Is it ok to use the disabled/handicapped toilet?

Kerry - posted on 11/27/2010 ( 56 moms have responded )

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I have seen another post on a different subject where a lot of the mums are saying it's ok to use the disabled toilet if you don't have a disability whether it be to use with their children or just because they like the extra room.

I have worked with people with disabilities and i know first hand how important it is that they have access to these toilets when they need it.

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Krista - posted on 11/27/2010

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I'm trying to phrase this in a way that doesn't seem insensitive, so I really hope that I don't offend anybody.



If I go into a washroom that only has so many stalls, there is no guarantee that I am not going to have to wait for a stall. I've had to wait in line for a bathroom stall on many an occasion, crossing my legs and doing the "peepee dance".



Needless to say, I think it's crucial that bathrooms HAVE disabled toilets, but I also don't see the sense in them being completely off limits to everybody BUT the disabled.



I do want to add, however, that if we're all in line for the bathrooms, and a disabled person comes in, and the disabled stall becomes vacant, then I would obviously not leap into the vacant disabled stall, leaving them to wait. I'd gesture for them to go ahead.



However, if there are currently NO disabled people actually in the bathroom, and I have my baby in his stroller with me, I really don't see the harm in using the disabled stall. If a disabled person comes in and has to wait a minute or two, I don't see that as being a huge burden -- we've ALL had to wait for the bathroom at some point or another. And of course, upon exiting and seeing a disabled person waiting, I would be decent enough to apologize and explain. I would hope that the person would understand that leaving my son outside of the bathroom stall in his stroller is just not a safe option.



I don't know, I guess I just don't see the point in keeping those stalls completely off-limits to everybody else, when the odds of a disabled person actually being in the bathroom at any given time are pretty small. I honestly can't remember the last time I was in a public washroom and saw a disabled person in there at the same time.

Barb - posted on 11/27/2010

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Krista pretty much said it perfectly. I'd like to add one more thing though.

In smaller bathrooms where you have one regular stall and one disabled stall, many times, the baby changing station is in the disabled stall simply because they had no room to place it anywhere else in the bathroom but alongside that wall.

Hannah - posted on 12/09/2010

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most of the time the baby changer is in the disabled toilet anyway but even if its not if im on my own with my baby and i need the loo then i go into the disabled toilet cause i cant get the pushchair into a regular one

[deleted account]

I've been in a wheel chair and honestly it didn't bug me when people used it with due cause... such as a mom with a number of children that cannot be left unattended, a mom changing her baby on the changing station, a long line and someone is using it to help the line move along faster.

There have been times when I've had to take my daughter into the bathroom and I couldn't just let her crawl on the floor so I used it so that she'd have a safe place where she was strapped in while I used the bathroom. I've taken strollers in as well.

Basically I think it should be the last stall you use.

Kelly - posted on 12/02/2010

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I'm as guilty as most of you all for using the handicapped stalls. Here in the heartland of the U.S, in KY, all to often, the changing stations are either in the handicapped stalls or near the sinks in some places. I've never seen a person in a wheelchair in the restroom as long as I can recall, but if I -did-, I would let them go first if they were ahead of me. If they were behind me, I would politely let them go ahead or -ASK- if they could wait while I used the restroom if the public bathroom was super-busy. If I was in the stall already, sorry, they have to wait like everyone else.



If they were rude, they'd be treated just like any other rude person; I'd most likely have a nice little chat with them telling them their rude behavior is inexcuseable. Just because your handicapped doesn't make you -less- of a person. Your a -person- with a handicap (visible or not). Everyone ought to be treated equally despite having a disability, handicap, different opinion, race, beliefs, or whatever.



When my son was young, I took him into the stall with me, when he was a little older, he used the stall next to me when he wouldn't go into the men's restroom with his dad or he was with only me.



I have no problems using it, never had any problems, and hope I never do. If I did, I would simply be as polite as possible.



And another issue about these small stalls. If a person is overweight or even morbidly obese, they can't fit into the narrow stalls easily, that's something these manufacturers seem to forget about. I'm sure they like comfort as much as the skinny folks!

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56 Comments

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Jenna - posted on 02/07/2012

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In most bathrooms, the disabled stall is the only one with a door that opens out. If I have my baby in a stroller and my toddler with me and I have to pee, should I leave my baby and toddler outside of my stall and hope that they behave and stay safe or do I use the disabled stall and bring all of us in there because there is room to do so? Plus, like someone else mentioned, often the changing station is located in the disabled stall, so where else am I going to change my baby's diaper?

Merry - posted on 02/07/2012

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I use it if I have my kids with me! Half the time the baby changing table is in there too so I assume they expect mothers with babies in there too :)

If I was in a line with a gal in a wheelchair behind me and I had to change the baby what should I do? Obviously neither of us can go without the same stall so I guess I'd offer it to her as a diaper can wait a minute but if there's no obviously handicapped ladywaiting then I'll use it no second thought!

Kat - posted on 12/11/2010

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when i was pregnant i HAD to use the handicapped toilet. i couldnt fit in the regular stalls if i wanted to close the door. i gained 60 pounds with my son, so i really had no choice. but otherwise, unless i REALLY have to go bad, i'll use the regular stalls or wait for one if theyre full, just in case

Fiona - posted on 12/09/2010

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I am not registered disabled but since having had my first child and suffered a third degree tear which broke down after it was repaired in surgery I am all but incontinent. In that I mean I have maybe 5 minutes warning before I am unable to control the urge to poo and it just arrives (tmi) I take Imodium almost daily.

Like I say, I am not registered disabled but I would use the disabled toilet and I have. Causing someone else to wait it may be, however fouling myself infront of other people or worse my children is not something that I want to happen and believe me it has.

Melissa - posted on 12/09/2010

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We use the disabled toilet all the time. In any scenario, if someone with a disability were to need it they would end up waiting for a minute or two, but the odds are outstanding. I just don't worry about it, we just leave it clean.

Jessica - posted on 12/08/2010

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If it is just me; then no i dont use it. but if i have my daughter plus a stroller then yes. and most of the time thats where the changing station is. i love family bathrooms though. i think they need more of them.

Nelly - posted on 12/08/2010

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We used them when my kids were younger because of the extra room but if a family washroom was available then we would use it

Jane - posted on 12/07/2010

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Well, here in Colorado those larger stalls are not necessarily only for the disabled. They are for both disabled AND mom's who need to change their babies because those larger stalls here have the baby changing station in them.



So, if it's the only toilet available, I use it but if it's not, I won't.



Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever been in a bathroom where I've seen a person with a disability (i.e., wheel chair) come in at the same time as me and I'm 51 years old!

Petra - posted on 12/05/2010

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This thread popped into my head yesterday when I used the handicapped stall in Superstore. My son was in his stroller and the bathroom was otherwise empty. I didn't even think twice about using it. If a handicapped person were in line, you bet I'd advocate for them using the stall before others in line and I would absolutely forego my turn if the stall came open when I hit the front of the line. My stance may change slightly once the boy starts potty training, but if no one is using it, I'll cruise on in when I've got my boy with me.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2010

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If you have a pram with you and a small baby that can't walk and there's no mother's room why should you have to leave your baby out with the lineup and use the toilet while they're out there screaming? Usually there's a mother's room but when there's not it's the disabled toilet.

Amy - posted on 12/02/2010

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I used it while I was pregnant, there came a point where I couldn't fit in the normal stalls, and I am not a big person!

Now that I'm not pregnant anymore, I will never use them in public because I don't need the extra space (although most of the time it would be nice!). When I'm at work I will use the handicapped stall but only because I don't know of anyone in our building that needs it.

I don't see any problem with using them if you've got small kids, but I've never had to deal with that and being a working mom I doubt I ever will.

JoAnn - posted on 12/01/2010

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My son is 3 and Autistic so I always use the Disabled stall. Not just because I can, but because he has to have room to move or he will run. That means crawling under the stall and taking off out of the bathroom all together. He does not always understand that he can not do this for safety's sake.

[deleted account]

I don't agree with people using them if they aren't disabled. My nana is disabled and is in a wheelchair and put it this way, when she needs to go, she needs to go! Obviously if it doubles as the baby changing room then obviously I'd expect people to use it.

Sunshine - posted on 12/01/2010

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Krista-I couldn't of said it better myself... :)
I go in there all the time with my son(i yr old now).
Leaving my son out side of the stall is UNSAFE. :(
I have never my 25 yrs

Rosie - posted on 12/01/2010

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i use them when there is no other option, or if i have my kids with me. like today, i had to go really bad, and lucas was whining that he had to go bad too. i stopped at a bank, lol, cause i had to go so bad, and ran in there. there were 2 stalls, one was handicapped. you bet your ass lucas took one and i took the other. i wasn't going to wait for a 3 year old to get done peeing while theres another perfectly good stall to use in which i wouldn't crap my pants. better alternative for me for sure, lol!

Nikkole - posted on 12/01/2010

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i use it when i was prego or have my 2 kids with me! But ive never actually encountered a disabled person using the restroom or needing to use it while i was in the bathroom but i see people use it all the time if there not pregnant or they dont have kids with them and i think thats wrong unless all other stalls are occupied and you REALLY have to go!

[deleted account]

I used to joke with the other ladies in line that if I was ever in the stall and she did that, I would take 3 times as long just to spite her.

Caitlin - posted on 12/01/2010

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Rebecca - that's horrible - I could imagine it being me in that stall - i'd give that prof. a piece of my mind.. What if that person was on crutches? I hate the sense of entitlement some people get, i've known some really rude handicapped people, and some really great ones, some people need a reality check..

[deleted account]

When I was in college at a large university, there was a professor who was in a wheelchair. At breaks between classes, the bathroom (which had at least 10 stalls, including one handicapped stall) would always have a line out the door of a least 10 women waiting. I will never forget that professor rolling into the bathroom, rolling straight up to the handicapped stall, and pounding on the door and yelling at whoever was in there that they needed to leave the stall. It happened at least a few times a week. It was the rudest thing I ever saw. I guess according to her, that stall was her personal throne that only she could use, regardless of how many people were waiting and what their personal circumstances were. She would then yell at the person when they came out. My personal opinion is you don't get special privileges because you are handicapped, which would include the "right" to cut in line or have a particular stall waiting open for you. While I don't think anyone would have begrudged her moving to the head of the line and waiting for that stall to be vacant, pounding on the door and screaming at the occupant, without even knowing if they may be handicapped themselves, was beyond the pale. As I mentioned, it's not reserved for use by only handicapped people. Anyone can use it.

Caitlin - posted on 12/01/2010

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I was at the mall yesterday, and REALLY had to go.. I had horrible indigestion, I was shopping for my groceries and actually ditched my cart in the aisle, grabbed my 9 month old, and walked to the bathroom in the mall holding my 2 year olds hand.. Tha bathroom on that level is very small - 2 stalls, 1 handicapped, 1 regular. Well, another woman was going in at the same time as me, she even held the door for me so I could go in with my 2 kids, then walked straight into the handicapped stall leaving me squishing myself into the regular stall with my 2 year old and the baby on my lap.. NOT fun.. My 2 year old starting fussing when I was trying to get her to go into the stall and so I loudly said "I know it's squished in here sweetie, but some people are inconsiderate and don't care about others, now we all have to squish in here.." Obviously waiting wasn't an option for me.. I barely made it to the bathroom to begin with (boy that would have been embarassing..)

Charlie - posted on 11/30/2010

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I use it when I have a baby in a pram and a toddler to contain while I go .

Lyndsay - posted on 11/30/2010

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Not gonna lie, I use them sometimes. I will go to the regular bathroom first but if its full and the wheelchair one is open, I'm going to use the wheelchair bathroom.

Jessica - posted on 11/30/2010

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Yup, I use them. I dont have a sign, sticker or wheelchair to show I have an issue but when it comes to using the washroom, I will use the handicap one in a heart beat. I have stomach disorder that makes it so when I have to use the bathroom, I have to go now.I have even used the mens washroom a time or two if the ladies has a line up, lol.

Sherri - posted on 11/30/2010

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Well here all the changing stations are located in the disabled stall so parents with children don't have any other option so yes it is fine and set up to be both a disabled stall and a family room.

Amy - posted on 11/30/2010

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Tell that to the people who put changing tables in there! There is no other place to change them in many bathrooms around here and they put the darn things IN the handicapped stalls. I actually just talked to my daughter about this the other day when she wanted to go in the BIG one. Now, if all the others are full, I'm not going to make my 4 year old pee her pants. She can go in. But if others are open, we go in those. She's big enough, I just wait outside the door. I agree that ALL grown-ups, disabled or not, can usually hold it for the ten seconds it takes a kiddo to empty a bladder.

Kelina - posted on 11/30/2010

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I'm finding i us it more and more. My son is one and I often have to shop alone with him. Leaving him unattended in the buggy is NOT an option as he'll climb out. He's got no butt so buckles generally don't work. I'm also finding that being almost 9 months pregnant I don't seem to fit in most of the normal stalls anymore. I tried yesterday and just about wound up in the toilet trying to close the door lol. If someone with an obvious disability is waiting to use the bathroom I'd offer it to them first, but I can honestly say I've never encountered that situation.

Candi - posted on 11/29/2010

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Every time I have to take my 5 yr old to a public restroom, I tell her to go into the stall right beside me. That way we can get out at the same time. Once I leave my stall, I see her coming out of the handicapped one and I'll say, "why were you in that one?" and she politely replies, "because it has monkey bars!"
Of course that is only when no one else is in there. When we go to a mall or someplace with more people, she goes in the stall with me. My sister-in-law was wheelchair bound and a lot of times she couldn't get into the bathroom. Not because someone was in the handicapped stall, but because the entrance was too narrow or the trashcan was placed in the way or the sink, hand dryer, etc. Businesses will do just what they have to in order to be legal. They don't think how a wheelchair will work in their store. My SIL was never able to shop at Goody's b/c she couldn't get in the store bc they had so much crap blocking aisles!!

Sarah - posted on 11/29/2010

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I wouldn't use the Disabled toilet. Sometimes though the Baby Change doubles up as a Disabled toilet, so in that case I obviously have.

It really annoys me when people use the Baby Change toilets when they have no kids with them, so I imagine that's how a Disabled person must feel when someone uses the Disabled toilet. Honestly, I think most grown ups can wait!

As for when I have the kids with me, I will always try to wait, but if they were seriously going to wet themselves, then I would probably use the Disabled toilet. I think *most* people would be understanding in that case.

[deleted account]

As many others have said I use the disabled stalls but generally that is because that is where the baby change unit is in a lot of smaller shops and bars/ restaurants. I have to say that if/ when I need to change my baby in these places there is often somebody in the toilet and I have to wait, if a disabled person came after me I would expect them to wait until I had had my turn as these facilities are duel facilities and just because a person is disabled it does not mean they have the right to jump the queue.

If the disabled toilet was separate to the baby change facilities and regular toilets then I think it is downright rude for an able bodied person to not allow the disabled person to use the disabled toilet. However, not all disabilities are obvious, someone may need to use the support handles to sit down or stand up from the toilet, but they may not be disabled as such, I know in the past when I hurt my knee I had to use them because I actually couldn't stand back up with pulling myself up yet I only had a tiny limp bacause I could walk on it as long as I didn't bend it too much. Or look at Lacye she has a genuine reason to use them she is claustraphobic and needs the larger spaces, her "disability" is not clearly there for everyone to see but it is still a disability of a kind.

There are times where I feel using the disabled toilet isn't rude though, if you are out alone with a couple of children or a very young child in a buggy, a lot of regular stalls are just not big enough, many of them are only just about accessible to me on my own, I am not leaving my son outside the stalls, it isn't safe and as I said in another thread some people have 2 or 3 kids all under 5 you cannot leave them outside the stall while you take a pee, sometimes the disabled toilet is the only option because many places do not have family toilets.

Lacye - posted on 11/27/2010

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I will say it loud and say it proud, I use the handicapped bathroom stalls. But that is mostly because I have an extreme fear of small enclosed spaces. The handicapped stalls do make me nervous but they are not as bad as the regular stalls. I will hyperventilate in the regular stalls.

Jodi - posted on 11/27/2010

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Kerry, a lot of the smaller shopping centres around here don't have it all separate, so when my kids were small, I used the disabled toilets. That was usually where the change table was, the nappy disposal, etc. I guess it depends where you are. I do agree if the other facilities are available, there is no need to use the disabled toilet, unless your child is absolutely busting, the others are all full, and the alternative is him/her soiling themselves.

Kerry - posted on 11/27/2010

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Not all people with a disability use a wheelchair.

A high number of people with disabilities DO have incontinence issues. And Often they require the assistance from a carer to use the toilet, meaning they cannot use a normal stall and of course i let people know that we do need to use the disabled toilet asap!

@ Jodi, (from your reply on a diff group) I'm from Aus too and ALL the main shopping centres near me have
* the main toilets
*a family room, spearate with child toilets
*a disabled toilet, separate again.
When these facilities are available, i don'y think there is any reason for someone to use the disabled toilet.

It's great to see that people who have posted do let disabled go first, but i can tell you from lots of experience that the general public is not always as obliging

Jodi - posted on 11/27/2010

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I am just going to say that the diabled toilet stall/bathroom is a disabled toilet BECAUSE it is accessible to those in a wheelchair or with special needs. NOT because they can't be used by others. There are laws in this country that require public facilities accessible to those in a wheelchair (as there should). A person with incontinence is not disabled. They are capable of using the normal toilet stalls, there is no need that they absolutely must use a disabled stall. A person with a bad back, unless they are in a wheelchair, possibly does NOT need a disabled toilet stall. A person with a wheelchair can ONLY use a disabled toilet. I'm just saying that those toilet stalls have been built with special features for those in wheelchairs. They have not been built with the purpose in mind that other people shouldn't use them. HOWEVER, IF someone in a wheelchair IS waiting, then we need to make sure that they are next in that stall.

With regard to the incontinence thing, you do the same thing I would do with a 3 year old and ask if you could please jump the queue, because unless you have a placard announcing your problem, people won't be aware. What would that person do if a disabled person were already in that cubicle? They would still have to wait. If it is that much of an issue, they should ensure they are well prepared for that scenario as well.

Caitlin - posted on 11/27/2010

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I have no problem using a handicapped stall if i'm with the girls. I have a double stroller, it's WAY too big for a regular stall and barely even fits into handicapped stall without having to readjust a few times. The people that piss me off are people that use the stall when there are other ones available and they are perfectly able bodied. How many times i've gone into the bathroom with 10 empty stalls and the handicapped one at the end is taken and I have to stand there and wait because they wanted more space to take their crap...

Carolyn - posted on 11/27/2010

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im kinda on board with Sharon ! just because a bathroom stall is wheel chair accessible in a large washroom, does not mean only people in wheel chairs can use it, or are entitled to bypass all line up. in my eyes its basically saying : there is a stall you can wheel into with enough room to move around and for your caregiver if required.

its like the wheel chair accessible entrance to a building, does that mean only the disable can go in that way ?

if i have to go i have to go, and if i have my child in a stroller and i am alone, i will use what ever means necessary to accomplish my goal.

also i think i read in a post someone arguing that a disabled/handicapped person might not be able to hold it. well many people disabled or not have bladder issues. Just because i am more mobile doesnt mean i am any less likely to pee my pants or my child is less likely !!! if a person has that severe bladder issues in their adult life, chances are they are wearing some type of protection, after all , there is a huge market for incontinence products.

i am a firm beleiver in if you want equality, you get equality, in everything. that includes waiting in lines restrooms or others.

[deleted account]

Krista said it beautifully. I usually let my son pick the stall. At Walmart he always picks the handicapped one cuz it has a little chair in the wall to strap a young toddler in.....

Johnny - posted on 11/27/2010

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For me, it is pretty much the same as others have said. Generally the changing table is in the handicapped stall or separate washroom. If my daughter is sleeping in her stroller, I am not going to leave her sitting out in a public washroom. I have actually virtually never encountered a disabled person using the toilet, and if I did, I would wait. And basically everything else Krista said. My highschool best friend was disabled, in a wheel chair. We went everywhere together I she never though anything of waiting her turn for a stall just like everyone else did in the bathroom. When we were lining up somewhere busy, usually the person who was at the front of the line when the disabled stall came open would offer it to her, but she didn't expect it. Generally people were always courteous though. There were lots of issues that caused her problems, but washrooms were never one of them. Now stores with small aisles, that was a pet peeve....

[deleted account]

Plain and simple, if I am by myself I can use a regular stall. If I happen to be with my son AND the handicapped stall is available, and there is no handicapped person waiting to use the stall, then we do. I do not feel bad or guilty either. My priority is to my child. We tend to do our business pretty quickly and I have yet to have anyone question me about it. If I can find a family restroom, that is preferable, but in many cases there are none. In all honesty, and I know this may sound incredibly selfish, but just because someone is handicapped, does that entitle someone to forgo a minimal wait time to use the restroom if the handicapped stall is being used?

[deleted account]

If I go into a bathroom, I avoid the handicapped stall. I'm not saying I've never used one, but I just feel like it would just be my luck to be in the handicapped stall only to come out and see someone there who is actually handicapped waiting. I think it's different when the baby changing station is in the handicapped stall. In those cases though, I think the sign should say something like "Handicapped / changing station". In my experience though, most of the restrooms we go to, there are always plenty of other stalls available. I honestly can't remember the last time I went to the bathroom in public and had to wait for a stall. If I did have to wait though, and if the handicapped stall became available, knowing me, I'd be more likely to let someone else use it and wait for the next available one. I don't know though, my son is just now starting to potty train so I honestly don't know how I will handle it when he's gotta go NOW. So although I feel like I do now, I also accept that my opinion on the matter is subject to change once he's standing there about to pee his pants.

Isobel - posted on 11/27/2010

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what Krista said...there is NO reason not to use it if there is no handicapped person in the bathroom.

Barb - posted on 11/27/2010

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Kerry, i don't find that acceptable. It is not always easy but i can fit me and my child in a regular stall (or grandchild)

It just wouldn't be ok for me to teach my child/grandchild the lesson that their needs are above someone with special needs.

That being said, there is a difference between and abled bodied person being in there and someone needing it and going in to use it while you see a disabled person waiting for it.

Kerry - posted on 11/27/2010

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Jodi, same goes for people with a disability! Sorry but i would rather clean up a 3yo than an incontinent adult :/

Yes, Barb mostly where i live the disabled toilets are a separate room and i have often had to wait behind a parent using it for their child and they knew we were waiting, which i might add they could take them to the main toilet, they seem to just take the easiest option because they don't think someone REALLY needs to use it

Barb - posted on 11/27/2010

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Kerry, do you mean you have gone into a restroom where there has been a line and able bodied person after abled body person continued to use the handicapped stall while making the disabled person march up the line?

That would not be tolerated. I've never had to pull a person out of a stall before, but I've bullied them out of the parking spot.

Jodi - posted on 11/27/2010

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But Kerry, if it is a family, do you think the 3 year old can hang on? I'll be honest, if my toddler needs a toilet and there is a queue, I will jump it......

Kerry - posted on 11/27/2010

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Thats the issue for me though! People do make a disabled person wait in line for the disabled toilet...I have often been working with a client and there is families in front who won't let them through. I do think that they should be available to everyone, there are valid reasons for families to use them, but they are there for access for people with disailities.

I'm pleased that a couple of people have said they have never noticed a disabled person while they were at the toilets because this means they have great community integration.....it does not mean they aren't there!

Minnie - posted on 11/27/2010

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I use it if I have to. If I'm hugely pregnant, or if I've got the 4 1/2 year old and the two year old with me...we're in and out in a matter of minutes and we've never had a problem.

Tah - posted on 11/27/2010

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you know, i work with disabled persons often, but, i very rarely encounter them in a bathroom. If there is no disabled person in the bathroom i don't think it is a bad thing to use the stall. It will be what maybe 10 minutes at the most if you ate a bad taco, 3 minutes if you are going or taking a baby, maybe 5 if taking more than one. I don't see a problem with it as long as you are not being rude and running in front of a disabled person to use it...

[deleted account]

Well we have so many people complaining about young boys using the womens with their mothers this is the only option left. Also as many disabled toilets here are seperate and have one door in and out i used to send my boys in there as i could see them enter and exit knowing no one else was in there with them. If a disabled person complained about it I would apologise and explain that my sons safety was the reason i let him use it. We dont have family bathrooms here. Ive also taken the pram into the disabled toilets because its just too damn hard to get into some of the toilets with a pram.

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