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To leave 3yo in park whilst going to the loo?

737 replies

DoormatBob · 11/09/2021 21:55

Not sure if this is an AIBU or more WWYD but was at a rural touristy attraction. When we arrived both DD (3, nearly 4) and me needed the loo. DD went then refused to wait for me and ran out to the play area (toilets were within the play area but not staffed/ticketed).

I told her to wait but she said no and was off, told me she was going on the slides as she legged it away! We've been there before so she knows where she's going.

I had to go to the loo and therefore she played in the park for 2 minutes unsupervised.

YES - i should have got her back and made her stay with me.
NO - she is OK for 2 mins, she knows where I am.

What would others do? She is very independent and confident but it's just the safety aspect.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

4890 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
UrghSchool · 11/09/2021 22:29

No wouldn't do it at all. Just thinking of the various outcomes of this scenario is giving me real anxiety. Please dont do anything like this again

Stompythedinosaur · 11/09/2021 22:29

I would say use reigns for the foreseeable future if she is prone to running off.

Very unsafe for her to be unsupervised.

Gardenista · 11/09/2021 22:29

@SleepingStandingUp - 6 now but I allowed her from last spring when she was 5 years to stand outside the cubicle and put her foot under the door- this was because I was struggling with covid anxiety abs could it be transmitted via touch..

Stompythedinosaur · 11/09/2021 22:29


OnceUponAMidnightBeery · 11/09/2021 22:30

I don’t have children, but I wouldn’t leave my dog alone while I was out of sight for 2 minutes Hmm

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor · 11/09/2021 22:30


She would've been straight back out the park gates before her bum touched the slide if she did that to me.

'Independence' and 'confidence' don't come into it. She's 3 years old for goodness sake.

Totally agree,home time immediately.
TheTempest · 11/09/2021 22:30

Mine was hard work at that age. I absolutely would have gone mad at that and we would be going straight home. Buggy or reins if she didn’t stay with me was usually enough to keep her from bolting. Good luck OP, it’s a tricky age but I think today have you a bit of a surprise and maybe a think about some strategy’s for next time.

StoatMilk · 11/09/2021 22:30

’independent and confident’

She’s 3 FFS, shame on you OP Hmm

AnnaSW1 · 11/09/2021 22:32

If this is real it's just terrible..

bigbeatmanifesto · 11/09/2021 22:32

To many variables that could happen with such a young child.
Absolutely not I would if took her in with me locked her in the cubicle with me & dealt with the 2 min tantrum or left the park entirely rather than leave her alone.

Stompythedinosaur · 11/09/2021 22:32

I'd also suggest going home from the fun activity immediately every time she runs away is a good way to address her behaviour. Let her know before you go out every time that this is what will happen. You have to stick with it.

I had a dc who was a bit of an escapee, and it did work eventually.

Thesearmsofmine · 11/09/2021 22:32

No I would not have done that. I will now leave my older two (8&10) together in a play area to pop to the toilet now but I would take my 5 year old with me and he would be in the cubicle with me too.

It doesn’t matter how sensible you think she is, she is 3 years old and 3 year olds can be impulsive and unpredictable.

I would have taken her home for ignoring me.

SleepingStandingUp · 11/09/2021 22:32

[quote Gardenista]@SleepingStandingUp - 6 now but I allowed her from last spring when she was 5 years to stand outside the cubicle and put her foot under the door- this was because I was struggling with covid anxiety abs could it be transmitted via touch..[/quote]
I think 5 or 6 is fine for that, although not bring scared your child will give you covid from sharing a toilet cubicle. How do you parent a kid you're scared of touching?

Northernlurker · 11/09/2021 22:33

She's not 'confident'. She's a typical three year old who doesn't understand her limits or danger of any sort. You are the parent, Fecking well parent her!

CherieBabySpliffUp · 11/09/2021 22:34

What did you do when you caught up to her @DoormatBob? I hope you took her straight home as a consequence of her actions.

Happieronmyown · 11/09/2021 22:34

No way, never. It takes just a few seconds for a bad person to snatch her & run off with her.

NoOtherShadeOfBlue · 11/09/2021 22:34

So she didn’t wash her hands either? I know that’s not as serious as running off at all by the way, it just struck me as very nasty in a public toilet not to! But she can’t be unlocking the cubicle and legging it, there needs to be a consequence eg going straight home for that. She can’t be rewarded by getting to play on the slides.

Wishihadanalgorithm · 11/09/2021 22:34

I can’t understand your reason for asking this question. It is an obvious answer.

The fact you ask this means you need to address your parenting and how you keep your child safe.

I appreciate you are asking as you want to know what the right thing to do is, but how do you not know this? I am asking this genuinely and not trying to be goady.

StrangeLookingParasite · 11/09/2021 22:34

I was extremely, noticeably more relaxed and less heliocopter-y than the parents around me, and hell would have frozen over before I'd have done this with mine at three.
No f'ing way. And we would have been going straight home for being disobedient in a dangerous way.

NeverDropYourMooncup · 11/09/2021 22:34

I'd have got her back, made her wait and then gone straight back home again.

BorderlineHappy · 11/09/2021 22:34

Well if shes not going to listen to you,she needs to be in a buggy or get reins.
But in any case its very worrying because the next time she doesnt listen it could be on to the road she runs.

TartanJumper · 11/09/2021 22:35


By straight back out the park gates, I mean I would've taken her straight home for her disobedience.

I agree.
Did she have any consequences for ignoring you and running off? I'd have taken her straight home and told her why.
RosiePosieDozy · 11/09/2021 22:35

Nope. I am definitely not helicopter-style but I would never do this. A child at that age should always be in your sight.

Tohaveandtohold · 11/09/2021 22:35

Absolutely not. She’s 3. She stays in the cubicle with you.
This is the time to parent. She doesn’t get to just unbolt the door and run off. If my child tries that, She certainly won’t be playing in the park that day.

WorraLiberty · 11/09/2021 22:36


That's unanimous!

She was in the cubicle with me but she went first then opened the door and went out, I followed but had to go back, I can't really hold to be honest.

Asking as I hated it and knew it wasn't right but unsure how bad it was.

I wasn't concerned she would be anywhere other than where she said, she would not have left the play area. The concerns are general safety (hurting herself) or the more sinister.

The concern here (for me anyway) is that you have a child who thinks it's absolutely fine to ignore your instructions, and just do whatever she pleases.

It was the slide this time but what will it be next time?

I really hope there was a consequence that makes her think twice next time.
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