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Managing Public Bathrooms With Young Kids

Posted by on July 9, 2012


I have to be honest: I didn’t rush Ella into being potty trained because it was much easier to change diapers/pull-ups than to deal with using public toilets, especially when traveling. The way I handle public toilets is the squat method, but young children are of course too small for “the squat”. Here are the items I found useful for potty breaks on-the-go:

Potty Liners

potty protector

I have tried several different brands of potty protectors, and my favorite by far are Summer Infant Keep Me Clean Disposable Potty Protectors. The paper drapes over the sides, so your child can hold on to the potty for balance without touching all the yucky potty germs. Every type of kid’s potty protectors has little sticky tabs to keep the liner on the liner on the toilet. With many brands I’ve tried, the sticky tabs stick too well, so that when I remove the liner, the sticky tabs remain on the toilet. Very frustrating! This doesn’t happen as much with the Summer Infant Liners. On the airplane I set this up for Ella and have her use the toilet then leave it on for me to have a turn. Even though I still prefer “the squat”, it’s nice to have a barrier.

Travel Potty Seat

folding travel potty

From age 2-3, this was really useful to Ella. It’s a great folding potty seat. It stores in a plastic bag and folds up without you needing to touch any part that touched the toilet. It has handles for the kids to hold and offers a smaller hole so they won’t fear falling in the toilet.

Post-It Notes

post it notes

Isn’t it annoying when you’re squatting over an auto-flush toilet and it flushes? Of course it would splash up…GROSS! For a child sitting on the toilet when this happens, it can be especially frightening. I always put a small stack of Post-it Notes in my ready-to-go potty tote to use to cover the sensor that triggers the auto-flush. (I actually carry these whether or not Ella is traveling with me because I am so disgusted when the toilet flushes before I get away from it.) Of course the post-it notes can come in handy for entertainment when confined to the airplane seat. Decorate the tray table; make patterns with the different colors; re-design your clothes by covering with Post-its…Let your imagination run wild!

Diaper Wipes

huggies wipes

I think that all parents, once they have kids, realize the usefulness of diaper wipes. I don’t think I’ll ever again travel without them. I’m guessing that if you ever were a parent I probably don’t even need to include these on the list. But if your kids are older than 5 you might not remember to pack them without this reminder.

Hand Sanitizer


Let’s face it, there are times when you won’t be able to wash your child’s hands as you should after a potty break. One example that seems to happen to me often is when I am just finishing up in the airplane lavatory and the seatbelt sign comes on as we hit turbulence. The priority is to get Ella safely back to her seat and buckled in. Once she’s buckled in I can pull out the hand wipes and make sure we are germ-free. Of course these are many other uses for these wipes on the airplane, starting with wiping down your armrest and tray tables when you first get on board.

Grab-And-Go Bathroom Tote

handle pouch

You could use a variety of items for organizing all of these things, but I LOVE the Go-Go Babyz Handle Pouch. In the main compartment I keep by Potty Liners, Post-it Notes, and Hand Sanitizer. You can see how I organize the rest of the bag in my review of this cool bag here.