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Children & Toilet Training: An Unusual Tip For Potty Problems Due to Fear

Updated on August 25, 2011
{Image Copyright (c) 2010 "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.}
{Image Copyright (c) 2010 "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.}

I was at work once when my kids were much younger, and got home to discover my (now ex) partner had been violent with our daughter after leaving her to cry for over an hour and then eventually walking in to find she had "painted" the wall next to her cot for him.

After that I had more than 2 years of problems with potty training. She was scared of doing a poo and scared of the toilet, and would simply "hang on" instead. I was always loving, patient and understanding, and I gave her lots of encouragement, but all to no avail. She mastered the toilet with No. 1's quickly enough, but we had no such luck with No. 2's.  My son, who was 18 months younger, even mastered No.2's before she did (in an astonishing 2 weeks, and he has never looked back since).

At some stage during her third year, she even started sneaking into her brother's bedroom and putting on one of his nighttime nappies by herself. Then she would go off to hide in a cupboard or behind a chair to do her "business". In the end it got to the stage where she began suffering from really bad constipation, and this compounded her problem (excuse the pun) as she began to further associate doing a poo with intense pain. It was a vicious cycle and my heart went out to her. I did everything I could think of, but nothing worked.

Even so,  I never gave up. I tried rewards, consequences, and just letting her be. I even got help from a social worker who specialized in toilet training problems, who taught us the "sneaky poo" program. Nothing worked.

By the time she turned 4, she still had problems, and I was secretly frantic inside. one afternoon when she was crying because she need to do a poo but did not want to, and I was once again desperate in my concern, I had a moment of what I can only call "inspired creativity". I came up with something that did work, and it worked the first time.

Even though it sounds totally gross, and is probably quite unorthodox, I don't know what I would have done otherwise. I also do not know if it would work for everyone, and please bear in mind that my circumstances were extreme, and further more that I am not a professional in anyway, I'm just a Mum. Also remember that I was desperate, so please don't laugh!

This is what I told her:

"Every house has a toilet or two. Our toilet's name is Mr Toilet, and his job is to eat up all the poo, so that people don't get sore tummies. That's what all toilets do. Mr Toilet is very hungry and very sad because you won't feed him by going to sit on him to do No.2's. Do you think you could help him to not feel sad anymore?"

Imagine my surprise and elation when she looked at me for only a second before giving me a nod and a big smile, and then running off to "feed" Mr Toilet!

With relief I can say that it did not become a big issue either, and she has not spoken of it for years. In fact, she only ever mentioned it to me a couple of times, only to ask me if "Mr Toilet" was happy again. It would have been quite a thing to have to explain if she had decided to tell  it at school for news or something LOL!

If anyone out there has also tried everything and is still having problems that are associated with fear of going to the toilet, perhaps you could try this too. I cannot promise that it will work, but if you have also got to the stage I had got to, then I imagine that you would have nothing to lose, and if it works for you too, well then bonus! If not, my heart goes out to you. Don't give up, and try to stay positive. I wish you luck!

Except where otherwise credited, or where text forms part of an external link, this article is under the following copyright:

Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last", of Perth, Western Australia. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise credited, all images are under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  • safe-at-last profile image

    Mel Stewart 7 years ago from Western Australia

    Hi EL and thanks for your comment. It is great how we can make use of the fantastic powers of a child's vivid imagination to turn problems into play for them... Thanks for the link. Good luck to parents in a similar situation!

  • profile image

    EmmaLou 7 years ago

    I love this, when i had a similar problem with one of my kids i didn't know what to do until I came across a cute story called Ollie Helps Poo Go Home To PooLand, similar thing, Pooland is down the toilet pipes and Poo is unhappy cos he is lonely....

    I got mine from

    and never looked back.

  • safe-at-last profile image

    Mel Stewart 7 years ago from Western Australia

    Thanks MA. I have know idea what made me think of it, but I'm sure glad I did LOL!

  • Mentalist acer profile image

    Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

    There is nothing that will stand in the way of a mom and the well being of her children...including the personification of the toilet bowl,ingenious thinking:)!!