Last week, I read an e-mail about a child that was scared of the potty. I know it FEELS a little crazy that your toddler is afraid of the toilet, but it is way more common than you might think! We have 10 parent-tested solutions for how to potty train a toddler when fear is involved.
Potty Training Advice When Your Kid is Scared of the Toilet
In fact, it is so common that many parents and teachers told us how they have solved this potty training fear at their home.
We talk about toilet training a lot around here, so I had to ask for advice from other families about how to handle when your child is scared of the toilet. We went to our vast community of parents, teachers and experienced care-givers with this question and got a variety of responses.
The cool thing is that this is something others have successfully tackled and you can too! If you have more suggestions, please add them to the comments of this article below.
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What to do when your child is scared of the potty
1. Make the Toilet Seat Hole Smaller on Kids Toilet
The little seats that sit on the big potty help little ones feel more comfortable. They make them with fun designs on them, so you could find one that would fit your child’s personality.
Toilet Solutions to Make the Potty Seat More Secure
- Mayfair NextStep2 Toilet Seat with Built-In Potty Training Seat – This is one of the best solutions because it doesn’t change the look of your toilet and it is still functional for adults as well! This traditional style toilet seat has an additional smaller ring that folds down with a slow-close hinge and can be removed when no longer needed.
- Potty Training Seat with Step Stool – This solution feels really solid and secure for little ones. If your child is having balance issues or a fear of being up high on the toilet, this will help because it comes with an attached step tool and handles along with a narrowing on the toilet seat opening.
- Potty training seat with handles – This is what I used for my three boys and it worked well. It has a non-slip surface and attaches securely to your home toilet. The handles are great for when kids are sitting down or when you need to remove it for an adult to use the toilet.
2. Potty Chairs are Less Intimidating When Toilet Training
Start with a training toilet. They are less scary, they are small and they are less intimidating. This totally makes sense! A child-size toddler potty usually has bright colors and kid themes and are scaled to fit their body size perfectly.
Our Favorite Potty Chairs
- This EasyGoProducts potty training seat works for both boys and girls with an ergonomic design and anti-splash feature. It is easy to empty and clean.
- This child size Nuby My Real Potty Training Toilet with Life-Like Flush button is just like the real thing! It has realistic training toilet noises that feels just like the adult version.
- The First Years Training Wheels Racer Potty System is easy to clean and easy to use.
- The Minnie Mouse 3-in-1 Potty system includes a potty seat, potty ring and step stool.
3. Potty Stools to the Rescue for Kids Toilet Ease
Provide a stool near the potty. We found that our son liked having the security of a place to rest his feet and to help him get onto the potty by himself.
Favorite Toilet Step Stools
- This Squatting Toilet Stool is foldable and comes in a bamboo material with natural color, ergonomic design and is non-slip.
- The original Squatty Potty Stool is adjustable with a 7 or 9 inch height and fits around the toilet allowing both kids and adults to use the toilet.
4. Encourage Distractions While on the Toilet Training
Give your kids a lot of books, crayons or even a tablet while sitting on the toilet (distraction is key here). Think about things he/she likes to do and make a play station in the bathroom around those items. A TV tray or small table might come in handy!
Put together a little basket of books for her to keep by the potty. She can feel a little ownership over the time.
5. Give a Bathroom Tour Prior to Potty Training
Before you officially start potty training, bring your little one with you to the bathroom and show them how you sit and go potty and how easy it is. I know this sounds super simple, but we often overlook the simple when it comes to problems!
6. Set a Stuffed Animal Potty Training Schedule
Role play using the potty by using their stuffed animal or dolls to “go potty”. Set a timer and have their favorite animal go on a schedule for awhile.
7. Cool Reactions Even When You Don’t Feel Like it!
Do not get upset when your child shows fear about the potty, it may take time for them to get used to the idea and there is no point in pushing them too hard.
Encourage her, and remember it may take time, but she will eventually overcome her fear. It is something new and can be intimidating for them.
8. Read a Potty Book Together on the Kids Toilet
Get some books on using the potty. There are some fun options that encourage little ones in potty training.
Fun Potty Training Kids Books
- Pottysaurus – Childrens padded board book about potty training
- Let’s Go to the Potty! – A potty training book for toddlers that comes in paperback
- Dino, The Potty Star – potty training older children, stubborn kids and baby boys and girls who refuse to give up their diapers.
- Potty Time with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Interactive Take-Along Children’s Sound Book
- Potty Patrol – A PAW Patrol board book about potty training
9. Watch a Potty Show Together on the Kids Toilet
As silly as it may sound, our son loved Daniel Tiger’s episode on potty training. The little son gets in your head, and your child’s, and it was actually very helpful!
Daniel Tiger Potty Song Video
10. Potty Train in a Weekend…Really!
Follow the tips in the book Potty Train in a Weekend. We loved the chapter on getting over hurdles like this one. And yes, I didn’t believe it was possible…but it is.
Why might a child be scared of the potty?
Fear of the unknown, loud flushing noise, or a past unpleasant experience can cause this fear. Often you may not ever identify WHY your child is scared to use the toilet so be patient and supportive while you work together to fix the issue!
What are common signs of readiness for potty training?
Showing interest in the toilet, staying dry for longer periods, and communicating about bodily functions. My experienced mom opinion would include waiting until you see more than one of these signs and not jumping into potty training because of the child’s age.
How can I help my toddler overcome their fear of the potty?
We have a lot of overcoming the fear of the toilet ideas in this article, but the bottom line is gradual exposure, positive reinforcement, and using a child-friendly potty seat can be helpful.
Is it normal for a child to regress in potty training?
Yes, regression is normal, especially during times of stress or significant changes in a child’s life. When a child regresses in potty training it can affect the entire family! And we, as parents often start to freak out. Stop and research it and identify what things might be causing it. Check out this information from the Cleveland Clinic for help.
More Potty Training Information from Kids Activities Blog
- Grab this really cool toilet step stool to make it easier for kids to use the potty!
- Toilet training? Get a Mickey Mouse Phone call!
- Try this toilet target for boys!
- Toddler potty training tips from moms who have survived it!
- Portable potty cup for kids can be soooo helpful when you have to be in the car for a long time.
- What to do when your child is bedwetting after potty trained.
- Does you’re 3 year old not go poop on the potty? Click here!
- Help for potty training special needs.
- Grab this target potty training…genius!
- How to potty train a reluctant and strong willed child.
- 5 SIGNS OF POTTY TRAINING READINESS
- And finally what to do when your 3 year old won’t potty train.
- Tips from moms on potty training!
What about you? Was your toddler afraid of the potty? Do you have advice for others?
Psst…Have you ever wondered should you have a third child? Us too!