Toilet Trouble: Public Bathrooms
Going to the bathroom is a private event, so it's natural for kids to grumble about a bustling, noisy -- and let's face it, sometimes smelly -- public restroom. Your kid will never love going potty there, but you can make things easier by planning ahead and making sure he sees you using public bathrooms, whether it's at church or the mall.
Help him get comfortable with the process by making a couple of visits when he doesn't actually have to go, recommends Lawrence Balter, Ph.D., a psychologist in New York City. If he's fearful of the different loud sounds, point them out casually. Say, "Oh, look. When you press the button, it makes a noise and blows air to dry your hands." The next time you stop in, ask if he'd like to press it.
As for those toilets with a sensor? A surprise flush can scare any kid into refusing to use one ever again. Dr. Balter suggests the same method. "Before he even uses the toilet, have him stand in front of it, then calmly tell him, 'You don't even have to press anything and the toilet will flush down this paper for us.' " And if your child really has to go -- right now? Clever moms carry a few Post-it notes in their purse. Stick one over the "blinking eye," and it won't flush until your kid wants it to, so he can pee in peace.