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2.5 year old terrified of public toilets

(5 Posts)
alittlehelp Fri 14-Apr-17 19:54:44

Just wondering if anyone has experienced this and any tips for dealing with it. My ds developed a fear of public toilets a few months ago, which I think originally stemmed from the noise of the handdryers but is now just about the toilets in general and probably a bit to do with feeling claustrophobic as well (he's upset even if the toilet has no handdryer). I have never seen him so distressed about anything else, proper traumatised sobbing and begging to be taken out. Now as soon as we are out and he feels like he's going to poo he tells me he wants to go home, and he has even started wanting not to go out at all.

I have tried putting on the hairdryer at home while he's having his nappy changed to get him used to it - this makes no difference as he has no problem with the noise of the hairdryer even though it's almost identical, so it doesn't help. I've also tried watching youtube vids of little kids messing about with handdryers which he found funny but as soon as I asked him if he wanted to go and try one he got very upset and said no. We've just avoided them altogether for several weeks but his fear seems to be getting worse not better, and he starts crying at just the mention of going to the toilet when we're out (I don't make him go but often offer when we're out, even suggest we go in to have a look at come straight back out again, but he won't go in). So we're stuck staying very close to home and going home when he needs a nappy change (not ready for potty training yet).

We are at the point where I wonder if it's better to bite the bullet and just pick him up, take him to the toilet and do the nappy regardless of how upset he is, as otherwise I feel it's only going to get worse, and I don't want to keep restricting us in where we can go for outings as that will do him no good either.

What do people think? Any ideas very much appreciated! xx

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 15-Apr-17 10:31:56

It will cure itself in time. My DS was very scared of hand dryers too and it took a while to stop but it did stop.

In the meantime, I wouldn't mention going to the loo. If you need to go and you two are out alone he'll have to come, if you are with another adult he could stay with them. If you are going out in the car, could you do his nappy changes there?

Trb17 Sat 15-Apr-17 15:57:52

DD was like this just after she was potty trained. Refused to go in the public loos (crying etc) but would go in ones inside cafes or pubs etc. It was the 20p ones with metallic walls and automated doors she hated. In time she outgrew it. A bit of bribery helped along the way too.

NotCitrus Sat 15-Apr-17 16:07:02

Mine did a bit of this. We did have a phase of checking out toilets everywhere we went but not using them, which made them happier when I needed to use them with child in tow.

What about trying toilets at the houses of all your friends to see who has the best?

alittlehelp Sat 15-Apr-17 19:01:56

Thanks very much for the suggestions! I think we might try not talking about them at all for a while and avoiding where possible. Hopefully he will appreciate bribery a bit more soon and then we can use that too. Looking at toilets at friends houses also a good idea xx

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