Son Potty Trained - Suddenly Refusing to Use the Toilet?

Updated on March 08, 2009
M.M. asks from Beaverton, OR
4 answers

My son is four, and has been potty trained for quite a while now, and suddenly, he's afraid to use the toilet. He's holding it until he pees all over himself and screaming and crying because he can't hold it in. He does the same with #2, and holds it until he can't hold it. He says he's "Scared of the toilet" - but we're having a hard time figuring out what that means because he doesn't talk about it.

Anyone else's son do this? Any thoughts on what happened?

Thanks! ~M.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers


answers from Medford on

Have you tried asking him why he is afraid? My daughter sometimes just gets ideas stuck in her head and it takes a while to get through what the issue really the time she decided that she was afraid of the dark/woods because of the wolves...after many sleepless nights we finally got her to talk about it, she had seen part of a cartoon that had bad wolves in it...we were able to talk about it and now have no problems (as far as wolves go anyway).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

M.- Have you ever had your son use one of those "auto flush" toilets? That scared my son half to death, and I still need to put my hand over the sensors so it doesn't flush. I had to remind him at our OWN house that the toilet doesn't flush on it's own.
Toilets are loud when they flush, my 6 year old still jumps if he hears a loud flushing.
Is there a way to get a training potty? Maybe have him go in one of those again until he is feeling comfy enough to get back to a big kid toilet.
Good Luck, L.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Great advice about the self flushing toilets.

Try getting the potty chair out again and see if he is afraid of the big toilet but the little one is OK.

You could also try one of the small padded kid seats that fit on the toilet seat. He may have fallen in and be afraid of falling in again.

Have him pee in a recycle plastic container and dump it in the toilet until this passes.

Ask him if he saw a ... in the bathroom. Use safe things like fire fighter or puppy, mix in a few scary things and maybe he will let you know what scares him. An older child could have said something to scare him. (My older brother told a younger sister that a rat would bit her bottom.)

My 2 year old grandson was potty trained as long as I took him often. If I didn't he would start to wet his pants and run for the bathroom leaving a wet path.

I now give him dry treats. He gets a treat if he is dry and then used the toilet. Some times he pees three times in a row but I still give him a dry treat then distract him onto something else.

His parents will come to pick him up and ask if he has to pee. He screams no and pees as soon as they get two blocks from my house. I have taught his parents to ask if he needs a dry treat. He will run in and pee for a dry treat.

No more accidents.


answers from Seattle on


I don't know what to tell you for the peeing himself, but here's what worked for us: He was scared of the monsters in the toilet and flat refused to poop in the potty. We set it up so he could squat on the toilet seat to see below him. After that we didn't have another poop accident.

Hope this helps,

Next question: Fear of Public Toilets and Loud Noises at 4