When You’ve Gotta Go, but There’s No Place to Do It

When You’ve Gotta Go, but There’s No Place to Do It

We’ve all been there. That “uh-oh” feeling hits and you know you’ll be in trouble if you can’t find a restroom, fast.

You hope the clerk in the store with the “Restrooms for Customers Only” sign will make an exception if you tell her it’s about to run down your leg. There’s got to be a better way than that. And maybe there is.

just can't wait app
(Screenshot from the “Just Can’t Wait” app)

In the United Kingdom, where a friend tells me “they’re closing all the public loos down,” they have “Just Can’t Wait” cards. These cards allow you to alert a store clerk that you really just can’t wait. On the front it reads: “The holder of this card has a medical condition and needs to use a toilet quickly. Please help.” The back of the card displays the help-line number for the U.K.’s Bladder & Bowel Community, which distributes the cards.

There’s also a ‘Just Can’t Wait’ app

If you just can’t wait for the card to come by mail, you can download the “Just Can’t Wait” app from Apple’s app store (it’s only available for iOS). It has the same information that is found on the card. It also contains a loo locator, which works off your smartphone’s GPS. I suspect that feature only works in the U.K., because I couldn’t use it to locate a loo anywhere in the U.S. The app was also very flaky when I tried it, shutting down several times after I’d opened it. So, I’d suggest requesting the card from the group, if you’re eligible, rather than downloading the app.

Flush app
(Screenshot from the Flush app)

There is, however, an app that will find restrooms in the U.K., the U.S., and elsewhere. It’s called Flush — you can’t make this stuff up. When I opened it, Flush immediately used my GPS to locate several public restrooms near me. When I typed London, England, into the search window, it brought up dozens of spots and displayed an icon indicating which are accessible and which require payment.

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At least a dozen similar apps are found in the app store. Just search for “public restroom” and you’ll find apps like “SitOrSquat,” which has an association with Charmin toilet paper. You’ll also find “Getloo,” and my favorite name, “WeeWeeFree.”

The card helps

The “Just Can’t Wait” card, my friend tells me, was a blessing for her elderly mother: “When you show the card, the shopkeepers, in theory, will let you use their loos. This is often the staff loo, but it can make such a difference. My elderly mum got to a point where she didn’t want to go anywhere different for fear of wetting herself, but this gave her just that little bit more confidence to go to new places.”

Unfortunately, when I tried to apply for this card online, I discovered that it’s only available in the U.K. A quick Google search failed to locate anything similar. So, I guess I’d better try to get that “Just Can’t Wait” app to work. Meanwhile, if you know of a similar card that’s available outside the U.K., please let me know in a comment.

You’re invited to follow my personal blog at www.themswire.com.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Ed Tobias is a retired broadcast journalist. Most of his 40+ year career was spent as a manager with the Associated Press in Washington, DC. Tobias was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1980 but he continued to work, full-time, meeting interesting people and traveling to interesting places, until retiring at the end of 2012.
Ed Tobias is a retired broadcast journalist. Most of his 40+ year career was spent as a manager with the Associated Press in Washington, DC. Tobias was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1980 but he continued to work, full-time, meeting interesting people and traveling to interesting places, until retiring at the end of 2012.

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  1. SBZ says:

    Perhaps Celgene and Lyfebulb (prev article) would be interested in funding this. It is so much more dignified than begging and looking pitiful ;-} …
    And thanks for the apps heads up. I’ve got local covered, but
    that would be so helpful when going further afield.

  2. itasara says:

    Wow! I can’t believe that restrooms are so inaccessible in U.K. I’ve never run into that problem in US. I have run into store or gas station bathrooms that aren’t so clean now and then, but as it is said, “if you gotta go, you go gotta go.”

  3. Steve says:

    It is a sad commentary on our society that we do not allow others the basic dignity of using a restroom without a designated card. How about “May I please use your restroom?”

    “Sure that’s no problem”

  4. Elaine Leggatt says:

    In Australia there is a database of public toilets around the country that is compiled and maintained by the federal Department of Health. There is an app available called Toilet Map. It is easy to set all kinds preferences as to if you are only wanting to show wheelchair accessible toilets, if you prefer right hand or left hand transfer, if you need accessible parking, the times the facility is open and lots more. The app is linked to Maps so will show on the map exactly where the facility is and how best to get there. It’s really very well done.

  5. Erika Faber says:

    Sometimes,when you HAVE to go, you are in a rural area, and no bathrooms in the area. Therefore, you need to find a backroad. I always keep TP, wet wipes, and hand sanitizer in the car. Now, I also carry an extra outfit. But this ine time, I remember I had to go I pulled over to the side of a country road and started to do my business. Of course, my luck, a big pick up truck drives by real slow, and did the rubber neck thing! I just waved! C’mon, guys pee in the country all the time. . .I couldn’t wait! That wasn’t the first, but first time I felt the need to wave! LOL!

    • Susanne Brown says:

      You go girl! Erika, you’re my inspiration to continue on boldly; especially because you had the beauty to look the rubberneckers in the face and wave at them. Absolutely priceless and excellent.

    • Christine Fischer says:

      Hi Frank the handicap sign can also mean not mobile but and they have other disability issues too. Sometimes I forget these things and I wonder??

    • Don says:

      I think it is the locations responsibility to have an adequate number of stalls rather than to reserve one for handicap…if someone really needs to go, whether or not they are handicapped, they are not going to overlook an empty stall.

  6. Debbie Bond says:

    I had a horrible experience.My husband drove me to an appointment in a city 2 hours away from home.All rural property until we get to the city.I desperately need to pee,so hubby runs into the closest bulding and asks if his wife can use their restroom,she’s disabled.The secretary said does she had an appointment here?Needless to say by that time it was too late and I went to my appointment with wet pants! Never been so humiliated in my life.

    • Ed Tobias says:


      “Horrible” is the right word, but also “unnecessary”. Maybe a simple app or card, like the ones that I mentioned, would have helped. On the other hand, there are some awfully uncaring people in the world. I hope, for their sake, they never have to try to “walk” in our shoes.


  7. Emma G. says:

    And then there are the laminated “just couldn’t wait!😳” cards that you leave on top of the mess they’ll have to clean up after saying no.

  8. Gretel says:

    This is a great addition! I suffer from chronic uti’s so being able to empty my bladder often is super important. I take Cystex Urinary Health Maintenance to attempt to prevent this, and it has definitely helped lessen my uti’s, but I definitely still experience urinary incontinence from time to time.

  9. Nancy Lee says:

    I can hardly imagine how bathrooms are so out of reach in the U.K. I’ve never run into that issue in the US. I have run into store or service station restrooms that aren’t so perfect at this point. On the off chance that you lean toward right hand or left-hand move, on the off chance that you need available stopping, the occasions the office is open and parcels more.

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