Your child is playing happily with their toys on the floor. Great, you think, you can sneak off to the bathroom for just a few seconds and, you know, take care of business. Suddenly, a little person appears at the door, sobbing and banging on the door to be let in. And when all you’re trying to do is wipe, you might wonder why your child follows you into the bathroom — every time.
It’s not a surprise that most kids want to be with you 24/7, even if that means being with you in the bathroom. But when you’re trying to pee in peace, your child’s presence can be frustrating. That’s why it’s important to understand why it happens. “Your toddler follows you to the bathroom because they want to be with you!” says Devon Clement, a child behavior consultant and CEO of Happy Family After. “They are aware of your presence at all times, even if they don’t seem to be, because you’re the person who keeps them safe.” And since the bathroom is probably the only time you are separated from your child, they naturally want to follow you in.
So does this mean that you’ll never be able to poo privately again? Not necessarily. Clement points out that this behavior (and other less-than-desirable deeds) are completely correctable. “This is totally fixable by setting a boundary and consistently keeping it,” says Clement. “What most parents do is get exasperated, but let the child continue coming in.”
For starters, you’ll need to tell your child to not come into the bathroom while you’re in there—and not let them in. “It sounds simple, but it requires a lot of commitment and consistency,” admits Clement. “However, once the new routine of them not coming in is established, they won’t even try.” And if your child is too little to be left alone, you can always set up a contained area with some toys or even the TV to keep them entertained while you’re gone. You might even break out a toy that your child plays with infrequently to keep them occupied.
When you think about it, it’s not really a mystery why your child follows you into the bathroom all the time. They’re naturally curious, and they want to be with the person they love the most — even if you’re on the loo. But by being firm and consistent, you’ll ensure that you won’t have another invasion of the potty crashers again.