Potty Fears and Tips
Fear of “Letting it Go”
Poop– Fear of going poop on the potty is actually a very common fear. Many toddlers “hold in” their poop because they are afraid of letting it go. No one knows exactly why this happens but one theory is that toddlers think of their poop as part of their body, so they are afraid a piece of them will fall into the toilet or potty. A toddler who is afraid of pooping in the potty for this reason will usually be upset or even sad rather than excited after pooping. He/she also will be reluctant or even really upset when asked to wave bye or flush the poop.
Pee– Peeing on the potty is a little bit easier for a toddler to do than pooping, but for some there’s still that fear of “letting it go”. The same thing can be true as with poop, that they are afraid of losing a part of themselves. The feeling of letting it go into something other than a diaper, can be very scary. The diaper makes your toddler feel secure. Warm pee or mushy poop up against their butt is how they know to eliminate themselves. Now your asking child to just “let it go” into an open space. That can be very frightening for a child. Many toddlers are afraid of peeing on the potty.
- Be very patient with a toddler who is afraid of peeing or pooping in the potty.
- If he/she doesn’t want to do it, just back off for a while. Never force your toddler to go. You will learn quickly that this will only make things worse.
- Fear of letting it go is the hardest fear to conquer during potty training. Often a 3 day potty training guide is a life saver.
Here is my favorite program that will get you through fears of letting it go and just about every dilemma you will come across while potty training. Whenever you get stuck, just open your “bumps in the road section” and you will have a step by step solution right at your finger tips. Here’s the program.
- Offer lots of liquids. This has 3 benefits. First, it will obviously make your child want to go. Second, it will keep away UTI’s. Lastly, it will keep the stools soft.
- Watch for constipation. You may want to offer foods like prunes and pears to help your child go and to make the stools easier to pass. Enough of these fruits will make it almost impossible to keep the poop in. My daughter had a huge fear of pooping. She usually has at least 1 BM a day. When we started potty training she held it in. If by the end of the 2nd day she still didn’t go I would give her pears and within a half hour she went. Pears are gentler on the bowels than prunes and they still have the “laxative-like” effect. There’s no way of stopping a poop like that, and it helps with potty training.
- Talk and coach your child through it. My daughter was afraid of letting pee or poop go in the potty. I literally had to hug and hold her and gently whisper in her ear that it was going to be ok. I did this for days and within the first week her fear of peeing went away, and by the 2nd week the fear of pooping disappeared too. She is really good at it now, but still says “hold Mommy” when she needs to go. Hey if all I have to do is give her a hug while she’s doing her duty, I’ll take. You wouldn’t believe how horrible things were when we first started.
- Offer really awesome rewards. For a child with a big fear, he/she is going to need something a lot better than just a sticker. Potty training is extremely stressful for a child with a fear this strong, the incentive has to be a big one. We bought little toys from the dollar store. We had a stash in a drawer and she was so excited to get a new toy every time. Sometimes I gave her a small piece of chocolate (which is really a big treat, since she never gets that). Other times I gave her a popsicle. Your child has to feel, that this reward is really special.
- Cut a hole in the diaper for the first few tries. It will make your child feel secure will “letting it go” in the potty.
- When my daughter would hold in her pee for extended amount of time, naturally I was afraid of UTI’s. So I put her on her potty and put her feet in a basin of luke-warm water. This gave her the sensation of going, and also distracted her enough so that she could relax. I know you probably don’t want to keep pulling out a basin every time your child has to go. That is why I suggest you only do this for the first few times. Just to let your child know it is ok to let it go in the potty. This is also a good trick to use if your child has been holding it in for a very long time, and you don’t want to revert back to diapers just so he/she can release it in there.
- Running water. Works like a charm for some kids, doesn’t do a thing for others. But it’s worth a try!
Fear of Potty Itself
Not all toddlers accept the potty right away. Some are really afraid of the potty. A fear of the potty itself can be caused by many reasons. First and foremost it’s an unfamiliar place for your child to do his/her duty. Your child is just not use to the idea of going pee or poop somewhere other than the diaper. Here are some other reasons:
- Potty is hard or uncomfortable
- Potty is unstable on the floor, or it moves around too much.
- The opening is too big, so your child feels he/she will fall in.
- Not the right potty for your child. Toddlers are picky and like to be in control, make sure you allow them to pick their own potty.
- Read lots of books about the potty before you even have your child sit on it.
- Buy some potty training dolls to practice with. They have them for boys and girls Here on Amazon.
- Pick out a fun potty together. Make sure it’s something your child really likes.
- Decorate the potty together with stickers or write your child’s name on it.
- Play dress up and have fun with it! Have your child be super hero or princess. This may help ease your child’s fears.
Fear of Toilet
- If you are going to be potty training using a potty seat on top of the toilet, use books, toys, dvds to introduce the toilet.
- Make sure you have a sturdy stool that your child can confidently step on. Make sure he/she can reach it while sitting on the toilet, this makes your child feel more secure.
- Buy a fun potty seat but make sure it fits sturdy on your toilet. Any wiggle or movement can really scare a child that’s already afraid of falling in.
- Use blue food coloring. When your child pees, it will turn green. This amazes some children so much, they want to keep peeing in it over and over.
- Use “targets” such as cheerios. This works great for boys but also works for girls too.
Fear of Public Bathrooms
So now your toddler is potty trained but he is afraid of using public bathroom. Can you blame him? It’s an intimidating place, with lots of unfamiliar faces, noise, and loud flushing noises. It is very common for children to be afraid of going in public restrooms. Not to mention the automatic flush situation, that can be traumatizing if your child is not prepared.
- Before you go out in public with your potty training toddler, have him/her go in many different bathrooms that are not as scary as public bathrooms i.e. grandparents, relatives, or friends.
- Have a few “practice runs”, go somewhere for very short periods of time to see if your child is going to be able to hold it.
- Bring a portable and foldable potty seat like this one when you go out. It folds up and easily fits in your bag.
- Bring a portable potty or the Potette Plus.
- Take your child’s potty with you. Keep it in the car when he/she needs to go. Yes, that is my lovely daughter in the pic, in our car. I kept the potty in the trunk of our SUV. When she had to go I just put her right on it. Eventually we started using the foldable potty seat, but when we first started, bringing her own potty with us everywhere, was the key to her success. Yes we felt a little silly, but you have to do whatever it takes. After all, if your child is successfully potty trained, and rarely having accidents, that’s huge! So who cares if you have to lug around a potty. No one said successful potty training is defined by the use of public restroom or toilets.
Potty training in 3 days
If you are still having problems, have a difficult or stubborn child, or if your child’s fear is interfering with potty training. I recommend looking into a potty training program/guide. I highly recommend the “Start Potty Training Program”. I have tried other 3 day methods and this one is by far the best. It covers every topic and every bump you may run into. Without the “bumps in the road” section, I would have not been successful. That’s the best part of this program, and the other guides/programs simply don’t offer this. The program also available for download, so you can start right away. I started on a Friday evening, and by Monday morning my daughter was completely potty trained.