'My husband takes our daughter to the women's toilets. Is my opinion right or wrong?'

It’s a dilemma every parent has faced: you’re out in public with your child, who suddenly declares they need to go to the bathroom.

For mothers, the solution is fairly simple, no matter the gender of their child: they can accompany their child into the ladies’ room and supervise as they do their business.

But for fathers, especially those with young daughters, the decision is much more tricky: do they take their daughter into the men’s room, or accompany her into the ladies’?

The answer is not so simple, as one woman discovered when she started a fierce debate by questioning whether her husband should be taking their four-year-old daughter into the women’s or men’s toilets while they were out in public together.

Asking the question on parenting forum Mumsnet, the mum said she and her husband have had a “disagreement” over which bathroom was the appropriate place to take their young child.

dad daughter holding hands
The woman said she'd told her husband his presence in women's restrooms made others uncomfortable. Image via Getty.

"When [our daughter] needs the loo in a public place, he takes her to the ladies' loos," she wrote.

"I told him that women don't like that and he should take her to the men's loo."

She then asked other mums if they thought she was being unreasonable.

Some parents agreed with her, suggesting that many women would find the sight of a grown man walking into a ladies' toilets a little uncomfortable.

"I've never seen a man do this before.....ever," one mum wrote, while another simply shared, "he is wrong".

"I've never seen anyone do that. It's usual for the adult to go in the correct toilets, and if the child is under about eight they go in the same one as the parent," an other commented.

child on toilet training potty training
Some women said they had never see a dad bring his young daughter into the ladies' room. Image via Getty.

But for others, the thought of a young girl being in the men's room was equally as uncomfortable.

"I really wouldn't want my [daughter] at the age of 4 heading into the mens loos," one mother wrote.

"They stink and blokes have their ****s out!"

"I would rather a father in the ladies - individual cubicles - than a four year old girl being taken into the gents with no idea what she might see," said another.

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"I've wandered into the gents accidentally a couple of times, they're not nice places! Smelly, grubby..."

The general consensus was that the father should accompany his daughter into a separate toilet, like those set aside specifically for families, the disabled or baby changing.

But even using those can be problematic for some fathers, as one Queensland man found out recently.

On a Facebook page, a Sunshine Coast mother shared that she had witnessed another woman yelling at a father who was struggling to change his son in the parents' room of a shopping centre.

"There was a dad in the middle of changing his sons nappy, already having a difficult time with his son not wanting to be changed the lady piped up and started abusing the dad for being in the parents room," she wrote.

"'It's only for mothers, get out you sicko' literally saying she would call security and say he was staring at her naked kids if he didn't leave the room (sic).

"I was absolutely shocked that the poor bloke felt he had no choice but to leave."

Dads were quick to share their own experiences of being stared at or abused while using parenting rooms, with one dad even writing the fear of nasty looks made him hesitant to even take his kids out in public.