Minor Potty Training Problem

After our Christmas trip to Wisconsin this year, we decided to be done with Sammy diapers.  She's been ready for big girl undies for a long time...it's been her mommy that's been slacking.  Diapers aren't much fun, but they're a heck of a lot easier than doing the potty training thing with so many little ones.  Lame excuse, I know...but the truth.

So we basically put undies on her, and she was done being "trained".  There were a couple of days where we had to remind her pretty regularly that she was in undies, but now she's just done.  It was amazingly easy.  I guess that's what happens when you wait until they're older than 3 (and have been showing signs of being ready for 6 months).  

But lately we've run into a small glitch.  She's afraid of public toilets.  Not hesitant.  Not apprehensive.  We're talking heart pounding, screeching, trembling, I-had-to-pee-but-now-I-can-hold-it-for-a-week-if-I-have-to TERROR.

It's making things a bit complicated, not to mention traumatic for my little sweet non-pee.

It all started at the infamous Chicago O'Hare Airport.  She said she had to go, so I took her to the ladies' room.  All was fine until I pushed the button to get that silly little plastic seat cover thing to rotate so my little girl had a clean place to put her tushie.  Sammy looked at me in wide-eyed horror.  I assured her that things were fine, put her on up there...and the screaming started.  She clung to my leg, and I could feel her poor little heart thumping wildly against my thigh.  And to top it off, the damn thing started flushing automatically.  

The horror.

My little Sammy hasn't been the same since.  She's fine at home, and she'll let us know when she has to go while we're in public...but every time I bring her to the public bathroom she becomes terrified again and starts up with the screaming.

Ideas anyone?  I've tried everything I can think of.  Not even the popular "pee-pee candy" bribe works when it comes to the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, super scary public commode.

While you're thinking about a possible solution for me, enjoy this picture of my little Sammy.  She's this is an old picture of her...from her 2nd birthday party, I believe.  She's such a little punk.  I just don't know where she gets it...

Anonymous –   – (1/27/2009 10:57:00 AM)  

Hi Daiquiri, We went through this with our oldest child. She eventually got over it, but it is tough. She would not go potty at school in kindergarten and had several accidents. Eventually for us anyway, it got to the point where we were telling her she had to go when we would be somewhere or we would have to go home. That (if I remember correctly) kind of worked since she wouldn't want to leave most places. Good luck, it is a difficult thing to deal with. Our pediatrician said toilet phobias are more common then we realize.


Our Little Blessings  – (1/27/2009 12:58:00 PM)  

My oldest has the same problem. She is now 5, but is still scared of those automatic flushing toilets oh and porta potties also. Since she is older I don't have to do this as much, but I used to have to wrap my arms around her while she is on the potty and she would hold her hears tight. Then I would have to pick her up fast, wipe and pull up pants quick. She would then plug her hears and look away while I flushed. Sometimes there would be crying. Even now there is some crying.

Automatic toilets are a good thing, but there's got to be away they don't flush while little ones are using them. lol

Hilty Sprouts  – (1/27/2009 01:56:00 PM)  

Noelle used to freak out with all public toilets but now it's just the auto-flushers and porta-potties. She's almost 6! She still refuses to go in those situations and will hold it till kingdom come. I wish I had a good solution but I'm afraid in our case it will just have to come with time.

Here's to peeing without fear!


Liz  – (1/27/2009 05:08:00 PM)  

Hmmmm...I haven't had this problem, so my advice might be lame. But what if you take her to the public restroom when she doesn't have to go. Like to kinda check things out with no pressure. Then, walk out. Maybe if you do this a few times without using it, she might see its OK....? Like I said, it might be lame advice, but might be worth a try.

Anonymous –   – (1/27/2009 09:05:00 PM)  

No ideas here, but I do have to say..those toilets at O'Hare freaked ME out and I'm thirtysomething!


Becky Avella  – (1/27/2009 10:30:00 PM)  

Wow! I can't believe how much that picture of you looks like Thomas!

Anonymous –   – (1/28/2009 07:39:00 AM)  

My daughter is nervous about the automatic flushing part, so I have to stand there with my hand over the sensor until she's all done.

Anonymous –   – (1/28/2009 03:36:00 PM)  

Maybe if you sit on it and make it flush at the same time over and over, she will see nothing will happen. Or reach over and push the button to flush it. Worth a shot. I've always said. I'd rather give birth than potty train. ;)

Angie  – (1/28/2009 11:26:00 PM)  

Ok so I read this post yesterday and thought to myself "hum, I don't have that problem yet. I wonder if I will when Sarah is ready". Well my mom sent me an email and told me that I should share my story with you. So here it is....when I was a kid learning how to use a toilet my mom and dad had what we called a "distroylet". It was a propane powered toilet that didn't flush but BURNED the "stuff" up when you closed the lid. As a kid, that's a really scarey thought "what if it lights while I'm sitting here??!!" I just remember being totally freaked to use it. I'm sure your Samantha is just as afraid of the automatic flush as I was of the buring fire but I just had to share my story too. Hope all goes well with the flushing fear!

Ellie  – (3/08/2009 05:24:00 PM)  

We've had the "noisy toilet" fear, too. Time, lots of patience, and when possible, trying to get her out of there before it flushed worked.

But we had a fear of trains once. Like "the choo-choo is going to come in my room and run over me" type of terror. Every night. For two years. Finally, out of desperation, I took the offending child to the train crossing, and for an hour we watched trains while I repeated the mantra "the choo-choo stays on the choo-choo road. the choo-choo never leaves the choo-choo road. the choo-choo never comes to houses. the choo-choo stays on the choo-choo road." over and over again like a broken electronic toy. Very slowly, after a long time, terrified fingers disengaged themselves from their death grip on my neck, and very slowly, a small head began to watch the train, and slowly, and hesitantly began to repeat the mantra.

Every few nights, we would still have a few tense moments as the train passed, but together we would repeat the mantra, and the fear eased.

Now,I'll admit, a toilet is not so interesting to watch as a train, and some people might think you are insane to flush a toilet for an hour, and I hate to think what the environmentalists will say... BUT it might work!

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