I ask myself each time we use the disabled toilet facilities.
    I guess they're there to be used and I don't see a problem with parents and their young children using them at all. Sometimes we simply NEED to use them as trying to juggle a pram and a child and myself, is all too crowded to fit into a normal size cubicle.
    I am not comfortable with my boys using men's toilets either... for at least the next 10 years, so I will be using these facilities for alot longer.

  10. My friend is an ex-Fed Police officer, and she said she'd never let her boys go in to public toilets on their own...she's seen too much! (I'm sure your hubby knows this too.)

    I won't let them either. I take my boys in to the ladies with me - my eldest is 9! BUT...if it was a women's change room I couldn't do that (my 4yo could come in, but once over 5, many pools have an age restriction). That's why I hate public swimming pools - altho fortunately they mostly have Family toilets (if you can get in!).

    Here's what I'd do:

    Option 1 - Family toilet
    Option 2 - Women's toilet
    Option 3 - Disabled toilet
    Option 4 - Nearby tree!

    The thing is with public toilets, you have to check them first before they're used! Who knows what's in there? I'd def use the Disabled toilet for my kids if I had to.


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