My four-year-old is fearful of sitting on the toilet

Ask the Expert: Now that she is in junior infants this is becoming a bigger issue

There is complete meltdowns if we try to broach the subject of taking the pull-ups away. Photograph: iStock

There is complete meltdowns if we try to broach the subject of taking the pull-ups away. Photograph: iStock

Question: We have a four-year-old daughter (will be five in December) who has huge anxiety over toileting (ie has never used a potty or a toilet, but rather puts a pull-up on when she needs to do a wee or poo).

Now that she has started junior infants and afterschool, this is becoming a bigger issue. She has perfect control and doesn’t wet herself but holds everything in until she gets home so she can put on a pull-up and do it standing up in the bathroom. The odd time she will do this in afterschool as she has pull-ups in her school bag. I think I pushed her with toileting when she was too young because of pressures from her first preschool and in the process turned her off it completely. Now there is complete meltdowns if we try to broach the subject of taking the pull-ups away. It has just become a complete mental block now.

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