It is often said that boys are more difficult than girls when it comes to potty training. Whether or not this is really true is a matter of debate. What does seem to be the case, however, is that boys often physically mature a little later than girls. They also experience a disadvantage in that their physical characteristics allow them to feel less discomfort than girls when they wet themselves, thus making boys slightly less motivated to hurry through the potty training stage.
These factors are important to keep in mind as you begin the potty training process with boys. Parents who have already gone through this experience with a daughter may recognize certain behaviors which seem to indicate their son is ready to begin this journey by age 20 to 24 months. But when you actually start the process, you may notice that your boy has a more difficult time acknowledging and controlling the physical urge to urinate or move his bowels than your girl did. In addition, older boys may already understand and seek the sense of accomplishment and recognition that comes when they are successful, but they might not be able to consistently manage all of their physical skills just yet.
Therefore, you will want to continue your encouragement and focus on providing constant support and a pattern of positive reinforcement. Listed below are ten simple tips designed to help you and your son persevere through the sometimes lengthy potty training phase.
- Establish a reward system that lets your child earn a treat or badge of some sort when he successfully ‘accomplishes his mission. ’ Chocolate always seems to be an appreciated reward, but some parents may prefer giving stickers and small toys, or using a chart.
- Remember that your son's first milestone to be rewarded will be that he has learned to equate the soiled diaper with the potty. Specifically, he might communicate to you that he needs to potty after he already used his diaper. This is an important first step!
- Turn potty training into a simple game. Indulge his emerging interest in music, football or basketball by using a musical or sports-themed potty chair. There are some great products available which are designed to make potty training fun, like the Flush and Cheer Potty Chair from Varsity Baby.
- Continue the games to keep his interest as he matures. When he reaches the point where he has successfully ‘gone pee', let your son experience the innate masculine pleasure of aiming at things floating in the potty. One or two rings of cereal from a box of Cheerios always make a handy target, and they won't plug up your plumbing.
- Consider the act of ‘flushing’ the potty to be a reward in itself. This not only motivates your child to actually ‘go potty’ on the toilet, but also reinforces the importance of only flushing when necessary. It is never too early to begin taking steps to prevent the misfortune of a plumber's expense if your son flushes something inappropriate down the commode.
- As he progresses through the training phase, your little boy should no longer be sleeping in a crib, but should be in a toddler bed so that he can climb out and use the potty when he needs to during naps and overnight.
- Stop using disposable diapers or disposable training pants. These products are designed to make your child comfortable after he soils himself. This is exactly what you do not want during potty training. Instead use cloth diapers or traditional plastic training pants that cover his ‘big boy underwear. ’ The more uncomfortable he is when he forgets to use the potty, the faster he will work through the toilet training stage.
- Have your son spend time with an older child or another toddler who is already toilet trained who can encourage him to ‘be a big boy’ by using the potty. Peer learning and mentoring concepts are very effective for potty training boys.
- In the summertime, let your son ‘pee on a tree’ like his dad or older brother does when they are outdoors. Few things can make a little boy feel more ‘manly’ than this, and he will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that he can do this instead of using his diaper or pull-up.
- To get your child sitting still long enough to ‘go Number Two, ’ sit beside him and read him a book about potty training. Many books have been published for precisely this purpose and children love them. Try something like Too Big for Diapers , which is perfect for boys and features the Sesame Street character Ernie.
Additional information concerning potty training tips and milestones is available at www.PottyTrainingAdvice.org where parents and babysitters can go for further reading, or to post questions and comments.
A freelance writer and internet marketing professional, Wendy Thanisch took a break from traditional employment to experience full-time motherhood when her daughter was born. This treasured opportunity was financed in part by running a small in-home babysitting service until her daughter started school. Now in her free time, Wendy enjoys passing along the many helpful child care tips she gathered during those hectic days on the new Potty Training Advice blog at http://www.PottyTrainingAdvice.org