Muhammed Nitoto said he prefers to use the women's bathroom but added that he announces himself before entering.
In places where there are no gender-neutral bathrooms or a family restroom, parents are left facing gendered bathrooms, and a conundrum. What do you do if you have to take your child to a bathroom and they are of a different gender? Is it ok for you to enter the bathroom? It is a problem that Muhammed Nitoto has faced on countless occasions when he has stepped out with his young daughters. "I never thought the bathroom would become as big as an issue as it is," wrote Nitoto in an Instagram post, reported ABC News. Nitoto's Instagram handle is titled Chronicles of Daddy. "Usually we would go places and they have a FAMILY bathroom which is meant for people with children but what I found was most places don't have them and dads are left to decide between taking their daughters to the men's bathroom or the women's."
In the beginning, Nitoto felt it was only right to use the men's bathroom but he soon realized the men's bathroom was disgusting. It wasn't the same as just using it and then taking your young daughters into the men's bathroom while changing their diapers. "Men's bathrooms are DISGUSTING. They smell like pee and nothing is set up for a woman or a person with a child. The changing table was right next to the urinal which means my child literally would be next to where men pee [while] she's being [changed]," wrote Nitoto. "After doing that one time, I decided I'd never take my daughter's to the men's bathroom again." He said women's bathrooms were infinitely cleaner everywhere in comparison. He also added that they were "set up perfect just in case they have children."
He then decided to use the women's bathroom but he's respectful about it. The dad from California knows his daughters are too young to use the women's bathroom by themselves so he helps them but he tries to give heads up to those in the bathroom so they don't feel threatened. "I try to be as respectful to women as I can while doing so which consists of knocking on the door before entering and announcing myself," Nitoto wrote. "Making sure if someone is inside that they know I am a Dad coming in with his daughter and making sure they are comfortable with that. Now once inside our stall I still am aware of the door and whenever I hear it open and someone new is coming in I announce myself again and make sure they know I'm inside with my child so that they aren't surprised." Nitoto spoke to Good Morning America in the hope sparking "the conversation for active fathers in the world." Nitoto said he wanted to "show support to other fathers who have been or will be in the same situation and offer them [my solution]."
Not everyone approves of Nitoto's use of the women's restroom. Dr. Alice Domar told Parents.com it should only be a last-resort option. "The first choice would be to find a family bathroom, which is becoming more common these days," wrote Domar. "The second choice, up to age 4 or 5 would be for the dad to take her into the men’s room but go straight to a stall. After that, hopefully, she would be able to go to a woman’s room by herself, but if not, he can wait outside the woman’s room until a motherly-looking woman goes in and he can ask her to look out for his daughter."
Nitoto has also found a lot of support online. "Being a girl dad, I find myself having to navigate things that I don't have a book I can read from to help me with solutions," he told GMA. "It's almost like the parenting story isn't shared in-depth from a father's side. That's why I started my Daddy Chronicles. I wanted to tell the dad's side of stories — some that have been heard from the mom's side and some that haven't even been talked about before."