My three year old was doing great with potty training until we visited the museum and an automatic toilet flushed unexpectedly. He now screams and cries when we take him into any public bathroom. How can we help him get over his fear and handle these flushing monsters?
Dear Flushed Away:
Automatic toilets can be disconcerting to both adults and children when their powerful flush whooshes unexpectedly. For young children teetering on the edge of the seat and just beginning to trust in this whole toileting experience, the rushing water and powerful suction can be terrifying.
A quick and easy fix for the automatic toilets is to place a sticky note over the sensor. This prevents them from flushing until the paper is removed. Carry a pack in your purse or diaper bag and make sure anyone with whom your son goes out into the world does the same.
Your son will take some time in trusting that this will work. You will need to explain how it works and let him test it out. Even with this he may need to test it each time and may be apprehensive about going into the bathroom. Assure him you will prevent the flush until he is out of the stall and be patient with him.
If you forget the sticky notes you can also put your hand over the sensor, holding it there until your son is finished. If he needs any assistance pulling his pants up and down, this can be a bit tricky but it works in a pinch.
Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.