Let me tell you — never, since you first potty trained your little dancer — have you feared unexpected bathroom breaks more than on recital day! (I see you seasoned dance moms nodding yes!) It is exhausting to think about helping your daughter in and out of dance tights in a cramped public bathroom stall. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Here are some of my best tips gleaned from seasons dance moms and my own recital day experiences:
- Hydrate Early. It’s so important for your dancer to stay hydrated, especially as she’s about to go and physically perform! But, just like bedtime during the preschool days, we limit liquids before a performance. I try to push fluids during breakfast and throughout the morning, then cut her off to just sips two hours before performance time. This way, she’s hydrated but gets the opportunity to ‘Let it Go!’ before she goes on stage.
- What She’s Drinking Matters. Fluid is fluid, and it all needs to come out. But, I am very wary to make sure my daughter sticks to water and milk only on recital days (milk in the morning, water thereafter). Sports drinks and juice have a lot of sugar in them, which just exacerbates an already excited and nervous kid! I also may save the juice box as a bribe for after the performance.
- Set Limits. As I said earlier, it’s important to choose a cut-off time for liquids. After a lot of playing around with the timing, I found that limiting my daughter to sips only two hours before the performance works well for her bladder. It’ll take some experience for you to figure out what works best for your child.
- Set Potty Times. We all have it ingrained in our mom brains to have our kids go potty before leaving the house (it’s so ingrained that I even once asked my husband if he “went potty” before leaving. The look he gave me . . . ha!). Make yourself a potty schedule once you hear from the dance teacher about when you need to be at the venue and when you need to be fully dressed — then, schedule around those times. This is especially useful when you’re getting your daughter ready at the performance space, or if she’s in multiple dances. Any opportunity to use the bathroom when the tights are off is a bonus!
- Go Before Getting Dressed. Like many special occasions, putting on those tights and getting into a fancy dress is the last thing you do. We make it a point to head to the bathroom before this final step.
Now that you have a bathroom break schedule, emergencies do happen! Whenever that’s the case, just go with the flow (no pun intended). Running to the bathroom and taking care of business always takes precedence to being uncomfortable, or worse, having an accident on stage. Stay calm and don’t let your daughter see your stress. I promise she won’t be the only one with a need-now bathroom situation!