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4yr old suddenly terrified of toilet. Refuses to step one foot in bathroom

(12 Posts)
gintonicgin Sun 27-Mar-16 12:29:30

Hello, looking for some advice on how to get around this one.

All of a sudden my four year old DS has become completely terrified of the toilet. We don't know why.

He has a communication delay and it is very hard to reason with him. He has told me he is scared of falling in, the loud flush, the whirlpool and the cave. If I mention going to the toilet he gets hysterical.

He is refusing to go into the bathroom and getting very upset about it all. I'm not sure how to handle this. I've validated his fears and talked about them. I've got his toys and pretended they were using the toilet. He is petrified and will make himself ill holding it all in 😩

Anyone else been through this? What to do sad

BrightandEarly Sun 27-Mar-16 20:25:52

That must be tough. I have not been through this, hopefully someone who has will come along soon.

Can you allow him to use the potty outside of the bathroom (if he still has a potty)? My instinct would be not to force it, just create a different space for the potty for the moment until this phase passes...

Of course that doesn't solve the problem of toilet needs while out and about...

working9to5WAWTMAL Sun 27-Mar-16 20:31:08

Hi, my son developed a sudden phobia of the bath when he was three. Just kept saying it was dirty, got hysterical when we tried to give him a wash. In the end my lovely patient mum came up and spent about 3 days with him gently getting him to have a bath, bit by bit. I think it really helped that it was a different person who was working on it with him. First they just jumped in and out of the bathroom door, as if they were playing a game. Then they sat fully clothed in bath together with no water in. Then he sat in naked with no water etc. It was a long process but worth it.

I wonder if it might be worth you just letting your son use a potty away from the bathroom again for a while though until the fears fade a bit, then ask someone else you trust to help him to get used to the loo again bit by bit. I feel for you, it's very stressful. I'm ever grateful to my mum!

Iizzyb Sun 27-Mar-16 20:46:09

We potty trained quite late and have a big potty ( many were too small for a 3 yr old boy) so if you do go down the potty somewhere else route I have a big fisher price potty with a face on the front. It is much bigger than any other I've seen. Another thought would a trainer seat with a favourite character be helpful do you think? Good luck x

redcaryellowcar Sun 27-Mar-16 20:57:10

I read (when potty training ds) that a 'splash' of water (whilst they are having a poo) can make them feel very uncertain? Maybe this happened? I'm not sure what to suggest, but maybe worth calling your health visitor as I believe they have contact/ help from continence nurses, who might have done helpful suggestions?x

LakeFlyPie Sun 27-Mar-16 21:39:30

DS2 has always had a bit of an issue with pooing and one of his phases (aged 3-4 I think) was definitely related to splash of water when pooing on toilet. The solution was a couple of sheets of toilet paper as a landing strip (so to speak) to prevent splash back. It felt like forever but probably took a couple of months before he'd go without the paper.

Mishaps Sun 27-Mar-16 21:41:02

Use a potty temporarily. It will not last and I am sure it is just a phase.

I am told that little boys sometimes think their willy will go down the pan.

gintonicgin Sun 27-Mar-16 23:25:33

If I use a potty, won't that set him back? He won't even wee now and he usually does that standing up.

tacal Mon 28-Mar-16 00:29:26

When my ds was scared to use the toilet he used a thing I bought from Amazon to pee in. It is called a Uriwell childrens happy-pee. He could use it standing up. It was something we could take everywhere. He would use it in toilet cubicles in shops and restaurants until he felt comfortable using the toilet.

He had one of the big potties mentioned by a previous poster to do poos in.

Once he felt ready, he used the toilet. He has been fine ever since.

dodobookends Mon 28-Mar-16 00:38:36

He hasn't watched 'Flushed Away' has he?

Sounds like he is scared of being sucked in and disappearing and never being able to come back. Will he understand a basic explanation of what happens to poo and wee when it goes down there - and that little boys are much too big to go in the pipes?

ExtraHotLatteToGo Mon 28-Mar-16 01:15:03

I would buy a ping pong ball and let him throw it in the toilet, then try to pee on I it...not many 4 yo boys can resist that! I would tell him he doesn't have to flush, you'll do it later when he's not in the bathroom. If he goes for that, see if he will to to poo on it too...if not, then use a potty for a while. Hopefully it'll be sorted before it's an issue with school (if he's there yet)

gintonicgin Mon 28-Mar-16 21:59:18

We have watched Flushed Away, but this was quite a while back. I'd be surprised if it was the film, but then he has form for recollecting random stuff.

If he is near the toilet, ie in the bath, he is demanding the lid closed so maybe it is the idea of falling in and being flushed away. I will try and have another chat with him and tell him he is too big sad

At the moment I have brought down his potty and he is using that. Sometimes I can get him to help me tip it into the loo and use the flush. He runs away afterwards. Although thinking about it now, I'm not sure if that is helping.

I guess I will keep going with the potty and try and encourage him onto his seat. Will tell him he doesn't have to use the flush, maybe that will help.

Luckily he is still at pre school and they have been very good with his communication delay, so hopefully they won't mind this issue

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