Haven't Done This in a LONG TIME! Can You Help?

Updated on December 14, 2011
K.H. asks from Fernley, NV
14 answers

On sunday I will be flying back home for christmas and to surprise my parents for thier 30th wedding anniversary. I have never flown with kids! Kinda nervous. Anyways I have a question I can't find the answer to anywhere! I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old both of whom are completely potty trained. What do I do with the other child when one has to go to the bathroom? Is it ok to leave one in thier seat? I'm not comfortable doing this at all but I don't think the airline will allow having young children standing up-plus the restrooms are tiny and I doubt 3 of us will fit in one. I also am in the early stages of pregnancy and have to go all the time! Can I leave both of them in thier seat? Will the flight attendants watch them so I can take care of business? The flight is only 3 hours but someon will have to go:)

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answers from San Francisco on

I think the flight attendants will be happy to keep an eye on one or both while you use the restroom. Or, you can always ask a fellow passenger. They should be okay. I mean, really where would they go?

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Ask the flight attendants for help. I remember flying for the first time alone with my infant son. My parents flew me home for Easter, but my husband had to work, so it was just the two of us and one 3-hour flight! He fell asleep, which was great... but then guess who had to go to the bathroom! I pushed the call button and asked the flight attendant what to do. She suggested laying him on the seat and said she would sit with him until I got back.

They really will help you- figure out when you board which one likes kids and go from there. The 5 yr old will be fine for a few minutes, but if the 2 yr old needs to be in the seat alone, enlist help!

EVERYONE goes potty minutes before boarding... limit fluids for an hour or so before the flight... you'll be fine! Have fun!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I would definitely let the flight attendants know your situation and ask for their help. I have traveled with my children alone (both younger than yours the first time) and the flight attendants were all very helpful for most airlines I traveled on.

And as an aside, definitely plan for extra time to go through security, especially if you are using a stroller. You will need to unload everything(dump water bottles too) and even the kids need to take their shoes off. You will need extra time to reassemble and get shoes on, etc. Tell your 5 year old ahead of time what kind of jobs he/she can be in charge of before you go to have help. They like having a job (usually!) This whole process got me really flustered the first time I flew alone with my kids but now we're pros. My kids are in elementary school and know what to expect so we can usually be done pretty quickly.

Have fun!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Maybe just ask another nearby passenger to keep an eye out & engage them a little. It's not like they can "go" anywhere right?!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I fly frequently with my kids, who are now 2, 5 and 7. If you think your 5 yr old will be ok alone for a few minutes, that should be fine. Personally, I would take the 2 yr old in with me, because flying for the first time can be a lot to handle for kids (even if they're excited, it's still a big deal and can be overwhelming) plus they're surrounded by a bunch of strangers. If the two of you absolutely can't fit into the bathroom together, a child friendly flight attendant will be happy to help. Hopefully there will be at least one on your flight :)

A few recommendations. If you plan on letting the kids get the free drinks on the plane, bring empty sippy cups. Even for the 5 yr old. Then you just don't have to worry if there's turbulence (you can only grab so many drinks simultaneously for a quick save!), or someone bumps the tray, or whatever. Also, bring a change of clothes for the kids in a carry-on. Just in case they have a potty accident, spill on themselves, etc.

Finally, don't get too stressed if the kids aren't behaving perfectly. Do what you need to do, and don't worry what anyone else is thinking. And if someone offers to help, take it! Have a great flight!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

bring a dvd player with headphones for each kiddo if you can. they'll be fine in their seat while you take one to the potty, or when you go yourself. Your kid won't get kidnapped or anything while on board an airplane. A stranger next to them would be happy to keep an eye on them I'm sure.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I asked the flight attendant to watch my daughter while I went to the bathroom and it was fine. You'll be surprised. I had many passengers offer to help with her. Although it's tight, I've also taken my daughter who is 2 into the bathroom with me, mainly to change her diaper and then I go myself. There is no way 3 of you will fit at a time. As for security, I think they changed the rules and kids don't have to take shoes off anymore, but going through security with kids is still a pain. I usually try to stick to a line on the far right or left as to not bother anyone else. Some airports also let you use a special family line or we've even been able to use the employee line to get through security. It's not as bad as you think, and I've never had a bad experience in the states with flight attendants and small kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Definitely bring a DVD player - and a carry on filled with stuff they haven't played with ever, or in a long time so it will all be new. magnetic stuff, coloring stuff, etc. AS you get on the plane talk to the flight attendant in a sweet way - tell him/her you are worried that you don't want to annoy other passengers and want to avoid being as disruptive as possible, and could they give any advice as to how to handle your bathroom situation with the kids? Since it's only a 3 hour flight they may not even need to use the bathroom - you, however, are a completely different story! I think they will offer to help. Be gracious and be appreciative. Pray that God will seat you near a helpful person. Then work on the kids ahead of time, the night before, the drive to the airport and remind them numerous times - that you expect really good behavior, and if you have to go to the bathroom the older one will keep an eye on the younger one. Show them where the bathroom is so they don't think you're leaving them.

Between a kind fellow passenger and the flight attendants it will all work out fine and you'll wonder why you were so worried.

Enjoy the holidays and the celebration! How wonderful!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

First of all WOW a completely potty trained 2 year old! You could right a book.

Let the air line know what you need and they can seat you close to the restroom. I'm sure the attendents will be happy to help you.

Have a great trip!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

There are lots of moms on airplanes that you can ask to keep an eye on a five-year-old for a few minutes, or even both of them. Or the flight attendents. No way can three of you fit in there.

I flew twice with my daughter, when she was just over 2. She went potty in the airplane stall with me just fine. (When we walked out of the potty, she looked up at the people in line, exclaimed loudly "I go!!" and got a round of applause!! It was incredibly cute. Obviously, there were parents in that line!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Whenever I've flown with my kiddos, I always ask the flight attendant to stay with whoever is not using the restroom. I mainly do that in case the child left at the seat starts getting scared. Like someone else suggested, I try to find the most kid-friendly flight attendant at the beginning of the flight.

As for keeping them entertained, I always bring a bag full of books & new toys, as well as the portable DVD player. I let the kids pick a few DVD's to watch. If they are old enough to chew gum, you might want to have them chew gum during take off and landing to help their ears pop. That's when my little guy cried the most. Or drinking works pretty well.

Also, like someone else suggested, bring sippy cups for both. You'll be so grateful you did.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!


answers from Lakeland on

I am sure they would be just fine to sit on their own, there really is nowhere to hide on a plane. They (the kids) might get upset though if you are not there. I have seen parents leave the door to the bathroom slightly open so the kids can be with them (just standing outside). This is usually in the back of the plane so no one can see in. I am sure if you explain to the older child that the flight attendants will not put up with bad behavior he/she will listen. Most flight attendants are very kind and helpful, but some are very rude and nasty.
Maybe bring a pillow and small blanket for each child and they will fall asleep. I do this for my daughter and she almost always sleeps the entire flight. We have flown regularly since she was two.



answers from Chicago on

Hi - you are brave for taking this on. :) But really you'll be fine. I just flew to Mexico with my 5 year-old and 2 year-old and it went great both ways. Be prepared - have your 5 year-old bring a carry-on and put their books & a few toys in there. Avoid anything with lots of pieces, or anything that can roll around...they will inevitably fall on the floor and if it's during take-off or landing they'll roll away from you.

Stash a portable DVD player (better yet an I-pad but I don't have one) with a few fave movies that they can watch during the flight. Bring a couple of new little toys to break out during any impeding meltdowns. Also make sure you have something for them to drink & eat during takeoff and descent so their ears aren't affected too much by the pressure. I usually have fruit gummies and lollipops as special treats on the plane to help with their ears.

For the bathroom - I would never leave one or both of my kids in the seats. When your 5 year-old has to go, you can stand outside the bathroom when he/she is in the bathroom - that way you can also make sure he/she knows how to use that potty and wash their hands. Then you can have both kids stand right outside the stall - these are in the front and rear of the planes only, where there should be a flight attendant around...ask her to just keep a quick eye on them while you go. It will be fine!! Worst case, ask another mom near the restrooms to keep a quick eye on them. People are generally more than willing to help. Have a great trip!!



answers from Los Angeles on

make sure they go right before boarding. and before descent. they will not let them out of their seats during that time. i would take both and have them both use the potty. have 1 go in alone, use the potty in the back of the plane, you can stand outside the door and help as needed. and, ask the stewardess what would be best. i am sure they'd be fine by them selves in their seat, but, they may not want to be left alone.

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