Mastering public bathrooms (ages 3 to 4)

Mastering public bathrooms (ages 3 to 4)

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Public bathrooms vary in size and quality – from the deluxe suites found in department stores to small, crowded stalls that most adults steer clear of whenever they can. If your preschooler is in the transition stage between diapers and underwear, it's often easier to use diapers when you go out (unless you know you're going to a place with child-friendly restrooms). It's too much to expect a preschooler who has barely mastered running to the family toilet to use a public bathroom, where he might have to wait in line or sit on a toilet seat that is very different from anything he's ever tried before.

If your preschooler is in underwear all the time, plan ahead for outings. Before you leave home, try to get your child to sit on the potty or toilet. Resist the impulse to say, "You have to go to the bathroom before we leave," because most children will tell you they can't. Just suggest that your child sit on the potty, and tell him it's okay if nothing comes out. Then hope for the best. Consider using public restrooms yourself (when your preschooler is with you) a few months before you begin the toilet-training process. This helps to show your child that it's okay to use public restrooms.

Once your child is fairly comfortable with using the potty at home, you can introduce him to using the toilet in a public restroom. When you arrive at your destination, find the bathroom – you'll need to know where it is and what's in store for you, and it helps to give your child a preview. Many parents carry tissue and wipes to use in bathrooms that are short on supplies. You'll have extra room if you use the stall for people with disabilities, but the seat may be elevated and your child will need extra help (use your knee to prop up his dangling feet).

An adult should always accompany a preschooler to a public restroom. Sometimes parents will need to be creative if using the facilities is awkward for a dad with a daughter, for instance. There isn't one perfect solution, although it helps to choose child-friendly destinations in the first place. A dad can ask a mother to take his daughter into the women's room or, better yet, look for a private family bathroom or a handicapped bathroom.

Watch the video: Using a public bathroom during the COVID-19 pandemic (June 2022).