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!!!


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.


throw some cheerio in the toilet tell him if he can hit one do something special with or for him


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.

Try the toilet light that is motion activated and changes colors.

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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

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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

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

Animal crackers= Bribery?

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Teach him to sit down and potty first. That’s new rule in the book of parenting that says boys have to stand up and pee. Plus there will be a lot less to clean off the seat and floor just make sure you have him point his little friend down in the toilet when he pees. As far as pooping both my children a boy and a girl were scared to poop for the longest time. My son took the longest to train he was just about to turn 4 when we mastered it. My daughter was 16 months when she was trained but would not poop in the potty until she was 2 and 1/2 and it took her to get a stomach virus to finally learn.

Give him a treat to go potty on the toilet. But give it to him after he goes​:heart::lollipop::candy::cupcake::cake::ice_cream::shaved_ice::icecream:

Sit him backwards on the toilet and let him draw with a white board marker. It wipes off . start with clothing on and then in underwear and then none. Slow and regular. Explain to him while he is sitting there ,that he cant move up to kindergarten until he goes in the toilet… only big kids can. Fear is a cruel thing.and kids dont understand.

I think medical issues are an exception to this rule. Talk to the school before about his issues and they may be accommodating.


My son didnt potty train until he was 4… He will go when he is ready

Have you cut out dairy?

I showed my son a video of Elmo goes potty even showed him a YouTube video of a cat going potty in the toilet :joy::joy:

Big brother or cousins can’t show him? I can underTNd his pain. Just see maybe if he can go with assistances like. Teacher aide to help at toilet time or nappy changing ! Does he need to go to one?


Dont rush him to school, most kids start kindergarten at 5, but I think the kids that started kindergarten at 6were emotionally better and did very well academically


Try laying off dairy. … also let him go to store to pick one out might take few shops worked with my son . Dont do cheerios in bowl… they eat them lol

Don’t worry to much I like the idea of sitting him to pee one of those time number two will come and he will realise is ok, all the best

I floated cheerios in the toilet. Told my boys to hit the cheerios. Worked like a charm

My dr told me to get a handful of Fruit Loops throw them in the toilet. Tell him a color & if hits it give him a reward (a toy or a special treat) he’ll not only learn to use the restroom but also his colors. It worked for my son & he enjoyed playing" the game"as he called it. Good luck

Put a fishing bobber in the toilet and tell him to aim and hit it ( don’t let him flush lol)

Hi put a cloth nappy over the toilet. Sit him on it so he feels comfortable. Read him a story
Some children don’t like having to sit. So this worked for me. And make it a game. Or u sit on the toilet and put it on the potty.

Maybe even u both have a treat on the toilet.

OMG …your son has gone through more things in 3 years than most and is still in pain and you want to potty train? Due to his surgeries and so on …teachers are accepting this…meantime his father needs to show him how that goes or is he a sperm donor? I can’t fathom your hurry to potty train a child who is in pain and scared because of all that has happened to him. You might try a reward when he does go and if he’s in pre-school, I’m sure he sees his classmates going to the bathroom and when he’s OUT OF PAIN he may want to follow. I think you’re pushing too fast with him still in pain. I hope you NEVER have that happen to you, karma sends it back 2-3 fold so be nice and patient with him. Train your daughter in the meantime and that might help him also. I can’t say push him, he’s 3 and sounds like he’s been through a lot, you’re the adult/parent and shame on you for lacking. SMDH

My son went thru gi since birth…now 8…do NOT force it it will only get worse!!! Get a drs note for school must b accepted its medical under disability acts NO he dont have to be potty trained! But outa experience dont pressure it will only make it worse and cause such emotional disturbances! Dont give up dont push it slowly work with him…

I’m not sure how having tests equals fear of a toilet? For an unpotty trained child one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Quit making excuses and toilet train your kid!

Turn the child around so he can write on the toilet lid with a dry eraser.

Dont worry mama. My son didnt want to potty train. He had no interest in it at all even though he was aware and woke up every morning with a dry pull up on. Then when he was 4 all of a sudden he was ready and it was the easiest thing ever. Give it time and don’t stress yourself out too much. Also sink the cheerio isn’t a bad game to potty train it makes going a little bit more fun for a little boy.

You are going to HAVE to potty train eventually or admit he has a problem with the bathroom and inform the school AND YOUR DOCTOR that he needs special accommodations…just like any child with a medical issue causing problems…a disability.

Have you actually talked to the schools?
In the US, children with medical problems are handled differently than other kids.
If he has a medical issue, the school has to allow for an IEP and accommodations for the problem.

If he is in enough pain regularly to not want to use the bathroom properly at school, then u need to get accommodation. Or maybe homeschool him.

Bc bathroom problems are rather important at school.

And, sorry to say, teachers arent responsible for taking care of your child’s medical needs UNLESS you have an IEP in place. Some schools won t allow anything to be done unless they have the paperwork on file… bc teachers a rent supposed to physically handle kids. I can’t imagine the ruckus is he has a substitute for a day or a week and he asks for help in the bathroom. …and the sub has no clue what’s going on. .that’s why the paperwork needs to be from the doctor and his his permanent school records.

If the doctor won t sign off saying he needs extra help, THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO POTTY TRAIN YOUR CHILD. .
And why the fuck haven’t you (dad isn’t the only one that can say, this is how you do it) taught your kid how to pee?

MY SON EXPERIENCES GASTROINTESTINAL ISSUES today he is soon to be 26 and has been Type 1 diabetic since age 11. I don’t know if it’s similar but he experiences acid buildup and it causes vomiting, hiccups, severe pain, sometimes diarrhea. It dehydrated him, and depleted him of sodium and magnesium. It seemed like he checked in to the hospital every two months for at least 5 days and then 2 months later, we’re back. This went on for over two years. I started paying attention to how he was being treated and decided to research natural food rich in these nutrients. Started making alkaline smoothies using beet greens as my main source for alkaline, adding kale and spinach. Used the small smoothie bananas for magnesium and soup and drinks for sodium. We used mangoes for a natural sweetener and other fruits and vegetables at discretion. We have pretty much eliminated hospital visits and the gastrointestinal episodes have been limited. My son is somewhat non compliant in incorporating this into his daily diet; but for that, the episodes would be eliminated. He is getting better though! Do some research and see if perhaps this could be of help to you. Good luck with potty training and I hope this will be of help to the little guy. Blessings

I potty trained my sons and you can too. Just face them toward the potty and aim. You have to be creative.

One, if he has a medical condition he probably is qualified to have that requirement excused… not sure how it all works but kids have teacher aids that help them and he may qualify for one and special accommodations at the school…
Second, potty training videos!! Elmos Potty Time worked great for us, but only when my kids were ready themselves… be patient cus potty training is hard without any added in factors, like his fears and medical issues…
Also try talking with his dad about being more involved and showing him the ways of the toilet!! Or maybe another trusted male can show him… or he can learn to pee sitting down for now too and u can show him that way yourself!

Go to a Nutritional Healer . A change of diet might be what he needs , with some plant-based supplements .

If the school won’t let him in due to this. They are required to send a teacher or alternative to you. All you need is proof from a dr

Boys are generally harder to train. You said your daughter was younger?, maybe try to train them together. He will see her doing it, and maybe natural competition would be helpful. I trained my youngest gd in a day & 1/2. I bought her a bag of “snack size m&m’s” & every time she was successful, she got a bag. (There’s only like 8-10 m&m’s in each bag, so it’s not a complete sugar dump) but, maybe give it a try. Good luck. It will work out, probably the hardest mo-fo way, but it does work out. Lol

He doesn’t have to attend Transitional Kindergarten or Kindegarten.
Talk with your Dr. for referral programs. In Sacramento area they have Alta Regional.
Talk with the And look at getting special accommodations for him. IEP might be the route to go.
He maybe having anxiety issues over going too.
He’ll eventually go when he’s ready and if his stomach hurts makes it worse.
I had a friend who’s son had the same issues. He eventually potty trained.

The school should accommodate with medical issues. My only suggestion is patience and candy. A piece for every pee and two for every poop. Or a small toy if you don’t want him to have sugar. My mom used to put Cheerios in the potty for my male cousins to try and pee on and that made it fun and worked for them

Be patient with him. I have 3 sons and they all get it evidently, just be there for him and love him as he gets it :heart:

My daughter had digestive and intestinal problems as a toddler as well. She wasn’t potty trained til after her 4th birthday ( she’s about to be 19). The doctor told us to let her choose and be ready on her own. If you push it and try too much or too hard and stress and worry about it, that will cause your son to stress and worry too and be more scared. I know as mothers we want our kids to do everything “on time” but not all kids are made the same or ready at the same age for things. Trust me when he’s older it’s not going to matter none when he was potty trained. If you can’t find a kindergarten to take him it might be best he wait a year. Pushing him to be ready so he can go to school will cause him unnecessary stress and worry that can make it harder on him to potty train. Trust me, as an adult these things are not going to mean a thing to him or anyone else or make a difference in his life.


Find as many playful ways as possible. And no pressure at all. Children feel their caregivers stress too.


Don’t worry about little boys and potty training them! My last 3 boys didn’t potty train until 4 (they are healthy). One took only one day and the others two week

Don’t worry about everything will work out. I was so worried about it cause my daughter would go days with out pooping . She knew how to say enema and suppository at two. I was positive she was going to grow up thinking her father and I were doing something bad to her. We had to tag team her get her because if I said anything about them two things she would haul ass . Lol

I trained mine sitting backwards, thanks to a suggestion from my cousin. It’s natural for boys to face the back of the potty when they pee. This way they can sit without fear of falling in and see what they are doing. Best of luck.

My son is 4 with high functioning Autism. Dad is in the picture but he doesn’t live with us. I taught him to climb on the toilet backwards ( facing the tank) so he can hold onto the lid, so he won’t feel like he is going to fall in. When he gets up there and does something, even if it is just a trickle, I sing his praises and he gets a small treat of his choice.


There are potties you can put on your wall for little boys. My cousin used Cheerios and a squirt bottle to show her boys how to potty. Just take your time with him.

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If he has medical issues, schools are required to make an exception. It’s called “equal access” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They can’t keep him out of school for that. Your doctor should be able to help you with the necessary documentation.

My daughter had same issues. Be patient with him . My daughter would run and scream from the bathroom. I would just sit with her until she went and give her treats . I gave her medicine to help soften her Stool . She would push out adult size poop. And you can help him pee standing up. Put a small round dot of something, I used a red paper circle told my son hit the dot made a game of it.

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My little girl do not want to seat at the potties, so we buy a sit for the toilet and she prefer that and seat in the toilet every time she needs to go to the bathroom, at the beginning I have to hold her cause she was to small, but them she seats by her self in it.

maybe if he is scared of the potty maybe start with having him just sit and just make sure all of him is over the top and you may also have to start with just being in there with him that way he can see there is nothing to fear

My son had bathroom problems too. And he wasnt potty trained until right before school. What worked for him was the dr. Had us do a clean out of his system and that gave him the runs. He didnt like how ot felt so he started to use the bathroom.

I would throw Cheerios in the toilet . Had 2 sons they loved to pee in the toilet and try to hit the little O 's

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All of my kids were late bloomers as far as the potty goes. I have 3 girls. We tried stickers, rewards, pee pee charts, timers…all of it. They weren’t necessarily afraid but just wouldn’t use it. They were all 3 years old before they were potty trained. And weren’t slow developmentally at all. Just in that area. I quit pushing it and they all came around when they were ready. My youngest would do great during the day but had an accident almost every night. I was an exhausted mama and it got old fast. Occasionally, she’d have accidents in the daytime too. I later found out after several conversations with several doctors that we needed to take her to a pediatric urologist for an ultrasound. She has grade 3 urinary reflux which caused frequent UTIs I’d and I had no idea. I had even punished her on occasion. I felt like the worst mother ever. She’s fine now and I realize that she can’t feel ahead time when she has the urge to pee … All this to say…advocate for your child if you feel that something isn’t right. Visit 20 doctors, get 2nd, 3rd, 4th opinions if you have to. The main thing is to get your child out of pain. If that is successful, the potty training will come. And just be patient. My daughter is 6 and wears pull ups to bed still. We’re ok with that as long as she needs to. Good luck, hang in there!:heart:

Get Dad to take over

My ex and I were going through a divorce when I potty trained my son and my ex was zero help. My kiddo didn’t have health issues, so I can’t relate with that aspect of it. But at age 2, when my son consistently woke up dry and he could/would communicate with me, I plainly told him what we were going to do and what was expected. (Even at a young age he and I talked openly and had a close relationship) We baked, did crafts, etc in the kitchen where it was tiled and he was commando. He tinkled once in the floor and I saw the “lightbulb moment”. :laughing: From that moment on he refused a diaper and never had another accident. I think it helped that I talked about it in the sense of it being a big boy thing. Really emphasized the being a “big boy”. I sat him on the toilet, didn’t force the whole stand and aim thing. He let me know when he was ready for that.

  1. he’s not going to be ready till HE is ready. particularly with gastrointestinal issues. trying to force him will only make things take longer

  2. get him a therapist who specializes in play therapy - they can work with him on his fear of the bathroom along with any fears he has around medical procedures.

  3. many insurances will cover incontinence supplies for children over age 3 who are not potty trained. call his insurance company and ask if they do, what age they start at, what documentation they need and what supplies are covered. - then at the appropriate age get a prescription from your child’s doctor for diapers, wipes, reusable bed pads (if covered) and you’ll find that the co-pay each month will typically be far less than what you’re paying now for even store brand diapers. You may also find that there is no co-pay and supplies are 100% covered.

  4. your child can NOT be denied entry into public school (or FAPE) because of a medical condition - he is not potty trained because of a medical condition - get on the phone with your school districts special education coordinator to find out what you need to do to have a plan in place for your son to be attending Kindergarten on the first day. (heck find out about an evaluation for Developmental Preschool - with the medical issues he’s got going on he may be delayed enough in one or more areas to qualify for free preschool that would start NOW at age 3 - by attending Dev Preschool he’d go into Kindergarten with an IEP AND they’d be aware of how to handle the medical issues including the incontinence issues)

to be honest things you can do
READ BOOKS! - find all the books about potty training and read them with both your kids. read two books a day - one about potty training and one about something else - reading is good.
PLAY GAMES - get a toilet training seat and keep it in the living room/play room - take stuffies and make them pretend to go potty on the potty - show it as just a normal thing to do… you eat food, you play, you go potty, clean up, go back to playing, take a nap, - it’s just one thing you do
TAKE HIM IN WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO POTTY - show him that everyone goes potty. yes we think “potty time is 5 minutes I get for me” but you want him to see there is nothing to be afraid of… so take him in with you… have his father take him in with him. let him see that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of (but try to convince daddy to sit when he pees)

when his younger sister starts to potty train, it may prompt him to be more interested - particularly if you’re giving her stickers or stars on a star chart for going potty in the potty.