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When to Stop Taking Your Son to the Women's Bathroom

When to Stop Taking Your Son to the Women's Bathroom

When to Stop Taking Your Son to the Women's Bathroom

Bringing your 3-year-old boy into the ladies’ bathroom may be a necessity and a no-brainer, but is it still appropriate to let your second grader tag along with you? Many moms struggle to decide when it's okay to allow their sons to take solo trips to the men’s public restroom. To help you decide what's right for you, we’ve rounded up various perspectives from Circle of Moms members.

Better Safe than Sorry

I bring my sons to the restroom with me because of the predators out there,” Kim B. shares. She’s hardly alone; a fear of sexual predators lurking in men’s public restrooms is by far the primary reason Circle of Moms members cite for bringing their sons into the women's room.

Sherri C. agrees: “If we are in an airport, train station or huge public venue I will still be taking my 11-year-old with me. He will NOT be going by himself. I am sorry I don't give a flying fig who I offend. I would rather my kids alive then dead or molested because they wanted some independence.”


Draw the Line at Puberty

Of course, a line must eventually be drawn. Many moms say it's definitely inappropriate to bring your son into the women's room after he hits puberty. As Amanda R. suggests: “When puberty hits and they start becoming very aware of women's bodies is when to stop. Until then, keep 'em safe.”

"Others Were Starting To Embarrass Him"

Not everyone continues taking their son to the women's room until the tween years, in fact many Circle of Moms members admit that their sons' embarrassment, as well as disapproving comments and looks from other female restrooms users, led them to stop the practice around age 7 or 8. As Marie S. shares: “My son wouldn't come in with me now if I dragged him (he's 7)." Similarly, Cara K. relays: “I had to start letting my son use the men's room at about 9 by himself. Others were starting to embarrass him, stating, ‘Hey you are in the wrong bathroom.’”

6 Tips for Safe Solo Trips

Not surprisingly, moms remain extremely vigilant when allowing their young sons to enter a public restroom without them. Here are 6 safety tip to consider:

  1. Look for family bathrooms: As Heidi B. suggests, scout for a unisex or “family bathroom.”
  2. Wait until the mens' room is empty: Several moms, including Joan S., require their sons to make sure the men's restroom is empty before using it. “I have allowed him to go in the men's [room], check, and report to me, then go back in while I wait outside!”
  3. Use a buddy system: “If it is a traditional public restroom," says Mandy C., "I let both boys go in together (they are 8 & 10), while I wait right outside the door."
  4. Talk throughout: Therese D. is one of many moms who talks to her son while he does his business: “I stand outside and keep talking to him.” Monica V. does the same: "I...wait outside and keep speaking to him to make sure he's okay."
  5. Discuss stranger danger: "I have talked to my kids a lot about stranger danger," says Sandy D., "and practiced what to do if a stranger approaches."
  6. Whistle while you pee: Angie B. relays a clever way of ensuring her 7-year-old son's safety in the men's room: “I had him go into the bathroom and then I yelled in the door that he should whistle until he leaves the restroom. Then I said that if he stopped whistling I'd be coming in to check on him. A lot of men laughed and many said they thought it was a great way to assure my son's safety!”

Image Source: davynin via Flickr/Creative Commons

Join The Conversation
RebeccaHealy RebeccaHealy 5 years
if there is no parent's toilet, I admit I will use the disabled cubicle in our shopping centres - they are unisex, and while my son is young (4 now) I will go in with him. In a few years I will send him in by himself while I am at the door, and after I have checked the room. A ten year old girl was raped and murdered in a disabled toilet when sent down the corridor by herself in my town a few years ago, I want them to be within arms reach of me as long as possible
KaseyEvans71201 KaseyEvans71201 5 years
I am not sure why some women care so much about a little boy being in the women's bathroom. They have what do you think they are going to see???? My friend and I brought both of our sons to the Y when they were six. Of course we had to walk through the changing area to get to the restroom. Some crazy mom went ballistic because she thought they were looking at her daughter (who was maybe 2). She told us they shouldn't even be in there. I told her they had just as much right to be in there as her child and she needed to get some mental help if she actually thinks a 6 yr old boy cares anything about looking at a baby!!! I cannot count how many times rude women have said something when I have brought my son in the women's restroom. I want to yell at them my son's safety is worth wayyyyyy more than their paranoia that maybe a little boy will see them pee. SHUT THE DOOR if you you are so worried about a little boy in the bathroom!!!!!!! And for the woman who thinks this doesn't happen in the restroom...both YMCA's in our area have had men arrested for doing perverted things in the restroom. Also - there was just a case of a little boy being molested this summer in the restroom at King's Island. Maybe some of the women need to be a little more educated on how common this is - then they will know to keep their mouths shut when a little boy walks in the restroom with their mom.
JessicaKozel JessicaKozel 5 years
My sons are still young (5 and 2) so they still accompany me to the ladies room without question. When dad is around, they get to go in with him. I'm not sure when I'll start letting them go at it alone, because you never know who's hiding out in the washroom, but the fact that there's the 2 of them is a little reassuring when I think about them taking that next step. Why women get offended if a 10 yr old goes into the washroom I have no idea (cause they hear you pee maybe??) There is absolutely no difference between a man and a woman taking a whiz so I pay them no mind.
SarahLeeWilliams SarahLeeWilliams 5 years
There was one incident where my 5-yo son had to go into the men's room by himself only because the line to the ladies room was so long and he insisted he couldn't wait! I strolled over to the men's room and waited right outside and kept talking to him (mostly because I was nervous of the whole idea). When he was done, he exited laughing saying it was hard sometimes to hear me because his "peeing was so loud."
amandalines amandalines 5 years
I agree with all of these ideas, Complete, My number one thing is safety for my kids and if The mens restroom is not empty my son will be using a womans restroom now my son is only 3 but I got a few more years to go. Plus I cant le tmy kids go ina group to go to mens restroom because I got to oter girls a younger girls 2 n older girl 6 so if I allow them to go in packs I have it be to the girls restroom. But also when it come sot awareness of woman's bodies most public restrooms have door stalls which means no boy or girl will see another. But point is my kids safety will always come first and if another person dont like it to bad My kids mean more to me than someones opinion any day.
CoMMember13628797815717 CoMMember13628797815717 5 years
REALLY FOLKS..LESS THAN 35 OF CHILDREN MOLESTED ARE molested by strangers..stranger danger is a bunxh of crap..scaring your children in to not being able to do anything for themselfs....11 years olds in womens bathrooms?..really? come 4 year old goes by himself..i use common sence and wait outside for him..he loves being independent and it teached him self reliance...
PaulaSayers PaulaSayers 5 years
It isn't so much the 'hands on' abuse risk that concerns me. I believe that risk is minimal. However because of the 'public' aspect of a men's room, I am uncomfortable with the risk exposure to inappropriate/abusive behaviour, verbal &/or non-verbal that involves no touching whatsoever. Cognitively/emotionally young boys are not equipped to deal with this, often can't process or recognize it & damage is done that might not ever overtly manifest, but will have negative effects, nonetheless. And I cannot fathom why any one would object to a boy in the ladies room. Everything private is going on in a locked cubicle! So what's the problem?!
in this day and age no child is safe !!!!Going to toilet without adult!!!
RachelNightingale RachelNightingale 5 years
I'm currently going through this dilemma as my son has complex and chronic epilepsy. I never know if he'll have a drop, although since the ketogenic diet has stabilised can gauge that if he's well enough to go out, he'll more than likely be ok, but he's more vulnerable than most and sexual predators are a major concern! I really don't want him to feel embarrassed that he's coming with me or vice-versa.
ZoeWassermann ZoeWassermann 5 years
Funny story, I havent read all the replies, but I was in the airport and my eldest son needed the loo (he is 11) when a guy walked out and said to me, your son is fine he is singing in the loo LOL
DebolaIge DebolaIge 5 years
My sons are 5 and 6 and they have been going into male toilets for at least 6 months now. The moment the younger one, at age 4, realised the existence of separate male toilets, he refused to go into female ones. They go either together or separately. I do make sure I stand just outside the main door, ensuring adult males who go in and out know there's a mum ready to pounce.. I tend to time them - couple of minutes max (No 2s are a no-no in public toilets) - and will normally remind them quite loudly - "*****, are you done now?", "don't forget to wash your hands" and/or "come on, I need to leave now". Enough deterrents, I think. Also, I should add that my sons know that there are some sick adults out there so they won't hesitate to scream the place down if someone as much as touch their sleeves in that setting.
RuthBalmoris RuthBalmoris 5 years
I always make sure that someone is with my 8-yr old son whwn he goes to a public toilet... There are just so many predators out there... I dont care what other people say, i just dont want something to happen to my son that I would regret for the rest of my life...
PamelaPassey PamelaPassey 5 years
My son is 13 and has Autism. When possible, his older brother goes with him - or dad, but that is not always possible! I stand next to the door and talk to him almost constantly. I don't worry when he is making noise (like talking to himself or something) - but if it is quiet in there I'll say things like "hey buddy - do you need help - do you need mommy to come in?" Men look at me funny when they walk in or out but I do not care! :) But then I do worry that he will want to talk to whoever is in there while they are going! He so innocently minded that he wouldn't know he is doing anything wrong!! I think this is something I will always be concerned because he will always have special needs. *sigh*
cariniaCarltonOlmos cariniaCarltonOlmos 5 years
My son is 8 almost 9. I have him check restrooms first to see if there is anyone inside. I tell him to come out and tell me, and then if there is no one in the bathroom, I block the door, telling the men who come up to the restroom that the bathroom is occupied, and I don't let them in!
WendyHardy64941 WendyHardy64941 5 years
Once theyve reached puberty, then sure they should go in the mens but my 8 year old is still a little boy and he comes with me. I dont care what others think, my childs welfare is far more important but I have taught him to be respectful, we go straight in and out, its not like hes having a look at anyone.
KimLudy KimLudy 5 years
the fear our media puts into parents is infuriating to me. sure there are sickos out there, and yes, very rarely, bad things happen to children. but planes crash, the earth quakes, and lightening strikes too. i would not base my decision on the unlikely probability of a rogue predator, but more so on the location of the rest room, age and maturity level of my son
ChristineHalstead ChristineHalstead 5 years
I agree that it's a safety issue. I have a 5 yr old that has just started trying to convince me that he's big enough to use the men's restroom. I have let him use it on occasion, but only after I have gone in myself to check to make sure it's empty. Then I stand outside until he's done. If someone goes in, I go in too (I don't care). Otherwise, he comes with me to the women's RR if his dad's not with us. I don't recall ever getting any looks or comments about it and I wouldn't really care if I did. Until I'm comfortable with his safety, it's not happening any other way.
VeronicaWorstell VeronicaWorstell 5 years
My boys are 5 &8 and absolutley still come to the women's restroom with me if their dad is not with us. Every once in a while I will let them go together, but I talk to them or yell in at them. I had a guy come out and ask once if I minded. I said nope so long as my two boys were safe. When they do go in with me, if they have to go they have to stay in their stall until I am done or if they don't have to go they have to stand outside my stall door facing it with their toes under the door so that I know where they are and that they're not looking elsewhere. My kids, my concern.
PollyMello PollyMello 5 years
You gals are all awesome moms! Nice to see im not the only one who's paranoid. & I say that with all the love in this world. ;) my son is 7 & I wouldn't dream of him going into a mens room alone. So far I've not got any annoying looks from ppl, but like u girls, we're just trying to keep our kids safe.
JenniferLong55779 JenniferLong55779 5 years
My sons go in together to the men's restroom. thing I do is say really loud at the door of the men's room is that I am waiting right outside the door.
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