I have a hit a stumbling block when it comes to potty training. My child is afraid of public restrooms! I wasn’t prepared for this as it didn’t come up in any of the potty training books and articles that I have read. I knew I couldn’t be the only one with this problem.
I have tried a few methods to help my daughter overcome her fear of public restrooms. I thought it would be nice to share what is working for me in case other parents are having the same struggle. My daughter is mostly afraid of the loud noises associated with public restrooms: loud flushes, the air dryer, they have loud echoes, and they are sometimes crowded.
Prevent as Much Noise as Possible
I always let her stand outside of the stall when it is time to flush. It won’t be as loud for her this way. I try to use one of the stalls on the end so that we don’t have two people on both sides flushing and making more noise. I will also put my hand over the flush sensor so that it doesn’t go off when she is still sitting on it. That will really set us back!
I also make sure that I have some kind of cloth in my diaper bag in case the restroom only has air hand dryers. She always freaks out when they come on. We use the cloth I bring if they don’t have regular paper towels.
Look for a Family Restroom
I always ask if the place has a family restroom that we can use. This really makes things so much better. There is only one toilet in there so this really cuts down on the noise level. She feels more safe and confident when we don’t have other noises and distractions.
I find myself only shopping at places that offer these kinds of restrooms now. It just makes my life so much easier. I know that they have them at shopping malls, Target, and my local grocery store has one.
Go in Every time, Even if you Don’t Use It
Every time we enter a store I tell her that we need to go and try to use the potty. I will go so that she can see how “fun” it is and that I’m not scared. If I don’t have to go, I will just wash my hands or check my hair in the mirror. This just helps her get used to going in and seeing that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Bring your own Potty Seat
I always bring our foldable potty seat when we go out. I love the Mommys Helper Cushie Traveler Folding Padded Potty Seat (affiliate links are used in this post). I love this potty seat because it folds right up and fits in my bag and it even comes with it’s own carrying bag and has a cute frog design that my daughter loves.
This just makes things go so smoothly when she needs to sit on the potty. I don’t have to mess with toilet liners and she feels more secure sitting on her own seat. We have had more success using the restrooms since I bought this.
Use Training Pants if you Need To
I don’t like using training pants when she is at home because she can’t feel when she is wet. This is a part of potty training that really helps her understand what is happening when she pees in her pants. It’s messy, but it makes her more aware.
I will, however, put her in training pants when we run errands. This is just something that works for us. I try to make her go right when we get to the store. If she doesn’t go and we don’t make it home in time, then she can use her training pants if she has to. It’s just a better alternative to having to clean up pee in Aisle 5.
I really hope that this is just a phase that we will get through soon. This is just a part of the potty training process for use, I guess. I also take her to my friends and family member’s homes and let her use the potty there so she can get used to going somewhere else besides our house. It seems to be giving her more confidence.
If you are looking for more potty training advice, I recommend reading Potty Train in a Weekend. I have this and it has some great tips and methods that you might want to try.
If your child is afraid of public restrooms, let us know what has worked for you. Let me know I’m not the only one! 🙂