Dad routinely takes 4-year-old daughter into ladies’ loo. Internet freaks out.

girl with red hair in plaits

A mum’s recent post about her husband, on popular parenting site Mumsnet, has sparked a huge response about appropriate bathroom behaviour – and it’s kind of an age-old debate.

Toilet troubles

At her wits’ end to sort out the issue she was having with her hubby, this confused mum took to the forum to ask for advice (and possibly prove her husband wrong!) over the weekend.

“Help, [my husband] and I with a disagreement please,” she began.

“When [our daughter] (4) needs the loo in a public place, he takes her to the ladies’ loos. I told him that women don’t like that and he should take her to the men’s loo. [Am I being unreasonable] or is he?”

Good question.

It’s true that some women would be highly perturbed by a man in the women’s rest room. That said, a little girl in the gents’ is deemed equally unsuitable by many.

The ideal solution is to use the parents’ room or a family restroom, should there be one available, but more often than not there isn’t.

And using the disabled facilities – where an independent lockable stall is often available – is not really appropriate either. People with disabilities need access to these bathrooms. They’re not for able-bodied people.

No wrong answers?

So what is the answer to this vexing problem? What do you do if you have a preschool-aged child of the opposite gender and they need to do a wee?

Mumsnet users had mixed responses to this dad’s bathroom solution.

“I’ve never seen anyone do that. It’s usual for the adult to go in the correct toilets, and if the child is under about 8 they go in the same one as the parent,” one wrote.

“I understand the conflict, but I would rather a father in the ladies – individual cubicles – than a four-year-old girl being taken into the gents with no idea what she might see,” another posted.

“In Amsterdam airport this week there was a dad with a small daughter in the cubicle next to me & I thought good on him! I think he felt awkward – he maintained a conversation with her the whole time, so that we would all know he was there, & when they emerged he studiously avoided eye contact, but I thought it was definitely much nicer for a small girl not to have to go past a row of men using urinals in a (probably much more smelly) men’s loo,” another forum user said.

“If men’s toilets are so revolting that it’s completely unacceptable for a father to use them with his small child, then that needs fixing. The answer is not for men to barge into the women’s toilets,” someone else opined.

We suspect that women wouldn’t generally enter the mens’ toilets with a small (boy) child, so that adds a further layer of tricky confusion to this issue. Why are bathrooms so complicated?! Can’t they just clean and safe and available for people (and parents) to pick and choose as they need?


What are your thoughts on this pesky problem? Is it perfectly okay for dads to pop into the women’s room with their preschool-aged young ladies? Or is there another solution? And what about mums and preschool-aged boys?

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