Karabo Mokoena
Content producer
3 minute read
20 Jul 2021
9:20 am

Are your kids following you to the bathroom? You are not alone

Karabo Mokoena

When you become a parent, privacy and boundaries become a lot more blurred than usual, even for toilet breaks.

Kids following parents to the bathroom is a parenting standard in most homes. Picture: iStock

Every mom can tell you about how nonchalant their children are when it comes to watching them poop. Keeping parents, especially mom, company when she is on the toilet is top of the list for most children. It’s so common that it should be a parenting tagline: You will never pee alone again!

And they don’t just bring themselves to the toilet – they will come dragging a toy or a snack.

It’s business as usual for them.

So, what could the reason be for children not understanding that bathroom time requires privacy?


Curiosity is a big part of children’s development and how navigate the world. Before, during and even after their own potty escapades, they might be curious to know how you do it. This is why your toilet breaks sometimes come with a lot of questions, some uncomfortable to answer.

It is a normal part of a child’s development, and a very common one in any parenting journey.

Modesty and nudity

According to parenting coach Kelly van Rooyen, “children have no modesty around nudity”. The little guy that can run around with no clothes on will have no issues watching you with your pants down.

Toilet privacy, for adults, is also based on their perspectives around nudity. So, when dealing with a person who does not have an understanding of the concept, expect more toilet sessions.

Kids who are older than five years start considering other people’s perspectives, according to Van Rooyen. If they can see and you tell them you are uncomfortable, they could start respecting that and giving you the privacy you need.

Others could still act in defiance of that and keep you company anyway, regardless of how uncomfortable you are.

They know nothing else

When potty training involved mom and dad waiting and watching, then camping in toilets might be a norm for them. Some children display a need for privacy during potty training, and not all parents may oblige. Parents either miss the signs, like the child refusing to pee, or defecate in front of them. This usually signals that your child might need to be alone.

When kept company during their earlier toilet days, not being alone in the bathroom becomes a norm.


Some children have an attachment to their parents that make them never want to leave their side. This is not an unhealthy attachment, and it should not concern parents. When your kid never wants to leave, be rest assured they will follow you everywhere.

Some parents say the kids say they are hiding and they sit with them to make sure that they don’t hide.

Parents who find this uncomfortable choose to lock the door when they are in the bathroom, but not with their infants. With time, older kids might get used to the fact that mom really does not want you in there when she is.

Others choose to only lock when they are doing more than just peeing.

Some parents don’t mind at all and choose to not fight the battle.