Thursday, December 10, 2009

Flushing Toilet Fear

Plenty of children have fears about flushing the toilet. No wonder, it contains noisy, swirling water that whisks everything away , never to be seen again. It's fast, efficient, and inexplicable. And that's without mentioning that what it takes away is something the child made. Flushing is scary.

Acknowledge your child's feelings by trying to verbalize the source of his fears. Choose your words and watch your child's body language. You will see his body relax a little when you get it right. For example: "GET READY... HERE COMES THE LOUD FLUSHING SOUND" or "ROUND AND ROUND THE WATER GOES, UNTIL THE BOWL IS EMPTY AT LAST" or "YOU DONT LIKE THAT FLUSHER, DO YOU?"

Try to find the balance response where you recognize your child's distress and find the least disruptive solution. Will your child watch as you flush the toilet? Is it easier if he doesn't watch the content empty? Make it a game to close the lid, say "abracadabra" and then check to see if everything is gone. Or simply explain that you see that flushing scares him so you will flush it later, no problems. You might even talk about how scary it is in neutral settings, such as while on a walk or riding in a car. Tell stories and pretend to flush the toilet over and over.

Conquer the problem either alone or together, your child can stand back while you flush, he can wave bye bye or count 1 2 3 flush, or you might visit the water treatment plant to understand the mystery of were the poop goes. Sometimes your child learns to understand the complex and invisible system of flushing. Or, you may have to be patient and supportive as your child build confidence slowly.

Dealing With Automatic Flusher

Flushing fear becomes worse when your child discovers some toilets accidentally flush before he has time to get off. Public auto-flush toilets create a new set of fears inspired drama. Stay with the ABC response, but add new game to build confidence and control.

Do everything you can to minimize the surprise. Make it your public potty routine to check stall for auto-flush features. Again, potty age children love high drama, assume a superman posture and a tough guy voice, "OKAY, WE'RE COMING IN AND NOT AFRAID OF FLUSHERS." Pretend to shine a flush checking flashlight, "I KNOW YOU'RE THERE I KNOW WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO FLUSH." Keep your child engaged in the power play. Then, help him prepare for the auto flush again by talking to the flusher, OK FLUSHER, NO FLUSHING UNTIL IM READY. IM COUNTING 1,2,3" Your child learn firsthand to be brave in the face of his fear.