When you gotta go...
June 10, 2012 9:48 PM Subscribe
How can I help my 4-year old get over her new fear of public toilets?
posted by otherwordlyglow to Health & Fitness (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Our 4-year old girl has been potty trained for about a year and never had any trouble with any sort of toilet. About 2 months ago I was with her in a public restroom that had auto-flush toilets and it flushed while she was still sitting down and it totally freaked her out and now she's afraid of pretty much all wall-mounted toilets, auto-flush or not, especially if they have the split seat (with the gap in front). She'll go on any toilet that looks like a residential toilet whether it's in a public restroom or not but if she sees the wall-mounted type with the pull lever, she totally resists and won't sit down. Sometimes she'll let us hold her over the toilet but sometimes even that's a struggle.
She hates the loud flushing and sticks her fingers in her ears for any unfamiliar toilet but for the wall-mounted ones, I let her exit before I flush it. We've tried covering the auto-flush sensor to ensure that it doesn't flush before we're ready but she's still wary and usually won't go without a big effort. She'll deny needing to go, even though she'd clearly in agony. Freaky loud noises are a bit scary for her and she's always had that response but toilets were usually okay, even if she remarked on how loud they were.
I'm fine holding her up over the toilet but even that doesn't help all of the time. And after having my shoes peed on (again) today and bashing her head into the toilet paper dispenser yesterday attempting to get her into position in a tiny stall when she was really desperate, I'd like some ideas for strategies to get her over this.
We've had lots of conversations about how yes, it's loud and we understand that she's scared but nothing bad will happen (not just in the moment but at other times when it's not the crisis situation). We can reason with her about lots of things but this just doesn't want to budge. Never leaving the house isn't really an option and though she right before we leave the house, it's gonna happen that she needs to pee again while we're out. We used to have a portable potty, do we need to drag that around with us again? Other ideas?