Road trip potty break? Use chain hotel lobby restrooms

Here’s how Jeff of Out With The Kids manages the frequent pit stop requests:

Next time your child calls out "Gotta Go!" – bypass the shady rest stop commode, port-a-potty and the dingy, dimly-lit gas station and their billy-club keychain, and head straight for a chain hotel. Each hotel is going to have available restrooms right in the lobby (usually around the corner from the front desk). These facilities are usually very clean, well stocked, and spacious.

As a bonus, if you are in a new town, grab some tourist literature on the way out. There is bound to be a brochure rack in the lobby as well. You never know, your child’s little pit stop may yield a future vacation or fun family outing that would have never been discovered otherwise!

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  1. says

    We do this often, since going into and out of our (20 minutes away) big city has NO service stations anymore (property values are so stupidly inflated…), so we normally pop into one of several hotels between here and there. As well, there are many pubs that happily let you use their loos.

    We also keep an empty water bottle in the car…ah, the benefits of having boys….

  2. Sarah says

    That’s a great suggestion!

    Another good place to take kids to potty if are downtown area or happen to see one from the car is Starbucks. They tend to have very clean restrooms with toilet seat covers.

  3. says

    The one that always works for me is supermarkets. They expect people to have to use them, and no one can really tell if you’re a customer or not.

  4. Andrew says

    We did this before having our child but on one long road trip to Houston we noticed Cracker Barrel Restaurants were plentiful. The restroom is in the store area so no one knows you’re only there for the facilities.

    Now for the bad news for folks with kids . . . they have candy and toys.

  5. Jen says

    I don’t know…I don’t mean to come across like a prude but I don’t think I’d feel right about using a hotel bathroom unless I was a guest. I think part of the reason they are “usually very clean, well stocked, and spacious” is probably b/c most people don’t have the guts to run in with their kids when they’re on the road and use the bathrooms.

  6. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Jen: Not prude at all, in fact that’s what another site suggested (see trackback). I should have added that people should ask the hotel staff for permission. I’ve only done this once or twice, when my kids were truly desperate, and the staff each time was extremely understanding.

  7. Jack says

    When I gotta go and I’m not at home, I prefer to use those chain hotel restrooms MYSELF; never mind the kids!

  8. julie says

    I would say if you are going to be respectful and tidy yourself then why shouldn’t you use a clean bathroom? I’d keep a travel pack of sanitizing wipes handy to clean up after my kids and carry soiled diapers out in a plastic bag. Hey, who’s to say bathroom traffic isn’t good for the hotel?It’s an odd form of marketing but effective.

  9. Curtis says

    My four children spent a week with me in the Washington, D.C. area this past summer. I have two girls–10 & 8–and two boys, 5 & 7. The first floor public restroom idea is a great idea that I have been using for about three years. However, my boys prefer the gas station toilets when they have to crap because in latching the restroom door, they get total privacy. The room to themself, or whatever. Now my girls like the hotel bathrooms because they are much brighter, and if they don’t move too much on the seat, the automatic flushers aren’t too much of an issue. However, my oldest daughter apparently fumbled with the seat protector too long and set off the sensor. Twice water got thrown up on the tissue so Angela just gave up and sat down on the seat and peed. That caused no hassle for the sensor.