Kid-Friendly Bathroom Design

By Jennifer Noonan | Updated Nov 15, 2013 11:31 PM

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Kid-Friendly Bathroom Design

Photo: JNoonan

When my husband and I lived in New York City with our two young girls, we had a single bathroom in our one-bedroom apartment. And it was small. If you’re a parent, you probably understand that for many years you almost never get to go to the bathroom by yourself. Can you imagine two adults, a toddler, and an infant cramming into one 5′ x 8′ bathroom for various duties together? Someone always needed to go potty while someone else was brushing teeth. It was the domestic version of the clown car.

Related: The Benefits of a Jack and Jill Bathroom

When we relocated and built our new construction home in Southern Delaware, we upped our bathroom inventory by 400%! In theory, we could all be in different bathrooms at the same time, though we never are. We designed the bathroom in the upstairs hall—closest to our daughters’ rooms—just for them (now ages 2 and 4). We found that there are several things to keep in mind when putting together a bathroom for kids.

Double Sink. Two side-by-side sinks enable both our girls to brush teeth and get ready at the same time. That’s a big time-saver in the morning and at bedtime.

Vanity. Pedestal sinks are lovely in a powder room, or even a master bath.  But a bathroom for kids needs extra storage for bath toys, bubbles, and more washcloths than you ever think are necessary.  A vanity is a must.

Standard Toilet. We opted for comfort-height toilets in the rest of the house (two inches higher than standard). But for the girls’ bathroom, we stuck with the shorter standard version, which helped in the transition to the “big potty” during toilet training.

Handheld Shower Head. A handheld shower head makes bath time a lot easier with little munchkins. Our builder didn’t supply one, but we picked one up and installed it ourselves.

Shower Curtain. Our apartment had very nice sliding glass doors on the tub/shower. But they really got in the way during bath time for our girls. A curtain is less complicated to manage and gives you better access to the tub.

The bathroom is still a very busy place at our house. But with space to move around one another, it’s a lot more comfortable. Our kids really enjoy having a bathroom that is “theirs.” I’m sure before we know it, we’ll be redesigning it for their needs as teenagers (sigh!). For now, I’ll enjoy listening to them giggle as they sit across from one another on the potty and potty chair. Oh, and did I mention? Don’t forget the step stools!

For more on bathroom remodeling, consider the following Bob Vila articles and slideshows:

SPA-ortize Your Home Bath
5 Small Bathroom Space-Busters
Planning Guide: Bathroom Remodeling