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The One About the Bathroom

The One About the Bathroom

Her screams could be heard halfway across the store. Walking by, I heard her mother say, “No! We are not going BACK to the bathroom! We’re not going to spend all our time at the store in the bathroom.” The screaming resumed with even greater intensity.

“But I want to! I have to go! I HAVE TO GO!!!” I sped up my pace, not wanting my own child to be reminded that Target actually has a restroom.

What IS it with kids and public bathrooms?

Between the ages of 3 and 8, public restrooms are the mecca of their religion or something. Their Holy Land. A place of wonders and beauty indescribable. For real. I have spent approximately 68 hours waiting on my youngest child to finish up in the bathroom. And that’s just this summer.

Anything to keep her for asking for the bathroom.

It typically goes something like this:

  1. Choose a stall and after several attempts, figure out how the lock works
  2. Change your mind and struggle with figuring out how to UNLOCK the lock
  3. Choose another stall
  4. Choose another stall
  5. Try to enter yet ANOTHER stall, only to find it’s occupied
  6. Tell your mom you can do it by yourself and you don’t need any help
  7. After about three minutes, tell your mom you do, in fact, want her help and struggle with the lock AGAIN to let her in
  8. Try to find a comfortable position and manage to touch every possible square inch of the commode.
  9. Finish your business and fuss when your mom helps put your clothes back in position
  10. Lay down on the floor when your shorts are slightly twisted
  11. Act totally and completely caught off guard when mom tells you to wash your hands
  12. Very reluctantly participate in hand washing, then go back and touch the stall door and commode

You get the picture…

I’m serious. If you have a child under the age of five, I KNOW you have experienced this very scenario many times.

Often, my husband sends in random females to check on our status and make sure we will actually be coming out of the restroom before midnight. It’s just so tempting to settle in and people watch in there, you know.

I’ve resorted to paying my older girls to take their sister to the bathroom for me. It used to be pretty cheap. For 25 cents, they would whisk her away and manage all the undesirable aspects of time in the bathroom with her. What a bargain! However, they have recently raised their rates. Last week my husband and I had to negotiate them down, because their first offer was twenty bucks. Thankfully, our middle child doesn’t quite grasp the value of money just yet, so she happily agreed to thirty cents after very little haggling.

Seriously. ANYTHING.
Sometimes I’m just not up to it. This is the reason I had more than one child. It’s taken quite a few years, but my plan is now beginning to pay off.

So Moms, when I see you headed for the restroom, I’ll give you a high five and say a little prayer. See you in two hours (If you’re lucky).


View Comments (13)
  • Lol I remember those days! But I have boys- so it can be just as bad-well it’s different. It don’t take them potty any more….my 10year old takes my 5 year old….who screams so the who store can hear and people wonder who the horrible mom is and I smile behind the “what is he screaming about now” feeling! Then make some off the wall comment about my child in the bathroom..
    now I make every effort to just get home when potty is mentioned!!!
    Enjoy your post today!!

  • Oh this is so familiar to me! Shortly after we get to a public place (store, restaurant, gas station), my 3 year old son insists on going to the bathroom. Thankfully he doesn’t spend THAT much time in the restroom, but still… Very frustrating when we get all the way to the back of the store and he suddenly gets the urge to go potty. It’s good to know I’m not alone!

    • This. THIS. THIS was what terrified me most the moment the doctor announced triplets. (aside from health) It had taken me 14 years to agree to having another baby. And to be honest – the horrors of public bathrooms with toddlers was way higher than morning sickness or childbirth on my on my “Are you insane to do this again??” list. They are four now. Yup. That’s SIX hands in a public bathroom!! And, unlike childbirth, it really is as painful as I had remembered! (Thankfully, the snuggles are even better!!!)

  • I am so there. I have a 4yo son and a 6yo daughter. My daughter has gone to the bathroom at Publix as many as four times during one shopping trip. She’s recently started insisting on going into the stall by herself, which is fine. I have also let her go to the Publix bathroom alone – though I watched her go in and waited (while watching the clock and biting my nails) for her to come out. My favorite recent (around here, anyway) development is the family bathroom! I know not everyone is comfortable having a little boy in the ladies’ room with them, and I LOVE knowing that my husband can take the kids to Target or Walmart or Kohls without me and, should the need arise, doesn’t have to take my daughter into the men’s room. Kohls even has a regular and a kid-sized toilet in theirs, which my kids think is the coolest thing ever.

  • You’ve described this crazy experience so well! For us, add on about twenty extra minutes of not getting up from the seat for no apparent reason. Good parenting times.

  • Too funny! I have managed to stay under the radar on this. My kids are petrified of automatic hand dryers. Thank God.

  • Potty training anywhere has got to be one of the most stressful things about parenting a toddler. Public restrooms sometimes don’t make it any easier to get them to sit down when the sensor on the flush automatically goes off! Talk about a freak out, ha! Slow & steady finishes the race & my kids definitely emphasize the slow, haha;););)

  • Somehow I dodged this particular bullet and never realized how much that meant until I read this post and all of the comments. I always tucked my little boy’s arms into his shirt and held him up over the toilet, washed my hands and walked out, with his clean hands still intact in his shirt. He’s inherited a bit of my Germaphobia, so now that he’s 6, he flushes with his foot and opens door with his elbows like Mommy. Thank Goodness!

  • At least she goes while you are still in the store, it never fails that as soon as everyone gets loaded and strapped in in the car, my daughter says she needs to go. Makes me want to scream!!!

  • My lil one can spot a bathroom from across a store we have never been in before! My Mom says I was the same way when I was little 🙂

  • REALLY not looking forward to potty training my two year old twin boys for this reason. I loathe public restrooms and avoid them at all cost. I guess I’ll have to stock up on hand sanitizer!

  • Hilarious! After this experience twice, I bought a portable potty and keep it in the back of my SUV. A box of wipes and a small hand sanitizer and you are good to go!

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