Have you ever thought why my child is afraid to ask to use the bathroom? Once you have potty trained your child, the last thing you would expect is her peeing or pooping on her underwear simply because she is afraid of asking to use the bathroom. Having a child scared of using the restroom presents its own challenges. This problem is common in children, especially when in public places. Some of the reasons why toddlers are afraid of using public restroom include:
- They are not familiar with the bathroom
- Fear of asking for toilet paper
- They think that restroom is not private
- Being scared of loud flushing toiles
- They don’t want to miss out on something fun
Simple solutions to this problem is: having your child using the bathroom before you go out, leaving your child at home, limiting your public outings, or making them short. But doing all these is running away from the problem is instead of fixing it. The reality is that you won’t lock your child in the house forever because you are afraid that she will pee in her pants while in social gatherings. At some point, your child will go to school, and she will face the same challenge. The best solution is fixing the problem. In this post, we will provide solutions on how to fix the problem when you discover that your child is afraid to ask to use the bathroom.
Take your child to a public-friendly restroom.
If you notice that your child is afraid of asking to use the bathroom when in public places, one of the best solutions is taking her to public areas with child-friendly restrooms. One of the main reasons children avoid public restrooms is that they feel it is dangerous and uncomfortable. As a result, she prefers not to tell you that she need to use the bathroom. When you take her to a public-friendly restroom, she is more likely to open up and express her desire to use the restroom because she knows that her safety and comfort are guaranteed.
A child-friendly bathroom is simply a restroom that is specifically designed for children. Important features of a child-friendly bathroom include but are not limited to child-sized urinal and toilet, easy to access bathtub and textured flooring for safety, and much more. Before you ask your little one whether she wants to use the restroom, check first to see if it is child friendly.
Lead by example
Toddlers trust their parents more than anybody else. If your child sees you doing something, she will most likely do it too. For instance, if your child sees that you are comfortable using public restrooms, the chances are that she will also feel comfortable using them. On the other hand, if you don’t like using them, your child will also not feel comfortable using them. If you want your child to tell you when she needs to use a public bathroom, you need to lead by example to let her know that it is okay using public bathrooms. Don’t use a public restroom and then start complaining later. When your child sees you coming out of the restroom happy, she will know that it is safe and comfortable and thus interested in trying it out. It is relatively easy to convince your child that the bathroom is safe if she sees you using them than if you rarely use them or always say negative things about them. So, lead by example and always be positive.
Don’t punish or shame your kid.
The last thing to do to your child when she pees or pops in her pants in public is punishing or shaming her. There must be a reason why your child did not tell you why she needs to use the restroom. Shaming or punishing her will only create more anxiety. Instead, comfort and assure her that everything will be fine. Show empathy and let her know that you respect her feelings. When she has finally cooled off, try to inquire why she was afraid to tell you that she needed to use the bathroom. Make necessary adjustments based on the reasons she gives you to make her comfortable enough to tell you next time she feels going to the restroom when she is in public.
Don’t stop using public restrooms because your child is afraid.
Just because your child is afraid of using public restrooms does not mean that you should not encourage her to use them. Sooner or later, your little one will need to use public restrooms. Therefore, it is crucial to encourage her still to use them. Heeding to your toddler’s request will only confirm her fears that public bathrooms not safe or comfortable.
Remember that encouraging her to use the bathroom when she is afraid does not mean punishing her. Instead, you are teaching her to overcome her fears. Try to encourage her that bathrooms are safe and comfortable. Also, lead by example to give her the much-needed confidence to try it out. She will not overcome her fear immediately, but with your reassurances, she will overtime get over it.
Reduce noise levels in public restrooms
One of the primary reasons most children are afraid of asking to use the bathroom is nigh noise levels in public restrooms. Toddlers are very sensitive and don’t like high noise levels, especially when they are unfamiliar.
When going to public places with your little one, it is recommended that carry kid-size headphones or earmuffs and let her wear them when she goes to the restroom. These devices will reduce noise levels and make her more comfortable and relaxed while in the bathroom.
Also, avoid taking your kid to restrooms with a lot of stalls. Instead, take her to a family-friendly bathroom. Also, avoid bathrooms that flush automatically. Toddlers freak out, especially when the toilet flush get them by surprise. If all bathrooms have an automatic flush system, first cover the automated flush system before allowing your child in. Also, let your kid leave the bathroom before you flush. Carrying hand towels from home will also help because she won’t need to use the hand dryer (which is also scary) to dry her hands.
Another thing that children don’t like is water splash when they are popping. This is a big concern, especially for children who used to pop in a potty chair with no water. The best way to address this problem is by first dropping toilet paper into the toilet before allowing your child in. This way, water will not splash when she is popping.
Take your child to different restrooms.
Taking your child to different public restrooms makes her more comfortable to open tell up when she needs to relieve herself. If your child is only used to a particular bathroom is a specific public space, the chances are that she may not tell you that she wants to use the bathroom when you go to a different spot that she is not used to. Therefore, it is recommended that you take her to different restrooms to get used to them. Your child will benefit from exposure when you take her to a variety of different unfamiliar bathrooms.
Go somewhere fun
Where you take your toddler to will determine whether she will feel free to open up and tell you if she wants to go to the bathroom or not. If you take your child somewhere fun with many great things that distract her, the chances are that she will tell you if she wants to go to the bathroom. This is because she will want to stay there for as long as possible. So, if you want your child to tell you if she wants to use the bathroom, take her somewhere fun where she will enjoy it. If she does love the place, she may be afraid to ask to use the bathroom.
Offer a lot of praise and rewards for every positive step.
Every positive step that your child makes regardless of how small they are should be celebrated and rewarded. Reward her for every bit of progress she makes, and if she is not ready yet ready to use a public bathroom, don’t push it. Respect her decisions and keep encouraging her until she finally gains confidence and starts using the bathroom. Even is if she enters the bathroom for 1 minute then comes out, it should be celebrated because it shows that she is finally gaining confidence. Toddlers like being appreciated and showing her that you recognize the small effort she has made will encourage her to keep going.
Take things slow
Please don’t push your child to like something that she is comfortable with overnight. That will only make things worse. If she is not comfortable using a public bathroom, don’t push her by issuing threats. Instead, encourage her by gradually exposing her to pubic bathrooms. Your child’s confidence will grow over time. You only need to keep the fire burning to ensure that the does not slip back on the little gains she has made.
Let your kid help in the clean up.
If your little one has messed up because she was afraid to ask to use the bathroom, it is recommended that you involve her in the cleaning process. Make sure your child knows that if she messes up, then she will be the one to clean the mess. This is not a punishment but a lesson to responsibility and independence. If your little one knows how to use the bathroom at home, she can clean up her messes. However, how you approach the issue matter a lot; make sure your child doesn’t see it as a punishment but rather a lesson to independence and responsibility.
Don’t go back to diapers.
The thought of buying your child diapers may pop up is she messes up every time you go to a public gathering. Of course, it is annoying to find out that your baby who knows how to use the bathroom peeing or pooping on her pants simply because she was afraid of asking to use the bathroom. To avoid embarrassment in the future, you may be tempted to switch back to diapers. Please don’t be tempted to switch back to diapers because you will be validating your kid’s action. Let her know that days for diapers are long gone, and you are not planning to buy one since they are just as good as using the restroom. When your child knows that diapers are out of the question, she is more likely to step up and ask the next time she wants to use the bathroom.
Carry a potty seat
You can make an unfriendly bathroom friendly to your kid by bringing her potty seat. Your toddler will feel more comfortable and ask you to use the bathroom if she knows that she will use something comfortable and familiar with it. Most kids fear falling inside the toilet, so choose not to ask to go to the bathroom when pressed. If you are sure that your child fears going to the bathroom because she is afraid of falling inside, carry a potty seat, then fit it on the public toilet to assure her that she won’t fall inside.
Explain the consequences but don’t fault her
If you plan to take your child to a park and suspect that your child may not tell you that she needs to use the bathroom, talk to her before leaving the house and let her know the consequence of her actions. Tell her that if she pees or pops on her pants, her playing time will be reduced. Also, let her know how she will benefit if she opens up and let you know that she wants to use public restrooms. Also, assure her that the public bathroom is clean, comfortable, and child friendly, and if she uses it, then her playing time will not be disrupted.
Dealing with a child who is afraid to express herself when she wants to use the bathroom is challenging and frustrating even for the most patient parents. It is also confusing, especially if your child no problem using the restroom when at home. However, even if dealing with this problem is challenging, it does not mean that it is impossible to fix it. With patience, compassion, love, training, and assurance, your child will slowly overcome her fears and start asking when she wants to use a public bathroom.