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Help! My 5-year-old is suddenly afraid of the potty!


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He's got allergies, and often blows his nose on toilet paper, then throws it in the potty... but doesn't flush immediately. One day, he went poopy and apparently used too much TP. When he flushed, the toilet backed up and started overflowing. He was TERRIFIED! He would not go into that bathroom for the next two days.


This was more than three weeks ago. He is now okay with peeing and using the sink, but he is still afraid of putting anything in the potty, pooping, or flushing. Every time someone has to flush (like when I'm cleaning the toilet), he will run whimpering to another room and climb up the furniture so he's off the floor. And poopy... oh. my. word. He's making himself hold it, and then not making it to the bathroom in time when he explodes. We've had a major mess to clean up every time he goes... down the hallway, bathroom rugs, toilet seat, the clothes he was wearing, and an immediate shower for him! We're making sure he's getting fiber, but he's still holding it so that he's only going every other day.


It's been three weeks. How do we help him get over his fear?

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My dd became afraid of toilets like that when we were on vacation, because of those automatic high powered flush things. We just took her into the bathroom, and flushed it several times to show her it was ok. It took a few weeks for her to get over the fear. I would just take him in there, show him the proper amount of paper to use, and flush that. Rinse and repeat until he understands it's not going to overflow every time. He'll probably freak out the first couple of times, but use it as a teaching tool, not to over stuff the bowl.

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