5 tips for surviving public toilets with your kid

The loud flushes, the crowd, the tall sinks—it can all be stressful to a preschooler. Maybe for you, too. Here's how to navigate public toilets with your little one.

Toilets that can swallow them and flush without warning, deafening hand dryers, sinks they can’t reach—public loos can be terrifying for small kids. And when they start peeking under stalls and reaching into open garbage cans, it can be stressful for you, too. Here are some tips for doing the deed (and getting the heck out).

1. Carry a stack of sticky notes in your purse to cover the automatic-flush sensor.

2. Bring a potty seat (there are ones that fold up to fit in diaper bags and purses—if you can get over carrying a potty seat in your purse).

3. Distract him from the tampon bucket while you pee by making him your toilet paper valet.

4. Travel with hand sanitizer and a few napkins for when high sinks and loud dryers make handwashing a no go.

5. Remind kids to be patient while waiting for a stall, and teach respect for others’ privacy by discouraging them from peeking under stall walls.

A version of this article appeared in our January 2016 issue with the headline, “You vs. Poo,” pp. 51-56.

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