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Is your child ready for potty training at nursery? Here's the place for all your toilet training questions.

Potty training

Scared of hand dryer

28 replies

scaredofdryer · 24/08/2023 19:45

Outing so name changed.
My little one is petrified of hand dryers. So much so that he won't wee In any other toilet that our own or family member where he knows there's no hand dryers. Otherwise we've been having wild wees! What I've started doing is taking him to the toilet with me and just not using the dryer to dry my hands but he is shaking when I take him in. What on earth do I do?! Just keep taking him for a wee outside??

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Barfvader · 24/08/2023 19:46

My eldest was like this. He would cry 'not the hairdryer!' When we went into a public toilet. He grew out of it. I just brought him to the toilet as usual and we never used it. It will pass.

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MotherOfGodWeeFella · 24/08/2023 19:46

Can you turn it around and make it fun in some way?

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Branleuse · 24/08/2023 19:47

God I hate those hand dryers. Can you try him with ear defenders

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Keroppi · 24/08/2023 19:51

so common! I just never used them and reassured DC we wouldn't use them. A soft play local to me put a print out of a lion over theirs, so you could say the sound was a lion roar, you could perhaps do something like that

If it's quiet go in disabled/baby change cubicles and plan your days out around places with the most accessible and easiest loos lol

Perhaps a bribe for doing wees elsewhere, a sticker or choc button etc so positive association

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BodegaSushi · 24/08/2023 19:53

Oh my love, this isn't outing one bit! I work with children and have never met one who wasn't terrified of them 😂

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bluebellmountain · 24/08/2023 20:01

My son is 5 and he will not go in a public toilet, I couldn't even drag him in as he just goes completely hysterical.

Once I was so desperate to go I had to pick him up and take him in he was so upset screaming don't use the hand dryer over and over. Some horrible woman put the hand dryer on, I get she has every right to use it but I couldn't get my head how someone could do that to a distressed child!

Anyway, we use the accessible toilet, even if there is a hand dryer he trusts that I won't activate it. Even then he's on edge panicking about how close we get but he can manage.

I know it's controversial and many people think he doesn't have the right to use it, however he needs to be able to access a toilet and that's the only way!

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WeWereInParis · 24/08/2023 20:12

This is really common. My eldest was like this, and just the other day I heard a mother in a public loo reassuring her child "no I won't turn on the dryer! I've said I won't, don't worry!"
And a few times other women have asked me if my DD is ok with the dryer before they've turned it on, I assume because they had children/grandchildren who didn't like it.

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teaandtoastwithmarmite · 24/08/2023 20:26

My DD hated them as well

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fearfuloffluff · 24/08/2023 20:33

Can you do a kind of aversion therapy showing him other noisy things - like a fan, hair dryer, food mixer etc and work up? Explain why it makes a noise and that there's nothing there to hurt him. Then go somewhere at a quiet time, use ear defenders, give a reward if he goes in a public loo - work up to full toilet, it could be just going through the door or washing hands etc.

Hand dryers are bloody loud but they're also much louder for children as they're at head height. I seem to remember some enterprising child trying to challenge them being positioned like that.

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staybyyou · 24/08/2023 20:44

My kids are pretty terrified of them, I just try not to make a big thing of it. Just say 'we won't use them' as we walk in, let them fuss and cover their ears, say 'yeah they are quite load' when someone inevitably uses one whilst we're in there (with both of them screeching about it), and then do a quick hand wash and we all walk out breathing a sigh of relief. Having kids is such fun Confused

I wouldn't avoid them as they will get used to them eventually, they kind of have to if they ever want to go out anywhere.

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wellingtonsandwaffles · 24/08/2023 20:45

I had a ds who had major meltdowns over the thought even of someone else using one while we were in a public loo and it got so bad he refused to go into public toilets. In the end we used the disabled which often are baby change units too. No fear of someone else using! I figured many kids his age were still being changed in there, and this phobia was definitely debilitating, though many would say i was unreasonable to have done this. Got us through though!

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Pammela2 · 24/08/2023 20:57

It’s pretty common! But you should expose him to the public toilets to show there really isn’t anything to worry about. Just try and not use hand dryers if possible.
My daughter used to be scared and now will use them!

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Alwaystired2023 · 24/08/2023 20:58

My 3 and a half year old hates the hand dryer, we just dry our hands with tissue when out and avoid any public loos with them in... baby change rooms etc are useful as large and can avoid!

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Cornishclio · 24/08/2023 22:32

Lots of children hate them. Neither of my granddaughters will use them in public toilets as they are so loud and youngest is ASD. Just tell him you won't use them or give him ear defenders.

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GreenCereal · 24/08/2023 22:42

I read somewhere once that hand dryers operate at some sort of frequency that hurts little kids ears (or something like that) - no idea if that's true or not, but definitely would explain it. Its so common for kids to hate them, I do think they grow out of it eventually.

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modgepodge · 24/08/2023 22:58

GreenCereal · 24/08/2023 22:42

I read somewhere once that hand dryers operate at some sort of frequency that hurts little kids ears (or something like that) - no idea if that's true or not, but definitely would explain it. Its so common for kids to hate them, I do think they grow out of it eventually.

I’ve also heard this and it makes sense - my daughter is also bothered by those cat alarm things which one of our neighbours have which I can only just hear and my dad can’t hear at all.

my daughter has always been utterly terrified of hand driers. Me reassuring her I won’t use it isn’t enough as obviously anyone else might. She’s now 4.5 and it feels like we are getting to the other side - although she is still terrified, a few times recently it’s gone off and she’s been like ‘oh, it’s not too bad!’

OP I think you have to just keep using public loos, encourage him to cover his ears.

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SnapdragonToadflax · 24/08/2023 23:03

My 4.5 year old hates them too, he covers his ears and cries. It is getting a bit better lately though, so I'm hoping he'll grow out of it fairly soon. We don't use them, just shake - in fact I never use them myself now, in case there's a scared kid in one of the stalls.

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Redshoeblueshoe · 24/08/2023 23:07

My GD hated them, when I took her I would always ask people if they could just wait a minute to use them so we could rush out.

Maybe MN could do a campaign
Just testing the edit button

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MyYoniSaysNoni · 24/08/2023 23:08

My dd was scared of them too. Until one day one of my friends told her all about how they have little friendly dragons living in them. The dragons go to dragon school and have to learn how to blow warm air and need lots of praise, etc, etc. It was a whole story about these dragons that needed lots of praise and they could be a bit shy so they wouldn't blow for just anyone, only for polite people.

Which meant i spent far too much time 'talking' at hand driers with my toddler in public toilets, praising them for their amazing warm air blowing abilities. And thanking dragons. We must have sounded absolutely insane, but it worked to stop the fear.
.

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scaredofdryer · 25/08/2023 14:47

Thank you all so much.
I've been taking him in still and he won't go to the toilet. I haven't turned on the dryer if I've been in. It's so hard because he's holding it in until we can get to a secluded spot

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eurochick · 25/08/2023 14:53

GreenCereal · 24/08/2023 22:42

I read somewhere once that hand dryers operate at some sort of frequency that hurts little kids ears (or something like that) - no idea if that's true or not, but definitely would explain it. Its so common for kids to hate them, I do think they grow out of it eventually.

They are also at the height where they get the brunt of the noise. My daughter was petrified of them when she was younger and is still not a fan at 9.

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scaredofdryer · 25/08/2023 18:55

@MyYoniSaysNoni that's lovely!! That actually might work for him!! Thank you

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scaredofdryer · 25/08/2023 18:56

I have got some ear defenders. I'll try that. It's such a shame as he's done so well with potty training and then now he's too scared to go.

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LauderSyme · 25/08/2023 19:02

This might be completely out of scope irrelevant to your situation OP, but looking back, my ds's extreme fear and distress around hand dryers (from birth) was one of the very earliest indications of his much later ASD diagnosis.

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IvanTheDragon · 25/08/2023 19:13

I've also got one who is terrified of hand driers - if we have her headphones or winter ear muffs with us I let her have those, and if there is a baby change single-occupancy loo we use that. I make lots of making reassuring noises and praise when she manages to stay calm.

I've recently bought a Whizzer to take with us instead of the travel potty, and that might be a handy thing to have? https://kiddiwhizz.com/products/whizzer-kids-portable-travel-toilet - not to use exclusively to avoid hand drier moments, but good to have an option in the back pocket if he literally can't relax enough to urinate in a public loo.

We also know that our local library has no hand driers, so always make a pit stop there when on the high street.

My friends tell me it will get better! Hang in there!

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