The pain of the pressure. The battle of the bathroom.

Tiny human is three years old. She is smart, quick, clever, tall, active, inquisitive, and beautiful. But she refuses to potty train. When I use the word “refuse” it is not with exaggeration. She knows how to hold it when she has to. She knows how to pull down the training paints. She knows how to sit on the potty. She even flushes the toilet! But she does not want to use the potty. This has become a battle that is surprisingly draining and emotionally wearing on me more than expected.

I feel this pressure to get her to potty train. Internal and external; social and emotional. I feel like I am somehow failing at parenting even though cognitively I know it is just a small delay that will pass. But tiny human has become combative about the situation. Taking her diaper off to pee on the table, on the couch, even on me. She has wiped her poop on her blanket, on her clothes, on the carpet, on my bed. Not once, not twice, but a few times per week we have some sort of incident and meltdown about potty training.

I sleep very little, which has been my norm for all of my adult life, but with this potty training nonsense I am having nightmares, grinding my teeth, picking at scars. I can feel the pressure building. I feel pressure, frustration and sadness, like a heavy anchor hanging on my neck. My back, neck, and shoulders are sloped and hurts… I just realized I am grinding my teeth as I type this…

I google and read, and I try all the tips and tricks. I have read every single blog and mom post, I have gotten to the point of information overload. But nothing seems to work and it feels like we are at a standstill. Worst of all is that I have all of this depression building up inside of me about it, I feel the pressure building in my chest like a wave of tears that I am fighting to hold back every minute of every day, and I cannot talk to anyone about it.

Of course I have friends that I can tell but they either don’t get it or offer suggestions. All in kindness, but there is nothing anyone can say that I haven’t read, researched, or tried. So when I do share this with people it just makes me feel worse because they find it odd, don’t understand, or I am just embarrassed because they are parents and did not have this struggle. It is a failure that I cannot find how to fix and in turn I am so fixated on it that I am frustrated and floundering.

I have realized that my frustration has begun to roll over into my general temperament. I am shorter with people in general, more withdrawn, easily hurt. I avoid people because I know I am in a fragile state; self-conscious about my current circumstances. I feel the Babadook hovering over my shoulder… and exhausted. I just have to remember, this is a passing phase. And the tiny human brings me so much joy. Her laughter, her cuddles, her cute little expressions… All of the good that she is outweighs the bad times we have. And all of the love that we share, is worth a million little battles like the battle of the bathroom.

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