When you start potty training your kid, visits to public restrooms can be particularly stressful. Communal restrooms are intensely loud and intimidating for young kids.
My little boy insists that the noise from hand dryers hurts his ears. And it turns out he could be right. A Canadian kid recently researched the noise levels of hand dryers and some models operate at about 110 decibels. That’s almost the equivalent of a rock concert, and most parents give their kids ear protection if they’re attending a loud concert. So, it turns out our kids’ fear of hand dryers is not unfounded.
Another terrorizing feature of the public restroom arena is the automatic-flushing toilet. My kid dreads the spontaneous “convenience” of this loud flushing that makes a harmless toilet seem like a crazy monster. No matter how many times I talk to him about how it works, he remains skeptical.
Between loud hand dryers and monstrous automatic toilets, the public restroom can become the fodder of nightmares.
So how do you navigate this war zone as you embark on your potty-training journey?
Find your toilet.
At the beginning, it’s a good idea to scope out the restrooms at places that you frequently go. See which ones have particularly obnoxious hand dryers or flushers and try to avoid them. Seek out good old-fashioned toilets without the mod-cons. Grocery store toilets can be a good place to find one!
Bring a secret weapon.
A simple post-it note can work wonders. Always carry one with you and place it over the sensor when you go to the restroom. This mom adds a cute note to hers that says, “No More Scary Flushes!”
Avoid the hand dryer.
Opt for hand towels instead and always carry wipes with you. As kids are smaller than adults, they are perfectly positioned to be barraged by the full unpleasant blast from the hand dryer, so it’s best to avoid it if your kid is sensitive to loud sounds.
If none of the above tactics work and your kid is really not having it, consider stashing a portable potty in your car. This useful travel one can save you on trips where you can’t find a decent restroom.
Offer a reward.
When your kid does have a successful trip to a noise-assaulting public restroom, be sure to acknowledge it. Offer a treat or a special outing to get ice cream or candy. Conquering the public restroom is one of the biggest milestones on your potty-training journey. Your next toileting hurdle: the Honey Bucket. Ugh!