On average, girls tend to potty train a few months earlier in life than boys. Moms of girls may smile for a minute with this statistic. But that will soon fade the first time you find yourself in a public bathroom or – gasp! – at a park with only a honey bucket.
As a mom of a 6 year old boy and a 3 year old girl, I can tell you I don’t flinch when my son has to go to the bathroom at an inconvenient time or place. Yes, he has gone potty on the side of a road slightly hidden by shrubbery. When they gotta go, they gotta go.
Once my daughter was out of diapers, however, that world was thrown upside down. I now find myself having to worry about things like parks with no bathrooms. For those rare moments we find ourselves in desperate need without a facility, I am teaching my daughter the art of “going” outdoors. But lately, there has been a new battle between my daughter and I.
The battle of the toilet seat cover.
My daughter fights me hard on using them. Despite me rattling off the benefits like germ prevention and keeping the toilet seat warm (yes, this one used to work on her), she flat-out doesn’t like them. Then, the other night while out to dinner, my husband did the unthinkable.
He didn’t force my daughter to use a toilet seat cover.
In a public bathroom! My daughter happily reported this to me when she arrived back to the table. “I washed my hands but I didn’t put one of those things on the potty!”
Internal chaos entered my body.
Part of me was grossed out. But part of me was curious. What were the benefits of using a toilet seat cover? Do they actually prevent anything? Are they a necessity?
I made this a priority to research on the ride home that evening. I was shocked when I read articles such as this one that suggested there may not be benefits to using a toilet seat cover. It turns out toilet seats are not a vehicle for the transmission of any infectious agents. Organisms don’t survive long outside the human body and certainly not on a cold, hard toilet seat. Even more, these germs that cannot survive on that surface would then also have to enter your body through an open wound which wouldn’t really come in contact with the seat.
Yes, there are germs on a toilet seat. There are germs all over bathrooms and pretty much the world in general. While it may be the “ick” factor that gets most of us to use them, I was even more grossed out to read that fecal matter could even be on the toilet paper or seat covers we use. There really is no escaping it.
The best thing we can do and ensure our children do is to soap up after using the restroom. I am a firm believer in using a paper towel to then open the door afterwards as not to then get more germs on our hands (and then eventually into our mouths). I can’t say I won’t stop encouraging my daughter to use toilet seat covers but I might stop fighting her so hard on it.
What are your thoughts? Grossed out by the thought of not protecting your toilet seat or do you see them as an unnecessary waste of resources?