Potty Training: When It Feels Like it Will Never End

A few months ago (SIX!), I wrote about the trials of potty training. At that point, I felt comfortable—confident, even, sharing our journey to independent potty time because we were SO close. However, like so many things in life, we plan…and the universe laughs.

My son is almost five. He starts kindergarten in eleven days. And he still isn’t potty trained. I’m not going to lie—in some ways, I feel ashamed to share that. But, like so many things I share about my boys, I’m going to scream it across the interwebs in the hopes that it will help another mama who is praying to the potty Gods.

My son is a bright, beautiful boy. When we started the journey of potty training 65 years ago (fine, fine—15 months), we thought it might take a little bit, but certainly, by the time he started kinder he would be good to go. We knew we needed to be patient, and that worked for a while. Eventually, we got just plain frustrated- we tried all the tricks—treats, reward charts, threats…and still, we just couldn’t quite get all the way to potty independence.

I got to a point where I felt like a failure as a Mom. What was wrong?

After we hit the one year mark, I decided to bring in the experts. We engaged a play therapist to see if there was something we could work through to help Will find his bathroom bravery, and after a couple of sessions, she recommended occupational therapy (OT). We recently learned that William not only has some sensory issues but that due to some childhood trauma, his infantile reflexes didn’t fully integrate themselves.

Our situation is unique, of course… but it got me thinking. Why such potty pressure?

I get it—he is going to kindergarten, and it’s time for him to spread his wings and pee solo. But if your child, like mine, isn’t quite there yet? Give yourself a little grace and take a step back to see what might really be going on. I put so much pressure on myself (and Will) to get there, that it took a bit to see that there might be more to our struggles.

The good news? This too shall pass. We’re working with an OT who is helping us to help our son. We do exercises at home to help those reflexes re-integrate, and we’re working with his school to set him up for success.

Is he totally potty trained as he starts this new chapter? Nope. But I’m still confident that by the time he hits college we won’t be packing Pull-Ups.

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