Potty Training at 22

One of the most horrid experiences of my life was when I had to reteach myself how to use the bathroom. I was twenty-two years old and I was being sent home from the hospital after a year and change of torture. I had numerous surgeries to repair what was left of my intestines. My colorectal surgeon had performed a procedure that reversed my ostomy bag. It was the first time I would eliminate waste the natural way.

My doctors warned me that my muscles that controlled this bodily function were not strong. I remember that I left Temple Hospital wearing an adult diaper. How embarrassing it was. Think about it. I was 22 years old, and wearing diapers. I couldn’t control my bowel! How terrible. I was told that I had to perform kegel exercises. I am not going to get into detail about what they are, but it is not comfortable.

For the first couple of weeks at home, I was miserable. It seemed that I would never be able to make it to the bathroom in time. I was really down on my luck, and felt my life falling apart. I had a lot of things going through my mind. First and foremost, would I ever be able to maintain a job? Secondly, how could I possibly hold a relationship? “Wait a second, let me remove my diaper first.” I have to admit, I was not dealing with this very well.

When I arrived home from the hospital, I was using the restroom about twenty times a day. I would have an accident about half of the time. All my doctors kept saying was, “It’s going to get better.” I had to believe! I had to keep doing the exercising that the doctors recommended.

After about a month, I started to see a decline in my accidents. There was hope. I started to remove the adult diaper, just to see how I did. At times, I was ok, but other times I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. I taught myself not to get down on myself. I kept to the saying, “two steps forward, one step backwards.

After about two months, and over a million or so kegels, I had developed enough muscles in my rectum that I had no accidents! It was very hard to come to terms with, but I had worked very hard to develop a skill that seems so easy to master.

I realized that the problem was that I understood everything that was going on. I understood what it meant to not be toilet trained. When you are a baby, you don’t have the cognitive ability to understand that.

As I look back at this horrific time of my life, it was a quite the adventure. The process made me really dig deep in terms of what I wanted. I could have sat there and not worked hard to strengthen my muscles. That would have not ended well for numerous reasons. Through constant practice, perseverance and dedication, I was able to beat the odds. I am now able to live a normal life.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.