Fear and Anxiety of Toileting

Children of all ages and backgrounds can develop fear, anxiety, or a general feeling of dislike of toileting, the toilet, or restrooms. When this occurs, there may be changes in toileting habits and toileting mechanics. Children may avoid toileting, fight the process, or quietly use other means to avoid toileting in a healthy way.

A pediatric pelvic floor physical therapist will not be able to address the core challenges of fear and anxiety; the child and family may need to seek help from a psychologist for to appropriate address the fear and anxiety if those stem from something outside of toileting. This is especially true for children with a history of physical or sexual abuse and trauma, though these children may benefit from bother physical therapy services as well as psychological services simultaneously.

Some children develop fear, anxiety and dislike of toileting because of negative experiences with toileting. Negative potty-training experiences, painful toileting experiences, or difficulty toileting can lead to a child's behavior changing in relationship to toileting. In these cases, with small achievable goals related to toileting, and consistent successes that the child achieves, the child then becomes more motivated to continue the process of improving their toileting skills.

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