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3yo severe anxiety about potty training

(7 Posts)
Spainintherain Wed 15-Apr-20 21:12:25

We had to stop today on day 5 due to my daughters (3y 5m) anxiety about potty training. She would run to the potty or loo saying she needed to go then not come off for ages and then immediately run back screaming she needs to go . She would be so anxious while we were having dinner and barely eat as she was desperate to go and put her nappy on for the night. Her relief after was very worrying. We first tried seven months ago. We didn't try early as when she turned two she went through a period of becoming scared of some adults and children that went on for six months , then we moved , had a baby and enrolled her at nursery which took time to settle. The first time we tried in September she stopped eating, drinking and pooing by day 3. We were going to try in February but she cried through the night the night before. Now this. We did all we could to be only positive, sticker chart, chocolate buttons and even little gift and letter from potty dairy every night full of praise. We really don't know how to overcome her anxiety of this. Please can anyone advise? Have you got a child like this?!

OP’s posts: |
NuffSaidSam Wed 15-Apr-20 22:21:54

Maybe you went a bit too far with the positive stuff. Chocolate buttons, stickers, gifts,'s a lot of pressure isn't it? Presumably she only gets that if she's 'good' at potty training, so no wonder she's desperate not to have an accident.

Turn the pressure down a bit.

She's obviously a child prone to fear/anxiety so keeping everything low key will be important (not just for potty training).

Spainintherain Thu 16-Apr-20 14:42:13

Thanks for the reply. I don't know. She cried to not attempt in February so we were trying to make it exciting for her. I will try to keep it lowkey next time maybe. But she just doesn't want to give up the nappies and is so nervous and hard on herself

OP’s posts: |
kayakingmum Thu 16-Apr-20 14:48:52

My daughter was quite excited to wear her pretty pants she chose at the supermarket but for a long time would want to put a nappy on if she felt a poo coming.

Maybe say to her she can wear pants or nappies whenever she wants. Let her mix and match.

NuffSaidSam Thu 16-Apr-20 18:04:46

Letting her choose is a good idea.

I wouldn't normally advise switching between, but as she's older and clearly struggling this could be a good option.

And make sure you explain that she will have accidents and that's ok because everyone has accidents when they first start. She's going to struggle in life if she can't cope with failure when learning something new so it's good to start telling her that now.

If she has an older cousin or friend she looks up to, you can tell her 'X had accidents when she first got big girl pants, but she kept trying and now she doesn't anymore' or even 'X still has accidents sometimes but not very often because she's been practicing for a long time' etc.

You could also try, when it's a bit warmer, just leaving her with nothing on (maybe in the garden), have the potty to hand so can use it if she needs to. Don't announce it as potty training, just have her pants off because its warm/she's playing with water.

Spainintherain Thu 16-Apr-20 22:40:37

Thank you. I'm worried about her now as she is quite 'old' and string willed. Very grateful for the advice

OP’s posts: |
Jannt86 Sun 19-Apr-20 19:52:57

I agree with PP. Ease off on the rewards as it sounds like they might be causing her too much performance anxiety and honestly you're not going to be giving her these rewards indefinitely so she needs to make the potty training its own reward. We're potty training my 2YO atm and a simple 'well done darling' or even just 'thank you', an occasional high five and the pleasure of flushing her business down the toilet is all it's taken to crack it. We used the 'oh crap' method which essentially means bare from the waist down until she's getting to the potty reliably. I'd usually be recommending this but in her case I'd suggest just using pullups until she cracks it and masses of reassurance if she gets it wrong and perhaps minimal prompting as it seems like it's aggitating her. Could you also perhaps read her a book or put her her favourite TV show on whilst she's trying to relax the mood a bit? It sounds like easy does it is the only way you're going to crack this as her difficulties are all anxiety related. Good luck xx

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