12 Tips for Successfully Potty Training Boys
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Quinn Kelly is a busy wife and mother of four boys as well as a marriage and family therapist. She hopes to encourage other moms with laughter and honesty and help remind them that the best part about motherhood has nothing to do with being the “perfect” mom or raising the “perfect” kids, but instead enjoying yourself and your children along the way.
If you like what you are reading and want to hear more from Quinn, follow her personal blog Sanctification and Spitup, which is also found on Facebook.
It’s no mystery boys and girls are different. And while everything cannot be segregated into gender, as a mother of four boys, potty training boys has most definitely revealed some unique differences from my friends that have only potty trained girls—the most obvious being the quantity of pee that ends up on your floor when training boys. So today I wanted to give you my best tips for having success at potty training BOYS!
But before you begin reading this, check out my How to Determine if Your Child is Ready for Potty Training article to help you figure out if your child (and you) is ready to potty train. Because at the end of the day, a boy can be ready to potty train before a girl and vice versa. In most cases, I believe potty training readiness comes down to the child.
We also must discuss the two methods of potty training, which I say is either slow and steady or fast and furious (similar to the three-day method). Parents have to choose what works best for their schedule. But I am writing these tips based on the fast and furious method because my boys have had more success when we are not switching back and forth between diapers and underwear. However, these tips can be applied to a slower and gradual process as well.
1. Choose A Character Theme
If potty-training is serious and full of pressure, your odds at success will likely decrease. So one of the best ways to make potty-training successful is to make it themed around your son’s favorite character. Whether they like Mickey, Superman, or Paw Patrol, pick their favorite character and tell them it’s time to become like them. “Chase loves to use the big-boy potty, and I know you want to be just like him. So we’re going to do what Chase does when he needs to go potty and become just like him.”
2. Start with the Cutest Character Undies You Can Imagine and Kiss the Diapers Goodbye
Go buy undies to match your theme. As they put the undies on, tell them they are becoming like Chase! And while you’re at it, let them get some stickers to decorate the outside of their potty. The more fun the bathroom is, the less pressure they feel. Then once you’ve purchased all the goodies, have them carry their diapers out to the trash. (P.S. Don’t really get rid of them in case you don’t have success, but let them think they are gone!)
3. Be A Committed Companion
If they are Batman, you can be Robin. If they are Chase, you are Skye. And as their companion, your job in those initial three days is to feed them liquids, ask continually about them needing to go and stay patient. If they have an accident, keep them encouraged and built up.
4. Potty Talk Can Be Your Friend
Now this may make some eyes roll, but I know my boys love potty talk—ya know—saying the words pee pee and poo poo for any excuse they get. So let them know that they can use potty words as much as they want when they let you know they have to go.
5. Make Up A Potty Dance as Reward
Every time they successfully make it to the toilet, create a special potty dance you do. And yes, this also gets to include potty words. In fact, the funnier you make it, the more they will want to to use their potty! Treats like Skittles can also be used as reward, but that can sometimes start a bad habit too, so you have to decide what works for you.
6. Potty Watches Can Be Your Friend
If you have an active little boy who doesn’t like to stop playing to use the bathroom, they have these wonderful things called Potty Watches that play music when it’s time to go. This takes some of the work away from you and teaches them independence too.
7. Appeal to Their Competitive Side
If your son is competitive, appeal to his competitive side and make peeing a game! Draw lines in his potty and see how full he can get it! Cheer for him as he makes progress in filling it. I promise you, if he thinks it is a game, it will instantly become more appealing to your son!
8. Teach Them the Fun of On the Go
Boys have a natural advantage over girls in that they can tinkle on the go! So let them take advantage of this when you are in the backyard. And then when you are not, bring the potty on the go. Ask them if they need to go before entering a store.
9. Have them sit. Not stand.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT teach your sons to stand while peeing when newly potty training or you will end up with a mess of pee on your toilet, wall and floor! At first, sitting is a must. Actually, this doesn’t really change as they grow. 😉
10. Buy Stock in Disinfectant!!!
Now, this is for your sanity and no one else! Keep disinfectant wipes in your bathroom, and some sort of plug in, because for some reason that defies logic, pee will end up all over even when they are sitting. And you don’t want your bathroom to smell like a truck stop!
11. Nighttime Training May Not Come as Quickly as Daytime
I have found that with my sons, they do not necessarily night train at the same time as they day train. It is okay for them to wear diapers at night and not during the day and still remain potty trained. The most important aspect is to take off the overnight diaper as soon as they wake and switch to undies. Otherwise, they will get lazy and have an accident.
12. Remember Every Child’s Journey is Different
No matter who the child, you can expect the journey will be different. I had one son who potty trained at 2.5 and never had an accident again. I had another who started pooping on the potty at 21 months but had pee accidents until 4. Expect bumps in the road, or in this case, little puddles of pee. And have grace! Because by the time they’re 10, they’ll have it down.
Cheers to Potty Training!
Did I miss something? Leave your best potty training tip below!