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Age When Child Can Use Public Restroom on His Own

How Old Should a Child Be to Use a Public Restroom on His Own?

Is there a definitive point in a child's life that indicates when it's OK for him to use a public restroom on his own? As Summer winds down, I find myself looking back at my kids' accomplishments over the past few months, and among them is my eldest son going to the restroom on his own on an airplane. It took much coaxing and confidence-building to get him to do so — I made sure I could see the door the entire time in case there was an issue with the lock — but in the end, it was a milestone that we both celebrated.

It's also one that I don't plan to replicate in all public spaces, as the thought of sending my son into a men's room on his own in a high-traffic area terrifies me. At the same time, he's reaching that age where it's becoming uncomfortable for him to use the women's room with Mom. So what's a mom of boys to do? Is there a magic age when Mom just has to let go?

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Rebecca-M-Gruber Rebecca-M-Gruber 5 years
 @lickety split I can't believe your youngest is now 11 — I feel we've grown up with her!
lickety-split lickety-split 5 years
god, there are so many freaks! my youngest is 11 now (3 girls), and i let them go alone when we go out to eat. just about everywhere else i go with them (costco, the park). if i had boys i'm not sure what i would have done when they were younger. i know boys get to an age where they don't want to go in with the women, but its just not safe.
Tammy3140149 Tammy3140149 5 years
As a single mom, I go with my gut. If I feel uneasy or it is a high-traffic area, I will make my son (9) use a stall in the ladies room.  Most other times, I allow him to go into the men's room alone.  I have to admit, though, that I watch every single person entering/exiting like a hawk! I take mental notes about their hair, eye, clothing colors, as well as which direction they go. I know its a little psycho, but with all the craziness these days, I wanna be able to protect my child. God forbid something bad ever happen, but I will be prepared with info.  As parents, we have to stretch our comfort zones; we have to show our child we know they are maturing. It's a right-of-passage. Embrace it, even if it means you have a headache from all the people you have to remember for the 5 minutes it takes them to go it alone.  :-)
chicagojlo chicagojlo 5 years
Each child is different, and then you have to consider the gender, and which parent they are with. There's no magical age that is appropriate for everyone.
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