When is it OK to send your child off to the public toilet by themselves?

Mum shared that she was seriously debating allowing her five year old son to go to the toilet alone.

She wrote, “My five year old is fiercely independent and wants to do everything by himself. But now he is making a huge fuss every time I make him come with me to the ladies bathroom if we’re out and about.

“He begs to go in to the mens bathroom by himself but I never let him. We do often use the parents room but he still asks to go alone. I feel really uncomfortable about this! At what age would you let your son use the men’s toilet by themselves?”

What mums think

Many mums agreed that he was too young to go on his own. I must admit even as a grown adult I HATE using the public toilets. My youngest is ten and I always make him go with his dad or wait if possible.

A couple of mums said just to be honest with him and let him know why it is not a good idea.

“Just talk to him directly and openly! Say that as much as you want him to be independent and how proud you are he is such a strong person, going to the toilet on his own is not safe, and that you both need to stay together to make sure nothing bad happens to him.”

Many agreed kids are not old enough until in their teens and they aware of the dangers.

One mum added, “Once he has a black belt in Karate!”

What the experts say

Parenting expert Jo Ryan from support service Babybliss told Daily Mail Australia the age of when a child should go into a public toilet alone is a ‘tough question’.

‘It depends on the child really,’ she said.

‘I think six is too young. I’m not sure if I’d want them to go in a public toilet on their own,’ Ryan explained.

‘Some boys want to do that at that age, you have to judge the child and whether it is a safe environment. Toilets are always an unknown.

‘For me, I don‘t think I would let them go in on their own, I would want to take them with me. It’s usually when they are a bit older -around 7 or 8 – that they want to go in alone,’ Ryan said.

She recommended that parents make use of parenting rooms more often.

Join our Facebook discussion below:


  • Nope nope and nope. I hear stories all the time about sexual assault


    • These cases are so sickening and horrific.

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  • Public toilets are unappealing for so many reasons and safety is one of the reasons why a child should not go alone – it is too young.

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  • I think honesty is a good idea and to tell them that it’s besf to stay together as there are some scary people in this world and hopefully that helps the situation. Maybe even let them use the disabled toilets if they are fiercely independent

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  • There is no way I would be letting my 5 year old into the public toilets alone! I’m not sure at what age I would actually feel comfortable at actually letting them do this. I have a few years before I even need to start thinking about this thank goodness lol

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  • I think 5 is too young but I suppose it depends on the maturity of the child as to what age is right

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  • I think 5 is definitely to young to go alone, my son is almost 6 and still uses the ladies, the only time he uses the males is when he is with hubby.

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  • I think you could let them use the disabled toilet while you wait outside. It’s only one at a time in there so he will be perfectly safe.

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  • It can be tough to judge but even when you have an abundance of faith in your child. But they are still too young to deal with some isolated occurances. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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  • Even though a child is physically capable of going to the toilet by themselves at 5 it’s way too young to let them go into a public toilet on their own because of all the sexual predators out there. I was taking my son into the ladies up to age 11 and he hated it. I refused point blank to let him go into the mens alone because it was too risky. Not one other lady in the toilets ever said anything negative or gave us weird looks, in fact other mums had their bigger boys in there too on many occasions. When I let him start using the mens toilets on his own I would stand outside and told him to scream if anyone approached him or tried to touch him. I would always call out to him after 2 minutes “are you ok?” just to be on the safe side.


    • I agree with your comments, and yes most women are understanding when it comes to this issue, I never had any problems either.

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  • Difficult, but I really think that 5 or 6 is way too young. It depends on the kids indeed, but in general I would say not before 9-10 years old.

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  • Depends on the child. Since my son started school he doesn’t want to come with me into the “girl” toilets. But I make him. I stand outside the cubicle and hold the door closed for him.

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  • I think my son was around 10yr old when he went alone to the men toilets. I was always waiting at the front of the entrance, shouting out if he’s ok

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  • That is a tough one. My almost 6 yr old still uses the ladies room and if I need to go, he had to come in and stand by my door so I know where he is and so that he’s out of the way (i try and get an end one so he’s not in anyone’s way)

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  • My nephews want to go on their own but when they’re with me I’ve been lucky that single toilets have been available and I just wait ours the door.

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  • I think this depends on the types of public toilets too – if it’s in a huge shopping centre and the toilet has many cubicles then I would be hesitant if I had a son, to let him go in there by himself. If it was a toilet area that only had one or two toilets I would probably be a little more relaxed and would be standing guard right outside that toilet and my child would be told he only has to call me or scream and I would be in there in a flash. I guess having girls is a lot easier as I can always go in with them, and stand by the door etc.

    Reply

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