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Creating a Calm & Welcoming
Bathroom Environment

There are many sensory factors that can affect the toileting process. Your child may be either hypersensitive to sensory input or be hypo-sensitive and have low sensory awareness. Sensory issues may cause your child to feel anxious and stressed in the bathroom. Try various calming techniques to make the toileting experience and the bathroom environment welcoming and relaxed. Relaxation is key to successful toilet training.

To help your child relax and to minimize his negative reaction to the bathroom, try:

  • Playing some calming music; use a white noise machine to cancel out upsetting noises.
  • Reading a favorite book
  • Keeping noise, including conversation, to a minimum
  • Turning on the water if it is not distracting
  • Singing a special song together
  • Providing some tactile toys that tend to be calming
  • Having your child help to set up the bathroom environment at a non-toileting time
  • Experimenting using soft soap, foaming soap, or bar soap
  • Placing a stool under your child’s feet to promote stability; feeling his feet on the ground will help your child feel more secure and help him regulate his body
  • Making the bathroom “scent-free”
  • Using moistened wipes instead of toilet paper(although these should not be flushed)
  • Dimming the lights if they are too harsh and/or too bright

For additional tips on making the bathroom a comfortable and inviting place and to encourage your child’s participation in the toileting process, see TIPS For Living Life To Its Fullest: Establishing Toileting Routines For Children by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

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