to have used the disabled loo?

(171 Posts)
HighwayRat Mon 17-Mar-14 19:23:49

I went to the supermarket earlier and needed a wee, I have ms and scoliosis and have been suffering the last few days with a relapse and back pain so need the rails to lift myself on and off the loo (I use the sink and looroll holder at home so have been managing well) anyway I came out and a woman in a wheelchair was waiting she looked me up and down and said 'you know this is a disabled toilet' I said 'yes' to which she said 'well you dont look disabled' well Im not proud of it but I said 'well you dont look like a twat but here we are' and walked off.

But it got me thinking, I could have used the normal loos - I normally do but today was a bad day - it would have been a lot more awkward but I could have done. I can legitimately use the disabled toilet but should they be left for those with more urgent or obvious mobility/disabilities? How do you deal with people who assume you are fine and just taking the piss using the disabled facilities?

WanderingAway Mon 17-Mar-14 19:26:25

I dont think that you did anything wrong. There is no law from stopping anyone using the disabled toilet. She was just a cheeky cow and I think your response was perfect.

YouTheCat Mon 17-Mar-14 19:27:40

I think it was fair enough to use the disabled loos if you were going to really struggle otherwise.

There are plenty of people entitled to use them who don't use wheelchairs but have those access key things.

WooWooOwl Mon 17-Mar-14 19:29:23

Your response was the perfect way to deal with people who make wrong assumptions.

Highway don't even give it another thought. I am a bit shock that a person in a wheelchair would say 'well you don't look disabled' too.

Not sure about the t**t bit mind. I would have ignored.

rootypig Mon 17-Mar-14 19:31:24

YANBU. I have arthritis in my hip that can flare and be agony. likewise I sometimes need the rails / space / time / privacy. I make no apology for it - but I look like a fit, healthy young woman with a sexy limp. people need to realise not all needs and disabilities are immediately visible.

DipMeInChocolate Mon 17-Mar-14 19:32:20


UncleT Mon 17-Mar-14 19:32:23

It's a pity that you didn't shame her by pointing out that she doesn't have an MRI scanner for eyes and can't necessarily see the state of your spine and the pain it causes you. You would have taught her something and she might not be so quick to assume next time. As it is though, she's just going to be left thinking she's rude. On that basis, you were a bit unreasonable, but your reaction is somewhat understandable, if a little abusive.

rootypig Mon 17-Mar-14 19:32:29

OP I also use the loo roll holder at home! grin

DurhamDurham Mon 17-Mar-14 19:32:46

Lots of people don't appear to be disabled, it was very judgemental of that person to have said that to you. Only a small percentage of those classed as having a disability actually use a wheelchair.

UncleT Mon 17-Mar-14 19:32:54

Left thinking *you're rude

badtime Mon 17-Mar-14 19:37:06


You have a disability, and it is not a competition, with only the most disabled worthy of the prize of getting into the toilet.

The woman in the wheelchair was being unreasonable. Nobody can tell just by looking whether someone is disabled or not (as some people use disabled toilets because of MH issues, such as OCD or claustrophobia).

crazy88 Mon 17-Mar-14 19:37:16

I always use the disabled loo, you try squeezing 3 kids and yourself into an ordinary cubicle!

OlympiaFox Mon 17-Mar-14 19:37:26

You temporarily needed the disabled bathroom. Many people have disabilities which aren't visible and they're entitled to use the facilities they need without explaining their medical issues with nosy, assuming, judgemental strangers.

ywnbu, she was being a 'twat'.

UnicornCrisps Mon 17-Mar-14 19:37:33

Of course YWNBU. The other person was being rude.

badtime Mon 17-Mar-14 19:38:36

I mean nobody can tell just by looking, even with specialist equipment.

Cigarettesandsmirnoff Mon 17-Mar-14 19:39:09

Can see where ths thread is gonna end up! grin

rootypig Mon 17-Mar-14 19:39:14

Ok crazy YABU!

HillyHolbrook Mon 17-Mar-14 19:40:45

I thought they were 'accessible' instead of 'disabled' toilets? I'm not being overly PC, I just mean I thought anyone could use them but they were accessible to wheelchair users?

YWNBU though. The stranger definitely was.

londonrach Mon 17-Mar-14 19:41:09

The lady in the wheelchair was in the wrong. You have no idea of the person leaving the toilet. I have ibs which means when it hits I have to use the toilet now if not 5 mins before. It's awful. I can't tell you of the pain. Anyway when it hits any toilet (even the men's once) is mine!!!! I have used the disabled several times. No one judged so far. You needed to use it. Xxxx

Fairylea Mon 17-Mar-14 19:41:38


I wish people didn't make such assumptions. I have kidney problems and if I am having a particularly bad infection I will use the disabled toilet if there is a queue otherwise I will be in chronic pain and possibly literally wee myself. My consultant recommended I use the disabled toilets.

I have no clear obvious disability at all. Several times people have been quite nasty to me when I come out of the toilet. sad

This thread will be fine. Nobody will come along and derail it. It must be possible for a disabled loo thread to not turn into a bunfight?

2rebecca Mon 17-Mar-14 19:44:45

They are accessible toilets suitable for disabled people to use as well as non disabled. Our work just has accessable toilets. The rest of us aren't expected to wee in a jug.

rootypig Mon 17-Mar-14 19:48:27

No, but at work you have a body of permanent users so can calibrate iyswim. In public, disabled loos shouldn't be used by people who have no need of them. Disability often entails a need to use a loo in a hurry in my experience.

Dillydollydaydream Mon 17-Mar-14 19:50:06

Nope. Ywnbu at all.

zzzzz Mon 17-Mar-14 19:50:07

Only you can assess if you need the disabled loo. it's not like you go to the Dr and he gives you tattoo, saying "disabled" confused

HighwayRat Mon 17-Mar-14 19:50:34

It probably doesnt help that wearing jeans and a hoody with no makeup makes me look 16, rather than the 25year old woman I actually am.

I shouldn't have sworn at her I know that, it just annoyed me so much.

NurseRoscoe Mon 17-Mar-14 19:54:10

I used one when I was heavily pregnant & had sciatica,

I have also used them when I've had my pushchair with me to save having to leave it outside the cubicle out of my sight, rather than risk my baby being snatched or something. A lot of them double as a baby change too

You weren't being unreasonable, the woman was if she thought that you have to look disabled to BE disabled.

MrsDeVere Mon 17-Mar-14 19:58:39

I took DS to Stratford Westfields to spend his birthday money yesterday.

He doesn't look disabled. I can't take him in the Ladies because he is 11 and looks older, I can't go to the men's with him.
The disable toilets appeared to be locked with no info as to how to unlock them.

I took a chance and sent him into the men's because he said he could manage. But I had to call him after 10 minutes. He came out and hadn't been able to work out how to open the doors to the toilets. sad

So we came home early.

If someone had told us he didn't look disabled enough to use the disabled toilets they probably would have been called a twat and more by me at that point.

They are toilets for all disabled people, not just for wheelchair users

Plonkysaurus Mon 17-Mar-14 19:59:54

Like a pp, I have IBS and will use the disabled loo if I'm having a flare up. I'm sure lots of people would have a problem with that, but they'd also have a problem with me if they were in the cubicle beside me.

I had to do this on sunday and was fully prepared to deal with any abuse in much the same way you did. YWNBU.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:01:57

mrsdevere were the disabled toilets part of the radar key scheme? Our local Westfield ones are. Westfield centres often have family rooms too- with extra large toilet cubicles so you can get a pushchair or 11 year old son in with you- though they're often well hidden away.

What is the Radar key thing? is it like a master key that you get to keep on you? confused

ilovedogsandcats Mon 17-Mar-14 20:04:33

I think your response was harsh.

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Mar-14 20:05:48

She was U. But because you were rude back to her, she has managed to go home in high dudgeon thinking she has pulled a rude person up about using the toilets. If you'd said 'actually, I have a disability it's just you can't see it. Not all disabilities are visible' and then added 'you twat' she would have learned she was in the wrong.

Not criticising you for reacting in the heat of the moment. But she still thinks she's in the right this evening, iyswim.

HolidayCriminal Mon 17-Mar-14 20:06:10

The disabled loos aren't just for disabled people, that's a myth.
Morally disabled should have preferential use (first in the queue), but they aren't for the exclusive use of disabled people.
When buildings are planned "how many toilets shall this facility have?" there aren't separate calculations for disabled vs. abled bodied toilets. The disabled loos are counted as part of the total number of toilets for everyone and anyone.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 17-Mar-14 20:06:42


It has happened to us too with DD.

Crazy and NurseRoscoe and anyone else who uses them to fit their kids and pushchairs in in case they get snatched..YaBVU.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 17-Mar-14 20:06:43

Yanbu great response. She us ignorant of disability.

The disabled loos aren't just for disabled people, that's a myth shock

OP YWNBU, crazy you are though!

treaclesoda Mon 17-Mar-14 20:10:40

I've noticed recently that more and more places that I go to only have accessible toilets, which is a good thing, I think. But when I use them I'm always apprehensive about stepping outside in case I'm going to be scolded for using the accessible toilet, because I've seen so many people on threads like these say that there is never a valid reason for a non disabled person to use an accessible toilet.

I get that it's wrong if there are other cubicles nearby, and I'd never use it if there were, but what if it's the only one?

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:11:26

sparklingbrook essentially, yes. A radar key is a universal key that unlocks many disabled facilities around the country. Keeping the toilets locked when not in use prevents vandalism, drug abuse, etc.

holidaycriminal but how does first in the queue help if someone else is in there when you arrive?

Mamafratelli Mon 17-Mar-14 20:12:44

Best reply ever OP. I wish I could have seen her face.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:13:03

If it's the only toilet then it's OK to use, but not if there's a choice (unless of course you are disabled!)

MrsDeVere Mon 17-Mar-14 20:14:33

Crohn they didn't look like radar ones because there was no signage. I thought they were engaged but we waited for ages and nothing happened.
I looked in the parent's room but DS was horrified and begged me not to. I thought they had a toilet in there but I couldn't see one and it was really busy.

It made me feel really sad. Apart from him looking like he was going to explode in the Lego shop due to the amount of choosing he had to do, he didn't seem disabled that day. Until we tried to do something as mundane as going to the toilet.

crazy why do you need to take three children into a toilet with you? confused

HighwayRat Mon 17-Mar-14 20:15:49

I think if its the only toilet then its fine. I was surprised that someone with a disability could be so judgemental but if it happens quite a lot then itssort of understandable. This one had the little person in a wheelchair sign rather than saying accessible and there was a separate baby change area.

MrsDV Iwouldnt mind if you bought your son into the ladies in that situation

Creamycoolerwithcream Mon 17-Mar-14 20:16:30

DS3 is disabled and he often gets funny looks if he uses the loos for people with disabilities. I wish people didn't make assumptions.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:18:10

Oh, just remembered something that happened at work. A fairly new member of staff was using the accessible toilet and some of the others were a bit confused by this. I (quite reasonably, I thought) pointed out that she might actually have a disability.

Everyone laughed and said 'Don't you think we'd have noticed if she was in a wheelchair?'

I did point out that not every disability is as obvious, but they were too busy laughing to listen. Just goes to show some attitudes to disability.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 17-Mar-14 20:18:51

Why wouldn't you use it if it was the only toilet?

treaclesoda Mon 17-Mar-14 20:20:22

Wouldn't it be great if it was just the norm that all public toilets were accessible? People with disabilities wouldn't struggle to access toilets, people without wouldn't be standing in a queue for tye toilets and looking at the empty disabled cubicle and thinking 'sure, I'll just go in there...'

I know planners would say that there is no room to make them all accessible, but a generation ago people would have thought that there was no room for access ramps into buildings and now it's standard...

rootypig Mon 17-Mar-14 20:21:07

Good for you Crohn

treaclesoda Mon 17-Mar-14 20:22:14

Fanjo that's sort of what I thought, but I was told on a previous thread that there was never any justification for using the accessible toilet, ever, and tbh it made me nervous.

GinSoakedMisery Mon 17-Mar-14 20:22:47

Op, YANBU. You have a disability that sometimes requires the use of the disabled toilet.

The person in the wheelchair should not have challenged you.

treaclesoda Mon 17-Mar-14 20:23:45

Although tbh I think the poster who said that just flat out didn't believe me when I said that I go to places where there are only accessible toilets and no standard ones.

itsmeitscathy Mon 17-Mar-14 20:25:57

You were not being unreasonable, I tend to go for my medical history (oh the taxi drivers, random drivers who want my space and grumpy people I have detailed the side effects and late effects of cancer to...) but it's no ones flipping business.
I use my radar key still in train stations usually because of the stairs to the loos- I get some odd looks because I look perfectly healthy and I'm quite young but id take that every time over the agony I know I'll be in if I tackle the stairs then walk the length of the station to get to my train.
Hold your head high and use the disabled loo when you need to, maybe don't call anyone a twat if it happens again though wink

Koothrapanties Mon 17-Mar-14 20:26:04

Often the accessible loo is the one with baby changing facilities, but I still feel bad when I have to use it.

Op yanbu, but perhaps pointing out that not all disabilities are visible night have been more useful.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:26:11

Well mrsdevere you are your son's parent, so you would have been perfectly entitled to use the parent's room with him!

It does seem a shame that you had to cut your day out short because of a lack of toilets. Were there really no other accessible toilets in the area? I'm not familiar with statford Westfield, but my local Westfield has at least 2 sets of toilets, plus the family room, more public toilets in the shopping centre next door, plus various pubs, supermarkets, etc within walking distance.

But I guess anyone who thinks it's OK to use the disabled toilets when they're not should read your post and realise what happens when someone hasn't got the choice of which toilet to use and the disabled one isn't free.

AandAmom Mon 17-Mar-14 20:27:39

YANBU I also have MS but luckily no mobility problems at the moment, what I do experience is both aspects of urge incontinence and if there is a queue for the standard toilets I have to use the disabled toilet or I will have a very embarrassing accident. I have had several people glare/tut/talk about me and a couple who have had the guts to ask me about my need to use a disabled toilet when "you look able to me" I ignore the comments as I know the truth and would rather face the wrath of a few than have an accident. All the best to you xx

BerniceBroadside Mon 17-Mar-14 20:29:15

Oh, I've got a question.

There is a cafe we often visit that has two loos. One marked men/women and one marked men/women/disabled. Is it ok to use the one marked men/women/disabled if you don't have a disability?

I did once have to take dc in there once as the person in the non accessible loo was taking ages and dc was getting very distressed because their 'poo was coming out, mummy'. (Typically I didn't have so much as a baby wipe with me so if there had been a pootastrophe it would have been a long and stinky walk home.)

I've never quite sure of the etiquette and don't want to do the wrong thing.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 17-Mar-14 20:29:37

Treacle you are too nice thanks

HighwayRat Mon 17-Mar-14 20:29:47

I know that kooth, in hindsight that would have been better it just anmoyed me so much the words were out beofre I had a chance to think about them.

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:31:35

treacle I don't know why they wouldn't believe you, it's not that uncommon. For example, my public library has only one toilet, therefore it's an accessible one. My GP surgery only has one toilet, again they've made it accessible.

I also hate when baby changing facilities are in the disabled toilet and end up rushing to get DD changed in case someone needs the toilet.

MrsDeVere Mon 17-Mar-14 20:34:10

There are bound to be more Crohn but it was our first visit and it was going to have to be time limited due to DS's limited capacity for dealing with shops and crowds and chaos.

I was worried that if we went found the next lot they would be locked as well and DS was getting a bit agitated because he was worried I would make him go in the ladies or the babies's room. I think he was also upset that he hadn't managed to use the men's on his own.

Luckily he has the bladder of a horse so I knew we would be able to get home, it just meant we couldn't hang about.

I might try and find out if it is policy to keep them locked and what we can do about it. Now DS knows there is a Lego shop he is going to want to visit fairly frequently grin

CrohnicallyChanging Mon 17-Mar-14 20:36:03

Ah, I see mrsdevere I expect there will be a website, you could email and ask for details of the toilets, locations, whether they are usually locked, etc.

Koothrapanties Mon 17-Mar-14 20:38:55

I really do sympathise though op. My brother has ulcerative colitis and has been stopped outside a disabled loo after using his radar key to get in there. They are the only ones that are supposed to always have loo roll which is obviously very important and he can be very poorly so needs privacy and time.

He had some absolute dickhead shout at him for using it and told he should be ashamed of himself when there are disabled people who need it. Their ignorance astounds me. My poor brother was mortified. He is very shy and still quite embarrassed of his condition, so just walked away really upset.

ALittleFaith Mon 17-Mar-14 20:38:55

I think its easy for people to make snap judgements, especially if they believe you're using something they're entitled too.

I put someone in their place at uni. The computer room had 4 big screen computers for students with disabilities. Trouble was, these were also the only computers that allowed MSN messenger (this was 10 years ago!) so many international students would use them presumably to contact family and friends back home. I was working away when a disabled student (I think he had cerebral palsy) and his assistant came in. She very shirtily said You do realise these computers are for students with disabilities?! and a hmm face. I replied that I was dyslexic and benefitted from the large screen. She looked suitably embarrassed and then asked if I could move up so they could sit side by side which I did graciously of course! classic example of not recognising hidden disabilities.

OP I get why you were pissed off but if you find yourself in that position again it's worth educating the person making assumptions.

NoodleOodle Mon 17-Mar-14 21:35:57

YWNBU The disabled/accessible toilets are there for people who need to use them, not only those who have an obvious physical disability.

zzzzz Mon 17-Mar-14 22:22:37

I use the disabled loos all the time. I've never been challenged despite not being overtly disabled. I'm amazed that there are so many people who experience this kind of nastiness.

Mind you if a lady in a wheelchair said something nasty to us coming out of a disabled toilet I think the ensuing mayhem might educate her a teensy bit. grin

formerbabe Mon 17-Mar-14 22:30:08

They are disabled looks not 'wheelchair user loos'. Ywnbu!

ukatlast Mon 17-Mar-14 23:29:22

YANBU since when did disabled only mean wheelchair-user? She is showing her lack of 'equality and diversity' awareness by her ignorant comment.

JumbledAndTumbled Mon 17-Mar-14 23:38:06

I use a Mooncup and whilst I can manage in loos with no sink by using a water bottle it's much, much easier if there is a sink in the cubicle. Unfortunately it is often the case that the disabled loo is the only one with a sink in. I know that I mustn't use the disabled loo but sometimes I really wish I could. I wish they would provide more loos with sinks in.

greenbananas Mon 17-Mar-14 23:38:40

Op, I hope this thread has helped you to realise you were not being at all unreasonable.

The other woman was being nasty and ignorant. Disabled people are just as capable of being nasty and ignorant as non-disabled people!

Go ahead and use the accessible toilets whenever you need to!

NobodyLivesHere Tue 18-Mar-14 00:07:45

You were not unreasonable. She was both rude as hell and extremely unreasonable.

In response to the poster asking why you'd have to take 3 children into the toilet with you- I did when I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a newborn. What else am I meant to do with them?!

ZingSweetCoconut Tue 18-Mar-14 00:23:33

I'm pretty sure thread is running it's usual course, but unless SM hasn't turned up yet I feel I must tell you all that there's no such thing as a "disabled toilet".

they are called accessible toilets or such.

Defnotsupergirl Tue 18-Mar-14 01:08:51

I had the "look" once on coming out of the accessible toilet from a group. I whipped open my jacket (well my version of a whip open) where I was wearing my custom t shirt saying " I'm not drunk, I'm disabled" specially for use on bad days!

I shouldn't have to explain myself but I find it helps people not to jump to conclusions and is my type of humour for coping with my condition, so there you go.......

Suitable red faces from the group..........

MrsDeVere Tue 18-Mar-14 15:09:09

I used to leave them outside the cubicle in the buggy nobody. I would talk to them through the door.

BumPotato Tue 18-Mar-14 15:21:15

I was at a comedy show and the queue at the interval for the ladies was huge. My back teeth were floating. I was soooooo bursting. I nipped into the accessible loo before I had an accident. When I came out there was a wheelchair user waiting. I apologised and told her I'd been nearly peeing my pants. She laughed and said don't worry about it. My cheeks still burn thinking about it. I'm glad she was nice. I make sure I go as soon as I need nowadays.

My friend's son doesn't look disabled and she's had abuse in the past from strangers who don't think she's entitled to use facilities when she's out and about with him.

Who are these people that think it's ok to abuse strangers out in public?

That's what I don't understand BumP what makes people actually comment? I wouldn't dream of commenting out loud about what anyone was doing.confused

Menolly Tue 18-Mar-14 15:52:08

See this is why I avoid using the disabled loos unless I'm having a really bad day, because I don't look disabled.

MrsDeVere it might be worth getting a radar key for DS so you can unlock disabled loos if you need to.

For those saying you have to take kids in with you, what's wrong with getting them to talk to you/sing to you through the door? neither of mine have ever come into the cubicle with me whilst I go to the loo.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 18-Mar-14 16:01:28

MrsDV some of them have a bell next to them, ring it once and it will automatically open (someone in an office somewhere) after a few seconds.

LokiDokey Tue 18-Mar-14 16:22:16

highwayRat flowers

I have EDS and scoliosis, for the most part I function pretty well but like you some days my back is exceptionally painful and I do need a little extra help. I don't have a blue badge, nor do I feel I should have one at this stage, but I have no hesitation in using the disabled toilet on a bad day when I need to hoik myself up.
People are ignorant of disabilities they can't see.

Marylou62 Tue 18-Mar-14 16:58:33

I am not classed as disabled at all but often have to use the disabled toilets if I NEED TO GO! I have had surgery after a difficult birth and whilst I can now go on a trampoline (yippee!) if I want, unfortunately when I need to go, I NEED TO GO!! I always try to be ultra quick...and no one has ever said anything. Sorry you went through this....some people are just rude. Carry on doing exactly what you need to do.

TheArticFunky Tue 18-Mar-14 18:12:26

My relative stopped using her blue badge and parking in disabled spaces because of the abuse she received. The thing is she really needs her blue badge. People are so ignorant.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 18-Mar-14 18:43:10

Last time I heard anything about MS it was considered to be a disability


Topseyt Tue 18-Mar-14 19:26:24

OP, you were not unreasonable at all. People should be able to use the toilet in peace without having to explain their medical history when they emerge.

I have IBS and have occasionally nipped into the disabled loo if the queue for the other ones were so long that I might have had an accident if I had waited. Normally I don't have to though.

Also, when my children were babies I found round here that most of the baby changer's were at that time actually in the disabled toilets rather than in the regular one. So, that sometimes left me with little choice which loo to use. If I had a baby needing changed and a toddler also demanding the loo at the same time then we simply had no choice but to use the disabled facilities because around here that was at that time where the necessary facilities were.

I once emerged with my baby and my toddler from one such loo, and a wheelchair user had a go at me too. I told her that she ought to complain to the management about where they had chosen to put the parent and child facilities.

Sparklysilversequins Tue 18-Mar-14 19:29:42

I get this about ds. He has ASD amongst other additional needs but looks fine.

I have perfected a brisk "he has autism, butt out". Or "he has autism, no need to stare!"

Shouldn't have to explain though especially as mentioning his conditions in front of him really upsets him sometimes sad.

chandlery Tue 18-Mar-14 19:39:14

I was in Morrisons today and used the accessible loo in order to fit my small pram in with me. I'm sorry but I'm not leaving my baby on the other side of the door in supermarket loos which have the blue lighting so people can't shoot up in there.

Anyone questioning me would have been told exactly that.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 18-Mar-14 19:43:32

I'm ignoring those who think that whinging about their difficulties with a pram is relevant on this thread shock BUT of course YANBU. As someone said up thread, even people with disabilities can be rude. Most disabilities are invisible, we need more awareness.

In some ways, I'm almost glad that my condition has deteriorated to the point of me needing to use a crutch because at least I don't get dirty looks using my blue badge or an accessible toilet.

chandlery Tue 18-Mar-14 19:49:28

Candy - Im not whinging! I'm explaining why I use the accessible loo which is in context of the thread surely?

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 18-Mar-14 19:55:56

Really, it's not in context. hmm The OP has a physical disability and was judged anyway. That is not the same as having a pram, not even close!

Viviennemary Tue 18-Mar-14 19:58:13

She obviously didn't realise and jumped to a conclusion. Why didn't you just explain. Because obviously if you hadn't needed to use the disabled loo you wouldn't have but she wasn't to know this. And probably thought you were just being selfish.

ChocolateSnowflakes Tue 18-Mar-14 19:58:37

YWNBU. That woman was a dick. I have a "hidden disability" and, like you, use the toilet roll holder at home for support. I often avoid using disabled toilets because I'm an idiot scared that people will thinking I'm taking the piss (quite literally...)

Good on you for calling her a twat. She was one.

RPopz Tue 18-Mar-14 20:01:40

I think its pretty unreasonable of that woman to assume that all disabled people must "look" disabled... how the hell is she to know what issues you have, just because you're not in a wheelchair.

Your response made me lol, I would never have dared say that, only think it!

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 18-Mar-14 20:07:03

Vivienne Why should the OP explain her medical history to a stranger? Some medical problems are very personal and not everyone is comfortable discussing it.

Soditall Tue 18-Mar-14 20:10:22

I'm disabled,your disabled at the moment so you using the disabled toilet was fine.

But calling the lady in a wheelchair a twat wasn't on but expect you already know that.

She most probably judged you wrongly because of the amount of self obsessed arseholes that sadly do use disabled toilets and have no real need for them.

Viviennemary Tue 18-Mar-14 20:12:51

I didn't mean she should explain her problems only say well actually I do need to use this loo. She judged you wrongly but it's quite understandable under the circumstances.

ChocolateSnowflakes Tue 18-Mar-14 20:42:00

I don't understand how anyone can ever know that someone is only using a disabled loo because they're a self obsessed arsehole though? If you saw a made-up woman in high heels and lipgloss using the disabled toilets, would you assume that she was only using it because she's a self-obsessed arsehole? What about a young, fit male? You can't just judge by appearance.

Serenitysutton Tue 18-Mar-14 20:50:05

As others have said, accessible loos are not solely for the use of disabled people. I will use one if I fancy or if the ladies are full . Anyone who challenged me would be told, as politely as I can muster depending on my mood, that they are thick.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 18-Mar-14 21:10:58

Well I think it would be a case of pot calling kettle black then, to be honest.

IceBeing Tue 18-Mar-14 21:28:42

some people can honestly have no idea how selfish they sound....

I will use a disabled loo if I fancy will you??

just wow.

JohnCusacksWife Tue 18-Mar-14 21:34:53

Where do people get the notion that accessible toilets are exclusively for the use of disabled people? They are simply toilets which are accessible to wheelchairs. They are available for anyone to use.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 21:40:12

Because you have a choice which toilet to use (assuming there are also non-accessible toilets around) and a disabled person might not. Therefore if you are occupying the accessible toilet you might be causing a disabled person pain from holding on, or from trying to use a standard toilet, or they could even have an accident.

Imagine you needed the toilet urgently, and were forced to wait for the only cubicle. Then the person emerged and they had been trying on clothes rather than using the facilities. Wouldn't you be annoyed and think they should have used the changing rooms instead? Because they could have done, but you couldn't.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 21:42:52

Or parking in the disabled bays in a private car park where they are not legally enforceable. You could park there, but by doing so you might deprive a disabled person of the chance to park.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 18-Mar-14 21:43:03

That's okay serenity whilst I sit in my piss ridden knickers, sore and cold, I will be happy to inform the rest of the world what a stupid, selfish, I'll informed person you are.
Dawndonna's dd.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 18-Mar-14 21:43:30


JohnCusacksWife Tue 18-Mar-14 21:46:23

Agreed and if the standard toilets are available I'll use them. But if they are full, or I have the kids with me then I wouldn't feel that I was doing anything wrong by using the accessible cubicle.

tshirtsuntan Tue 18-Mar-14 21:48:50

mrsdevere there is a concierge service at Stratford Westfield, at the m&s end, they should know about toilets/keys etc

JohnCusacksWife Tue 18-Mar-14 21:49:46

Parking in a disabled bay is not the same. When you go to the loo it takes a few minutes max - when you park up its Generally for a longer time and so youre using up a resource longer term. And in most car parks there are almost always other spaces available and so there's no earthly reason to park in a disabled space.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 18-Mar-14 21:50:21

We need to change my tall 7 year olds nappy. There is no room in standard toilet cubicle.

She gets very distressed if wet and will scream and lie on floor if there's a queue.

Or undress in public.

Theres a reason not to use the disabled toilets unless you too have no choice

Dawndonnaagain Tue 18-Mar-14 21:51:36

It is a myth, perpetuated by those who find it convenient (aware of the pun) that accessible toilets means accessible for all
It doesn't, it means accessible for those with disabilities.

Given the sheer number of people with "hidden" disabilities, she was very unreasonable. What does disabled "look" like anyway??

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 21:54:16

JohnCusacksWife could you wait for a standard cubicle to become free? Because if you could, YABU to use the accessible one. YWNBU if you had a medical condition like some have described on here (kidney/bladder problems, IBS, or similar).

Likewise with the kids, is there an alternative? I remember when I was little and my mum needed the toilet, she would keep me chatting through the door or ask me to stick my foot under so she could kind of keep an eye on me. Lots of places have parent rooms now (though they might be in a different area to the other toilets). You say kids rather than kid- they should be safer outside together than on their own, so long as the eldest is old enough to talk to you. And one kid (not in a pushchair) would fit in a regular cubicle with you anyway.

Inertia Tue 18-Mar-14 21:58:33

OP, if you have a need to use the accessible loo then of course it's perfectly reasonable. They are designed to be accessible to those who have disabilities or medical conditions, including (but not limited to ) people who use wheelchairs.

The woman was wrong to assume that only wheelchair users have disabilities. She was wrong to assume that all disabilities are visible.

To be honest though, a more constructive response might have been to say that you have a disability which requires the use of the accessible loo, whether she can see it or not. Her prejudices have been reinforced (rude apparently able-bodied woman uses disabled loo) rather than challenged (disability is not limited to wheelchair users).

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 21:58:55

johncusackswife it doesn't matter about length of time, even a delay of a few minutes could be very distressing or have dramatic consequences. In fact, I'd say toilets are even more important than parking, because waiting in the car or driving round the block while you wait for a space is less likely to cause distress than if you are desperate for the toilet and having to wait. Besides, as you say, there are usually more parking spaces than toilets, so even if you are parked for a while, there is likely to be another free soon. Whereas with the toilet, there is often only one so if you're in it, someone would have to wait. (Not arguing for parking in disabled bays, by the way, just think it's odd that someone wouldn't dream of parking in a disabled bay but thinks it's ok to use the disabled loo!)

BuggersMuddle Tue 18-Mar-14 22:26:50

OP YWNBO. I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease and have had the mumphy face for using an accessible toilet when in a flare, even when I've opened it with the radar key my doctor suggested I should get. I assume they'd rather I shit myself...

As others have said, accessible loos are not solely for the use of disabled people. I will use one if I fancy or if the ladies are full . Anyone who challenged me would be told, as politely as I can muster depending on my mood, that they are thick. shock

Jesus wept! That's one one of the most ignorant posts I've seen for a while. angry

How do people like Dawndonna's DD not spontaneously combust when they read such crap? sad

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 19-Mar-14 19:36:53

Sauvignon I feel sorry for people like this who are so self-obsessed and ignorant that they don't stop to think about how their choices restrict other people's choices. It must be so difficult to float through life lacking complete empathy. sad

Using an accessible toilet (pre disability) would never have occurred to me unless it was the only toilet in the building. It was just 'one of those things'.

BellaVita Wed 19-Mar-14 19:43:00

You did the right thing OP.

A few weeks ago i was in a wine bar waiting for the loo, both were occupied and there were two older ladies in front of me. I commented on the lack of loos for the ladies and the woman in front agreed and then she said "ooh I forgot there is an invalid loo at the other side of the bar" she then looked around and said "it doesn't look like there are any invalids in today so it should be ok using it". I was like shock

ProudAS Thu 20-Mar-14 07:00:09

Bella - how do you know the woman didn't have difficulty holding on?

Judging people for using the accessible loos isn't on. It's a shame that someone could use them who doesn't need to and inconvenience someone who does but as previous posters have said reasons for needing the accessible loo nay not be immediately obvious. Even someone in perfect physical health may need the extra space and privacy for mental health reasons.

As for the car parking v loos issue I wouldn't say that one was more important than the other. Being unable to park in disabled space for several minutes could be very distressing to someone with severe autism for example.

ProudAS Thu 20-Mar-14 07:00:54

Bella - how do you know the woman didn't have difficulty holding on?

Judging people for using the accessible loos isn't on. It's a shame that someone could use them who doesn't need to and inconvenience someone who does but as previous posters have said reasons for needing the accessible loo nay not be immediately obvious. Even someone in perfect physical health may need the extra space and privacy for mental health reasons.

As for the car parking v loos issue I wouldn't say that one was more important than the other. Being unable to park in disabled space for several minutes could be very distressing to someone with severe autism for example.

treaclesoda Thu 20-Mar-14 07:45:32

My 7 year old has severe claustrophobia and is terrified of most public toilet cubicles because they are just too small, and she also is very scared of getting locked in. Trips to the toilet when we're out and about often end in hysterical sobbing. The accessible toilet would be a lot easier for us but frankly I'd be terrified to use it, because I just don't know if we'd be considered selfish arses for doing so.

Dawndonnaagain Thu 20-Mar-14 08:17:38

Mum has asked me to post here. I'm 17 and I do have a disability. It seems to me that your dd does too, if claustraphobia is affecting her to that extent. I for one would be happy to make her life easier, I wouldn't question her, or you. Take her to the disabled loos and if anyone says anything just say that under the circumstances you have as much right as any other. Honestly, I'd use them, for your dds sake.
I hope she manages to cope soon. I have Asperger syndrome too and no that some things considered 'normal' by others can be damned difficult. Because of the nature of public loos, (tiles on walls and floors etc) the sound in them changes things, it distorts voices and amplifies noises, is it possible this is contributing to dds distress?

Fleta Thu 20-Mar-14 08:27:48

I think there are two clear situations that need to be considered.

1. A place where there are loos and then a separate accessible loo - anyone who uses the accessible loo without genuine reason is absolutely not doing the right thing.

2. A place where the only loo is a single accessible cubicle - in which case this is a loo for all and is modified to make sure that all can use it. Our small local library for example has only one loo - male/female/accessible. Then, of course, anyone can use it.

treaclesoda Thu 20-Mar-14 08:39:25

Dawn's DD, thanks for your kind reply.

You are spot on with your observation about the noise. DD is generally an anxious child and has always hated loud noises and echo-ey noises (eg swimming pool noise) and as for hand dryers...

Biggest problem of all for us actually is if she is out with her dad, because he can't take her to ladies toilets, obviously, and she is too big to go into the mens, but her anxiety means that she can't go to the ladies alone, her terror of getting locked in is so severe.

ProudAS Thu 20-Mar-14 08:56:46

Treacle - I think your DD is quite within her rights to use accessible loo especially if out with her dad. She's too old to go in the gents with him but can't use ladies on her own due to SN - do people expect her to cross her legs till she gets home!!!!

ProudAS Thu 20-Mar-14 08:59:28

Maybe going slightly off topic but can anyone think up a good response for individuals who get challenged for using disabled loos when their disability or need is not obvious. Bear in mind such people may well be on the autistic spectrum and have particular difficulty dealing with being challenged.

BerniceBroadside Thu 20-Mar-14 10:15:40

Maybe a card printed with something like ' I have a disability. Not all disabilities are visible. Thank you for understanding'. I'm sure someone could come up with better wording, but you get the gist.

NeedsAsockamnesty Thu 20-Mar-14 22:09:42

Maybe a card printed with something like ' I have a disability. Not all disabilities are visible. Thank you for understanding'. I'm sure someone could come up with better wording, but you get the gist

I have a disability,most days it's not hidden some days it is. Anybody who wants me to show them a card can fuck off to the far side of fuck

Droflove Thu 20-Mar-14 22:16:05

I think a disabled loo is there so disabled people can go to the loo. How did having to wait 3 minutes change that? Girl in wheelchair had to queue for a public loo like we all often do. I don't see the problem. I often use a disabled toilet if I have the buggy with me (can leave baby unattended outside cubicle) or loads of bags or a suitcase or simply if it looked clean and was the first loo I came across.

IceBeing Thu 20-Mar-14 22:39:41

droflove RTFT dear...if that doesn't answer your spectacularly ignorant question then come back and post it again....

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 20-Mar-14 22:54:40

Thanks Ice. I didnt have energy to type about my DD not being able to wait again.

Some people are so ignorant and selfish.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 20-Mar-14 23:00:12

while we are at it...some children with as yet undiagnosed diabilities use the pushchair far longer than considered acceptable on mn and need to be in the cubicle with a parent.

Droflove Thu 20-Mar-14 23:01:16

Hi Ice, dear. Dunno what RTFT means.

NeedsAsockamnesty Thu 20-Mar-14 23:30:47

Read the full thread

BerniceBroadside Fri 21-Mar-14 00:26:04

Needsasock, clearly you wouldn't have any issues being challenged!

What would you suggest for people who struggle with confrontation or who may not have the verbal skills to be able to tell someone to fuck off?

NeedsAsockamnesty Fri 21-Mar-14 01:00:12

Tbh I quite approve of the op's response,

But your right no reason why people who wanted to use a card couldn't as long as those who did not want to didn't have to

MusicalEndorphins Fri 21-Mar-14 02:00:14

I do. I probably would have told her I needed the grab bars due to a bad back though, not insulted her.

RandomInternetStranger Fri 21-Mar-14 02:03:30

When I was pg last time I had horrendous SPD and was strapped up, in a wheelchair and in agony. I used disable parking spaces and toilets. I wouldn't begrudge anyone else doing the same.

BellaVita Fri 21-Mar-14 06:09:42

Proud why on earth would you look around the room and say it doesn't look like there are any invalids in. That was my point exactly.

My mother in law has to self catheterise to go to the toilet and so is told to use the disabled toilets as the sink etc is in there so she can wash her hands immediately beforehand.

I also had a friend at school who had a bag for urine that she had to change over and again needed to wash her hands and also change an incontienence nappy.

Both of these people appear fine and healthy but have complex urinary issues that they probably dont want to be shuffling around in a tiny cubicle trying to sort out.

In my old workplace we had a lady undergoing gender reassignment (apologies if thats the wrong term)and still had a penis. She had to be assigned a genderless toilet which by definition meant the "disabled" toilet.

There are many reasons why someone may need to use the disabled toilet. YANBU

BerniceBroadside Fri 21-Mar-14 08:28:45

Oh god, no, needasock, definitely shouldn't be an across the board thing. I was just thinking

I hope nobody ever confronts my grandmother. She'd probably burst into tears and not want to leave the house ever again if someone confronted her because she didn't look disabled enough. (She can't always get herself back up off the loo without a handrail, due to multiple health issues, but she doesn't look disabled unless she's using a stick, just elderly.)

BerniceBroadside Fri 21-Mar-14 08:30:09

The doctors wife, did she request a separate loo or did hr say she needed one?

Dawndonnaagain Fri 21-Mar-14 08:37:41

Girl in wheelchair had to queue for a public loo like we all often do. I don't see the problem.
Gosh, what a clever and thoughtful little bunny you are. Let me tell you what happens when I (girl in wheelchair) wait three minutes. By that time I will have pissed myself, I have psoriasis, so the amonia in my urine starts breaking down my broken skin which will result in ulcers, big, sore painful ulcers on my fanny, my thighs and my arse. I have psoriasis so said ulcers will become infected which results in hospital treatment. In the short term I am 17 and you want me to wait so that I can bomb round town with my mates stinking of piss. That's so kind of you Droflove, do let me be your friend.
Dawndonna's dd.

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Fri 21-Mar-14 09:52:33

I can't believe people are so ignorant that they try to judge whether someone is disabled just by looking at them, and then be so rude as to comment!!
OP I would have been inclined to go much further and say ' I have MS you rude twat, try keeping your ignorant nose out in future'

OTT? I don't think so!

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 21-Mar-14 10:03:15

I am laughing at anyone thinking of my DD as an "invalid". I'd kill for half her energy.

BarbarianMum Fri 21-Mar-14 10:37:50

My friend is not disabled but does have a colostomy bag. She uses the disabled loo occasionally when she needs to sort it out, as disabled loos offer both privacy and hand-washing facilities.

I don't see she has much choice really (other than never going out).

Dawndonnaagain Fri 21-Mar-14 11:43:56

Barbarian that really does count as a need, of course she has no other choice.

Bernice it was recommended as part of her occupational health recommendations so she would feel comfortable in the workplace until she was post op. Also supported by her union and our HR.

BerniceBroadside Fri 21-Mar-14 12:22:33

Ah right, so it was her choice supported by hr? I didn't like to think she'd been told that she must use a specific loo, when she'd have preferred to use the ladies.

allthatglittersisnotgold Fri 21-Mar-14 13:47:33

This thread makes me stressed. I have IBS and have had numerous investigations and treatments for it, but seems to be one of those things. If I need to go I need to go, I get hot and embarassed and nearly start crying.

If there is a disabled loo I will use it, sometimes at the expense of a normal cubical loo, where the whole world is about to hear an almighty explosion, that jsut makes me feel even worse and sometimes i've been so embarassed I'll go home crying!

To now read that I should stop going into a disabled loo and feel ashamed for doing so is making me question ever leaving the house again.

I've been reassured that anyone can use the accesible toilet if they like and there's no actual law against it thank you very much. I think if anyone ever questions me I'll man up and say would you like to be witness to the inner workings of my intestines? sad

Dawndonnaagain Fri 21-Mar-14 13:58:33

allthatglitters IBS is a disability, who is telling you not to use it?

VenusDeWillendorf Fri 21-Mar-14 14:02:52

I get claustrophobia and feel faint in the little stalls, so I always go for the bigger loos, whether they are accessible, or disabled. I'm also having a flare up of IBSd at the moment so have to go when I have to go.

But I don't look disabled, in that I don't have a stick, seeing eye dog or monility chair.

I think you might have given the lady in the chair something to think about actually. It's good to be challenged if you've narrow thinking.


ProudAS Fri 21-Mar-14 14:05:09

I agree with Dawn. Don't feel guilty Allthatglitters

allthatglittersisnotgold Fri 21-Mar-14 14:16:38

Thank you appreciate it, I know it's a condition, but it's not like I regularly go to the drs or think about it day in day out. I'll occassionally get a flare up and think oh yes there it is.

No one has really said oh it's not a "real" problem, but I don't talk about it and I guess I feel like it's not as serious as some things people have to live with or need an accesible toilet for. In the past I've even got a friend or my mum to flush over and over the toilet in the next cubicle to drown out the orchestra of my bum issues! Therefore when an enclosed toilet is free I thank all the gods as I sit there!

Don't want to make this thread about me, so thanks for the little reassurance.

Inertia Fri 21-Mar-14 14:19:19

Allthatglitters- don't feel guilty. You have a medical need to use the accessible loo.

I hope that everyone with a genuine disability or medical need will gain the strength from this thread to say , if challenged, that their disability may not be visible but it certainly justifies the use of accessible toilets.

MrsDeVere Fri 21-Mar-14 14:33:34

When mine flares allthatglitters I will use the disabled loo.
IBS is fecking horrible.

Topseyt Fri 21-Mar-14 16:01:24

Allthatglitters, and other sufferers of IBS and similar conditions, please do not feel guilty or stressed.

When I had a severely overactive thyroid (severe thyrotoxicosis due to Graves Disease) I had IBS so badly that I would sometimes hardly dare to walk down the street. I would plan any outings I did have to make around where the nearest loo would be, and how far away from it I dared to get. It was awful, and it dictated my life. If the only available loo was the disabled one then so be it. I used it before I exploded all over myself. It was a medical condition which took a long time to come under control.

The thyroid issues are now under control, and I have far fewer flare-ups, but when I do have one then I just HAVE to go. Believe me, anyone who has suffered IBS for any reason at all, even if no definite reason can be found, will know exactly how you feel.

I sometimes wonder if the signage denoting the disabled toilet should perhaps be amended. It does give a diagram of a person in a wheelchair, and that may give the misleading impression that these facilities are only for wheelchair users.

ProudAS Fri 21-Mar-14 16:36:13

I agree Topseyt apparently only 5% of people who have a disability as defined by equality act use a wheelchair.

allthatglitters I think you do have a disability as defined by the legislation so can expect certain adjustments to be made. This is not quite the same thing as considering yourself disabled - I prefer differently abled!

Minimou Sat 22-Mar-14 10:56:51

If you have a choice and you are able, I think you should use the normal toilet, but I think it's fine for able bodied people to use the accessible toilet if all the others are occupied. I don't think it's necessary for all the disabled toilets in the land to be standing open on the off chance that a wheelchair user might want to use it at that exact moment. Most of us can probably hold on for a minute while the person inside finishes up. It's not like a disabled parking space, which could be occupied for hours.

Minimou Sat 22-Mar-14 11:05:28

And yes I know a thing or two about IBS, but having an urgent need to use the toilet quickly is not the same as needing a wide cubicle, grab rails etc. If that's the problem then you just need to get into any toilet quickly, and if there is a queue you can say to people you have an upset stomach, they will usually let you pass in front of them. That's a separate issue to the accessible toilet.

ALittleFaith Sat 22-Mar-14 11:09:19

It's also about it being a separate loo though....I don't like the thought of people hearing from the next cubicle/queue when my IBS is problematic.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 22-Mar-14 11:09:57

Minimou On the one hand you state that everybody should be allowed to use the 'accessible' lavatory and on the other you have a go at those with ibs doing so.
My dd has also explained what waiting means to her. Have you read the thread?

Minimou Sat 22-Mar-14 11:15:56

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I'm not having a go about people with IBS using the disabled toilet. I totally see why they would need and want to! I just meant that if someone happened to be in the disabled toilet and it was an emergency, they could use one of the other toilets.

Dawndonnaagain Sat 22-Mar-14 11:16:28

Ahh, okay. Sorry.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sat 22-Mar-14 11:26:49

And yes I know a thing or two about IBS, but having an urgent need to use the toilet quickly is not the same as needing a wide cubicle, grab rails etc. If that's the problem then you just need to get into any toilet quickly, and if there is a queue you can say to people you have an upset stomach, they will usually let you pass in front of them. That's a separate issue to the accessible toilet

That's not correct,IBS is a condition that allows you to correctly obtain a radar key as are several conditions that mean you don't need to use the grab rail ect.

An accessible loo can be just about it being more likely to be available for those who have illnesses that require haste to prevent pain and accidents.

Minimou Sat 22-Mar-14 11:50:24

Dawn, I went back and found your bit about your DD and that is awful, I really sympathise. I'm lucky that I no longer have any problems, so no urgent or official reason to use the accessible loo. But, imagining a situation where there is a long line of toilets and a bigger accessible one at the end. There is a queue. Of course, if someone came in with a need to use it, I would let them go in front of me. But I don't feel I have a moral obligation to leave the bigger toilet free just in case someone comes along at that exact moment who a) has an urgent need to go that cannot be contained for the 60 secs I am in there and b) cannot use the normal stalls.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 22-Mar-14 11:52:46

Well you do really.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 22-Mar-14 11:54:43

As if everyone thought like you the disabled toilet would always be free.

Still. .better someone wets themselves or my DD gets distressed than you just have to wait longer (now you have no problems ) or walk past the disabled toilet to the ladies.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 22-Mar-14 11:55:00

Would never be free of course, not always.

Minimou Sat 22-Mar-14 12:20:27

It's free again every time someone comes out. Usually people were good enough to let me go to the front of the queue and most people are in there for a very short time. So when it affected me, I didn't think people were unreasonable using the facilities that were available.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sat 22-Mar-14 12:29:58

Oh well thats ok then. hmm

Dawndonnaagain Sat 22-Mar-14 16:52:44

I'm sorry mini it's rude and selfish not to leave it free just in case.

missmarplestmarymead Sat 22-Mar-14 18:50:44

If you fancy? What an ignorant remark and good luck with telling people that they are thick!

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