Once upon a time, I wished for a manual to help me to know what to expect when I was expecting. There was a book, of course, but it could never truly prepare me for what to expect. Then, I wished for a manual to help me manage being a single mom. There are tons of those, but none that could truly tell you what to expect until you experience it. Finally, I wished for a manual to help me with potty training. I’ve found several, but once again none that would truly prepare me for what to expect until I was arm deep in it. Potty training is so incredibly difficult and exhausting. Not that I was expecting it to be easy or anything, I just didn’t expect it to be so draining.
Well, I’m going to give you a few pointers if you’re trying to figure out this whole potty training thing, especially when you have a boy:
1. Be prepared for anything!
I wish someone had warned me about this little pointer…because it’s so true! You never know what to expect when you’re potty-training and the quicker you learn that, the better off you will be. So when you see your toddler in the middle of the playground pulling down his (or her) pants and Pull-Ups to go pee on the grass – you get the idea, just be prepared. Or be prepared for the toilet being overflowed by all of the toilet paper that your child decides to put into the toilet in the process of wiping after using the potty.
2. Wait until your child is ready.
I once heard that boys that are rushed into potty training turn into murderous psychopaths. Whether truthful or not, why would I ever take that risk??!! I had already started potty training and he was having a hard time. So instead, I decided to wait until he was ready. And honestly, it was the best thing that I could do. Now that he is ready, he is the true director of this series. He is more willing, engaged, and in the end more fulfilled. So don’t rush it – let your child give you the sign that they’re ready, then dive head in.
3. Get your child comfortable with the toilet.
This was a major step in the right direction for us with potty training. When Micah was younger, he was deathly afraid of the toilet, specifically when the toilet flushed. Over time, he became a lot more comfortable with the toilet, to the point where he would flush it whenever he thought about it. He’s broken my toilet a couple of times lol.
4. Be prepared for more sleepless nights.
You remember when people said that you wouldn’t sleep the first couple of months after your child is born? What a load of crock! It’s been 3 years since I’ve had a full 8 hours of sleep. First, it was because he was a newborn. Now, it’s because he whines in his sleep because he has to go to the potty, but he doesn’t want to get up. Which means that we’re running to and from the potty throughout the night. Be prepared – if it hasn’t happened already, it will probably happen soon.
5. Teach him to sit first, then stand.
Being a single mom, I thought it would be so difficult to train my son to potty train standing up. It is very important for your child to imitate what you do, right? Well, guess what – boys should learn sitting down first, which gives you time to come up with a plan to teach them how to go standing up. Between my encouragement, his teachers, and watching his fellow male classmates, I’m sure that he’ll be able to go to the potty standing soon enough. Until then, I’m comfortable teaching him how to go sitting down.
6. Girls learn quicker than boys.
Isn’t that the truth with everything in life??!! LOL! Girls tend to start potty training much sooner than boys. Micah’s female classmates have been potty-trained it seems since they turned 2. They were just ready – and some have been out of Pull-Ups for about 6 months now. It caused me some anxiety, I must admit, because I worried that Micah would never be potty-trained. I envisioned him wearing diapers until he was 5 years old and heading into Kindergarten, and I was nervous.
7. You will be in your bathroom ALL the time!
I have never seen my bathroom as much as I have since Micah started potty training. I’m always in there now. I’m probably in my bathroom more than I’m in my living room now. Most times, it is because Micah wants me to sit on the edge of the tub while he sits on the potty. Even after he’s all done, we’ll just sing and laugh and chat. Or I’ll clean up the bathroom while he’s on the potty. Or I’m reorganizing the closet or the vanity. I’m in the bathroom way too often!
8. Target practice will become the greatest game ever.
It will take everything in the world to get your child to actually “go” inside of the toilet, especially if you have a boy. He may pee on the rim of the toilet, on the potty seat, sometimes on the floor, and sometimes on the way to the bathroom because he waited until the very last minute possible to announce, “I have to go to the potty please!” Either way, it will take some finesse and practice before your child can truly aim into the toilet. One of the ways that I have been encouraging and teaching Micah has been through target practice. I will place a couple of Cheerios (or whatever is available and flushable) into the toilet and ask him to hit it when he pees…therefore, target practice. It is actually tons of fun and sometimes when I’m using the potty, I’ll try to aim for the Cheerios lol.
9. Avoid distractions while on the potty.
As adults, we tend to do so much while on the potty – reading a book or magazine, idly playing on our phones, or just thinking. Well after we’re all done, we can be sitting on the potty just because. When children are learning how to use the potty, it is important that those distractions should be removed. Although I allow Micah to play with his tablet while on the potty, I get him off the potty after about 10 minutes. He shouldn’t be on the potty so long that he forgets why he’s there.
10. The reward system really works!
Your child is bound to have accidents while potty training. I have thrown out a couple of underwear, and even some shorts and socks. It happens! But you have to reward your child when he does well – going to the potty (whether or not they actually “go”), asking to go to the potty, flushing the toilet, washing their hands – there are so many options! Think about what your child does best or something you want them to work on, then initiate a reward system. Cheer them on throughout (Micah and I are infamous for high-fives), and come up with a sticker system or goodie bag. Celebrate successes, provide encouragement after accidents, and reward exceptional performance – doesn’t that sound like a recipe for success??!!