Want to Know Why I Won’t Go Potty?

Confused about why your toddlers won't go potty? They are here to tell you 8 reasons why...


Okay, this potty training thing is messed up. I know you grown ups think it is as easy as giving us an M&M or putting a sticker on a chart, but I am here to tell you the real story!


The potty brings up many scary things to our little minds. Some of my toddler friends are scared of things I am not, so they helped me write this list so I cover it all. Many of us are scared to go poop! My mom, who thinks she knows it all because she is a child therapist, added her two cents as well. I humored her.


The noise of the toilet flushing scares me.

Some of our little ears are pretty darn sensitive. You might hear a swooshing sound when you flush, but I hear and see a tropical cyclone in the potty. It really doesn’t make me want to sit on that thing again.

I am afraid I am going to get sucked down the potty.

The huge vortex of water being sucked down this black hole is – let’s face it- scary. Maybe not to you, but you aren’t staring at the thing at eye level! To my little eyes it seems possible that I might go down with the toilet water.

I think bugs might come out of the potty.

I know you think this is ridiculous and maybe you don’t even know I worry about this, but I do. I have seen some small bugs in the bathroom before and I am worried they might go up my butt when I am on the potty (too much information?).

I don’t like to get dirty and let’s face it – poop is a messy business!

I don’t like to get my hands dirty – have you noticed? Well the idea of getting yucky poop on my hands or all over my bottom makes me want to avoid that activity all together!

I don’t want to be away from you.

I am sure you noticed that I am your little shadow. I don’t want to go to a room without you, so I have to wait for you to go with me. Sometimes you are busy and I hold my pee. Sometimes you tell me to go by myself, so I stop telling you I have to go and try and hold it in.

I am afraid of the dark bathroom.

The bathroom is dark, even during the day – to my scared little eyes. I don’t want to go into that dark room – in fact I don’t want to go into any dark room. Dark rooms are scary!!

It hurt once or twice when I pooped and I don’t want to ever do it again!

Remember that time when I was a baby and I couldn’t poop for days. That hurt so bad and even though I was little – trust me – I did not forget! pooping = pain No thank you.

I am afraid the toilet might overflow.

One time daddy had to go and get this stick to unclog the potty. Water and poop was pouring over the potty and onto the floor. What if the toilet overflows when I am on it? What if my poop goes flowing all over the floor. We’ll have a house flooded with potty water and poop. Yucky and scary!


I know there are some lucky little turds – I mean toddlers – out there who don’t have these problems. But, there are a lot of us that do. Sometimes parents don’t realize that we have these fears and they keep showing us more and more prizes and more and more stickers. If I gave you a sticker would you sit on the toilet with a giant bug sticking out? Or a hole that has the potential of swallowing you up? I think not parent-folk out there. I think not.


Get to the real problem. Teach me to get used to the noise of the flush. Show me that I will not be swallowed up by the toilet. Take a balloon and blow it up and show me it can’t be flushed down because it is too big. Teach me to fight my fears and turn the light on myself. Give me fiber gummies so my bottom doesn’t hurt when I poop. I can’t give you all the answers – you gotta figure this parenting thing out yourself – but I gave you a head start!


Check out other articles in this series:

Why I am a Picky Eater

For more in-depth help get the book How to Parent Your Anxious Toddler

A must read toddler parenting book! How to Parent your Anxious Toddler. By child therapist and toddler mental health expert.

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30 responses to “Want to Know Why I Won’t Go Potty?”

  1. What a great post Natasha! I love how you speak from a toddler’s perspective! I also found your tips to be very helpful. Thanks!

  2. Cindie says:

    Great tips! My son was so afraid of the flushing noise and I didn’t know it. So he used to poop in his undies then try to hide them from me! It was tough, but all it took was a good conversation about whey he was doing that. I look forward to reading more advice from you!!!

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      Thanks for visiting Cindie! My daughter had similar issues. She had no problem peeing, but the idea of pooping was a nightmare for her! I was pretty sure she’d poop in a pull up until she got married. Luckily we can sell our stock in pull ups – but it was touch and go for a little while!!

  3. Steph says:

    This gave me a chuckle – doesn’t seem to speak to our current struggle as I’d hoped – insisting we “go potty” only to not go, insist on flushing and hand washing (at least he’s interested in being clean!)…lather, rinse, repeat.
    Steph recently posted…Detective Eyes #8aMy Profile

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      Thanks for stopping by Steph. Ah the novelty of toileting – the excitement of washing hands and watching random water swirling down a black hole. Life is so simple as a toddler.

  4. Great post! Our current struggle is pooping in our diaper and then immediately taking it off…which cause some epic messes! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Hi Natasha. I think this is great. One of the best things we can do as a parent is to see things from our child’s perspective. So in a tantrum moving from ‘He is driving me mad’ to ‘He must be very afraid/overwhelmed/angry’ (whichever is appropriate) helps inform our actions.
    Kirsten Toyne recently posted…Fantasies of MotherhoodMy Profile

  6. christina says:

    My daughter was petrified of the ‘automatic flushers’. We drove to Florida (24 hrs) and she would not go if there was one, and of course every public restroom we stopped at had the automatic toilets! I don’t think she went the whole trip! #ManicMondays

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      Hi Christina – thanks for stopping by! Automatic flushers are an evil anti-toddler invention!! I had a parent tell me once that she carried sticky notes to put on the sensor and that worked!

  7. This was hysterical Natasha! I loved it! If only we could be in the mind of toddlers. My first son was trained early and was a pro. Child number two was just introduced to it and wants NOTHING to do with it. Needless to say he is just over 20 months so I decided instead of a struggle I will back off a bit and go back to it. His brother was already loving the potty and in underwear during the day. It is amazing how different kids can be.
    Crystal Bissonnette recently posted…The “Fine Line” Between Help And PushMy Profile

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      I think I would be terrified to truly be in the mind of a toddler! Just when you think you got the potty thing down – child number 2 comes along and ruins it 🙂

  8. This was funny and so true! One of my nephews didn’t like to get dirty and refused to wipe himself for what seemed like years.
    by Michelle Westbrook recently posted…O Happy DaybookMy Profile

  9. Some great advice that will be very helpful! Thanks for sharing on #ToddlerFunFriday
    My Bored Toddler recently posted…Loom Band Activities & WIN $10,000 for your school’s art roomMy Profile

  10. Ooh, this gave me so much to think about. I’m training my toddler now, I think he’s, literally, afraid of the toilet. He loves his new Cars underwear and tells us when he has to go, then he gets there and panics. Sigh. I hope we get him trained before high school! Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop!
    Meredith@MommyAtoZ recently posted…W is for… Wednesday Weird Parenting NewsMy Profile

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      Hi Meredith – Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you found this article helpful. I think often times we miss the anxiety component in potty training. Hopefully you can figure out what he is afraid of and help him address those worries 🙂

  11. […] Check out other articles in this series: Why I am Afraid to go Potty […]

  12. liz says:

    My toddler has had variation of most if nit all of these. He is 4 and sobs that it will hurt ir I will be mad at him or something else. I can’t tell if its an excuse or genuine IR a little of both. At what point does it mean there is a real problem?

    • Natasha Daniels says:

      Sometimes it can be a combination of issues. If he is saying he worries it might hurt – perhaps he has had some painful bowel movements? Maybe try and give him some fiber vitamins to help soften his stool. I would talk to your child’s pediatrician to assess the issue further. Also – if he is worried about your reaction, you might want to try to give a more robotic response to his toileting (I know this can be hard!).Potty training is not fun! Sorry to hear about your son’s struggles.

  13. […] around the potty and potty training are common at this age. Read Why I am Afraid to Go Potty for tips on how to conquer this […]

  14. […] the bathroom. How do you help them overcome this and move forward to using the toilet. Over at the Anxious Toddlers, going potty is told to you from a toddler’s perspective and may help you understand why your […]

  15. My 3 girls were totally different when it came to potty training. My youngest only took a few days while my 4 year old still has wetting accidents. We keep lots of Cottonelle wipes on hand here too!

  16. […] when they are traveling. For anxious children this can be further complicated if they already have toileting issues! Fear of new toilets, self-flushing toilets and dirty toilets can all cause your little one to go […]

  17. […] your child is afraid of the dark. Afraid of the potty. Afraid to make […]

  18. […] with the idea of pooping in a diaper forever, this post is for you. Check out these tips by Natasha Daniels at Anxious Toddlers for potty training […]

  19. […] child is afraid to go potty and they repeatedly act out their baby doll refusing to go […]

  20. […] struggles popped up before I could catch my breath. One was afraid of the potty and was holding her poop in for days. The other one was crying at night that there are bees in his […]

  21. […] breathe a sigh of relief as your little ones are finally out of the crib. You are almost done with potty training. You no longer have to lug around a huge diaper bag full of survival paraphernalia just to keep […]

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