How to Go to the Toilet on a Plane when Travelling with a Baby?

Does the idea of doing even most basic things, like going to the toilet, freak you out as you plan your flight with your little one?  Don’t worry you aren’t alone! Lots of parents stress about, seemingly, simple things like this. 

And it’s understandable: If you have ever been in an airplane restroom, you know how extremely small they are. Airplane restrooms are difficult to navigate alone, much less with the addition of a baby. Most mums will also attest to the fact that it is not always possible to hold your bladder for hours on end as it once was pre-baby.

Toilet on a flight is very limited in space for changing the baby

What is the best way to go to the toilet while flying with a baby? The confined space of an aircraft toilet makes taking a toilet break while you are travelling with your baby a tricky one. Especially if you, like many mums and dads do, are flying alone with you little one. The most obvious option is asking the cabin crew to hold the baby, but we have some more ideas.

There will be a variety of factors which will influence your decision on how to go to the toilet on a plane when travelling with a baby.

Options for using the bathroom on an aircraft with an infant

The underlying assumption here is that you are not travelling with someone.

Obviously, the first choice would be to leave your little one with a spouse, family member, or friend that you trust. However, many parents do not get the luxury of flying with a travel partner. In these situations, here are a few ways to be able to relieve yourself while flying with a baby.

1) Ask a crew member

It is not often that I would recommend handing your child off to a complete stranger. However, in the case of flying and attempting to use the toilet on-board, it is likely that you will need a little assistance.

If you are on-board a flight, you have additional security in knowing that nobody could escape with your baby in the few minutes you are in the restroom.

Thankfully, flight attendants have likely done this MANY times for other parents. Most of them are more than willing to assist and may even have some training and protocol on this.

Southwest flight crew, Jessica gives an overwhelmed mmm a rest by holding her baby for a bit. (Photo: Courtesy of Facebook/Savannah Blum)

Before asking someone to hold or watch your flight consider the following:

  • Don’t ask, unless you are desperate, when they are busy with meal service or prep;
  • Nobody is required to watch your child, so give grace and understanding if this flight attendant does not feel comfortable with your request or refuses to help. (Perhaps they are ill or not sure how to care for a child properly but do not want to say this.) It is best to find a different attendant or choose another option rather than getting upset.
  • Help the crew by waiting until the line for the restroom dies down. You can either wait in your seat (with your baby) or you may speed the process up by asking if you may skip the line/asking the flight attendant ahead of time.

TIP: For slightly older infants, ones going through the separation anxiety phase, it’s a great idea to take a little toy with them and strap them into the crews’ jump seat by the restrooms, while a crew member or a fellow passenger keeps an eye on your little one.

TIP 2: Some airlines- like Kuwait Airways and Gulf Air– have sky nannies for exactly these situations.

2) Parents unite!

Parents often share a moment or two on a plane. And at times of need, you will spot the doting grandparents among your fellow passengers, looking and smiling lovingly at your baby.

If your little crawler or toddler is sharing a moment with another little one- and they do love meeting other babies on board-, grab the opportunity to go for a quick pit stop (with the permission of the other parent). So often your baby will be so preoccupied with the new friend’s toys that they hardly even notice you are gone.

3) Babywearing

If you are travelling alone and you don’t see the crew member, or they are occupied with other matters, babywearing might be a good option for convenience and maintaining the comfort of your baby.

If you are comfortable with babywearing you can do this with very small babies (upto 6 months old) relatively comfortably.

You will be able to provide comfort and reduce the likelihood of your baby becoming upset and crying. Additionally, you will not have to worry about what your child is doing while you use the toilet.

While the restroom space on an airplane is already tight and adding excess cargo to your person will be less than comfortable, this option provides you with hands-free mobility while also allowing you to keep an eye on your child at all times.

Realistically, this is an option best for very small babies in a sling or a wrap, beyond that it becomes tricky.

4) Leaving your child in their car seat or bassinet

If you have an infant in a carseat, then that’s a great place to have them secured while you pop to the rest rooms.

Easiest if they are asleep, otherwise make sure they are well-distracted.

Still ask someone in your row or a flight crew to assist in keeping an eye on your child while you go to the restroom, just in case.

This option provides the convenience of having your child continue to rest in his or her own seat while you are able to have a moment in the tiny airplane restroom on your own.

In general, having a carseat on board is a pricier option, which will add an extra item to your overall luggage, but it gives you more independence and comfort. (Be sure to review your airline’s policies regarding approved car seats prior to your travels, though, as we found out the hard way about the nuances of carseat the car seat policy on British Airways.)

5) Prevent the Need to Use the Toilet

No! I don’t mean wearing diapers yourself!!!

Before you had children, you likely did not plan out your every need in the same way as now that you are responsible for another person’s needs.

While it is not always possible to avoid using the toilet on-board (think long international flights, urgent and unexpected needs, etc.), it can help to think ahead.

A few tips for avoiding the need to use the toilet on the airplane:

  • Use the toilet immediately before boarding the plane. Restrooms in the airport are significantly more convenient to use as there is likely a changing table you can rest your child on while you use the toilet.
  • Stay hydrated, but stick to water. While it is common to become dehydrated on flights due to the increase in altitude, you should avoid sodas, coffee and tea which are more likely to make you want to go. Interestingly, if you get dehydrated the more concentrated urine will increase your urgency to go.

Stay calm and carry on!

While travelling with little ones can be a stressful adjustment, especially for first-time parents, it is important to remember that the travel will only last for a few hours, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Whether travelling for pleasure or business, stay confident that you can make it through and will surely have the hang of it for your next adventure.

Do you have any other hints and tips for fellow parents?

Save or share this with any friends or family concerned about their flight- Facebook, Pin, Tweet

Author Monika Roozen, also at Inspireroo Magazine

Monika Roozen

Monika is a mum of 3, an avid traveller, who grew up travelling the world and has continued travelling ever since. She holds a degree in animal sciences, nutrition and business administration and has consulted for several years for the hospitality industry and customer service departments. Monika loves slow travel- taking time for immersive experiences in culture and nature- sailing and snowboarding. Her personal adventures are chronicled in Inspireroo Family Travel Magazine . (Click to see their family mad ventures)

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