Potty training is a major developmental step for any child ”“ and it’s an exciting time for parents, too! It represents a special stage when kids learn to be more independent and develop body control and confidence. Plus, it’s when parents finally get a breather from changing a seemingly never-ending barrage of diapers. However, the potty training process can be fraught with stress, too. Some children are ready as early as 18 months old. While others can be three or four years old before truly being able to use the toilet consistently. Methods that work for some will fail miserably for others, leaving parents and children frustrated. Below you will find some of our best tips for potty training boys!
Although all children will potty train at their own speed, boys can be particularly challenging. If you’re working toward potty training your little guy, these tips and tricks may help you achieve success more quickly ”“ and with fewer gray hairs!
Potty Training Tips for Boys
First of All, Don’t Rush
If you begin any type of potty training strategy too soon, you’ll be destined to fail. So, rule number one is not to rush your child in this process. Wait until your son shows readiness signs like the ability to follow simple instructions, an interest in the potty, the ability to tell you when he has to go, or an interest in wearing underwear. Any and all of these signs can point to it being time to start potty training.
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A Couple of Helpful Potty Training Strategies
This strategy allows parents and children to wade into potty training in stages. For the first day or two, choose two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening where you take your son to the bathroom every 20 minutes to try going. For the rest of the day, allow him to wear a diaper or pull-up. In subsequent days, slowly increase the number of interval hours and decrease the time he spends in a pull-up. By day three or four, most boys are ready to attempt a full-day session of potty training with 20 or 30-minute intervals.
The Potty Watch
Using a potty watch ”“ a device that lights up as a reminder to your little boy that he needs to try to use the potty ”“ is similar to the interval method. However, it allows your child to feel more independent in remembering when it’s time to try going to the potty. This is often a useful method for busy boys who don’t like to take the time to stop playing to go to the toilet.
Click here for a Potty Watch that many parents have successfully used!
If your little guy is motivated by fun, make potty training into a game. There is a myriad of potty seats and urinals with things like spinning targets and stickers to help boys aim, and you can always employ the Cheerio method for a cost-effective strategy. Many little boys sit down to go. However, if your son prefers standing then simply toss a few Cheerios into the toilet and tell him to aim. Target practice always seem to pique their interest a little bit!
Some children potty train best when incentives are involved. You know your son best, so you also know what types of treats and toys might motivate him. Whatever your incentives are, try to keep them visible. This way they act as a constant reminder of what he can earn for remembering to go to the potty on time.
Hide the Diapers
For some kids, knowing they have a readily available crutch will negate any motivation they’re feeling to begin using the potty. So, hide the diapers and tell your child they are no longer an option. Many boys will successfully potty train in a few days’ time.
Let Him Go Commando
Sometimes, little boys’ brains can get confused by the feeling of a diaper or pull-up, even if they know they are supposed to be trying to use the potty. By removing those barriers and simply letting him go commando ”“ or even completely naked at home ”“ you can reduce the confusion. Switching back and forth from diapers, pull-ups, and underwear is admittedly confusing.
For some boys, potty training just doesn’t click until they can watch someone else use the toilet. If your son is the type to watch and learn new skills before trying them himself, role modeling might be just what he needs. Enlist a trusted man in your son’s life to show him the ropes in the bathroom and help him gain confidence in his own abilities. Sometimes big brothers are best at this job!
Always Celebrate Your Little Boy’s Potty Training Victories!
Whether your son is a potty training champ on his first day or you’re changing his underwear for the ninth time before Noon, celebrating victories large and small is imperative. So much of successful potty training is about confidence. Showing your son how proud you are of every small step toward the finish line is a great way to keep him feeling motivated to try. This way even when setbacks occur he’ll forge forward.
What Not to Do
While the tips above help many boys learn to use the potty, it is equally important to avoid common mistakes. For instance, it is not recommended to begin potty training during a big life transition for your children, such as the arrival of a new sibling or the first few weeks with a new childcare provider. Likewise, it’s best not to expect too much of your child too soon, so avoid doing daytime and nighttime potty training at the same time ”“ stick to mastering daytime skills first.
Potty training a boy is truly a process. It takes time and effort from everyone involved, and you may have many setbacks along the way. Remember that some children simply aren’t ready as soon as their peers. Stopping and waiting until they show readiness signs can be key. It’s also important to remember that accidents are common and should be expected while your child is learning. You really need to try to avoid yelling or scolding when an accident happens. Developmental research shows that young children need to do something over and over again many times before they master it, and this is certainly true with using the toilet.
Regardless of the methods you employ, aim for consistency & positivity while your little guy learns. Potty training boys definitely can be a challenge. Just get ready to celebrate the day when you can say ditch the diapers for good!