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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

My son won’t go to the bathroom in public restrooms.
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Morning Grandma Maggie,

My name is Dana and I’m 24. I have a son who will be 5 in August and a child due in February. My son Elijah is so smart for his age but he has problems going to the bathroom in public. He will hold it until we get home. I don’t know how to get him over the phobia of strange toilets. I’ve told him many times it’s not healthy for him to hold it in and what it could do to him if he does but he still cannot get over the fear. I’m also afraid to send him to school this year because I don’t want him to be picked on by other kids for his problem and fears because I know how cruel kids can be. I also figured maybe it would be better to hold him back until the baby is born. I would really like to find a way to get him over this.

Please help,
Dana


Dear Dana,

I like your idea of waiting an extra year before you enter your son in school. I am not sure his fear of other strange toilets will disappear, but it’s possible. With kids, anything can happen. If he goes to school next year, make sure that he uses the toilet before school. Many kids can then not go again until they return home. Another thing is to stop talking about it. As long as it continues to be an issue for which he gets attention, I think it will definitely continue.

Grandma Maggie