Mom vs. the Public Potty

Just like that, she was potty trained! Bye diapers, adios wipes! We’re leaving you in the dust and moving out into the world without that bulky diaper bag. This mom was psyched at the idea of a little more freedom on our daily adventures…

Well, that was until we actually had to go potty in public, and I realized that potty training at home was the easy part!

Let’s be honest, even when I’m alone the public restroom it’s a nightmare, but adding a curious toddler is a new level of torture. She’s so excited about the possibility of checking out a new bathroom: what kind of soap will they have? Will there be a hand blower to push (barf, just barf with those hand blowers!) or a paper towel dispenser? It’s definitely fun for my kiddo, but I just loathe the moment she says, “Mommy, I have to go potty.”

Oh my god, has the Target bathroom always been this disgusting? No, seriously. We went into our first public restroom without a plan and the germaphobe in me crashed and burned! I sounded like the guy from the “Cha Cha Slide,” telling my toddler, “Hands on your knees, hands on your knees!” I assumed the more we tried it, the better it would be, but each public restroom was as gross as the last. We needed a solid plan, or I was for sure going to leave my little lady with a bathroom complex (like her mom if you haven’t noticed this yet!).

Naturally, my first plan was to push all public restroom trips on my husband, but that idea crashed and burned quickly. So, I needed to get smart (and tough). Here are my problems with the public restroom and how I’ve tried to manage them because they are, unfortunately, a part of our everyday life now:

The Toilet Seat

I started off with the toilet paper nest, but that quickly fell off, and she was either touching the toilet or trying to help pick up the TP from the floor. Enter the toilet seat cover, which truly covers the whole seat and is less likely to fall off. Once it was worn as a hat, but thank goodness that was prior to touching the seat.

The Sink

Why is there always hair in the sink? Does everyone brush their hair in the McDonald’s restroom besides me? I just have to remind myself that hot water and soap kill germs and make sure we both get a good scrub.

The Shoe Germs

We were basically a “shoes off” house before, but now we are 100% a shoes off house. I’ve seen, firsthand, where those little kicks have been, and there’s no way we can have that trekking through our house. We’ll leave the outside germs coming inside to the dog, which is really another story.

I’ve handled teething, sleep regressions, and even public tantrums like a champ, but public restrooms are by far my most challenging parenting moment thus far. I know the saying goes “little people, little problems,” and it will get worse one day, but for now, this is my struggle, and I’m trudging through like every rookie parent. And don’t even get me started on porta-potties…I can’t even go there yet.

So, help a sister out! Do you have any tricks for me?
Has the public restroom experience been different with sons? If so, how?
Do you agree that the public toilet is a mom’s worst enemy?


  1. I use my foot to flush, if it isn’t automatic. I’ve been tempted to bring my own toilet paper, toilet seat cover and paper towels but that just adds more bulk and I’m sure would look very strange.
    Use paper towels to turn the faucet on and off (for the ones that are not automatic)
    Some of my friends have mastered the “Public Toilet Hover”. I have no clue. I have yet to try it.


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