A few weekends ago we packed the potty away. And I have to say that I am glad to see the back of it. The boys preferred to drag it into the playroom and sit on it there, like a throne. No, no, no. So, yes, the boys are (largely) potty trained. Such a huge relief, I can say, but also that it has been an interesting journey learning how to potty train boys.
There are still a few accidents here and there but it’s the toilet all the way now. The main thing that we learned was that we had a lot of learning to do before we could start to teach the boys.
Learning how to potty train boys
- There are so many approaches to potty training out there – some suggest you train your child in a week, others take the slower approach. In the end, O and E each decided on the pace themselves (one slow, one rapid) because that was the best for them.
- As many different books exist for the many different approaches. We read Potty Training In One Week by Gina Ford (but largely discounted it as we didn’t have one spare week to devote, until we took control and used Easter to potty train O), Potty Training Boys by Dr Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave, and the potty training sections of a few different toddler books. Find an approach that you like and see what the book suggests. And if you don’t like it, move on.
- There are also apps available. We downloaded Potty Time before we started training and got O used to the ideas by playing with that.
- We used naked time at first, to get O used to the idea of being without a nappy, and had the potty positioned at the ready. He was just allowed to run around in a t-shirt and nothing else and he loved it.
- Sticker charts can be a big help for some children. We found a plain sticker chart online that we printed out for O. He received a sticker each time he successfully went on the potty. At first, he would only pee in the potty, so we started negotiating and once he realised that pooing in the potty would give him two stickers, he started trying that. Once the chart was filled up, he got to choose a small toy to buy from the shop.
- Getting both boys to move from using the potty to the toilet was a big jump. We used a ring on the toilet (we had a Bumbo toilet ring, made from the same material as the Bumbo seat, which felt better against the skin than the standard hard plastic ones) and a Bolmen stool from Ikea for them to set their feet on while sitting on the toilet. Being able to have their feet flat on a surface is important for learning how to poo on a potty or toilet, so we made sure to do this from the start.
- Having lots and lots of spare clothes is essential at the start when you are out. It took O some time to get the hang of asking to go, so we made sure to have at least two spare pairs of trousers, pants and socks when we left home.
- A travel potty can be an excellent backup both at first and also if your child finds it hard to say that they need to poo. The Potette travel potty was a lifesaver for us, as we could store it under the stroller, ready for use, and as it uses bags, you just tie the handles together after and throw the bag away. No mess – brilliant.
- We also learned not to say “Don’t worry, it’s okay” when either boy had an accident. Instead, we would say “It’s all part of learning”, so as to gently discourage the idea that peeing on the floor/sofa/bath etc was alright.
It was a steep learning curve for both us and O, so E had an easier time of it because we were a little more experienced when the time came (also because he took matters into his own hands and decided himself that it was time).
If you are about to start potty training, good luck, and let me know how you get on.