What To Do When Your Toddler Is Terrified Of The Toilet
Your toddler thinks there is a monster hiding in your home. This monster is not real, but to your toddler, it is out to get them. This monster is better known as… the toilet.
A toddler’s fear of the toilet usually begins around the start of potty training. Some toddlers will fear the toilet more than others during this growing period, but to tell you the truth, this fear is completely normal. However, there are many amazing ways you can help your toddler overcome this fear during the potty training process.
Today, I’m going to break down the four most common reasons your toddler fears the toilet and how to work around them to successfully potty train. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of these fears, I want to first encourage you to have a conversation with your child. Sure they may not be speaking in full sentences yet, but if your child screams bloody murder every time you even bring them near the toilet they are trying to tell you something. Your toddler may be harboring a deep fear that you need to target. Once you have identified the root cause of their fears you can then read on to find the best way to cater to them.
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Reason 1: Falling Into The Toilet
The toilet is the perfect fit for your buttocks, but you need to remember that your toddler’s caboose is quite smaller than yours. Sitting on the toilet seat can often feel extremely uncomfortable and unstable to them. This lack of security can create a serious case of potty anxiety that can cause a major set back in their potty training. DO NOT continue to force your toddler to sit on the potty if they are expressing thoughts about falling in. This pressure will only make things worse and cause them to resist letting their systems flow.
The easiest fix to the fear of falling into the toilet is purchasing a Potty Training Seat. I recommend taking some time to google and review all the different types of potty seats out there.
3 Potty Seats I Highly Recommend:
- Jool Baby Potty Training Seat
- VIBOE Potty Training Seat with Backrest and Handles
- Alayna Potty Training Seat with Step Stool Ladder
Pick a potty seat based on the level of stability your toddler’s needs. For example, if they complain about their feet not touching the ground, go with the seat that has an attached footrest. Also, I highly recommend picking the potty seat with your little one. There are loads of seats with fun characters from their favorite shows on them. This is a good time to create some excitement around their new fun potty tool!
Reason 2: The Loud Flush
Noise sensitivity is quite common in young children. So there should be no surprise that those loud toilet flushes can be an extremely triggering sound for your toddler. This common fear can be solved pretty easily if you avoid flushing the toilet until your toddler is out of the bathroom.
I understand that flushing the toilet is apart of the normal bathroom routine, but it is okay to remove it from your toddler’s bathroom routine until they are able to handle the noise. Instead of having them flush it, just have them say ‘goodbye’ to whatever they eliminated and close the lid. This stage will not last forever and eventually, when they get a little older, the sound of the flush should stop bothering them.
If the fear of the flush is preventing them from even getting close to the toilet anymore, there are alternate options. Buying a separate potty like this BABYBJORN Potty Chair will allow them to continue with their potty training without forcing them to get onto the regular toilet. Slowly work them back towards using the regular toilet by diffusing their fears.
Another successful method is to create a fake flush noise with your mouth when they use their potty, this will help them get accustomed to the toilet making a noise when they are done. Another great way to help defuse fears is to sing a fun song every time you flush the toilet. It can be as simple as saying “goodbye poop, goodbye pee” in a singing voice. Make it silly so your toddler starts to associate this fun singing with the flush sound.
Reason 3: Water And The Chance Of Getting Splashed
Your toddler could be a rock star at the beach and in the pool, but for some reason, the water in the toilet scares the heck out of them. Whether or not the toilet water has splashed them before, this is another very common fear that will get better with age.
This fear can have a few different root causes. Find out if the fear comes from the water touching their bum, the sound it makes or if they’ve had bad experiences at the pool or beach. Once you get to the bottom of what drives this fear you can start creating a safe toilet space.
If your toddler is afraid of the water splashing up onto their bum, you can try to cover the water with toilet paper. If you want to converse your bath tissue, you can also try to drain all the water from the toilet bowl. Once your toilet is water free, show your toddler that there is nothing more to fear. If your child hates the noise of the “poop splash” then draining the toilet water may also be your best option.
If your toddler had a stressful moment at the pool last summer, for example, they got water into their eyes. You can always get silly and buy them a cute pair of goggles to wear for when they sit on the toilet. Sure your toddler may look ridiculous sitting on the toilet in a pair of goggles, but if it gets them to overcome their fear of the toilet then who cares! Make sure you don’t forget to take a picture so you can show them later in life.
Reason 4: Unknown Cause
No one knows babies better than their parents, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can not figure out why your toddler is so afraid of the toilet. I have heard of cases so extreme that the toddler ends up vomiting when it comes time to even enter the bathroom. Diapers often offer a sense of security to your toddler, so when it’s time to get rid of them and sit on the potty instead, a lot of awful feelings can bubble to the surface.
If your toddler is showing signs of extreme toilet fears for no particular reason, it’s time to take a step back and readdress what your interactions with the toilet are like. Your toddler’s anxiety may be a sign they’re not ready to potty train yet. This article may give you a better idea! If they are ready but still showing signs of anxiety, laughter is truly the best medicine you can offer your toddler during this time. Talk about the toilet like it is the most hilarious thing in your house. Try decorating it with your child’s favorite characters. Create songs about it and games with it. A fun way to “play” with the toilet is to put something flushable in it, like cereal and try to hit the floating pieces with your pee! You can even get the entire family involved. It sounds ridiculous, but ridiculous will get your little one laughing.
Tackling The Toilet Once And For All
If you practice any type of relaxation methods your home, try to intertwine them with potty training. Meditation, yoga and some silly play can truly go a long way in getting your toddler to overcome their fears of the toilet. Like adults, children are able to work through their emotional traumas. In order to do this, they need you to be their rock. Stay calm and confident through every part of their potty training. Sometimes one long cry will help them work the fears out. But, if it seems that your toddler’s fears are endless, work harder to prove to them that your home, bathroom, and toilet are a safe space. It is okay to “tap out” when you need to and trade potty training duties with your partner.
Like I have said before and I will say over and over again, it’s OKAY that your child is having a hard time potty training. This is one of their first big life events, so don’t ever push your child farther than you think they can handle. Take this transition slow with lots of love, patience, and fun.
Ready to Potty® to the Rescue!
If you are feeling like you need some extra support along the way, I’ve got you covered. The Potty Training Plan is specifically for busy parents who are serious about ditching the diapers. We even offer text support! Take a look at the plan to learn more.
Potty Training Worst Case Scenario
If at any point you are ever concerned medically about your child, for instance, they haven’t pooped in a few days, contact your doctor. Your doctor deals with these types of calls and appointments all the time. He or she will be able to help you decide what the best methods are for your child to prevent any UTIs or constipation. Every child is different, so if yours needs a little extra help getting used to the toilet look at it as a potential moment to create a fun and silly space within your home.
Good luck, and like always, may the Potty Training gods smile upon you!