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Toddler is Scared to Pee


I have a 22 month old son and we started the Potty Training Boot Camp system on Saturday morning. He did fine, having 3 accidents and 2 successes, but he did not self-initiate. This morning I got up prepared to repeat day 1 until nap. However, today was different. He had 3 accidents this morning and cried when he had each accident and when he got on the potty. He had 1 success and cried during that as well. He stayed dry during nap and then woke up and peed on the potty. He did not go again for the rest of the afternoon/evening. We stayed on the regiment, 20 minutes off with 5 minutes on, and he was very agreeable, he just would not pee. He had plenty to drink, self-initiated 5 times, but every time he got on the potty he cried and wouldn't pee. I put him in the tub to see if that would help and he cried and told me he had to go potty. I took him to the potty and he cried.
The long and short of it is that I think he is scared to pee. Looking back on the last 2 days I realize that when he started to have an accident I would sweep him up and put him on the potty to finish. I think that this has conveyed to him that peeing is not good, so he thinks he needs to hold it.

Any ideas on how I can undo the fear that I have created and continue on in the training process? Or is this something that will go away on its own?


Thanks for writing. It does indeed sound like your son has developed a fear of using the potty. Do you think he had any negative experiences, such as a painful urine stream? Or do you think it is simply from the "rushing to the potty" episodes?

Here are a couple of ideas that you could consider:

1) Take him to the store and let him pick out a brand new "not scary" potty. Putting the decision in his hands might empower him.

2) Do the "hug" technique - sounds strange - but tell him you will wrap your arms around him and give him big hugs while he's on the potty. (You can also let him hold a favorite stuffed animal.)

3) Move his potty to a special, cozy, "safe" place (they give kids reassurance.) Ask HIM where he would be most comfortable using the potty. (Even if it's a corner of the closet!) Call it his "special potty place".

Post by Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers" - a new, fast, easy toilet training method that produces remarkable results.

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