Gimme a (bathroom) break

Gimme a (bathroom) break

In my house, with three children under the age of five, there’s a rule: no potty talk outside of the bathroom.

Since toddlers seem to delight in poopy humour, it’s a rule that has prevented a lot of silliness at the supper table and a lot of personal embarrassment in the grocery story checkout line.

But I’m setting aside that rule for the moment to publicly address a bathroom issue that has been bothering me this week: Are disabled washrooms reserved for the disabled only?

To be honest, I never gave disabled stalls much of a thought. My policy has always been to use the regular facilities, unless there was a lineup, at which point, I think it is only fair to use the disabled stall. Why let a perfectly good toilet sit idle when someone needs to use it?

Now, if a disabled person was waiting for the bathroom, I would certainly be glad to let them have priority access to it. But this issue came up for me recently and has left me wondering if I was out-of-line or justified in my use of the disabled privy.

As previously mentioned, I have three children, including a set of twins, recently turned three-year-olds who have mostly managed the art of potty training.

Now one thing a mom of twins learns early on is the ‘monkey-see, monkey-do’ principle, which boils down to the fact that whatever one twin is doing, the other one needs to join in. This certainly applies for bathroom breaks, which also means that when we are out in public, if one child says they have to go, the other shares the same need.

The little ones are simply too little to handle ‘big person’ toilets on their own, so they need adult assistance. Because of the cramped and sometimes less-than-clean condition of regular bathroom stalls, I instead opt to use the larger handicapped stalls, especially when I have all three kids with me.

But I was recently given a thorough chastising for doing so, when, upon exiting a disabled public washroom stall with my three rug rats in tow, I was told in no uncertain terms by a senior with a walker that I should be keeping my hands, er, cheeks off the disabled toilet as it is for the disabled only, much like disabled parking spots are reserved for those with disabilities only.

I stammered an apology, pointing out that it is very difficult to manage three people in one regular bathroom stall, but she appeared unmoved. Afterwards, my own indignation built. This woman wasn’t waiting for that stall when I went in, so was I really wrong in using that stall? I know having three young children doesn’t make me disabled, but I don’t think anyone could deny that it limits my mobility.

I couldn’t find any municipal, provincial or federal legislation about it. No one seems to have a definitive answer for me, so I’m turning to the readers for their thoughts.

What is the etiquette of disabled bathrooms? Was I in the wrong? Or was I simply the target of an overzealous person whose opinion might have been influenced by pressure on their bladder? I’d like to know.


Just Posted

White Lake firefighters go beyond call of duty with construction project

Storage shed built for sports equipment in South Shuswap park

Opening date for popular North Shuswap outdoor ice rink delayed

Warmer temperatures have pushed back the openings of several rinks in the region

New safety measures in place as snowmobile season gets underway in Sicamous

VHF radio channel posted at trailheads, assisted in rescue of stranded sledders

Homecoming marked by album release for Salmon Arm duo

A Million Dollars in Pennies to play Classic in new year.

Student raises council’s awareness of ways Salmon Arm can support LGBT+ people

Councillor expresses appreciation for presentation based on family member’s experience

VIDEO: Feds give update on flying clearance for Santa’s sled

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has this message for the country’s children

Penticton resident allegedly has rear car tires stolen

The resident woke up today to find their back tires missing and their car on blocks

Salmon Arm dentist follows in family’s footsteps

Dr. Brandon Schiffner of Chu Dental made fellow of Pierre Fauchaud Academy

Woman struck, dog killed after collision on Highway 97

Speed is not believed to be a factor and alcohol has been ruled out

Funding sought for family of 15-year-old Summerland girl with cancer

Treatment will involve two weeks in hospital, followed by eight to 10 weeks recovery at home

Investigators confirm three died in B.C. plane crash

Transport Canada provides information bulletin

Prime Minister sets 2025 timeline for plan to remove fish farms from B.C. waters

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Canada’s Attorney General looking to larger reforms on doctor-assisted death

The Quebec Superior Court gave Ottawa just six months — until March 2020 — to amend the law

Drug alert for purple fentanyl issued in Kamloops

Interior Health issued an alert for the deadly drug on Friday

Most Read