Potty training! Often seen as one of the most complicated and fearful times in the life of a parent, potty training can be frustrating at best. It shouldn’t be. And to be honest, you have to start out with a pretty flexible attitude, lest you get sucked in to worrying that your child is a human abnormality, which HE isn’t! He will get potty trained, and will not be the only kid in kindergarten that wears a diaper. Remember, just because you have decided, or read a book that make right now seem like the right time doesn’t mean your son agrees with you. If you meet excessive resistance, or see his progress going backwards, you may be pushing him too hard.
The first question that most parents have is, to sit or stand? Potty training boys is different from girls because they come with an entirely different expectation and package rules. Obviously, the men in your son’s lives stand up to tinkle in the potty. (Although they won’t admit they ‘tinkle’) However, the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with dozens of parenting experts recommend that you teach your little boy to use the potty sitting down. At first. Why? Essentially, because he will have to sit down to pee and have a bowel movement and this will make it consistent. Plus, depending on your son’s age, having him sit down to pee can make your bathroom much more sanitary, as few toddlers have the grace of coordination and body control to keep their piddle within the confines of the toilet.
Now, regardless of how old your son is, you should look for developmental milestones before undertaking the trials of potty training. The first thing is for your child to recognize when they have the urgency to go. Around the 12-month mark, most toddlers will recognize that they have to go and just go in their diaper as expected. It is a good idea for parents to start talking about pee and bowel movements around this point, so your child can associate urgency with going. Somewhere between 1 and 2, depending on the child, they will begin verbalizing that they peed or used the bathroom. Interject the words potty here as often as possible. This way they begin to associate potty and eliminating.
The next thing to look for is interest. Boys generally have an interest in potty training after the age of 2. Since they develop physically faster, they normally take a little longer than girls do. However, around 2 start allowing your son to accompany you and other family members to the potty. This way as he begins an interest in emulating the older people around him, using the bathroom will be something that he ‘wants’ to do as well. Wanting to use the potty like a big boy is definitely desirable and can serve as just enough motivation.
The next thing to consider is the potty chair. Potty chairs are great because you can pull them out in the living room, bedroom, or anywhere else you might be for easy use. Remember that potty training your son has to be convenient for him as well as for you. When they say they need to go, it usually means RIGHT NOW. You can buy either potty chairs that your son can sit on, or urinals to help in training your boy to stand up and pee. Choose one that he likes and although him to have some say so in picking it out. If you are teaching your son to pee sitting down, then get a potty chair that mimics a real potty so they won’t get confused. Place a plastic liner under it, and allow your boy to run around naked while you are potty training. If naked doesn’t work for you, then put him in some fantastic big boy britches so that he is able to feel the wetness.
One tip. While pull-ups are great, they still are able to contain most of the moisture. The problem with this is that few toddlers, boys, or girls are able to associate the feeling of going, with wetness. That is why using cotton underwear is your best choice!
Okay, so now you are potty training a boy. Then what? The first step is to take him to the bathroom at least once or twice an hour. You may want to set up a reward system where he gets an M&M or something when he uses the bathroom as incentive. You also should schedule the potty training for a 7-day period when you are going to be home so things will be consistent. When he drinks or eats, ask him if he needs to go. If you constantly ask him and take him to the potty chances are he will have fewer accidents. Yet, when an accident occurs, which it will remain calm. Potty training is about consistency and readiness. It isn’t something to shame your son about nor should you inflict any discipline.
At night, it is best to still wear a diaper or pull-up, as the urgency to go during the night will normally no wake boys until they are around 28 months old. However, during the day, put the diapers away. Talk about being a big boy. If your son seems interested in potty training, then stick with it. If it seems to be causing him to revert to a baby, then take a week or two break. You will be surprised how much of a difference a week or so can make.
Lastly, as potty training seems to be working, start teaching him how to urinate standing up. Many parents use fruit loops, cheerios, or other things in the potty in order to help him with him aim and make it fun. You will definitely need a step stool for him to use so that he can reach the potty properly. Teaching to lift the seat or not, is strictly about personal preference at this point.
One thing you will notice is that when you potty train a boy, they will realize that they can go anywhere, just like dad! don’t be surprised to see them out in the yard watering flowers, or taking a break in the middle of a playground should the urge hit them then and there. Whatever you do mom don’t let dad see you teach them how to wipe (or blot). Although any respectable mom may find it amazing that boys don’t do this, it is definitely not part of the acceptable code of male ethics!