As soon as your child has learned how to use a potty, you will have to train him/her how to use the public washrooms. These places can be interesting or frightening for children, especially since they are unfriendly to them, with toilets they can fall in, sinks that they can’t reach, and loud auto-flushing toilets. They can be startling, particularly if your child is hyper sensitive to sudden or loud noises.
If you are away from your home, like when you go for camping, your kid can become very uncomfortable if he/she is unable to poop in the public bathrooms. This can cause tension every time you have to go for an outing. Fortunately, there are a few tips to help you through this scary situation:
1. Take photos/video
You should take snapshots of different unfamiliar toilets and show them to your child. Your child will soon start going to school where he/she will have to use public washrooms, but until then, you need to give them an idea of how going to other bathrooms will feel like. Taking videos of different washrooms could also help to familiarise them.
2. Flush to check noise level
Flushing the toilet can be a loud and scary affair for some kids, so you may need to look for those that will not scare your child. Sometimes, the child can refuse to use the bathroom if it has an auto-flush toilet. Part of your duties as a parent is to help your child overcome such fears.
- To help a child who does not like auto-flushing toilets, you may have to: Tear off a strip of toilet paper and use it to cover the sensor. Some toilet designs do not allow this, so you can place a post-it note, sticker, or piece of masking tape over the sensor. After your child has finished using the toilet, flush that piece of toilet paper or toss the masking tape of sticker into the trash.
- To help a child who does not like loud auto-flushing toilets, you have two options: either ask them to exit the stall, clean their hands, and cover their ears so you can flush it for them; or teach them how to flush using their foot while they use their hands to cover their ears.
3. Familiarise them to disposable toilet covers
Some children are less scared to use public washrooms if they have used disposable toilet seat covers before.
4. Cover the hole
Some children feel calmer when they don’t have to sit over a scary swirling vortex, so you can simply cover the water hole by placing a piece of toilet paper in the bowl
At this developmental stage, you may also want to show your children proper behaviour in public washrooms, like waiting in line. Reinforcing good manners, such as patience, respect, privacy, and respect from a tender age is important.
Chech out the last week's "Life Hacks for Parents #3" in case you missed it!