I was freaking out when I started researching how to potty train my son. How do you do that for a boy? I have no idea! I don’t have a penis, I don’t know how to do it. I mean sure, point and shoot. But how do you teach someone when you can’t demonstrate? With a lot of trial and error, my son is potty trained.
It took… 3 months total, including no longer wetting himself at night. UNLESS he drinks a lot of water too close to bedtime. Then that’s my bad.
Today I wanted to share with you all the tips, tricks and techniques I used to potty train my son. He was 2 years and 2 months old when we started, May 2016. And I believe we were in the clear aside from minor accidents as of the end of August 2016. Not too shabby for a first time mom. If I do say so myself.
Knowing When to Start
Aside from ‘getting started’, the first step in potty training is knowing when to potty train. There are many different methods to this madness. Some people like to toilet train their babies by holding infants over the toilet if they catch them while they are going. This seems like a rather difficult task to endure, but to each their own.
I was a mom who wanted to get out of diapers ASAP, and prepared for it all when Gregory was just over a year old. Actually, scrolling my Instagram, it was 52 weeks as of me writing this post. You can check out the photo below. I was so excited. A year later and we are officially diaper free!
Let Your Child Lead You
The best way to determine when your child is ready for potty training is by paying attention to them. Read their cues, body language, and of course, trial and error. We attempted potty training once or twice and stopped a few days in because Gregory just wasn’t ready yet. I know he is already fairly young, in today’s standards, to be potty trained. I’m very proud of him. I just thought I would help not only myself out, but him as well, by making the attempt to learn.
Here are some ways you can read your child to tell if they are ready to be potty trained.
- They let you know when they need a diaper change. They don’t like sitting in a dirty diaper. That’s GREAT!
- They take their diaper off. It’s freedom, and probably restricting. This is a big sign.
- They have regular bowel movements. If you can time these, all the easier potty training to you.
- They try to sit on the toilet and are curious about it. They are interested in copying you, teach them. DON’T scare them away with thoughts of danger because you don’t want them playing in the bowl or dropping things and getting it all clogged up.
- They ask. Some children will straight up ask to sit on the potty. Or say pee-pee and point to the bathroom.
- Waking up with a Dry Diaper. They can hold their bladder, gaining longer periods of time where they can go without going.
- They run away to do their business. Wanting privacy is a sign of growth and self awareness.
- Noticeable Poops. Meaning when they stop and you can tell that they are pooping, pick them up and put them on the potty.
Potty Training Methods for Boys
There are so many methods to potty training. I have read so many and jumbled them together taking bits that work from here and there to get something that works for me. That’s the beauty of the internet, so much information available for us to benefit from. I’ll try to keep things in order as I attempted them, but I keep no promises that I remember the exact order we attempted these.
Grandma Knows Everything
I had prepared the potty training essentials and told Momma Bear of the plan. She thought it a great idea and offered to help in any way she could. I asked her if she wanted to start the training for me.
No. Really. I did.
And she agreed. You already know I’m a big fan of sending Gregory to Grandma’s house at least once a month for at least two days. So I sent him over for three or four days of potty training.
The thing with Grandma’s is that they are generally a little more easy going when there are accidents as a result of a child. Especially if they’ve already got an empty nest. They relish these moments as they seemed to have passed all too quickly for them. And I appreciate it.
I appreciate that Momma Bear raised me and is so willing to help me raise Gregory by giving me a jump start in learning a new skill. I learn and get notes from her as she learns and takes on the first shift. It takes a
village tribe to raise a child, remember.
Transition to Underwear in 4 Easy Steps
Undie Undie Undies!!!! That’s what Gregory and I yell when he needs a new pair of undies as he runs to the bedroom and I follow hot on his tail. He likes wearing underwear. We had bought some, a year in advance remember, and we’d tried them on over the months as we attempted potty training. The method both my mom I used to introduce underwear to Gregory was as follows.
Step One: Go to the store and purchase the last box of diapers. Let your child know that it is the last box of diapers that you can buy for them. Let them understand that. As the box empties, make them aware and remind them again that there are no more diapers and they will need to use the potty soon.
Step Two: Upon completing the last box of diapers, put on the first pair of underwear. Don’t put on training pants… yet. Also, let them run around naked, but let them wear underwear. Not training pants. I know, it’s confusing so far because it’s on the essentials list. Wait for it.
Step Three: At Nap time and bed time wear training pants. To me, training pants are just like diapers. Sure, you can get the kind that gets cold when wet, but it doesn’t have the same experience as wetting underwear. Training pants, much like diapers, are great for nap times and overnight to catch accidents.
Step Four: Be patient and start potty training.
Getting these steps in before you start potty training helps your child transition from diapers to underwear without freaking them out. Change is hard, change is harder when you’re handed something brand new to work with and wasn’t expecting to have to learn a new skill with it. Ease into the process and give your Little some time to absorb what is going to be expected of them.
Sitting on the Potty
Sitting on the potty was giving me anxiety. How to do make sure that all the pee is going to get into the toilet? Was I missing something? It seems like this is a lot more difficult in my head. I mean, all little boys have a penis, they are all little, they are all required to have someone point it into the toilet unless you want urine all over you, them and the bathroom. It’s happened, okay. It’s not pretty.
With a stool in place I first had Gregory climb up and face the toilet seat. Yes, he was sitting backwards on the toilet. I figured it was easier to climb up the stool and onto to the toilet seat this way. I was correct. It was a little more difficult to get off, but I was there to help anyways. This was also an excellent way to distract Gregory while he needed to sit on the toilet and relax enough to do his business. I handed him some whiteboard markers and let him colour on the toilet seat. He loved it.
Forward Facing Instead
I’ll be honest, I thought this could solve my problem of not needing to help point the penis down as he could easily point into the toilet. WRONG. Gregory didn’t point and often times I wasn’t able to reach around and not overcrowd him. Urine went everywhere. Again. So we turned around and I easily pointed his little penis into the toilet. Sometimes getting him to help or point all on his own. Forward facing or rear, try them out and see which works for you.
On the essentials list you see there is a little urinal. I will write a full review on the toilet seat and urinal in a separate post, but I do recommend getting a little urinal if you’ve got a little boy. The ease of being able to pull down pants and undies just a little bit and just stand at the wall. He even puts his hands up on the wall and leans into it and relaxes like a real man does while he unloads his bladder. It’s super cute.
Using a Urinal is so much easier than teaching him how to pee on the toilet. This has got to be one of the best purchases I made, and I recommend anyone with a little boy to get one.
Essentials to Potty Train
Before we go on, I think I should show you all the essentials items we use when using the potty and during potty training. You can find links to everything at the bottom of this post, reviews for products to come. The items in the photo below are the essentials we have for home potty training. If you’re looking for ideas on how to potty train on the go, check out our Potty Pack. You can make it yourself and it’s much easier to tote around all your potty training needs.
I think it’s useful to have some sort of reward system for every time your Little goes to the potty on the toilet. I’ve tried out many and some worked better than others for us. I will still share them all in hopes that one of them works well for your Little. Every child is different.
Gregory is a big fan of stickers. What kid isn’t? I had a special set of stickers that he could choose one from every time he went potty. I kept them in the bathroom so we didn’t need to go very far or forget to collect. This wasn’t successful for us as we used stickers frequently during the day and the novelty of getting another for going potty wasn’t enough motivation for him. I learned this during the first unsuccessful potty training trials and didn’t attempt again.
I wanted to steer clear of rewarding any behaviour of Gregory’s with food. Grandma introduced this when she took Gregory for the first few days. They are the hardest days, with the most accidents, and requiring the most motivation to get him in the bathroom and listening to his body when he needs to go. I am not angry at my mom for doing this treat method. It works. I’m unsure of what treat she used, but I used jelly straws.
Rad Tip: Take your Little to the store and let them pick out a treat for when they use the potty. I took Gregory down the import foods aisle and grabbed some Asian Jelly Straws. Although I am sure they were high in sugar, we went through one… maybe one and a half containers and we had weened off. Meaning the potty training was complete, he forgot about asking for a treat after every visit to the potty and he didn’t need a reward system.
Potty Time Phone App
I’m a big fan of Rachel Coleman. Rachel offers amazing baby signing videos that we’ve watched since Gregory was, well, a baby. We’ve graduated onto the Treeschooler videos where we learn all sorts of songs and things about the world. When I found out Rachel had a Potty Training App I was all for it and downloaded it that instant.
The songs in this app are the same songs as we listen to in her videos. In fact, there is a feature where we can watch and unlock those videos in the app. Also, we can pay for videos. I’m not one to pay for apps, but the option is there. It isn’t expensive.
There are also ‘Books’ you can read when you need to keep your little on the toilet for a few more minutes. This is a great thing to carry along when you don’t have anything to entertain them while they relax enough to go. A memory game is also included, but we didn’t play it.
The Best Part
The best part of the phone app is the ability to call Rachel and track the potty training progress. Let’s start with the tracking here. With the ability to pay to upgrade to more than the basic 4, your Little can pick a virtual sticker every time they have a successful potty visit. I would always sit and count how many stickers Gregory had every time we added one. Not only did it encourage him to get another sticker, but he was learning his numbers.
THE BEST PART is the ability to call Rachel on the phone. No joke. Select ‘Call Rachel’ on the apps main screen and you can mark whether your child had an accident or was successful at going potty. My Little is always wanting to talk on the phone. To get a personal phone call, a video chat phone call, FROM RACHEL, the woman he watches, sings, signs, and dances along to on TV… I mean, why wouldn’t he want to go potty?
Even if you select ‘accident’ Rachel doesn’t make the child feel bad. She just tells them to listen to their body, and try again next time. Oh, and to phone her again and let her know how it went. I love that Gregory still gets a positive interaction with the phone call even when he wasn’t able to make it to the potty. With little disappointment, he isn’t discouraged and upset by having an accident. He just knows he should try again and he’ll get to make another phone call.
Highly Recommend this phone app. I had it on Android, although I am sure it’s available in the Apple store as well.
The last reward I gave Gregory was the promise that when he didn’t have any accidents at night, we would go to build-a-bear and build a bear. We walk past the store in the mall at least once a month, and sometimes we walk in to watch a bear being made. I said it on the spur of a moment to convince him to leave the store. It worked, and I kept to my promise. When Gregory went several nights without any accidents I packed him and his potty pack up and we built a bear.
Introducing Rubble on the Double. With a beating heart inside and white boxer underwear, he’s a simple version of the Paw Patrol pup. But he’s an adorable version, with an amazing meaning.
That was the only article of clothing we bought, the underwear. It was so Gregory could be reminded of why we bought him. When Gregory had an accident at night, Rubble would have to go to his dog house for the night because his undies stay dry and he doesn’t like wet underwear.
Gregory is always there to help me put Rubble in his house and we stick his nose out the little hole and put him up on the fridge where he don’t get bumped or dirty. Then, when it’s time to bring him out, Gregory is right there to tell Rubble, in perfect toddlerese, how he didn’t pee while he slept last night and that Rubble can sleep with him again. It’s very cute, very effective for us.
In the future we can buy more outfits for Rubble, but for now we stick to just the underwear.
Successful Potty Training
It’s difficult to stay calm for every accident your child has, especially when we are sleep deprived and out of clean clothes and underwear to change them into. But it’s important to try and keep level headed. For every time you blow your top because your little didn’t make it to the potty, try and make sure you have an accident where you say “It’s okay, let’s just clean it up. No big deal. Don’t worry.”
Make sure your child knows that just because they have an accident doesn’t mean they’ve failed. They are learning. mistakes are part of the learning process. When I learn a new skill I make all sorts of mistakes. It’s embarassing enough, I don’t need someone blowing up in my face telling me how crappy of a job I just did. I was doing the best I knew how with what I knew at the time.
Give your child some time, patience, and give yourself some patience. It’ll be over before you know it. It just takes forever to get there. Success doesn’t come the first night they are accident free. I expect Gregory to have many more accidents, and won’t think any less of his ability to say he is potty trained. Even if he has an accident at night and he’s in elementary school.
It is not uncommon for children to have accidents right up to 10 years old and beyond. There could be an underlying medical reason for that. But my child is 2, brand new, and doing an amazing job at going to the bathroom everyday on the potty. He doesn’t wet the bed at night or during nap time, he can pee on a tree outside if we can’t make it to a potty while out in public… he’s potty trained. Accidents or not, this kid knows how to go.
Always remember, an accident is just that, an accident. Some parents get so caught up in this that when there are one or two accidents at the start of the day they freak out. If you’re like this, do what I did. Send your kid to grandma’s for the first few days when all there are is accidents. Don’t think they are actually potty training your kid. Grandparents are just starting the process for 2-4 days. You’ve got months of work left ahead of you.
So there you have it, how I potty trained my 2 year old toddler boy in three months. From knowing when to start potty training, letting them lead, getting the essentials, how it still takes a tribe to raise a child, to treats, to ways of using the potty… I didn’t talk wiping butts cause I didn’t think we need to go into that big of detail. I do have one note on that though.
Rad Tip: Keep buying wet wipes/ baby wipes even when you stop buying diapers. Use these wipes to wipe that poopy butt and toss that into the trash can during the potty training days. Way easier than toilet paper. Trust Me.
Don’t forget that potty training success doesn’t happen in a day. There is never a set day that you can say ‘you’re potty trained’ It’s more of a realization that there haven’t been any major accidents the last few days and nights. Which warrants a celebration, always celebrate the milestones and make your child feel good for accomplishing such a huge task. They did a great job.
AS DID YOU! Momma, or Dadda, Grandparents and friends… you deserve a pat on the back and a billion high fives. It’s no easy task to potty train a person. It’s messy, and after how many months of diapers and being pooped and peed on, you thought it was over when you decided no more diapers. No no… it gets worse. It always gets worse right before the end. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you will make it. You will deserve every moment of having a diaper-less child. Well done, your kid is in underwear.
Before You Go
Remember a while back I mentioned a potty pack? Yeah, definitely get one of those for your potty training (and beyond) experience. It’s a great way to tote around all your potty training needs while not toting around a diaper bag. You know… that thing you are trying to desperately to get rid of. I know, it’s cramping your style. Get… sorry, MAKE your own potty pack and have your Little tote their own potty necessities around. It’s cute, functional, fairly cheap and even after potty training is ‘over’ they will still need it. Because Littles are little and still need a small toilet seat… and spare underwear… and clothes…
Potty Pack. Do it. Potty Training. Conquer it. Come Back. Next Time. Good Luck my friend.
LINKS & PHOTO CREDITS
JELLY STRAW TREATS http://www.walmar t.ca/en/ip/abc-assorted-jelly-straws/6000135442384