Where are the family bathrooms?


I have 2 wonderful girls, the oldest is 3 years old and the youngest is turning 2 next month. One of my favorite things to do with my kids is take them shopping for the weekend. I enjoy my time with them and it gives my wife a break that is always needed as children can be very hard work.

Potty training

My oldest son is now fully potty trained, which is a great thing at home and when we go to friends and parents places, but it became a problem for me personally when I was shopping.

The first time I took her shopping after almost learning how to go to the bathroom, I was at the Builders Warehouse in Strubens Valley looking for bathroom accessories. Now shopping with young children, as you know, can be quite an experience and is not the easiest way to shop. So after being in BW for about an hour my daughter turns to me and says she needs a pee. Now anyone who has been through potty training will understand that this little statement does not mean “Can we find a toilet now?” means “Run as fast as your legs will allow you because you have about 30 seconds before it explodes.”

Disabled bathroom

Which is great at home because I know where the toilets are, in BW luckily I knew where the toilets were, but when I turned the corner and came across the sign of the little man or the lady, everything fell apart … I do? Do I take her to the men’s room where there are urinals and they are usually not that clean? Or do I take her to the ladies’ room and face the looks of shock and horror that I would have expected from the women already there?

Then I saw the handicap bathroom … Big relief from this current mess. So now I know what to look for, easy enough.

Family bathroom

The following week I was at Clearwater Mall in Strubens Valley when the same thing happened again. I ran to the central restrooms in search of the disabled sign and was happily greeted with a family restroom sign.

This room was very nice, clean and neat. It had a changing room for the little ones and two bathrooms. One for adults and one for children. He was so impressed with this discovery that every time he went shopping he ended up at Builders Warehouse or Clearwater.

Oh no

Then about 4 weeks ago I was back in Clearwater and now I was walking briskly to the family bathroom, my daughter has improved her grip now, I turn the corner and the sign is gone. I must have taken a wrong path, so I went back and looked at the next passage … Still nothing.

After walking for about 5 minutes, I decided it was time to find the handicap toilet. This is when that initial terror from a few weeks ago struck again. The handicap toilets are located inside the normal toilets … I am now standing outside the men’s and women’s toilets in a crowded shopping mall with my two daughters and a shopping cart …

To do

I had two options and with the fact that my wife always complains about the signals in women, I decided to go to the men’s room. Stuck in a relatively clean bathroom with my youngest trying to see what all those men are doing at the urinals and my oldest needing to go to the toilet, needing cleaning, I ended up shoving the cart into the bucket while cleaning the toilet and blocking my younger eyes .

I was horrified …


Now I only take my daughters to places where I know if there is a family bathroom AND a handicap bathroom, so for now Clearwater is off my list again. I have sent you an email and am waiting for a response. I will update this article when a response is received just to let you know what they say.

In this modern world where dads are expected to be a big part of their children’s lives, one would think that large shopping malls and family restaurants, not SPUR, would cater to parents with children of different sexes. As I can only assume that moms with 5-8 year olds have the same problem.

If you know of any good shopping in the Randburg – Sandton – Roodepoort area that suits modern dads, please leave me a message so I can give them a try.

This being my first foray into the internet writing, any comments would be appreciated.

Well, I am very happy to report that Clearwater Mall has responded to my inquiry. The family bathroom is being repaired and will be back in operation the next weekend of August 19, 2006.

I want to thank Clearwater Mall and specifically Elsabe Griesel for the prompt response to my inquiry and I look forward to bringing my daughters back to Clearwater again in the near future.


Gavin mannion


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