The first year or so of a baby’s life is a full-contact sport.
Parents will be VERY hands on, and baby will be on your hip almost all the time.
That makes it difficult to take care of basic tasks, especially self-care. This is why new parents are always tired, unshaved, unshowered, and generally struggling to keep it together.
But there are some activities you can’t skip, which begs the question:
How do you go to the bathroom with a baby? Any tips for using a public restroom when you’re alone with your baby?
There’s no huge secret to going to the bathroom with baby. At home, you’ll need to put them down somewhere safe (like the crib) and learn to be OK with them crying for you. It won’t harm them to be alone and upset for a few minutes, I promise!
If you’re out and about and using a public restroom with a baby, it REALLY comes in handy to have a stroller. But if not, try to plan ahead and wear clothes that are easy to remove with one hand like leggings or shorts vs jeans and rompers.
Let’s dive into some more tips, options, tricky bathroom scenarios, and parent self-care tips!
Using a Public Restroom with Baby
OK, this is the WORST — so let’s start here.
If you’ve ever been out running errands with your baby, all on your own, and had to poop — you know the feeling of dread.
How exactly are you supposed to do your business out in public with a newborn clinging to you and nowhere to put them down?
This is where it really comes in handy to push baby around in a stroller when you’re out.
I know a lot of parents prefer to carry or wear newborns when they’re out and about, and that strollers can be bulky and annoying when you’re just running out for a quick errand — but a stroller or pram will totally save your life in this scenario!
Besides, strollers are pretty convenient for holding your drink, shopping items, diaper bag, etc. So it might be a good habit to regularly bring the stroller even on quick outings.
If you’re with baby in a stroller and you need to use the bathroom, you’ll need to find either a family restroom or a large handicapped stall.
Most establishments and stores will have at least one or the other!
OK, but what if you really don’t want to bring the stroller, or you’ve found yourself in a pickle unexpectedly.
Without a stroller, there’s really nowhere good, safe, or clean to set baby down in a public restroom… so what should you do?
It’s a good idea to plan ahead. If you’re going to be out with baby and you’re not bringing a stroller, your only other option will be to hold her or wear her while you go to the bathroom.
That means you’ll need to dress accordingly! Wear pants or shorts that can easily be pulled down with one hand, or a dress perhaps. No rompers, buttons, snaps, etc.
Can you imagine trying to hold your baby and undo your belt and jeans with one hand? What a nightmare.
If you’re wearing your baby in a sling or wrap, that makes things a little easier. But you’ll still want to have bottoms that are easy to deal with.
In other words, yes it’s easy to carry newborns around, but venture out into the world without a stroller or carrier at your own risk.
How about going to the bathroom with a baby on a plane when you’re by yourself?
This is the Super Bowl of going to the bathroom with a baby. One of the most difficult challenges of all.
Your options are extremely limited in this small, cramped space. You’re going to either have to hold your baby on your lap while you go potty, or… if you’re feeling bold:
Ask a flight attendant to hold the baby!
Yes, people really do this.
It’s OK if you’re not comfortable, and they may say No, but usually they’re extremely kind and will want to help!
They’re also professionals who deal with babies and kids all the time. Flight attendants are perfectly capable of holding your baby for 2 minutes while you pee.
If you’re good at making friends and happen to be sitting next to someone friendly (especially a fellow parent), you could ask them if they wouldn’t mind helping you out.
But asking a total stranger may be outside of your comfort level — I’m not sure I would be willing to do that! But some parents do, so keep it in mind as an option.
Ultimately, in public you’ll usually need to be well-prepared. Think through the scenarios, bring a stroller or baby-wearing device if possible, and dress appropriately in case disasters trikes!
And remember, whatever happens, you won’t be the first person in history to poop with a baby in your lap. We’ve all been there. You’ll survive!
Going to the Bathroom at Home With a Baby
Thankfully, your home set up is a lot easier to deal with.
Ready for the big secret?
When you’re alone and you really need to go to the bathroom, put baby somewhere safe and let him cry.
That’s really it.
The simplest solution is to put your newborn in the crib and then go do your business quickly.
(If it makes you feel better, you can bring the baby monitor with you so you know they’re 100% safe.)
It feels like the worst thing in the world when they’re crying for you. I KNOW how awful that feels!
But as soon as you’re back and you pick them up and give them a cuddle, they’ll calm down, and within a few minutes it will be like nothing ever happened.
You won’t scar them for life, I promise you!
(Mayo Clinic says it’s completely fine for baby to cry for a while if he’s not indicating he’s sick, hungry, or soiled. Baby’s cry! It’s what they do!)
In fact, the experience can be good for baby. It teaches them that when you leave, you always come back.
If you just aren’t willing to deal with the screaming or you don’t have a safe place to leave baby out of your sight, a lot of parents bring a small bouncer into the bathroom with them.
(This is also extremely useful for showering with a baby.)
This way, you can set them down right in front of you while you sit on the toilet and do your business. You can usually even buckle them in so they can’t wriggle away!
Similarly, you can strap them into another device in the house like a swing, set on a gentle soothing motion, to keep them happy until you’re done.
If you have to leave baby out of sight, it might help to leave the door open and talk to her while you’re away, so she knows you’re not really gone. That may help soothe baby and prevent screaming.
If you don’t have a bouncer or crib handy, I’ve heard of folks laying baby down in the (empty!) tub or in the baby bathtub. It’s not comfortable and they won’t be super happy, but neither will you.
At least it’ll encourage you to go quickly.
Some parents also choose to use TV to keep baby distracted and happy during adult potty time.
Cocomelon is like candy for kids and is guaranteed to keep them distracted. If you have a pack and play, swing, or other device in your living room, putting on a little Cocomelon on the TV might keep your baby calm while you go do your business.
Finally, you’re also welcome to just hold baby on your lap while you go at home! We’ve all done this and it’s a little awkward and uncomfortable, but usually works out just fine.
Honestly, taking care of yourself is so important. You have to really fight to not skip basic self-care tasks when you have a young baby.
Going to the bathroom is one task you shouldn’t skip. Don’t try to be a hero and “suck it up,” holding your bladder all day long because you don’t want to put the baby down.
Holding your pee for a little while is fine, but experts say holding for too long can have negative health risks.
Holding your poop too long might be worse! It can lead to constipation and other bowel issues.
Not to mention the effects on your mental health. Not taking care of yourself and indulging in basic things like bathrooms breaks and showers will wear you down and ultimately make you a worse parent and person over time. Seriously.
Please take care of yourself. Lay baby down somewhere safe and go to the bathroom — a little crying won’t harm them one bit in the long run.
For more, check out:
- Should you wipe baby after every pee?
- Things for parents to do after the kids are in bed
- No time to shower with newborn?
Hope this helps!