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How can I helpp DD1 who starts reception in September and is terrified of using public toilets?? Long post sorry!

(12 Posts)
Rose50 Wed 06-Jul-11 15:47:55

Hello, not sure if this is the right section to post this in but here goes!
My dd1 is 4.2 and will start reception in September. Ever since I can remember she has had a fear of going to the toilet when we're out of the home. At home she happily goes to the loo by herself, but she still uses a trainer seat.
I think it started when she came to the toilets at a soft play centre with me once when I was pg with dd2. She was still in nappies but I took her with me, and it was a small toilet with the sink and hand drier in the toilet. The hand drier was very noisy and very sensitive and went off each time you brushed past it!!! This freaked her out (she's not great with loud noises anyway!). After that she used to panic each time I needed to use a public toilet. I've got a weak bladder at the best of times but when I was pregnant it was even worse!

Anyway she goes to pre-school in the mornings and has never been to the loo there. She is there for 3 hours so as long as we go before we leave the house she seems to be ok. She doesn't go very often during the day anyway, even at home.

Anyway today the children at pre-school were all going on a trip so before they left they did a "toilet run". The pre-school leader told me DD1 got very upset and refused to go - they didn't make a fuss about it and she was ok when she was out (no little accidents!)

My concern is how she is going to cope when she start reception in September as she will obviously be there for the full day and will need to go to the toilet there. We had our first visit yesterday to the primary school and we went to look at the toilets together - it was a real struggle to even get her to go into the toilet. The toilets which I think are only used by reception children has a hand drier.

I really have to force her to go when we're out and she panics the whole time we are in there, I have to hold her over the seat and she clings on to me for dear life. She also puts her fingers in her ears as soon as we go in, and begs me not to flush until she has left. As soon as we're done she runs out!
From what I can gather from the little information she gives to me - she's scared of the various noises and of sitting on the big seat.

I'm going to ask from advice from her new reception teacher, but just wanted to know if anyone had any ideas of how to help her conquer her fear. I don't want this to affect the way she settles at "big school"

Thanks and apologies for the long post!

Elibean Wed 06-Jul-11 15:54:00

Ah, bless her...my dd1 used to be scared of hand driers, too. Some are so high-force these days they scare me too.

I think practice, practice, practice...in as many public toilets as possible. And also, I would ask her what she thinks might help. My dds surprise me with their perception and logic on things like this - pick a calm time, and just initiate a discussion along the lines of 'hmm, I wonder if you can think of anything that might help you get used to doing a wee at school?'

Explain she will need to when she's a Big Girl at Big School (ie not for aaages yet, makes it less scary) and tell her how clever she is and ask her to come up with ideas. You could make suggestions - however mad sounding (sing a song while we do it, count, picture a superhero coming with her to make her brave, bring a small toy/doll/bear in with her) and see if she likes any of them, or comes up with her own.

Good luck - you're right, its a necessary one!

Indith Wed 06-Jul-11 16:04:11

My ds also gets scared of public toilets. He has other toilet issues so I've got a battle on my hands before school in September!

He was mainly scared of the hand drier. I go in ahead of him, I talk all the time about it beign ok, mummy won't use the drier etc. If there is a switch then I actaully turn the drier off at the wall! He is getting to the point where is a lot more confident about it and can actually cope if someone else is using the drier.

I big up the toilets and how fantastic and lovely they are before I go anywhere. What are the toilets like for the reception kids? Are they the child size ones? Can you go on and on about how fantastic they are, they are made all little specially for little boys and girls etc. Do you visit a Sure Start centre near you at all? They have little toilets and the ones around us at least don't have hand driers. Maybe you can attend things over the summer to build her up to it.

IndigoBell Wed 06-Jul-11 16:19:40

Also see if you can get her hearing tested for hypersensitive hearing.

If she has hypersensitive hearing she could find all of school challenging, not just going to the toilet.........

mrscolour Wed 06-Jul-11 20:39:44

My dd is scared of handdriers and hates public toilets. She has just finished her first year in reception.

At first she wouldn't go on her own - an adult would go with her and then she moved onto going with a friend. There are no handdriers at her school but there were at her preschool - her keyworker would switch off the handdrier when she went to the toilet.

Definitely let the teacher know so they can work out a plan. Might be worth taking her to show her toilets on her first day as well. Your dd will learn to deal with it as she'll have a choice - use the toilet or wet herself and I don't suppose she'll want to wet herself every day!

anthonytrollopesrevenge Wed 06-Jul-11 20:52:59

Agree with Mrscolour, do let school and teacher know. My DS and DD are exactly the same. I was so worried before DS started I talked to the school nurse and after she'd consulted with his nursery she said to give school a go and see if he could manage. The TA used to take him to the toilets and look after him. Before he started we met her and we all went to the loo together so he knew what it was like, this was arranged by the extremely helpful school nurse. And he had a special signal to give her to let her know he needed to go, he was to grin at her and wink, And it worked, he managed school and is fine now. DD is not so extreme, but neither of them have ever, ever pooed at school, they wait til they get home.

UniS Wed 06-Jul-11 21:18:11

do check if the school loos have hand drier or paper towels.
IF you live close ish to school it may be possible to do a few short visits to the classroom and take DD to check out the loo and wash hands. Teacher MAY let you do this just after home time. But I guess it depends on teh layout and size of the school. More likley at a small school I suspect.

dietcokeandwine Wed 06-Jul-11 21:39:06

Some good advice here - I'd also suggest that you work towards her stopping using her 'trainer' seat at home? (could you perhaps lend/give it to a younger child? and incentivise her with treats etc for using the big seat?)

That way she would at least be used to using the big seat at home, which would hopefully go some way towards eradicating at least one of her fears about public toilets.

The hand drier thing may well abate a little as she matures, btw. DS used to have an absolute terror of hand driers but now (7) he is able to tolerate all of them apart from those flipping Dyson things which I'm not keen on myself to be honest!

swash Thu 07-Jul-11 20:15:25

My dd wouldn't use the school toilets in reception. She could manage a whole day but I don't think it is very healthy. She agreed to use the large disabled toilet and the lovely TA used to take her there. In Y1 she was fine.

I would definitely talk to the teacher about this. They are used to toilet issues in reception im, so may well have some good ideas for managing this.

FallenAngel22 Thu 07-Jul-11 20:26:29

My DD still hates the hand driers in some public loos as they are so loud. I agree with practising and talking to the teacher about it. It won't be good for her to hold it in all day.

Rose50 Sat 09-Jul-11 08:59:10

Thanks everyone - very good suggestions. We have now tried her on the loo at home without her trainer seat and it went better than I expected! We'll be out and about lots over the summer holidays so will get lots of practise in using public toilets!!!
We have a meeting with her reception teacher next week so I'm going to ask her advice. She seems really nice and has 10 years reception teaching experience, so has probably seen this problem before!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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