Living Smart Motherhood Monday

Male Child in Female Restroom? How old is too old?

I have talked about this before on another blog but the issue came up yesterday and I decided to re-visit the topic. What age is the correct age or do I say “a more comfortable age” to send your male child into the bathroom by himself when he is out with you (Mommy)?

Yesterday, before church started my children and I were walking down the hallway and I opened the door to go into the bathroom. My daughter is 4 and my son is just recently turned 7. My son was shaking his head, “No!”, like he is NOT going in there. I grabbed his arm and said, “If you don’t get your behind in here and sit down and wait on me!” Now recently at church, when my son has to go to the restroom, he asks me can he go in the boys bathroom. I started checking the males restroom first and then let him go. But again that’s at church. It’s another story when we are out……

Yesterday after church my husband, kids and I were at Publix (getting dinner) and my son asked to go the restroom. The restrooms were near the deli so my husband told him to go ahead, and my son took off. I just stood there all wide eyed and said, “Umm, you are not going to go with him?” He said, “He will be ok, he is a big boy!”  I said, “This has nothing to do with him being a big boy, you don’t know who is in the bathroom!” So I walk away as my husband shakes his head, like I am the crazy one. I go the the males bathroom and open the door. I yell, “Earl!” I don’t hear anything. I yell louder, “EARL!!” He says, “Yes mommy!” “Are you ok?” “Yes Mommy!” “Earl, are you in here alone?” Then another voice says, “I am in here too!” I freeze because I am thinking of my next move! All of sudden my husband comes behind me and says “Move!” all irritated! LOLOL!! And he goes into the bathroom to check on Earl.

I smile and head back to the deli with my daughter. When he comes back, I explain to him the importance of not letting children go to the bathroom alone in public. I told him about the 10 year old boy that went to the bathroom in a Wendy’s and was stabbed and raped by a guy and his father came when it was almost too late. People are crazy and people hurt and take kids! Yes he can use the bathroom by himself, but he is still to young for us just to say, “Yeah, Go and come right back!” When my husband is not with us, my son is coming in the women’s bathroom with me unless I can check the males bathroom out. And honestly, I still might let him come with me. I just get nervous. I remember I let him go the restroom once and no one was in there, then this older man went in after him. I couldn’t stop wiggling my fingers waiting for my son. I peaked in a few times screaming, “Earl, are you ok?” So, I really don’t know. He might be 15 before I have peace about this. I just don’t know. I pray my husband gets it.



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  • [email protected]
    July 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. It’ll be a great reminder for me since I usually go out with my son alone. I don’t know how old he’ll be when I let him use a public restroom alone.
    But I will make sure he pees before we leave the house so alleviate this concern!

  • Lori Vann
    July 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    My son is 5, and because I am a single mother – he goes in with me ALL THE TIME. He balks at the idea sometimes, especially if there are a lot of people around.

    He’s gotten better as he is getting older about NOT having to go potty everytime we go out to the grocery store (for awhile, I was beginning to think he waited to go to Kroger to potty).

    Thank god for “family restrooms” at some places, that allow their dad to take them to the potty when out & about, although he has no qualms about taking her into the mens restroom if absolutely necessary.

  • Anonymous
    July 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I dont have a boy but I do know that I see moms bringing their sons in the ladies room and sometimes I feel like they a lil too old to be in there. I think it depends on the maturity level and teaching the child how to be aware of his surroundings and being on alert if someone gets to close. Standing outside the restroom door is the best idea. I hope no one takes their son in the ladies restroom after the age of 11.

  • Marie Young
    July 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Interesting. I have a 17 month old daughter and I am pregnant with my second (which I am hoping is a boy). If I have a boy then this will definitely be on my mind in a few years.

    I TOTALLY agree with you! Protect yo boy…. BTW didn’t the the attacker of the little boy in Wendy’s have HIV?!?!?! #sickos

  • LA Lynn's
    July 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I don’t have a son so I’m not quite sure what is age appropriate but I did raise this question on my Facebook page a while back as I was in a restaurant & a little boy that looked a lil too mature to be in the women’s restroom was in there with wondering eyes! But I highly understand a Mother’s concern to protect their sons at all cause because you never know what could happen now ways! So, I look forward to see what others have to say on this subject. ~Great Post


  • kita
    July 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    My son is 6 and I do allow him to go in the bathroom alone it just depends on where we are at. Publix hardly anyone is ever in the bathroom so I feel he can go ahead I stand right by the door until he is done. He is to curious and asks to many questions to be coming into the girls bathroom. Now if we are in a place where it’s busy he will have to wait or come in the girls bathroom with me. I had the same feelings as you but I can’t watch him at school nor when he is out with his father so I have to let him go and trust God. Good luck and do what your gut tells you.

  • Ariel
    July 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I understand your concern. I think the bigger issues is that not enough parents aren’t as concerned as you. We live in a world today that is fill with sick people, you just can’t be careful enough. I don’t know the right age, but it seems it would be when you feel comfortable. A woman’s intuition is one of her greatest gifts.

  • Andrea @
    July 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Hi! My 4y.o. boy is already complaining about having to go in the women’s bathroom! Can you believe it? I hadn’t heard about that Wendy’s incident so that’s blowing my mind. I’m glad to hear your stance b/c I was wondering what to do about this too! And both my boys still come w/ me.

  • BalancingMama (Julie)
    July 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Oh, that is a tough one! Since I have a daughter, I never thought about this much. I do wonder if she’s getting too big to be in the men’s restroom WITH my husband (because, um, they aren’t peeing behind doors), but what would we do when he’s out with her and I’m not there? No way would I allow her to go in by herself at age 4… maybe not even by 8! Now you’ve got me thinking.

  • Amanda Godin
    August 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Okay okay you are all going to hate me. I am a mom with two girls. If a boy can talk and point, he has no business in a room where women and girls are changing. If its closed stalls and all are polite, I think we can all get along. There are handicapped and family stalls, please use those. Kids are getting sex ed in jk. Quite frankly, I don’t want to have your jk boy tell the whole jk class he saw me or my daughter changing. Look at it in the reverse. My husband would be hauled off to jail for taking our girls in the male restroom or changeroom. Use some common sense. Check out the bathroom, send son into a closed stall. Stand by door. Despite the media frenzy, creeps aren’t lurking in every stall. There is more chance of your son or daughter being molested by a family friend or relative than a stranger. And by the way, how do you know there’s not some woman pervert waiting for a chance to groom your son because you’ve taught him by inference that all women are safe? Oh yeah, now you can all pile on me and tell me what a self righteous b**** I am. I don’t care. Your son does not have a right to see me or my daughter naked if he can walk and talk and point.

    • Bernetta
      August 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      You are bold that’s for sure. But I would never call you a self righteous b****. It’s not that serious. And we all are entitled to our thoughts. Thanks for your post. But my son will continue to join me in the public bathroom until I feel comfortable. And lastly, my husband has taken my daughter in the gentlemans restroom when they are out togethter and has never been hauled off.

      Enjoy the weekend! You know it’s a holiday! Smile!

    • Brenda
      September 8, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Yes, my husband also takes our 3 year old girl to the men’s room if he has to and says it’s never been a problem. (He says he would never attempt to go in the ladies) Still, he tries to find a family restroom if he can.