Monday, October 6, 2014

5 Tips to Potty Training Your Little Boy

Potty training was one of those things that I absolutely dreaded. I didn't want to deal with it and I certainly didn't want to deal with it while I was pregnant with our second child. Little Mister wasn't showing any signs of wanting to potty train; we had tried in the past and were unsuccessful, so I didn't push the issue. I accepted the fact that I would have two in diapers come October, and I didn't utter the word "potty training" for several weeks.

And then everything changed.

While walking through the grocery store one morning, I slipped on a puddle of water in the middle of one of the aisles. Thankfully I was holding onto the shopping cart and able to catch myself before I fell, but my back did a very uncomfortable arch and my stomach stretched to the point where I was concerned, so after calling my OB's office, they told me to go to labor and delivery to get monitored. I dropped Little Mister off at a friends and headed up to the hospital to get checked out.

During the duration of the 6-7 hours that I was away, Little Mister was immersed into the world of a little boy who was fully potty trained (his 3 year old friend C), and something must have just clicked for him. When I got back he was so excited that C went pee pee on the potty, that I could tell by the look in his eye that he was ready to try it for himself. I asked him if he wanted to go pee pee like C did and he instantly said YES! So I told him that night would be his last night in diapers and from then on he would go potty like a big boy! I also told him that tomorrow would be a special day and we would go pick out some big boy undies and some potty prizes.

The next day we went to Walmart with a mission - let Little Mister pick out the big boy undies that he wanted and pick out some prizes that would entice Little Mister to get excited to pee pee like a big boy. He picked out some ocean themed boxer briefs and I threw several hot wheels and an extra large box of fruit snacks, and away we went!

The second we walked into our house from the store, I told him it was nakie time and to tell me if he had to go potty like a big boy! I stripped him down and he thought it was hilarious to run freely through the house. I took him into the bathroom and showed him his special potty seat and told him to let me know if he had to go pee pee or poo poo and we would go like a big boy. I reminded him that he had special potty treats and we put them in a bag on a shelf in the bathroom. Within an hour, he peed in his potty seat! By the end of the night, he pooed! I was thrilled and so, so proud.

Getting the hang of things took another week and a half but once Little Mister had the momentum, we didn't look back! I am so happy to report that we can now spend the day out and about without having to worry about diaper changes or accidents!

So what's my secret? Honestly, every kid is different and I went in knowing that the way I planned on doing things may or may not work, but I felt that Little Mister was finally ready to start potty training and went at it in full force. Here are my tips to potty training your little boy - will they work with a little girl? I don't see why not, but being that I do not have a little girl I can't say for sure!

1. Wait until you know they're ready. 
If you try to push them to potty train to early, it's going to be a complete nightmare for you and your child. Give them time and while I do recommend suggesting trying to "go potty like a big boy" from time to time, don't press the issue if they say no. They will know when they're ready and so will you!

2. Let them decide where they want to go potty. 
This can get a little costly, but I wasn't sure what Little Mister would be the most comfortable with so we got a potty seat (one that you stick on the floor), and a seat for the toilet. In addition to the seats I also gave him the option of going potty directly on the "big boy" toilet. Giving him options helped him feel in control of the situation and visibly made him more comfortable with going potty. He started on a potty seat that sat on the floor, then after he got the hang of that we moved up to the potty that sat on the toilet, and then about a week later he was going pee pee like a big boy standing up at the big potty! He still uses the potty seat on the toilet for going poop and he is completely confident in putting the seat on himself, moving his stool over from the sink to step on, and doing his business on his own!

3. Reward them with something you know they will respond to. 
I knew going into potty training that sticker charts or congratulatory M&M's wouldn't work with my son. He wasn't going to get excited over either of those so I had to think outside of the box. While I didn't want to spend a lot or reward him with extravagant prizes, I had to reward him with something that I knew he would want to go potty for. Little Mister never gets fruit snacks, so for the first handful of days his reward was a package of fruit snacks after a pee pee, and a new hot wheel after he successfully pooped in the potty. It was fairly cheap and made going potty worth it for him.

4. Let them choose their underwear.
Another one that goes hand in hand with picking rewards you know they'll respond to; let them choose their undies! Before I began potty training Little Mister I had picked up some Cars briefs for him and thought for sure he would love them. Well, he didn't, that picky little bug. When I offered to take him to Walmart so he could choose some underwear, he lit up and was instantly excited. As soon as we got home from the store I threw them in the washer while he had nakie time and away we went with potty training!

5. Sound like a broken record.
Constantly ask your little one if they have to go potty, put the reminder in their heads that they go "on the big potty and not in their pants". You'll drive yourself insane by constantly asking them if they have to go, but within a few days of replaying the same question over and over, Little Mister caught on that he should just tell me when he has to go and I could stop constantly asking. Within those couple of days he would tell me "Mommy pee pee" when we were out and about and we would stop what we were doing and head to the restroom.

One last thing that I wanted to note is that Little Mister found going potty while we were out to be an extremely scary thing (because of the loud flush that public toilets have) and it took quite a bit of time for him to be willing to go. I made the mistake of letting him go pee outside while we were out (discretely behind the car, a bush, etc) and soon going "pee pee on rocks" was more fun than trying to learn to go potty in a public restroom. While I hate public restrooms, I didn't think it was O.K. for him to continue to go potty outside and after one long and frustrating trip to Buy Buy Baby where he held it for so long it literally brought him to tears, he very reluctantly and messily went potty in a public restroom. Unfortunately he made a mess (don't worry I cleaned it up with baby wipes! and apologized to an attendant) but after I made a big (happy) deal about the fact that he went in a potty while we were out, it boosted his confidence. It's still a bit scary at times depending on where we are, Little Mister needs encouragement to go, but he has improved immensely since that trip to Buy Buy Baby. Another suggestion that I have is if you are able to, invest in a stool that folds up small such as the Tip Pee Toes stool to keep in your purse or diaper bag for trips to the restroom while out and about. You don't realize how different toilets fluctuate in height until your little boy needs to go pee and can't reach!

Do you have any additional tips to add to this list? If you are the parent of boys and girls, do you find that this tip list is true (for the most part) for girls as well? I would love to hear from you!

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