I Have PT-PTSD Post Traumatic Potty Training Stress Disorder – Tales of Withholding Terror

I am seriously the worlds laziest potty trainer when it comes to child #2. I’m guessing that’s normal?? Bryce has spent WAY more time in Pull Ups and no longer do I sprint from the back of Target when he tells me he needs to go potty. I lean down and whisper so passersby can’t hear, “That’s OK baby, that’s why God made diapers and you’re wearing one.” Mother of the year here people, mother – of – the – year.

Unfortunately, those days seem to have passed. Bryce will be entering the 3’s class this fall and they do not have diaper changing facilities. o_O

This time around I feel like a completely different mom. I am more relaxed, maybe even too relaxed, and the fear of the unknown is gone. In it’s place though is the fear of the known. This is what my Aunt used to say about giving birth. The first time you are terrified because you have no idea what to expect, the second and subsequent times you are terrified because you KNOW what to expect.

This couldn’t be more true considering my previous potty training experiences with Noah. If you have had a kid withhold their poop, then you understand why I have PT-PTSD. I’m not talking about once or twice for a day or two. I’m talking about the serious withholder. Noah would go for four and five days without pooping. It would get so bad that by day four he would huddle on the floor holding his toes with his face turning red and cry while trying to hold it in. This would happen about every 30 minutes to an hour until he finally gave up and got it out. This could go on for days at a time! Oh, and this went on for about a year and a half. A YEAR AND A HALF PEOPLE!!!

My doctor would just say oh yeah, that’s normal, just give him Miralax every day for about 3 – 6 months until he forgets that it hurts and then wean him off. He’ll be fine. He obviously had never had to deal with a poop-less toddler before.

I had never felt more alone.

Finally, one day after a year of dealing with all of this I was sitting in my bible study class surrounded by moms. Women who had done this parenting small children thing before and had probably done it way better. It was at the end when our pastor asked for prayer request. Someone had just requested prayers for her neighbor who had breast cancer. I dropped my eyes shamefully and I asked that they pray for me and Noah and our potty training troubles. I prefaced it with, “I know this is going to sound ridiculous but….”

I explained that Noah had decided that he was never going to poop, ever again. There were some giggles, I mean seriously, I would have laughed too. But one of the ladies across the table spoke up. She had been through the same thing! 

I looked up when I heard her say that she knew exactly what I was going through and the expression on her face told me that she did. By that look she could have been describing having been in a horrific car crash, fire, or other traumatic event. I’m not kidding. I have looked up and seen a stranger standing in my house. And this? This was as traumatic as that! Obviously not as dangerous, but definitely as traumatic.

We hadn’t even done our official prayer and God had already answered mine. After class was over she sat down and talked to me. She told me about her experience with her daughter. That her loser doctor had told her the same thing, and how no one understood how horrible it was. Then she hugged me and said that she understood what I was going through. 

God knew that Noah needed my support and in order for me to do that I needed support too. Up until this point the response I always got was, “Oh, that poor baby.” And I just wanted to yell, “Poor him!? What about me!?” Lord, that sounds so horrible. But it was true! He is lucky though, it’s only been a year and Noah’s already forgotten all of it. Me? I remember it all too well.

Silver lining though? Potty training a toddler who refuses to poop is WAY less messy. I speak from experience. Today alone Bryce has pooped in his swimsuit, in my car, on my sky blue Moroccan tiled wool rug, and the dining room floor.

If you are reading this and going through something similar, God Bless You! You are not alone. I have been there and it is Hell. Literally Hell on earth. But you can do this. I know you can!


**If you have any questions or want to share your experience for others please leave a comment below.