Potty Training: Scared Of The Potty

When you suggest sitting on the potty to your toddler does it result in them screaming and running away?  Do they act afraid when you mention the potty?  Being afraid of the potty and bathroom is not an uncommon thing to come across when trying to potty train.  All children are different when it comes to potty training.  So if your first wasn’t afraid of the potty, but now your second or third child is, that is ok.  

Why is my child afraid of the potty?

There are many reasons why your child may be scared of a toilet.  First it is giant.  The flushing sound can be loud and alarming if they aren’t expecting it.  Your child may be afraid that they may get sucked in.  Not to mention their feet can’t touch any solid ground.  And the whole of the actual toilet is big if you aren’t using a child seat that attaches.  Even those may move around a bit and cause some fear and uncertainty.  

If you are using a tiny potty chair for them to get used to they may even be afraid of that.  It is very unfamiliar territory, going to the bathroom in anything else but their diaper.  It can even take your child some time to get used to the idea of going to the bathroom in something other than their diaper.  Some of the small potties are hard and uncomfortable.  They may not feel secure on them either if they scoot around the floor easily.  In some cases if your child is small the hole may be too large and the fear of falling in can happen with a small potty too. 

Not all children who scream when asked to sit on the potty are afraid.  Some of them are saying no to keep control of the situation.  It is a way they can exert their power and take back some control over a very new and unfamiliar situation.  Sometimes forcing potty sitting can backfire on you and cause some extra rebellion.  Especially in children who have a stubborn side to them.  Don’t force your child, back off if they are screaming no for control.  Let them take the lead when they are ready, it may be a few days, or it could be a few months before you want to try again.  It can take children all different timelines to learn to potty train.  If you start too early it could actually delay the process. 

Tips For Easing Potty Fear

If your child is afraid of the potty or the toilet there are some things that you can do as the parent to help ease them into it.  First start off by reading all the potty books you can find.  They make a bunch that have favorite characters, or books that make sound.  They also have episodes of shows you could watch with your child about using the potty.  Whenever you go to the bathroom take your child with you and let them be in there while you do your own business.  

You can also buy potty training toys or dolls.  There are lots of different options for boys and girls.  You can also set a stuffed animal potty schedule.  So your child can help their favorite stuffed animal sit on the potty, and flush.  Without putting pressure on your child to do these actions, but gets them used to them and more familiar with the process. 

When you think your child is ready, take them to the store with you.  Have them be a part of the potty picking process.  This could be picking out their own tiny potty, or finding them a fun potty seat whichever way you are planning to go.  If you are going with just a potty seat, make sure it will fit securely on your toilet.  Any kind of wiggle or movement may scare your child.  Also make sure you find them a stool, that allows their feet to rest while sitting.  This will also make them feel more secure.  If possible let your child sit on some of the tiny potties in the store so they can pick which one feels most comfortable to them.  After picking out your tiny potty you could always decorate it with stickers, or write your child’s name on it to personalize it.  May make it feel more special to your child.  

When your child sits on the potty encourage distractions.  This could be you reading books to them, singing songs, or even watching a show on your phone or ipad.  This may keep their mind occupied enough they don’t have any fear.  

Once you have mastered the potty and toilet at home, public restrooms can bring on a whole new fear of their own.  There are lots of strange people in them.  They are usually loud with voices, toilets flushing, and hand dryers blowing.  Automatic flushing that can happen randomly and constantly with all the moving around in a stall can also cause concern in your child.  One thing you can do before trying out a public restroom is making sure your child has gone potty in other places than just your house.  Make sure they have pottied at the Grandparent’s house, or playmates house.  You can also pack a foldable/portable potty seat to take with you to public places.  If your child still struggles with public bathrooms, you can bring their whole potty seat in the car.  When they need to use it, plop them on the potty seat in your car.  This isn’t a permanent solution, but may help ease the stress of public bathrooms until your child is a master at using the toilet.  


Fear of toilets, and potties is a normal happening in the potty training game.  Potty training can be a lot of trying out things until you find what works for your child.  If you have tried something and your child doesn’t like it, don’t be afraid to try something else.  Making sure they feel secure and safe on the potty can be hugely helpful in moving the potty training along.  Don’t be discouraged if you have to take a week or a month off of potty training before you revisit it.  There is no exact time to make sure your child is potty trained, just when they are ready.  




READ MORE:  Baby Monitors – Is It Time To Take The Monitor Down?