Why Is My Child Crying On The Potty?

What To Do When Your Child Is Crying On The Potty

Your toddler cries when they miss their nap. Your toddler cries when their Cheerios get too soggy. Now, your toddler cries every time you mention potty training. When will it end?! Let’s be honest, toddlers are small crying machines. Crying may be a great stress release, but to successfully potty train we need to curb those tears.

We’ve all let a tear or two slip out while we’ve sat on the toilet. The only difference between us and our toddlers is that we can pinpoint the cause of our emotions. Unfortunately, due to a lack of language development, it can be quite difficult for your toddler to tell you what about potty training is making them cry.

There are three main reasons why the potty could be bringing tears to your toddler’s eyes. Whether you are potty training a boy or a girl, remember that crying while potty training is normal behavior! Once you get to the bottom of the tears you will be able to start successfully helping your toddler become a toilet master.


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The 3 Reasons Your Toddler Cries When Its Time To Potty Train


Reason #1: The Toilet Is Scary

It’s okay to giggle at the fact that your toddler thinks the toilet is scary. It’s something you use every single day without giving it a second thought. So, it could be easy to forget that this is all new territory for your toddler.  If your toddler cries before even going into the bathroom, your toddler is most likely afraid of the toilet.

In this situation, there are two main things you can do to help reduce fear and tears.

  1. Bring your toddler into the bathroom with you when you have to go. This is a great way for your toddler to see how the toilet works firsthand without the pressure of using it themselves. Toddlers are great at playing copycat. If they believe that you love using the toilet, their fear of this loud, porcelain, water sucker may diminish.

  2. If the toilet is just too overwhelming for them opt to buy them their own tiny toilet. I recommend finding a potty training toilet that your toddler is excited about. Potty training toilets come in many different colors and decorations today, so pick one based on your child’s liking.

My favorite fun potty training toilets:



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Reason #2: The Fear Of Releasing

How could we forget this hilarious video of a toddler crying because he flushed his poop down the toilet? While this kid’s meltdown became Youtube famous, your toddler’s meltdowns are not making anyone laugh. Toddlers who cry right before they release or directly after are most likely afraid of losing a part of themselves.

That’s right, to your toddler their poop or pee is a part of themselves. Imagine if you went to go to the bathroom and your limb fell off into the toilet, and then you were expected to flush it!? It sounds crazy, but this is often how toddlers feel about their own waste.

The best way to help your toddler combat the fears and tears of letting go of their waste is to educate them. Children under the age of three often can not separate fantasy from reality. In your toddler’s brain, the poop that fell out of their bottoms is a part of them. Teaching your child that there are parts of our body that can come off, or out, without causing pain is very important.

Be a calm and strong force for your toddler during this time. If they feel that you are there to protect them from harm, they will be less afraid of releasing. Allow your child to take their time saying goodbye to their waste in the beginning. The more your child uses the bathroom the more comfortable they will get with saying goodbye to their poop. You can even make up a fun song to sing when it’s time to flush.

Reason #3: Your Child Is Not Ready

Potty training needs to develop in a natural way. If you force your child to start potty training before they are ready you are going to be dealing with a lot of tears. Even if your child seems too old to be in a diaper, you need to let them progress at their own rate. How do you tell if your toddler is ready to potty train?

Look for these common three signs:

  1. Your toddler can hold their bladder or bowels for more than two hours at a time.

  2. Your toddler is starting to ask lots of toilet questions and enjoys observing your trips to the potty.

  3. Your toddler keeps telling you they want to be a big boy or girl.


If you believe that your child is ready to start potty training but still gets teary-eyed in the potty training process remember that this is normal. Children have a much shorter attention span and threshold for patience than we do. Stopping constantly to try to go potty, pushing out poops and having accidents is enough to make anyone cry. Allow the tears to flow and be there to support them.

Final Thoughts

Your child may be currently sitting on the toilet crying, but this is still a time to celebrate. Potty training can be one of the most stressful parts of raising a toddler and you are tackling it like a champ! Use this knowledge to get to the bottom of your toddler’s tears, and help your toddler overcome their fears.

BONUS: What to do if your child is constipated?

Constipation can become a major setback during potty training. It is downright uncomfortable and can make any toddler upset. Stay on top of your toddler’s bowel movement. If they are a morning pooper, try to get them onto the toilet first things. Keep fluids flowing, and fiber plentiful. Also, remember that junk food and fast food can upset your toddler’s tummy. So, try to keep their diet and fluids consistent and healthy.

If you are ever concerned about constipation or infections, reach out to your toddler’s pediatrician. Do not ever hesitate to ask your pediatrician about anything toilet-related. While this may seem like a private matter to us, I promise your toddler’s pediatrician gets asked potty questions numerous times a day.

I’ve Got You!

Not too long ago I was in the same boat as you. I  had a REALLY tough time with my daughter. She was so afraid of the potty, she would literally scream and break out in cold sweats. I had tried everything to potty train her, I read every article and every book. I was so stressed out with all of the LENGTHY information.
If you’re experiencing anything close to what I went through with my daughter, Brianna, then I feel for you! Which is why I created The 3-Day Potty Plan and started offering one-on-one support. Say goodbye to diapers once and for all! Get started with my tried and true 3 Day Potty Training Plan!


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