Going to the toilet is such an important, necessary and regular activity but how much do we consider making this our best room in the house? Toilets, of course, need to be functional, practical, and hygienic but as a result can often be cold, austere, and sometimes unpleasant places in which to spend our ‘pennies’ or #2’s.
We have all had ‘that’ toilet room experience. The cold toilet seat in winter, a green frog under the rim, unpleasant odour, ‘crappy’ toilet paper that slides rather than absorbs. The list goes on. I know that I will postpone my urge to desperately try to find a better toilet to empty.
So, here’s a shout out to that often-neglected, little but important room. Creating a welcoming environment can be a key for us to relax and feel safe to poo and wee. Can it be transformed into a better version to create a sanitary sanctuary?
The good news is you don’t need lots of $ but some creativity and thought.
Here are some ideas that you and your child could think about together and make a shopping list of the things to ‘jazz’ it up:
- Add some warming colours /palette into the toilet area. Plant in a coloured vase/change colour of towels or walls
- Softer lighting with a coloured shade or bulb
- Decorate and put up pictures; especially ones created by the child
- Add posters or removable transfers on the tiles/wall that interest the child. Pictures of child’s interests can increase engagement in the room. One of our children loves planets so spends their toilet sitting time exploring the galaxy in their toilet room.
- Think about obscuring windows – use wall coverings to help make the toilet private and feel safe
- Remove cobwebs and small insects, if these worry the child
- Think about the toilet paper; is it soft? Consider coloured or novel rolls to make it more fun
- Provide a toilet mat or washable rug to help soften sounds and for feet to feel warm / comfortable
- Consider a soft toilet seat or novel toilet seat to sit on
- Colouring or scent the toilet water, if pleasant to the child or if the child has a preferred colour. What colour shall we have this month?
- Scented / aroma vaporiser to disguise smells. The child may like to choose the scent as some smells can be noxious
- Soft closing lid to avoid that harsh, alerting bang when the lid is closed
- Child sized seat insert to feel safe on and not feel they are going to slide in!
- Favourite fiddle or sensory toys kept especially for toilet time. Choose ones that can be easily washed / wiped. Swap items about to keep novel and give choice
- Gentle music – calming and the genre that the child relaxes to
- Think about the room temperature – I know that I resist getting up in the night to go to that ‘cold’ toilet
- A liquid or visual timer- sand or other to help guide how long to sit for and be visually engaging
For those kids who need to use the toilet at night think about safety and getting to the toilet promptly:
- Sensor light or soft light left on in the toilet to help guide your child
- Night light in their room
- A torch beside the bed
- Is the child’s room close to the toilet – the shortest distance is optimal for those of us who need to go when they have got to go!
- Sleep on the bottom bunk
- Have a bell to ring if child wants to alert adult for some help
Its great fun to design and plan your new toilet environment so have fun and get creative.
Ros Pulman (Therapy Assistant).