Tyler writes in and says he’s got two-year-old twin girls, and they’re about to start potty-training. And he has a question, “what happens if I’m alone with them in public and they need to use the restroom? What do I do?”
What’s Worked for Us
I’ve been in the situation many times with our girls over the years where I’m out with them in public. Even though we try to get them to go potty before we go to the store, they still need to go as soon as we are at our destination.
I would recommend that you go ahead and take your daughters into the men’s room with you to use the restroom.
Eventually, they’ll be able to go by themselves together into the ladies room. But when they’re still very young or learning to potty-train, that may not be the case. You may need to help supervise them so they get everything right.
Other People’s Reactions
I’ve taken my girls into the men’s room on countless occasions, especially when our girls were very small and when they were potty training. And you know what? Nobody ever made a comment to me or said anything about taking them with me to the restroom. Usually, as soon as they see the little girls, they look up and look for dad. And if the dad is there, everything is fine in the eyes of the other people in the bathroom.
You may occasionally get advice like don’t be alone with girls in public. Frankly, I think that kind of advice is ridiculous, because these are your daughters, and you are their father. As a dad, you have a responsibility to take care of them.
You’re not going to send your twins alone into a strange bathroom where they may be scared, or there may be stranger anxiety. Go ahead and take them with you into the restroom to help them. Eventually, they are going to be good buddies, and you can send them off together as a pair. Then they’ll watch out for each other in the ladies’ room.
As your twins get older, you can explain the difference between the men’s room and the ladies’ room. Even now that my girls are almost seven, I will occasionally take one with me into the men’s room if I can’t send her alone. She will ask why I’m taking her into the men’s room. I’ll say, “because I can’t go into the ladies’ room.” And that seems to make sense to her. Even as your twins get older, they may not want to go by themselves into the restroom, in which case you might have to take them with you.
Won’t Be This Way Forever
Good luck with the potty-training and getting your girls to be self-sufficient on using public restrooms. It will happen eventually over time. You have to do what you need to do to help your girls out in public, even though that may be contrary to culture expectations of which restroom they are using.
As long as your kids are still very young, people will probably give you a pass and not make much of it if they are in the restroom with you. One way to tell if you’ve waited too long is if when you go into the restroom, your girls are older than the other kids in the bathroom, it may be time for them to use their own facilities.
(RELATED: Your twins will need a lot of gear. Here's the complete twins baby registry checklist to get ready for your twins' arrival.
I talk more about the potty challenges of twins in Chapter 12 of my book, the Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.
This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 86: Portable Sleeping, Public Restrooms, Time with Twins. Original photo by Antti T. Nissinen
7 thoughts on “Should Dad Take Twin Daughters to the Men’s Room?”
I never even questioned taking my daughter into the toilet with me when needed, but I wish there was an option not to, not because I have a worry with her seeing “things” but because let’s face it men’s rooms usually stink, and are filthy.
@Ashley – you are totally correct: men’s rooms are the worst.
I am a manager at Lowe’s Hardware. In the washroom I have seen girls all the time. No big deal. From experience. A number of girls have seen their dad’s penis. Well I know my niece has seen my brother in law’s. so it may not surprise them if they see another.
But so they see their dad at the urinal no big deal. But have seen many dad’s in the toilets with their dad’s. It’s life.
At least now knowing I’m having boys it will be easy for me but my boys will be in the ladies room.
@Bill – I typically take my girls into the stall in the bathroom so there is privacy all around.
“Nobody ever made a comment to me or said anything about taking them with me to the restroom. Usually, as soon as they see the little girls, they look up and look for dad. And if the dad is there, everything is fine in the eyes of the other people in the bathroom.”
If I go into a men’s room and see a father and daughter washing her hands I use the stall. If I’m at the urinal and they enter I lean in or turn myself slightly in the other direction. Not because of any embarrassment on my part but out of respect for her. I would think most men would do the same.
@Mark – I think many guys share your good manners. Now, if they could just keep the floors in the men’s room clean, we’d be all set.
I understand why a dad has to take his daughter to the restroom and what you said about the stall for privacy makes a lot of sense. The only thing is that the handwashing afterwards can lead to the possibility of things being seen. I remember using a urinal once(small restroom, maybe two urinals and stalls) and out of a stall came a father with a little girl to use the sinks. He’s telling her all the things that would make a little girl smile and be happy(You’re a good girl…went potty by yourself…) It was cute, I’ll admit.
I’m watching this exchange over my shoulder and at one point she made eye contact with me. I had on a long, unbuttoned shirt and if not for that she could have had view of my genitals. I didn’t feel violated really, she was like 3, so pretty unaware of things I’m sure. But I just wouldn’t have felt right if she had seen.
They finished up and left but I just remember thinking, “If not for that shirt…”