Public restrooms are never as clean as you would want them to be, but everyone–including picky potty-training toddlers who touch everything–have to use them anyway.
A few things to help you and your child make the transition from the comfort of the bathroom at home to the ones you’ll face in the airport, gas station or hotel when you’re traveling with a toddler:
Go ahead and cringe
Little kids touch everything. The key is to get to their hands before their hands get to their mouths. When they grab the bowl to climb on the seat, calmly break out the sanitary wipes and wipe their hands while they’re sitting on the fold-up potty seat you brought along.
Beware the automatic toilet
Whether it’s the surprising flush kids get from an automatic sensor that never seems to realize when a child is actually done or the bellowing flush of an airplane toilet that makes a child think they will get sucked into oblivion, public toilets can scare little kids.
Both problems are easily solved. Outsmart the toilet sensor by putting a wipe, Post-It note or Band-Aid over the sensor and take it away after you and your child are finished. In the airplane lavatory, let your child finish, wash and walk out of the tiny room before you push the flush button.
Watch Your Language
Parents love to give their kids silly names–for the kids, for their body parts and for their bodily functions. Just remember, there may come a day when you’ll need to use those words in public–at a crowded airport gate, on an airplane or in a restaurant. Before deciding on the words you’ll use in the privacy of your own home, ask yourself: Do you really want your child to yell, “But Mommy, I have to _________ RIGHT NOW,” when you’re out in public?