(In honor of summer vacations and being in very public places where you are forced to take your kid into a public toilet, the following is a repost of a post I did almost exactly 2 years ago.)
RANT ALERT (If you’re sick of my ranting, please move on to another post without reading…)!!!
I’m writing this after just having come back from the ladies’ restroom where I sat (gasp!) on the toilet seat and ended up with a bottomful of someone else’s pee. This isn’t a random public restroom (although I won’t say where it is); it’s a semi-private restroom where the patrons using it are limited. NORMALLY here, I’d wipe down the seat and line it with paper before sitting (because at 5-ft tall, squatting usually means I end up peeing everywhere) but for whatever reason, I just pulled up my dress, pulled down my undies and sat, only moments later realizing the mistake that I had made.
I’ve never been so acutely aware at how nasty some ladies’ restrooms are until I had a child – now two children – who are potty trained and using the same facilities that I do. Unlike me, they don’t have the option of squatting if the facility is super nasty – they have to SIT (or Mommy needs to get creative).
I’d be willing to bet that some women’s restrooms are nastier than men’s restrooms (either that, or I am SUPER scared to see what a guy’s restroom is like). I’m not talking just toilets; I’m talking about anything washroom related. I’ve seen used paper towels on the floor, dirty diapers on the counters, unflushed used tampons, soiled sanitary napkins (ON TOP of the toilet paper roll), and food chunks in the sinks. Granted, most of these sightings were in high traffic restrooms (train stations, airports) but all of these things could’ve been avoided if the offenders took two extra seconds to ensure that they left the facilities in acceptable condition before leaving. What’s the rush? Free public facilities are a luxury, not a right. In some countries, you have to pay to use toilet facilities.
Now that we’ve covered the non-toilet portion of the washroom, let’s talk toilets.
How many times have you gone into a ladies’ restroom toilet stall to find the floor wet? Maybe it’s water, or maybe it’s pee from a squatter with awful aim. Or how many times have you gone in there to find both wet AND dried pee spattered all over the toilet seat? Or worse, the aftereffects of someone whose butt exploded after eating bad sushi. I’ve even seen red smears (you know what that is!!) where someone either didn’t realize that they smeared or didn’t care.
When it comes to my kids, I keep antibacterial wipes and paper seat liners in my bag. I usually walk into the stall, scream “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!!!!” and wipe the entire toilet seat and bowl/rim with the wipes. I then line it with paper and plop my kid on top. Also, with a boy who sits when he pees, the only way to prevent him from peeing all over himself is to have him lean forward and grasp the toilet seat in front of him, so I want to make sure that every surface his fingers come in contact with are wiped down.
But sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of being so meticulous about pre-cleaning. My worst potty experience happened when we were pretty far from a toilet when my girl announced that she had to go potty. We scrambled around until we found one, but by that time, she had to go so badly that she was actually crying. I took her into the only stall that was open only to discover WHY that stall wasn’t occupied…someone had sh*t their entire lunch out all over the toilet seat and worse, it was fairly wet and fresh. By this time, she was sobbing because her bladder was on fire, and despite my assuring her it was OK, she refused to wet her pants. I quickly wiped down as much as I could with dry paper (because the freaking wet wipes were buried deep inside my bag) while she did the frantic pee-pee dance. The stupid paper liners wouldn’t stay on the seat so in a moment of desperation, I picked her up and placed my forearms under her legs so that my arms and not her butt came in contact with the toilet seat. I emerged from there not only with her pee on my shirt because her angling was weird, but also with dirty forearms. I wanted to go home, strip down, and scrub myself with bleach.
I’ll admit that I’m totally neurotic and OCD about toilets and maybe I just need to chill out, let my kids sit, and then go scrub their butts once they’re home, but be honest…would you have let your 2 year old daughter sit on a sh*t-splattered toilet in a moment of desperation??