My children are long-past the toilet training phrase, but being back to work in the skies as a flight attendant has triggered some memories of that era and the challenges parents face during the potty training era.
While more and more airports are becoming family-friendly, airlines likely won’t be installing child-sized toilets anytime soon. Over the holidays and on weekends, I watch parents nudge, urge and beg their toilet training tots to go into the lavatory during flight. The kids are normally wide-eyed with faces that reveal curiosity or downright fear. Who can blame them?
Aircraft lavatories look nothing like regular restrooms. Sometimes the flush handle is hard to find or there is a push button instead. As for the sinks, you also have to push a button or hold the handle down to get the water running. The space is also very cramped which makes squeezing a child and parent in no easy feat.
The most intimidating though are the toilets. Instead of white porcelain they are usually gray and instead of holding clear water the bowls have “blue juice” or no liquid all because they flush by vacuum.
Sometimes parents walk out of the restroom with their kids and say, “They won’t use it. I hope they can hold it.” Yikes. Me, too!
I’ll tell you a secret to getting kids comfortable with an aircraft lavatory, bringing in something familiar – and I don’t mean their stuffed animal.
I’m talking about seat covers. While the white disposable seat covers found in public restrooms probably come to mind first, a quick search on Amazon.com will reveal a number of different types of toilet seat covers designed for children. Some line the seat, others have tape so the covers don’t fall off, but the type that stands out and appears to work best for an aircraft lavatory are the colorful PottyCover Toilet Seat Covers. The cover drapes over the sides and the front of the toilet to keep away germs and wetness (trust me, you don’t want your child sitting directly on the toilet seat anyway) but what makes PottyCover’s ideal for aircraft lavatories is how they hide the toilet so the child feels less intimidated.
The key to using these seat covers is to use them anytime you’re in a public place and even at home, before you fly. When it’s time to use the restroom, it’s something familiar to the child.
Being that everything is new during travel, using seat covers regularly may help ease your child’s tension, especially during the toilet training years, and hopefully that will help keep the potty training progress moving along while you’re traveling and flying.