When to Start Potty Training Boys – is he ready?
My little boy turned two years old last week, and for the last couple of months I’ve been thinking about potty training, and when to start potty training boys in particular, considering that boys are generally a little further behind in their development than girls. There’s arguments that boys can be easier to potty train than girls, but ultimately, it’s difficult to find the answer on when to start potty training boys or girls. All of the advice suggests that it depends on the individual child.
Early potty training techniques
I’ll tell you now that this post is NOT going to cover early potty training techniques, a.k.a. “elimination communication”. VEry briefly, I’ll explain what this is, but clearly you can see that I am not following this method of potty training, since my son is already 2 and we haven’t attempted potty training yet!
The idea behind elimination communication is for the parent to closely monitor and look for communication signals from your infant that they are “eliminating” their waste. The technique can be used on very young infants, even as young as 3 months’ old. By learning your baby’s usual patterns and their signals that they may be weeing or pooing (for example if he or she makes a similar noise or expression every time), then the idea is that you would then remove their diaper and hold them over a potty or toilet. Whilst holding the baby over the potty, you positively reinforce that this is the time for them to go to the toilet, using word association so that they learn that this is the time to go. This phrase or noise (such as saying “it’s pee pee time”) should be repeated every time so that it becomes a signal for the child to relieve themselves.
Some parents that use elimination communication have their child potty trained by the age of 12-18 months, which just seems unbelievable and incredible to me, having never known anybody personally apply this potty training technique! It requires a lot of dedication in the early days, since the whole process is reliant on the parent being in tune with their child, and requires a lot of patience from the parent – something which I definitely do not have!
As I said before though, this article is NOT about elimination communication, it’s more about your bog standard (excuse the pun) potty training, which most parents begin when their child is between 18-30 months. Many experts are very much for this approach, as it takes a certain amount of time for the pelvic floor muscles to fully develop, and it is these muscles that are needed in order to control bladder and bowel movements.
Indications that your boy is ready to start potty training:
- He knows when he has weed or pooed in his diaper, for example, if you ask him has he pooed, he will correctly answer yes or no.
- He tells you when he is doing a wee in his diaper, or may tell you in advance.
- He may go somewhere private in order to wee or poo in his diaper.
- He may become fidgety and uncomfortable in his diaper after he has weed or pooed.
- The time between him doing wees has lengthened, for example you may find his diaper is still dry if you try to change him too soon (90 minutes or longer).
- Poos are regular and formed.
How to potty train a boy
Boys are encouraged to start potty training sitting
down rather than standing up. The obvious reason for this being: men have enough trouble aiming at the toilet when they are 24 years old, so imagine the mess you would have from cleaning up after a 24 month old! Wait until your son has mastered the potty sitting down before you allow him to stand up to pee.
There is some argument that the reason boys are generally a few months behind girls when it comes to potty training is because it is usually the mother taking the lead with potty training. To help overcome this, the obvious solution is to involve your son’s father as much as possible, and ask him to also set the example with your son. This also means asking your partner to do things in the same way that you are teaching your son – in other words, sitting down to pee. I know that a lot of men do this on occasion anyway – in the middle of the night being the time in our household, which I am thankful for! – so it shouldn’t pose a problem for them. When the time comes to encourage your boy to pee standing up, popping some Cheerios into the bowl before he goes to help him to aim can make things fun.
A really good way to introduce your son to the idea of using the potty is to allow them to follow you into the bathroom when you go to use the toilet. If you pull out his potty, then sit down to do your own business, you may find that he follows you into the bathroom and sits on the potty to mimic you. I’ve been starting to do this with my son when I’m running his bath at bedtime, and he now frequently comes to sit on the potty (still fully clothed) and has started to say words such as “momma poo poo there, I poo poo here”, which is a great indication he understands what the potty is used for. We have recently started to sit him on the potty with his diaper off, just before we put him into the bath too, but had no successes yet. We haven’t pushed this any further, as I’m still not convinced he is fully ready to progress with full potty training.
One top tip which I’ve come across whilst preparing for our potty training journey, and something I’ve never heard before is to place a folder piece of kitchen towel into your son’s diaper for a few days before you start potty training. If you are currently using disposable diapers, you have to remember that they are super absorbent, and so your son may not even realise when he is wet. By using the kitchen towel for a few days, then he will realise when he is wet, and this can help him to understand when he is peeing and why he should be using the potty to avoid the uncomfortable feeling.
Reward charts work really well with boys, especially if you can buy some stickers in their favourite superhero or cartoon character (Peppa Pig is highly likely to feature on ours!). Also, buying your son some really special big boy pants to wear once he is potty trained will also give him an incentive to stop wearing his diapers.
Recommended potties for boys
Pourty Easy-to-pour Potty
This is our potty of choice, well actually it’s the only one we’ve bought so far! It comes in an array of colours, we went with purple as a step away from the gender stereotypical blue option. Pourty’s come with rave reviews from parents who want to make their own lives as easy as possible – it’s patented easy pour rear means that there’s less spillages when you are tipping the pee into the toilet afterwards. One thing I have noticed though is that my son has quite a large bum, and he doesn’t seem to have a great deal of room on it when he is sat down with no diaper on. I’m a little concerned that when he pees, we may end up with some mess, but I haven’t had any experience of this yet.
I have a feeling we may be heading towards a potty chair for our big booty boy, so that he is more comfortable when sitting down on it. The LuvdBaby potty chair is a sturdy design, and looks funky enough that your son will be wanting to test it out as his own special chair. It is a good idea to use a potty chair if you have a particularly tall child, or are potty training an older toddler. The disadvantage of a potty chair is that if your child gets attached to their particular potty, then it’s more bulky to transport around with you when you are visiting friends and family.
Just4baby Toilet Ladder and Seat
Another option is to jump straight to toilet training and skipping the potty altogether, however this is usually more successful with older toddlers since it’s usually quite difficult to get up to the toilet. This all in one steps plus seat which clips onto your existing toilet is really convenient, and also folds away for storage. The other beauty of taking this approach…. you won’t have to scoop poop out of a potty every time your son goes!
Wish us luck!
We’re planning on attempting potty training for the first time in December, right before Christmas. With baby number two due in mid-Jan, my husband and I are keen to tackle the potty before things turn newborn crazy again for a while. Whilst we are both off work over Christmas and New Year seems like the perfect opportunity to go for it, since we will be at home for most of the festive period.
I would love to hear about any potty training successes of boys or girls at the age of 2 years, so please comment below to encourage us on our next adventure! I’m also intrigued to hear from anybody who had success with the early potty training “elimination communication” technique, just to satisfy my intrigue 🙂 Please share this post with any of your friends and family who are about to embark on this chapter of their parenting career.