10 Best Potty Training Tips for Boys

Congratulations! If you are reading this, you are ready to leave the diaper behind. You can do this. Keep your perspective. Potty training a boy may not always be fun, but it helps to keep your sense of humor! Laugh with others about the trials and tribulations of potty training; you’ll all have a story to tell. We listed a few tips for you and your boy, but remember that you know your son best and acknowledge his needs.

    1. Ignore amazing tales of tried-and-true results. Well-meaning as friends and family are, not everyone is the same. Just because it worked miracles for them doesn’t mean that it will work for you, too. And for those over-achieving pals with overnight success, best to take the story with a grain of salt. Smile, nod and give your son a little time to grow up before you get started. Let your son set the pace. Odds are he’ll be ready sometime in his third year.
    2. Set the stage. A few months before you are ready to start, go ahead and pick up a couple of books about using the potty. Put a toddler potty chair in the bathroom and let him get used to it. Be prepared, he may test it out as a hat, drag it around the house or attempt using it as a snack container at first. Don’t let it get to you! You might want to pick up a potty ring for boys or potty seat that is a stand-alone item. Some kids prefer a choice.
    3. Get your son involved. Casually ask him to let you know when he needs a new diaper. If supplies are where he can reach, ask your son to bring you diapering supplies when he needs a change. 2-3 year-olds love to help and, in helping, he’ll become increasingly aware of his own habits.
    4. Start with bath time. When you get your son undressed for his bath, encourage him to sit on his potty chair or potty seat. The running water can get things going in a hurry! If your son manages to pee in the potty, give him a sincere “Good job,” but don’t go over the top with praise. If nothing happens, that’s okay too. And, if he happens to pee in the tub, have a quick conversation about where a better place to pee might be. When potty training toddlers, it is important to involve them in the process and let them come up with their own solutions to problems.
    5. It’s not a competition! Do not be tempted to get into “potty wars” with your friends who have children close in age to yours. It’s silly if you stop and think what you’re competing about. On the other hand, take advantage of more experienced moms. If you have a friend with a 5 or 6-year-old boy, talk to her about her experiences. She’ll give you sound advice without comparing her child to yours!
    6.  Ready. Set. Go. Your son is waking up dry from naps. He’s letting you know he’s going to fill a diaper before he does it. He’s asking to use the potty. Now is the time to start in earnest. If you haven’t already, pick up the book Everybody Poops. This is the tone you want to take with potty training – it’s important, but it’s not a big deal. No one gets a crown or a big ceremony when they learn to use the potty. It’s simply something everyone learns to do. Next time you’re out, pick up some big-boy underpants or let your son choose. Start on a weekend or when you know you’ll be mostly around the house. And let’s be realistic — you will have extra laundry. Saturday morning, dress your son in his new underpants – better yet, have him dress himself! Let him spend the day in underpants. Every thirty minutes or so, encourage him to sit on the potty. Have a stack of books or action figures nearby. Some people let their children move the potty chair from room to room until they get the hang of it. It’s your call.
    7. The Mess!!!!! There will be accidents. Keep your cool. Handle accidents calmly and matter-of-factly. This is not a time to start a battle of wills. If after a week of sincere effort on both of your parts, you son is simply not getting the hang of it, put the big-boy pants away for a few weeks and try again later. No need to have big discussions or to make your son feel like he failed. He simply was not ready.
    8. When Time Is an Issue. Some preschools/daycares insist that kids over three be potty trained. This is a big demand. Try a week of boot camp potty training. Ideally, you can plan this boot camp for warm weather. Basically, you are going to turn your son into a nudist for a week. The potty chair goes everywhere you do – outside, in the kitchen, you name it. Every 15 minutes give a potty reminder. This is also a time to consider bribery. 1 M&M for #1 and 2 M&Ms for #2. For most boys, this works. Near the end of the week, introduce underpants. Over the weekend, try real clothes AND underpants. The hardest thing will be for you to figure out running errands and keeping your sanity. This is not a time for play dates, park days, grocery shopping or just strolling through Target!
    9. Out and About With the New Potty User. Once your son is using the potty on a regular basis, you will have to reconsider how you navigate the world. Try to always know where the nearest bathroom is when you are out. Be prepared to visit that bathroom at least once. Little kids LOVE to visit public bathrooms. Build time into errands for this reason. Travel with at least one change of clothes for both of you – accidents never happen at convenient times! If you are going on a longer trip, pack the potty chair! Line it with a kitchen trash bag and you’re ready to roll.
    10. What about night time? Potty training during the day is one thing. Getting your child through the night without at least a pull-up is another story. Learning to use the potty is a big deal. Being three is a big deal. Most little boys sleep so soundly at night that they will not recognize the cues they’ve learned during the day. Stick to a diaper at night for another 6-12 months. When your son regularly wakes in the morning dry and clean, consider trying underwear at night. However, if your son still has nighttime issues, do not panic. Many little boys do not stay dry at night until they are nearly seven. Check with your pediatrician if you are concerned, but it is rarely anything to be concerned about.

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