Plastic shopping bags as disposable toilet seat covers

Picture 92Toilets seem to bring out the hacker in most parents, wouldn’t you say? Here’s Sarah’s tip:

I found myself at a gas station with my 3 year-old when she announced that she had to poop.  I crossed my fingers that they had a bathroom and luckily they did.  But when we got inside, there was no toilet paper and no paper towels.  I knew I had to line the seat with something so I rifled through my big bag of stuff and found plastic grocery bags.  I always carry several and they’ve come in handy a number of times.  I used two of them to cover the ends of the split toilet seat and had an instant seat liner.  When my daugther was done, I used some wipes (which I still carry for handwashing purposes), and we managed to get through a tough situation without too much trouble.

She has outgrown it now, but when she was first potty training, I bought her a folding seat for use in public toilets, and I highly recommend those for toddlers.  They easily fit in a diaper bag or large purse and create less waste and expense than disposable potty training covers that you can buy.

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  1. David says

    Why did/do you feel you had to cover the seat? Washing your kid, and his/her hands afterwards should be enough, right?

  2. Meg says

    Yeah, I’m always surprised by toilet seat liner people — what’s the big deal with the toilet seat? It’s actually been shown to be the cleanest surface in the entire bathroom!

    In this study, they actually found that the toilet seat was clean enough to pass their “you can eat off a surface this clean” test! Not that I’d recommend that! :)

  3. says

    I’m wondering what you did with the bags afterward? This sounds messy…

    I had one of those folding seats when my oldest was first using the potty (actually, the same one in your photo). It was a piece of crap. Seriously. Much more trouble than it’s worth. It was bulky, never sat right on the toilet seats (slid around and nearly dumped my son in more than once) and then you had to clean it somehow afterward.
    We quickly dumped it and moved to trying to clean the seat with wipes as best we could and then not worrying any further. Sometimes we just held him (good for the arm muscles!).
    Ahh, the memories.
    I’m savoring the break until his brother gets to this point.

  4. Tami says

    When we’re out in public (which means we don’t have a toddler potty seat) I just put my kid on the toilet seat backwards and that has always worked great for us.

  5. AD says

    Hard to believe that one could even consider a public toilet seat to be anything close to clean, given the things I’ve seen on them! Yuck.

    Many people have a shocking lack of both manners and hygiene! I’m all for liners.

    The problem I see with using the bags as described is that they wouldn’t cover the front part of the bowl (between the two “prongs” of the seat). I have seen unbelievable filth there, including, once, little BUGS on what LOOKED like a clean toilet in a reasonably clean public bathroom. I suddenly found that I COULD hold it until I got home!

  6. says

    To answer some of the questions raised:
    When my daughter was done, I just just pulled the bags off and threw them away just like I would have picked up and folded the travel potty seat if we’d still been using it. I made sure to sit my daughter far enough back that she wouldn’t come in contact with the middle part between the two prongs of the seat so that wasn’t an issue. As to why I covered the seat, I just can’t trust the cleanliness of a public toilet seat. I don’t sit on them and I wouldn’t put my daughter on one. I’m generally into the “kids need dirt to build their immune system” side of the cleanliness debate but I have to draw the line here.

  7. Betty says

    Seems to me that the people who are trying to avoid dirty toilet seats are responsible for creating dirty toilet seats. How else does urine get all over the seat if not by people (actually, women) who hover rather than sit properly? If everyone sat normally, there would be no problem.

    Here’s a tip: in a multi-stall washroom, toilets on the ends are usually the cleanest.

  8. Jen says

    I had one other good use for plastic grocery bags. When my son was potty training we put a training potty in the back of our van in case we were caught somewhere that didn’t have a restroom handy. I used the plastic grocery bags to cover under the potty seat and then put the potty seat on top so that I didn’t have to clean out the seat every time and could just leave it in the van.

  9. Kristine Toone says

    Thanks for the hack! I found it useful! Everybody feels differently about toilet seats…

  10. Monkey says

    Women, just sit down. Honestly. If everyone sat on the seat they wouldn’t get disgusting. It’s terribly rude to leave a mess for someone else – I hate the hover people!