Well, I really struggle with this because I grew up with a somewhat germaphobic dad. I never sit on the toilet (and if I have to I line with toilet paper) plus I never touch the faucet handle and door handle with my bare hands if I can help it. And although this webmd article puts into perspective the reality of actually catching anything bad in a public restroom... the advice they give at the end affirms what I already practice.
So here is a glimpse of me taking my 2 1/2 year old to the bathroom...
"You really have to go? Alright... hold my hand... don't touch anything!" I lead my daughter into the tiny stall and attempt to shut the door and lock it without touching the walls, toilet seat, and toilet dispensor... not an easy job given the tight space. So if possible I always try to go into the handicap stall.
"Wait! Wait! Don't touch anything! Let me wipe the seat." I have one eye on my daughter as I hurriedly pull out toilet paper to wipe down the seat. Then I line with toilet paper as best as I can with one hand while batting my daughter's hand with my other hand. "Stop! Don't touch! Yucky!"
Ok. I help her undress and then I try to place her squarely on the toilet paper. Of course it never works perfectly and some paper fall onto the floor. If I remember to, I'd bring her portable potty chair to place on top of the toilet seat (but I don't always remember). So there I am crouching in front of her in a tiny stall... so close to the nasty toilet. Ugh.
"Are you going? You said you have to go right? Ok.. mommy's waiting... don't touch! Here.. hold mommy..." My daughter looks at me and I look at her.
"Umm.. are you done? You didn't go! Do you have to go?"
So on a good day... she will go and I'll feel at least all the hassle is worth it. The frustration really kicks in when she doesn't go. "All done!" she'll say.
"You didn't go!" I'll say. "Why did you tell me you have to go if you don't have to go?" She just looks at me.
Grrr. But what can I do? She is barely 2 1/2. I then have to lift her off the seat... wipe her... dress her... then to the sink to wash our hands!
I know so maybe I'm a little too paranoid with the germs in the bathroom thing... but this past weekend, we had to do this whole ordeal at one of those outdoor port a potties! You know the kind where it doesn't even flush and you can see all the output in the hole?
So yeah... we had to do it twice. First time was okay I suppose because she actually went. The second time, it was a nastier port-a-potty with no room for me to even shut the door so I had to hold the door open with my left foot while trying to get her on the toilet seat etc. ...and she didn't even go! To make matters worse, there was no running water to wash our hands afterwards. We had to use hand wipes. Ugh.
Next time, I am going to bring our own little potty seat and just leave it in the back seat of my car. I don't know why I haven't been doing that.