How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Thank you public toilet designer…

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Thank you public toilet designer for adding a year to potty training

Dear public toilet designer,

Thank you for developing a toilet that, when flushed, instantly sounds like a jet breaking the sound barrier. Thank you for adding a year to potty training. Thank you for scaring a year off my kid’s life. Thank you for teaching my kid that all of my reassurances that “it’s safe” have been lies.

— No Parent Ever

You’ve probably guessed that my toddler son, Lucas, and I had a run in with one of these. If so, you’ve guessed correctly. I’m not talking about a “row, row, row your boat” whirlpool of a toilet. This was the kind that seems capable of sucking little kids and half the known universe into its roaring porcelain mouth. My son doesn’t care for loud sounds or being sucked into bathroom fixtures.

I could say that it scared the s##t out of him, but it probably scared it into him. Forever. At least for a really long, forever-seeming while.

So, thanks, public toilet designer! And by thanks, I of course mean that I hope your car catches fire on its way off a cliff that forms the edge of a landfill loaded only with dirty diapers.


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32 Responses to “Thank you public toilet designer…”

  1. jenni says:

    We haven’t conquered public restrooms yet, but I’ve been told that either carrying a pack of sticky notes to put up over the automatic flush sensor or using a wet piece of toilet paper/paper towel for the same purpose is helpful. (IF you can ever get him back in there!)

    • Kat L-b says:

      I love the sticky note idea. I just started potty training my daughter ad we had our first public restroom debacle late last week. She’s so tiny and the toilet was so big that she was right on the sensor’s edge… making the toilet flush continually and scaring her into holding it all in… Ugh… Sticky notes… must buy sticky notes…

    • Andy says:

      Very smart. I’ll have to remember that. Meaning I’ll forget it five seconds after I submit this reply but I’ll regret the hell out of forgetting the next time one of those things implodes in front of my son. 😉

  2. josh says:

    We haven’t gotten past pregnant yet (26w), but am following your blog. One more thing to thank the public toilet designer for – removing the lid and allowing us to be sprayed by lovely, lovely, aerosol.

  3. Lacey S says:

    We’re starting the whole potty training thing, and at first my son thought the flushing was pretty cool… but the last few days he’s been getting more and more wary, finally running out of our HOME bathroom last night when I went to flush the toilet. I think we’re sticking to the kiddy-potty for a while and using the post-it-note trick for any public bathrooms we encounter. Sorry Lucas was traumatized 🙁

    • Andy says:

      Good idea. We’re doing the little plastic portable potty with good success. He’s alright, at least he’s not upset by them because we keep him away from them.

  4. Michele says:

    I went through that with my daughter. I learned the trick of hanging toilet paper over the sensor to keep it from flushing, but even then, she didn’t trust me. Even at 6 years old she sits on public toilets like she is ready to sprint off at any sign of it flushing. Thank goodness my son could care less if it flushes while he is on it.

    • Andy says:

      Here’s the thing, some of those things are so LOUD and so suddenly so that they startle ME. I didn’t have trouble with my older boys, just wound up avoiding the situation, but the littlest one? Yeah. Not a fan of public bathrooms. 😉

      • stacey says:

        I find the startling moment usually arrives only when one shifts their weight on the things. That and when there is just enough of a sensor read that comes off the back of your little ones head that the thing goes bonkers. The first time a public bathroom toilet went off (and I truly mean that. Sounded like an artillery detachment of the 3rd Infantry division set up shop in that Walmart bathroom) while I was changing my daughter she almost bucked herself right off the changing table. Good thing this daddy here insisted on the belt thingie…

  5. +1 to the post-it note idea. My daughter is convinced that those toilets have an “evil eye” that tries to flush her down the toilet if she is not vigilant. But worse than that, I think, are the airplane toilets that literally do sound capable of sucking one through the toilet and ejecting one into the vacuum of outer space. After a recent epic train/plane vacation that we just came back from, my 3-year-old is more happy to just finish going potty and then let me flush the toilet with her safely outside.

  6. I want to know what it takes to get one of those toilets installed at HOME! I’d really like to go & not worry about needing the plunger. Ever. TheBoy is going to need therapy for so many reason, so toilet trauma is low on the priority concern list.

    • mynameiswilbur says:

      My parents have one in their house. It’s a normal looking toilet with a tank inside the toilet tank that pressurizes and flushes with that same rocket boosted flush. When it was installed, the plumber took half a roll of toilet paper and flushed it with no problem. Definitely not a toilet to flush during the middle of the night though.

  7. Crystalyn says:

    Those things are no joke! We had one at work that would not only flush like a black hole, it also shot water ALL OVER THE PLACE. If you leaned forward too much it would flush while you were still sitting there and that was NEVER cool. Also, the light in that bathroom flickered in a very horror movie way. Worst bathroom ever.

  8. Katie says:

    I’ll be honest: I’m still terrified of those things flushing while I’m on it, and I’m a 26 year old. Those teeny tiny two year olds don’t stand a chance. 🙁

  9. Marilyn says:

    Ha! I thought I invented the sticky note trick for my first child. Those automatic flushing toilets really freaked him out. Never leave home without sticky notes! Worked like a charm.

  10. Amy says:

    My two year old still isn’t too interested in going potty on the toilet. Except at random times and random public potties more often then at home. Like the other day at the park he decided he wanted to go potty. The loud flushing doesn’t seem to scare him too much so I guess that’s good, but we haven’t had to deal with the automatic ones going off while he’s on one so we will see. I really don’t understand why he would rather go on the potty at a park or rest stop but not at home?

  11. Shain says:

    And then you have the hot air blower things that make your hands unpleasantly moist and warm by blasting you with uncomfortably hot air. And they set off whenever anyone walks past them, so if you have (just as a “for instance”) an autistic child who completely wigs out with loud noises and unusual sensations, a whole other world of “how long can you hold it in” begins…


  12. carol says:

    hahahahahaaahahaaa … omg … hahahahaaahahaaa … can’t … ahaaahahaahahahaaaaahaaaa … stop … hhahaahahehehahahahahaa … laughing … hahahahahaahahaaaa …………..been there. My son is 7 and still suffers from PTTS (public toilet trauma syndrome)

  13. Ceri says:

    Don’t forget the TURBO Dryers. i. hate. those. things. Auto flush is the first thing my son looks for (now 5) and he says “is it going to flush on me???” Post it notes… they are a life savor. I have him leave the stall before we flush now. It makes me realise, toilets that are unflushed when you walk in there, must have been left by a parent of a child who is afraid of them. Maybe now I wont mind so much…

    • stacey says:

      Although there is the healthy dose of lazy people out there. I truly find it doubtful that a small child can leave some the wonderfully fragrant loaf cakes you can find at times…

  14. Erica says:

    Reminds me of this scene from Look Who’s Talking.

  15. Laurie says:

    Oh poor kid! Those things can be freaky!

  16. For some reason there were auto flush toilets in the Kindergarten bathrooms at a school I worked at. One of the kids told the other students in his class that the sensor was a camera and an old man in the office pushed a button to flush the toilet when each person was done. Haha! Kids…

  17. Kippie says:

    I’d also like to thank them for the seats with the gap front and center. I have to put my kid on the potty side saddle.

  18. Desiree says:

    I was flying with a three year old girl who was scared of the toilet last year through the (Denver? Dallas? Vegas?) I-don’t-remember airport, and the autoflushing toilet wouldn’t stop auto flushing underneath her because she was too tiny to make it register what was happening properly, I was helping her not fall in to the ENORMOUS bowl, and every time I moved, it was interpreting that as time to make the horrendous sucking noise.

    She cried hard for a good five minutes.

    You can thank low-flow high-velocity toilet designers trying to save the world’s water for future use for this innovation. it’s a noble thought, but hey designer guy: If it flushes ten times before I leave the stall, it is NOT saving water anymore. You’re terrifying small children while defeating your own purpose.

  19. Terry says:

    I am a frequent censor blocker for our family, same issue a VERY loud toilet created some very real fears in our 5 year old child. One time it wasn’t block, my kid literally leaped off the thing (thank goodness was already done their business). Public bathrooms have been a pain for some time now and our kid still has concerns over the auto flushers and won’t use them by themselves. Thank goodness the one’s at school were manual!

  20. Drew says:

    I’d also like to thank Dyson for the airblade hand dryer. It sounds like machiary used to cut armor plating for army tanks.

  21. Aaron says:

    My daughter doesn’t mind the loud flush as much as she is terrified of it happening when she’s still sitting on the potty. So her brilliant, caring daddy figure out a trick. Just take a strip of TP and drape it over the electronic eye that triggers the flush! #DaddyHacks

    Unlike the sticky note suggestion, there’s nothing to forget!

  22. Rafie says:

    At one point, I thought it would be quite good to have the “jet sound” of toilet flush. So that it is clean. But, thinking of it that it may scare your child and add another year to potty training, yeah, I’d think twice. Probably try to flush it first. But when the child has to go, he/she has to go 🙂

  23. BkynMom says:

    So sorry to hear this. We have old-fashioned city toilets (no tank) that sound like this, and our son often runs from the room with his hands over his ears after flushing. For a good laugh on toilet training, check out the children’s book “Bertil and the Bathroom Elephants” — a truly bizarre tale.

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