When is the best time to potty train your son?
As much as a lot of parents would love to be free from the “never ending” diaper changes that almost always gets in the way of other things they have to do with their hands, the thought of potty training, cleaning up pee, poop, having to constantly remind the little one what a potty is used for, and above all, having the time and patience to see it through makes a lot of parents and care givers have a rethink about potty training and just wait it out till their son is able to speak and understand basic instructions.
It is tricky to put an age to when a child should be ready to be potty trained as not all children are ready at the same exact time, but some children have been known to be fully potty trained by their second birthday. For some boys though, they are never ready until about their 3rd birthday. The best time to start potty training is when your son is ready. There is never a better time.
Statistics show that girls are usually ready earlier than boys and get fully trained earlier than boys mainly because boys will be boys. They are always active and not patient enough to sit on a potty for as long as is required to do the “do”.
Time, patience(from you),and a certain amount of cooperation and motivation from your son are some of the requirements for a successful potty training, with the main one being your son’s readiness(even physically) to be trained. There is no point starting too soon if your son isn’t ready, it’ll only lead to frustration on all parties involved and probably take longer to achieve. So, before you begin, make sure all “i’s” are dotted and “T’s” crossed.
Once you’ve determined that your son is ready, focus on timing. If there are any new changes taking place in his life at that particular moment,(such as the birth of a younger one, starting school, moving to a new house, e.t.c) potty training might get difficult. Wait until he becomes open to the idea of trying something new and then start the training.
How to train your son
First step is to let him watch both parents and learn, since that’s one of the ways toddlers learn(by imitation). He may get a little bit confused to see Daddy and Mommy use the toilet differently, so you have to explain to him the basics of how boys and girls use the bathroom. Do not forget to mention the name of that particular body part when teaching him. Let him know exactly what it is called, just as any other body part. This makes him realize that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Once he has been able to watch a couple of times, the next step will be to buy the right equipment for him. Most toddlers are anxious whenever they sit on a full-size toilet, thinking they might fall into the toilet and this anxiety can interfere with potty training, so, getting your son “his” own child-size potty which he can lay claim to can offer him some kind of security and make him feel more at ease to do his business. The right potty should be able to allow your son place both feet on the ground while slightly leaning forward. Others may prefer to buy an adapter seat that can be used on a full-size toilet. If you decide on that, make sure the seat is secured properly and comfortable for your child. You’ll also need to place a stool for your child, so he can get on and off the potty or toilet. In addition to all these, you may get a few picture books or videos for your son which can make it easier for him to understand all the information you have passed to him.
So, we are done with getting the potty. The next thing will be to make your son understand that the potty is his own. You can get a name sticker and ask him to place his name on it and then have him practice sitting on it with his clothes on. This helps him get comfortable with the idea of using a potty. Make it fun and engaging. Try singing one of his favourite songs as he sits on it while watching you use the toilet. You can also demonstrate using any of his favourite stuffed animal. After he has had about a week of “pretend” toilet use, suggest that he tries it with his pants down. Do not pressure him. That will only make him not want to try it again and could derail the whole process.
Motivate him by going with him to pick out new under wears. Let him choose whatever kind he wants. You can peak his interest by talking about it days leading up to the actual day. Let him get excited about wearing under wears like daddy and big brother. If after buying, he doesn’t want to ditch his diaper, give him time. Let him wear the under wears over his diaper. He just may insist on wearing them alone and ditch diapers.
There is a need to set up a training schedule ahead of time to ensure that his potty training is not interrupted as a result of any changes. Set up the training for a time when you are available to see it through and if he is already enrolled in Preschool, make sure his tutors are aware also. Let them know what they can do to help his transition.
You’ll have to also decide what method will work for you. Either the back-and-forth method of switching between diapers and underpants or the method of going to underwear full time. Whatever method you choose, be prepared to clean up a few accidents. Decide on what is best for you and your son and give it time.
Once he’s in tune with the training, teach him to sit peeing, then stand peeing. There is no need to rush this. Let him sit and pee for as long as he likes, and he has a male parent at home, or a big brother, or a trusted uncle or friend, let him watch them pee standing up. Once he gets the idea, let him practice it. Since bowel movements and urine almost always come at the same time, he’ll have to start peeing and pooping sitting down. Try not to let him get distracted by other activities, and do not let him sit for too long(15 minutes is sufficient). Watching TV or playing with a toy can be a distraction.
Set aside diaper and cloth free day. It helps him figure out when he needs to go and make sure the potty is in an accessible place. Let him sit on it at regular intervals and make it fun for him. Be prepared for accidents as they’ll happen especially as he’ll be naked most of the time. You can decide to include an incentive when he gets all stubborn or read him his favourite book if it isn’t going to be a distraction. Watch for signs that he has to go and use that clue to calmly suggest to him that it’s potty time. Put out plastic bags on areas on the floor that you wouldn’t want to get wet. Try letting him be naked for a number of times, maybe on weekends on when the family is all together. The more your child spends time out of diapers, the faster he’ll learn.
Celebrate with him whenever he gets something in the potty. Reinforce the idea that he has reached a significant milestone by rewarding him with something he’ll love. Maybe more time at the playground or a new video. As you celebrate, try not to make a big deal out of using the potty. Act like it’s normal and he’ll feel relaxed using it.
Give him time to be good at it. The more he uses it, the better he’ll be at it. Dress him in loose-fitting clothes that he can easily get out of or buy him under wears that are a size bigger. Remember to take it easy when he has accidents(as they will happen,even if he’s been using the potty for a couple of months). If you do not see any progress or if your son is getting too frustrated, take a break and start after a few weeks.
Once he’s able to stay dry all day, you can start making plans to switch to nights. Wait until he’s reliably using or asking to use the potty during the day, then start checking his diapers in the mornings and after naps to see if they are dry. Nighttime training takes longer because it depends on whether his body can hold the urine for an extended period of time. It can take months or years before your child is able to stay dry at night.
If he wants to sleep without diapers, let him do it. If after a few nights he still wets the bed, put him back in diapers and explain to him that his body is not quite ready for this next step. Reassure him he’ll soon be big enough to sleep without diapers. Try limiting the amount of fluids he tales in after 5p.m and get him up for a final bathroom trip before you go to bed.
Celebrate with him once he’s been able to stay dry all night for a few weeks. Let him give out his remaining diapers to a family with younger kids.