As an educated consumer, I am well aware that Mc Donalds is not good for me. Or healthy. And while as a family we try to avoid fast food as much as possible, sometimes we give in. And I won’t lie and say the kids only ever have apples and milk there (although they sometimes do). Usually we buy the kids a McDonalds Happy Meal, and mostly it’s for the toy. Although when we’re traveling, we do tend to make a point of trying the local popular fast-food joint at least once, and often it isn’t McDonalds. FYI – the roti at Chefette in Barbados is great. And Barbados is actually a place where McDonalds failed. But I digress…
As my daughter and I were wandering the beautiful streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the first things I noticed and made note of was a McDonalds Restaurant. And not because I prefer Big Macs to Mofongo or because I was jonesing for some French fries. It was because moments later my then-four-year-old that exclaimed what she usually does when it’s fairly inconvenient, “Mommy! I need the potty!” And this, my friends, is what McDonalds locations are good for.
Someone told me once that McDonalds has a global commitment to maintaining a certain standard of washroom – that all McDonalds restrooms must have a North American-style toilet with a toilet seat, toilet paper, and a sink with soap. And that this is true of all McDonalds around the world, even if you’re in a region where squat toilets are the norm. I have searched the Internets high and low for some kind of source to back up this claim, but have come up empty. However, I do know from personal experience from McDonalds across Europe that the loos were always similar, and always clean. As a twenty-something traipsing across Europe, I appreciated this. As a traveling mom with a potty training toddler and/or a pre-schooler who always waits until the last minute to tell me she needs to go, I appreciate it even more.
I know there are travel potties out there, but I have never considered purchasing one. Traveling with a potty training toddler is actually not really as big a problem as I thought it would be, so long as you always have an arsenal of wipes and hand sanitizer in your bag should you come across a bathroom that’s less than pristine. Being out and about means suggesting you hit the loo whenever you pass one, and if it’s at a McDonald’s location, the chance of depleting your precious germ-fighting supplies is lower.
Another nice thing about using the washroom at McDonalds is that because they’re quite busy, they don’t notice that you’re just coming in for the bathroom and not a Big Mac. Or else they really don’t care. I’ve also never seen those signs that say washrooms are for customers only (which are illegal here now, I think) and they usually don’t require asking for a key.
So amongst the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture of Old San Juan, the golden arches shone like a beacon to me and my potty-needing daughter. Because wherever you are in the world, McDonalds has a decent washroom.
Have Potty Training Toddler, Will Travel