When I started blogging I promised myself and my son that I would not write about his potty training. I try to respect his privacy as much as possible and would hate for him to go to a job interview or a first date with someone who had already read his entire life history online.
That being said, when I made that promise I had no idea how much parents worry about potty training (especially potty training boys) and how having the right information can really help. So here I am writing a potty training post. I will not share the details of my son’s specific journey. Instead, I will share what seemed to work for my son and Emily’s boys and hope it can benefit you.
- Relax. The best advice I read prior to potty training was this: “There are 3 things you cannot make your child do. You cannot make him eat, sleep or go to the bathroom.” Then why does it seem like I am constantly trying to get him to do one of those 3 things?!!! This was a wake up call to me. Just relax and let him do his thing. I cannot force it or the experience will just be unpleasant for all.
- Wait until he’s ready. At my son’s 2-year-old check up his doctor told me “don’t even start potty training until he’s 2 1/2 if not 3. Boys are just slower than girls.” Yet all 3 of our boys were potty trained around 2 years, 3 months. They were just ready. Set him on the potty a few times and try to catch him if you think he needs to go but if he resists just wait and try again in a few weeks.
- Move the Potty to the Playroom. For a while my son would use the bathroom whenever I took him but he would never stop playing and go on his own. Once the potty was next to his toys he had no problem going because he knew he could continue playing right after.
- Let them be Naked. I found this worked wonders for my boys. If they had a diaper or underwear on, they felt something was there to catch their pee. With nothing on, they felt their pee had to go somewhere and figured out quickly the appropriate place was the toilet. I spoiled my husband and did this while he was gone on a week long camping trip.
- Don’t Read too Many Advice Books or Compare. Trust your gut. I had heard that once you start you should get rid of diapers or you’ll confuse him. Well, I had a new baby at the time so we’d practice using the potty in the morning but if we left the house or I just got lazy I’d put him in a diaper and he did just fine. Do what works for you and your son and what causes the least amount of stress.
- Don’t Punish Accidents. Accidents happen. Potty training is a time for learning a new skill and learning happens best in a stress-free environment. Children need to know if they have accidents (and make mistakes in general) that they can be cleaned up and move forward without fear of punishment or embarrassment.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Take it Slow or Start Later It’s common for a child to do great for a while and then regress. If this happens don’t be afraid to start later. Every child learns at his own pace and maybe he just needs a break for a while.
- Show Your Child Where To Pee. When you go to the park or a store take a minute to show your child where the bathroom is. Often when they’re learning to potty train they don’t know where to go so they may have an accident. Boys love to pee outside so if there’s a tree tell him it’s OK if he pees on it.
- Remember Your Boy is Unique. Some children thrive on stickers and rewards or learning to aim with targets or Cheerios in the potty. Others just take to it naturally. What worked for us, or your neighbor, or your other kid may not work for yours. Don’t be afraid to try those techniques but if they don’t work for you and your kid don’t feel like a failure or make him feel like a failure. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Have you potty trained your boys yet? How was it? What worked for you?