Why 'Have you been?' isn't the only toilet-related question we should be asking

Continuing her series tackling socially unacceptable questions, Christine Manby says when so many are still struggling to access public facilities, it’s a conversation we should all be privy to

Wednesday 02 January 2019 11:02 GMT
Councils around the UK would rather save millions of pennies than have us spend one
Councils around the UK would rather save millions of pennies than have us spend one

Looking after children involves the answering and asking of many questions. Anyone who has ever spent time with a three-year-old has answered the question “why?” to the point of “because I said so”. They have also almost certainly in turn had to ask that old classic: “Have you been?”

As in, “Have you been to the toilet?”, ordinarily asked at screeching pitch just as you’re about to head out the door to catch a bus, train, boat or plane with moments to spare. Something I wish I’d known, before I agreed to babysit my nephews when they were small, is that if you ask this question of an under-five that you’ve just wrestled into an anorak, you shouldn’t expect a truthful answer. If they say “yes”, then you will still be looking for a public convenience within three minutes of leaving the house. Nothing brings the need for good, clean public loos into focus like hearing a thin, high voice announce: “I need a wee wee now.”

“What? Right now?”

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