yAOinLoVE/Fotolia

13 Moms Share How They Eradicated Their Kid's Fear Of The Public Restroom

Ad failed to load

Potty training is one of the worst parts of parenting. And just when you think it couldn't get more shoddy than trying to teach your child how to use a toilet at home, you're forced to brave the outside world with your potty-training child. And that, my friend, is when you descend into the seventh circle of hell: teaching your kids to use public bathrooms. Because, to toddlers, bathrooms are scary, and getting over their fear of the public restroom is a daunting, often overwhelming task. Yes, for all involved.

It's understandable, of course. I mean, I hate public restrooms, too. They're loud, gross, and you never know what to expect. Will there be toilet paper? Will the person before you flush? Will there be soap? In my experience, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding "no." To make matters worse, the automatic toilet flusher will inevitably go off before your child is done and scare the sh*t out of them, the door lock won't work and someone will walk in on you, the sinks will be too high for your little one to reach so you will have to prop them between the sink and your body to help them wash their hands, and the water will be too cold or too hot. Then the way-too-damn-loud hand driers will go off, your toddler will be startled and probably run out of the bathroom, leaving you with your baby on one hip as you try to dry your still-wet hands. Or worse, your toddler will throw themselves down on the floor and throw a tantrum... in a public restroom. Who the hell even knows what lives on those floors, you guys.

Fortunately, over the years and in my many conversations with experienced moms, I've learned (and tried) a few things to make taking your kid to the bathroom a little bit less scary and stressful. So far, my favorite is using your hand or a sticky note (if you don't want to touch a public toilet) to cover the automatic flusher, and carrying baby wipes and hand sanitizer in your purse so you can avoid sinks, towels, and driers entirely.

Ad failed to load

I know I'm not the only mom with some go-to tricks and tips to making a visit to the public restroom with a toddler as pain-free as possible, so I asked other moms to share their knowledge with the rest of us. Since you can't stay home forever, it's best to rip off the Band-aid and grab some provisions. It will be gross, sure, but it just might be a little bit easier to manage if you do some of the following:

Ad failed to load

Kate, 38

Giphy

"I let her leave the stall before we flush the toilet, because she doesn’t like the noise."

Emmalynn

"I covered my son's ears while he used hand dryers. The toilet flushing didn't bother him nearly as much as the air noise when there were no paper towels."

Brittany, 30

Giphy

"Buying post-its. We cover the auto-flush for them so it doesn't go off and make them forever afraid."

Ad failed to load

Trish

"My daughter was very afraid of automatic toilets. They'd start flushing before she even sat down and the noise scared her a lot. She could avoid the air dryers and other noise makers, but not automatic toilets. It was bad enough that she'd torture herself by waiting until we got home. I eventually got her to see the humor in it. She still hates them, but now she cracks jokes the whole time."

Lisa

Giphy

"I got a little fold-up portable seat, so my daughter wouldn't fall in. When she went, I covered her ears. She was terrified of the sounds of hand dryers and flushing toilets. I carried disinfectant wipes to clean the fold-up seat."

Katie

"My daughter was afraid of how big the toilet seats were, so I bought a travel potty seat insert and carried it when we went out."

Ad failed to load

Raven

Giphy

"My son always had a fear of the sound of the toilet flushing. It got really bad, especially in public restrooms, because of how loud the toilets were. We ended up buying him some noise-canceling headphones and that was pretty much how he got over it. Eventually he started going without them, and now they are collecting dust in a basket."

Angela

"I found some really fun Paw Patrol sticky notes in the Target dollar bin. Put one over the sensor of the automatic flusher, and you’re good. Paw Patrol to the rescue!"

Andrea

Giphy

"I got really tired of carrying the little potty seat around. Started turning my kiddos around backwards and that was much easier. Plus, they could 'poke the robot in the eye,' so it wouldn't auto-flush."

Ad failed to load

Katie

"She thought the toilet was going to suck her down, so I put a square Rubbermaid container in the toilet and flushed it and showed her how the container was way smaller than her and it didn’t fit at all, so there was no way she was going down it. She was also afraid of automatic flushing toilets, so we went in a public restroom and pushed all the doors open and danced wildly in front of them to try to get them all to flush at once and they didn’t bother her after that!"

Victoria

Giphy

"I get down on my knees and hold my daughter, so she feels safe and not worried that she will fall in. I use my hand to block the flush sensor and tell her when it’s going to flush — that way she can prepare herself and cover her ears. I never pushed her. I also have a potty in the back of my SUV. That potty is always available for her to use if she’s not feeling the public restroom. It’s not glamorous, but it works. People may look at me funny when they see a potty in the car, but whatever."

Elaine

"My son has an extreme fear of hand dryers in public restrooms. We try and use the parent rooms as much as we can, even though he's nearly 5 now, because that way we can control whether it's turned on. If we have to use a normal restroom, there's lots of talking about how it's not going to hurt him, and we make sure to use the cubicle furthest away from the wash area. He's slowly getting better."

Ad failed to load

Jody, 36

Giphy

"I'd like to get over my own fear of it first."

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}