Caught short? A guide to using public toilets in London with kids.
There is nothing like the fear of finding (or not) a loo when you have a newly potty trained small child! Luckily, it’s fairly easy to find public toilets (and baby-changing facilities) in London. Here’s our guide:
1 – All major train stations and some smaller ones will have public toilets, so take advantage of these at the start of your London adventure. Expect to pay a small fee to use them of around 50p per person and you will need exact change to go through the turnstiles. There is often a change machine close by but if you’re in a hurry, it’s a good idea to carry loose change for this purpose. At the larger stations, these toilets are usually staffed and well maintained. We’ve had experience of not having to pay a fee for children, with attendants just telling them to go under the barrier. Transport for London (TFL) provide a map of toilet facilities at their stations.
3 – If you’re heading to a museum, gallery or other attraction then you will find loos usually quite close to the entrance. These are always our first port of call when arriving!
4 – Large public parks will have fairly well maintained toilets open during daylight hours. These are often fee-based too and take exact change. Use the park map to find them.
5 – Children who aren’t old enough to go to public toilets by themselves are able to use the Ladies toilets with their mother or Gents with their father regardless of their own gender.
6 – These days, you will usually find baby-change facilities next to toilets (often inside a disabled cubicle). Sometimes, this facility is only available in the Ladies’ toilets though (tut, tut).
7 – Large supermarkets and department stores will have toilet and baby-change facilities.
8 – It’s pretty much the rule that any cafe or restaurant will have a toilet for their patrons to use. We’ve been known to buy a take away coffee and biscuit in order to use the facilities too. You wouldn’t be the first person to pop into a take away place to use the loos without buying anything but this isn’t usually welcomed.
9 – However! Some areas participate in a Community Toilet Scheme whereby local shops, bars and restaurants allow free access to their toilets during their trading hours. Look for the Community Toilet Scheme street or window signs.
10 – If you have recently potty trained your little one then take your own potty along with you for emergencies is a great idea. We like the Potette potty which has bag liners you can easily dispose of and the seat can also be used as a toddler seat over a regular toilet seat.