Street Savvy

Life After Daytime Potty Training

She's absolutely brilliant! Your little girl has mastered the fine art of daytime potty training and you are both pleased with the results. She can wear cute clothing without having to straddle a huge wad of fabric and you don't have to deal with diapers-at least during the day. It's heaven. So, it's time now to tackle the big wide world and take her on a shopping trip, maybe for some groceries or a quick trip to the pharmacy. The car ride is uneventful and you manage to get her into a shopping cart. Suddenly, from the canned goods aisle her sweet and too-loud voice announces, "Mommy, I have to go potty. Right now, Mommy, I have to go now." You frantically race to the bathroom, disrobe the child and perch her over the toilet. The next announcement is even more stressful: "I don't like this potty, Mommy. I can't go in this potty." Now what? How can you prepare your child for a future event of this nature? Be sure of this, it will happen again.

Success Strategies For Outside The Home

The phase that follows daytime potty training, and the one nobody tells you about, is teaching your child to use a toilet other than her own at home. Daytime potty training can take a while, but teaching your child to use a toilet outside of home can be done in a reasonably short period of time. Employing some simply strategies will help your child overcome the fear of foreign toilets and life will be more pleasant for you both.

First and foremost, make a trip to the toilet mandatory before you leave the house. This isn't optional and by enforcing the rule that nobody leaves the house until they've all gone to the bathroom creates a routine that can easily keep things in check.

Scout Out The Restrooms

When you arrive in a mall or store, check out the location of the bathrooms. It's a lot less stressful when you know where the toilets are than if you're racing around with a crying child trying to find the restroom. Once inside the restroom, a new set of challenges arise. If the toilets are on an automatic sensor, you might want to consider covering the sensor with your hand until the child is off the toilet. A sudden rush of water on an unsuspecting bottom may wreak havoc and create fear. If your child is used to flushing at home, then this process is easier when you are out. Public toilets tend to be loud, so allowing your child to flush several times, even though she doesn't have to go, helps to remove the fear of loud noise. If she remains fearful, help her work through it as you would any other fear.

Oh, That Sure Smells!

Then there are the park restrooms. These, of all toilets, tend to be the dirtiest and most unpleasant. Bring along a plastic toilet seat cover, one she's used to, and the experience will be less challenging. By treating the condition of the public restrooms as matter-of-fact, your child will understand that these toilets are smelly and that's just the way it is. Carry a good supply of wipes, tissues and sanitizer in your purse when you're on a trip to the park.