Q: My four-year-old is toilet trained, but will not use the washroom at kindergarten. He barely holds it until he gets home, or has an accident. What’s going on and what should I do?
A: To encourage your son to use the toilet at school, ask him to tell you what bothers him. If you listen to his concerns, you can work with his teacher to find a suitable solution.
Perhaps he’s put off by the smell. Teach him to hold his nose and breathe through his mouth. If he fears the crack in the door that people can peer through, show him how to take off his fleece and hang it on the latch so the crack is covered. Some kids who are toilet-shy prefer to go at recess when everyone else is outside. If the toilet is too loud, you could help him anticipate the noise and cover his ears.
Practice in other unfamiliar washrooms, like at restaurants or other people’s homes. If he still won’t use the toilet, that’s fine, but it means wearing absorbent training pants rather than underwear. Switch him back without any shame or embarrassment. He’ll muster up some courage, try his own solutions and be back in underwear in no time!