Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tips for Potty Training Little Boys

Potty Training. I'm still ready to squirm at the idea, and I've already successfully potty trained one little boy. Not sure how much of the teaching was actually "me" though. To tell the truth, potty training was the number one thing I was worried about in the early years of parenting. I was ridiculously nervous that it was going to take forever, and I'd just have to spend my days cooped up inside armed with a spray bottle of disinfectant and cleaning cloths.

With some advice from already seasoned mamas, and the thought that eventually he had to use a toilet, I made it through. Not every moment was easy or quickly learned, but it worked, and now I rarely worry about him having accidents. I'll be in the camp of potty training mama of a boy once again in the near future with my 2nd little one growing up fast, and I want to assure you that though trying at times, it's doable. And, eventually, your boy is going to get it, too.


I want to share with you some of the tips and ideas that worked for us. I'm a pro by no means, and these are suggestions that worked for my son. Remember that every little boy has his own personality and progress rate, so your son and your experience will be different. Try not to compare to others, but be encouraged to keep trying and persevere. You'll find at the bottom I included a few suggestions I gathered from other mamas with tips that worked for them and their little boys. I hope these ideas help you. Best of luck in your potty training ventures!

Wait until HE is ready. Then be patient. When he is ready, he'll let you know, and believe me, it will go so much better. We tried before I thought Dom was ready, and it was mostly just a frustrating headache with little result. Once he was ready, he was trained in less than 10 days.
Things to look for in terms of readiness: interest in trying out the potty or wearing underwear, dry diapers during naptime, alerting you when he's pooped. To be forewarned, boys typically train later than girls.



Gear up with fun supplies. Key in on the big boy-ness of it all. Supply the little man with underwear sporting superheroes or Thomas the TankEngine or whatever is his thing. Make him excited for this new endeavor. Have him bond with Dad (or big bro or uncle) by watching them - weird as it sounds, it helps, and this is somewhere Mom isn't able to share from personal experience. I still highly suggest teaching sitting while peeing before trying standing.

Undies rather than pull-ups. While pull-ups sound easier, they aren't helpful. They take away that wet feeling that comes from an accident and make it feel just like a diaper again. Plus, they're super expensive. The first few days, when we had to run out of the house, I made sure to have him pee RIGHT before we left, and then he wore Flip Training Pants, which keep the wetness in the pants to a minimum, *but* they make your son feel wet. If your son is already in cloth diapers, I suggest putting him exclusively in Prefold Diapers. They will help him understand what a wet diaper feels like as opposed to cloth diapers with fabrics that wick away moisture.


Stay close to home. Think strategically with the placing of the potty. Put it somewhere where it's easily accessible. The more "hurdles" he has to get over to reach the potty, the more accidents will occur. Try pantsless. If you're brave (which I was not), try bare bum.  If you have two floors to your residence, consider a potty on each floor. Remind often. We set a timer to go off every hour. When it dinged, I'd ask if he wanted to try. If he said no, the next timer was for 20 minutes.

Don't punish accidents, but teach consequences. This is an interesting thing to differentiate. To him: Fun trumps Potty. Keep this in mind especially when out and about. Dom had been trained with no accidents for at least 4 or 5 days. We went out to a fun location, and rather than tell me had to pee, he decided to keep playing and wet himself. We left. I didn't punish him, but I explained that when he was wet, the consequence of having an accident was that we couldn't stay.


Two last tips from me:

"Point it down!" Ever important words unless you want your bathroom redecorated.

For nighttime training, limit liquids post dinner and remember potty right before bed. Again the time it takes for each child to stop wetting at night is different. We kept Dom in a nighttime prefold diaper for about 4 weeks, and then had him in the Flip Training Pants for another month or so before he primarily kept himself dry.


Tried and True Tips from Other Mamas

Get outside! Especially with little boys, we found camping was a great way to teach what was going on and how to control it. When a target was introduced (ie, a tree), things got even better. What's more fun than peeing on a tree?! Our little guy found the transition to peeing inside easy and there wasn't much of a fuss.
Go for broke! We just stopped wearing diapers all at once. Had a long transition of talking about it, and then just stopped. Our little guy had a long period of peeing on the potty 100%, but not pooping on the potty. However, we realized he was doing it as a rebellion thing (ie, waiting for timeout or naptime) so that was a discipline issue. Introducing a sticker chart with a reward at the end (a $4 toy he had his eye on) cinched the deal and made that behavior less desirable. 
Persevere Persevere Persevere! My friend who had a difficult time with her little man felt like she was totally ready to give up and give him back his diapers but told herself to go just one more day... and that day was all he needed, so when you're ready to give up, don't!
      Kaely L.

Our method was waiting until he was fully ready and then taking the diapers away without ever going back. That meant no training pants, not even at night or in the car. That first week I cleaned up A LOT of messes, I always had a mop in my hand. And I was also changing his sheets at night, as he had to get used to getting up to go the potty during the night. It was a rough week for both of us, but we stuck with it. And that was it, one week and we were done with potty training . My advise would be to accept the messes and clean them up with lots of encouragement, it takes a lot of learning for them to develop the patience and self control to stop what they are playing with to use the potty.
      Emily M.

What I found to be most helpful was waiting - boys seem to mature more slowly than girls when it comes to things like potty training.  I never let what others felt to be appropriate timing be my guide instead I just watched and waited - Nathanael was 3 1/2 when he finally opted to be diaper less and yet Gabe was 2. I am a big believer in letting nature take its course.
      Dawn W.

When my son started showing interest in using the potty (a few months after turning 2) I cleared the calendar as much as possible for about a week, he ran around without any pants (I think this really helped him to “feel the urge”) and we kept his little potty easily accessible. We used the reward system, a very little treat every time he went in the potty. #2 was more difficult; I cleaned out a lot of dirty underwear before he got the hang of it.  
       Micah Friedrich


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This post Tips for Potty Training Little Boys first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 3 April 2013

3 comments:

  1. All great tips! I had a slightly different experience than you with my son, as I never worried about potty-training and all of a sudden my son seemed to 'train' himself. By 18 months he was out of nappies during the day and night, and I cannot credit myself at all, lol :)

    Thanks for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link-Up! :)

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    1. Glad you were so lucky! I have to admit, I think my experience went better than others I've heard about, but I'm interested to see how my two boys differ as they train. #1 was pretty easy, but #2 might be completely different.

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