Fear of Sitting on the Toilet Information Sheet

Advice if your child has a fear of sitting on the toilet

Fear of Sitting on the Toilet

If your child is fearful of - sitting on the toilet:

  • Make sure your toilet is child friendly. Your Occupational Therapist can give advice about appropriate equipment particularly if your child has more complex needs but as a rule a toilet seat insert and foot support are basic requirements.
  • To encourage  your child to become used to the idea of using the toilet keep all items relating to nappy changing/toileting in the toilet and if possible change your child there too. Encourage them to flush the toilet if you are putting their “poo” down the toilet. Try to encourage their involvement in pulling their pants/trousers down/up to give them more ownership of the process.
  • Demonstrate to your child that there is nothing to fear by letting them see you sitting on the toilet.
  • Decorate the cistern with some child friendly stickers. Replace the toilet seat with a funky themed one chosen by your child.
  • If your child has a fear of a “toilet monster”, show them that the inlet/outlet pipes on the toilet are too small for any monsters to come through!
  • Gradually introduce your child to using the toilet and build confidence in the following manner:

- Sits on the covered toilet with trousers/pants up.
- Sits on the uncovered toilet with trousers/pants up.
- Sits on the uncovered toilet with trousers/pants down.
- Attempts to “pee or push”.
- Successfully uses the toilet.

  • Some children take longer to come out of nappies and will only “pooh” when wearing one. The same approach can be used but with the additional stage of encouraging the child to remove the nappy once they have hopefully accepted sitting on the toilet to “pooh” in the nappy.
  • Distract your child by getting them to blow bubbles, party blowers, and musical toys such as a whistle or a recorder. This will also help them to “push”.