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!


[to listen to my podcast episode on this topic click here]


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!

[to listen to my podcast episode on this topic click here]


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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