3yr old won't go potty in public

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2009
3yr old won't go potty in public
Thu, 08-27-2009 - 3:03pm

My 3 year old daughter is fully potty trained at home (except bed time of course.) However I can't get her to use a public potty or the potty at her preschool. She simply holds it in!

Not sure what to do... I've tried every bribe in the book -- food, treats, toys. I've brought potty seat covers, even her own princess potty seat. She says they're yucky and would rather wait until we're home.

So I find myself putting her in pull ups when we're out for long periods of time to empty her bladder.

I know she won't get married in diapers, but I would like to help her overcome this fear. Any help is greatly appreciated!

PS: I should also add that she was completely potty trained in April and then we went on an airplane to my brother's wedding. She used the potty in the airport, but once we were on the plane she asked for a pull up and remained in pull ups for the rest of the 1 week trip. Back to underpants at home, but no public potties since then.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2005
Fri, 08-28-2009 - 4:37pm

That sounds really frustrating. At her preschool does she get to watch other kids go to the bathroom or do they keep her separate during bathroom times as she is wearing a diaper or pull-up? Are they offerring it to her? I understand the not wanting to go in public restrooms, the environment is so strange, but I would hope that she feels safe and secure at preschool.

Have you considered quitting the pull-ups and trying her in undies in public? Maybe after a few accidents maybe she'll start using the public bathrooms... oh, and my kids were/are terrified of the toilets that flush automatically. You might want to put your hand on the sensor while she is going (assuming you get an auto-toilet) so she has a pleasant "out-and-about" experience. It took us a few weeks to convince my oldest to try a public bathroom again after it flushed on her the first time!

Good luck!

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