My son is terrified to potty train: Please help!

I am a single young mom of toddlers, a boy three and a girl 2. my son has had gastrointestinal issues since birth, and his father and I travel 3 hours to a specialist at UC Davis hospital every three months trying new approaches to ease his pain. He’s already had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, as well as many biopsies with little to no help. Unfortunately, because of this, he is TERRIFIED of the potty. The doctor said he might not be ready to potty train until his pain is gone or at least manageable. My son is currently in preschool, and we are lucky enough for the teachers and staff to understand and help us with his health issues. However, he will be 4 in June, and in every transitional kindergarten we have looked at, it is a requirement for him to be potty trained. Mother to mother, how do I get him to want to potty train? His dad has lacked on his end of teaching him to stand up to pee, and of course, I can’t really show him myself. Any help, please!!!!

284 thoughts on “My son is terrified to potty train: Please help!”

  1. Set him backwards on the toilet and let him lean back against you so he doesn’t feel like he will fall in. Run water in the sink And let him use dry erase markers to color on the lid. Start doing it with his diaper first just to get him used to the toilet.

  2. They have a suction cup urinal on Amazon for like 15 bucks. Super cute looks like a frog. Make it a game before bathtime. Take diaper off and throw cheerios in. Tell him to do peepee on them and give him a small prize. Like buy a bulk pack of hotwheels cars or stickers and reward him.

  3. You can teach him how to pee seating him down in the toilet, like us, with time eventually he gonna start doing it step on, with the poop you can help him seating down in front of him and push like you are pooping so he can copy what you are doing and celebrate everything, even if he doesn’t do anything but just trying

  4. I’d get in touch with any of the schools and explain that the specialist has told you not to rush him because of his problems. Maybe one closest to you so that you can go to change his nappy when they call you because they probably wont be allowed which is why they will have that rule. There was a child in my sons year who had a similar problem and that was the solution they worked out anyway xxx good luck I’m sure he will do it in his own time when he trusts it isnt so scary. Hes been through a lot and those procedures can be scary enough for adults xxx

  5. My son had the same issues, he was nearly potty trained completely before needing another surgery that set us back and caused us to start over. We made a chart and picked out cool stickers to use each time he went, I put almost no pressure on him and showed no disappointment if he didn’t use the potty but made a HUGE deal when he did- dance parties, treats, the whole 9 yards. We used a tablet and we went to “see if any potty came out” every half hour (bc saying it that way instead of “lets see if you can go potty”, etc seemed less stressful and defeating when he couldn’t bear to do it). After so many times of going on the potty there was an even bigger reward – for us it was ice cream at an ice cream shop.

    Stay patient.. and nonchalant. We even had the potty in the living room so it was less of a chore and he could watch tv.. for whatever reason, I got a lot of flak about that but the way I looked at it was that they’re humans- and not dogs, so they can definitely transition to the bathroom later without any problems.

    My son was 4 and a quarter before he was officially potty trained and honestly? It was way easier. He’ll start to notice that the other kids go on the potty and the drive to want to be a “big kid” will kick in and he’ll learn very quickly

  6. You can try cheerios in the toilet for him to “shoot” standing up. We did reward charts. All positive reinforcement. Also I’m not sure what kind of gastro issues your son has but my own had alot of issues from birth off and on causing lots of pain etc. He was finally last year diagnosed with intestinal migraines he takes an acid reducer and another pill that helps keep his intestines from spasming.

  7. Find a simple reward he likes, Cheerios, healthy type snacks, etc. When he had a success, he gets to eat a snack, when an accident, flush a handful of the snack down the toilet. Used the technique with my daughter that has Down’s. Worked great.

  8. If hes not ready dont force it. My pediatrician when I was a child told my mother if you force a child to potty train before they are ready they will have GI issues. My daughter was almost 4 before she was done.

  9. We would toss a few Cheerios in and tell our son to sink them. BMs are a bit harder, at least with our son, we got a potty seat that had a horse head and he would go ride the horse and got lots of praise when he was successful.

  10. As far as how you could show him I know there’s books on how boys go potty, start a sticker and reward chart, head to dollar tree grab some stuff he will like and if he tries or goes he gets a reward! I know it’s hard as a child care provider I’ve learned you can’t rush any child or they won’t do it at all, also trying to bring him to pick out his own undies?

  11. I tried everything. My son didn’t go til he wanted to go. Plus, he went through regression when his dad and I split. He was 3 1/2 when he decided to start going on the potty. When he’s ready, he will go. Don’t force it but always encourage it. It may just not be his time yet!

  12. I understand. My son is 4 and is just barely potty trained. We tried everything standard. Then finally settled on a potty watch. But I picked one that looked like a normal watch and cool. We set it for every two hours to help him to remember to potty. Because if we asked him or told him to go potty he would refuse. But any time the watch buzzed he went straight to the potty.

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