The art of potty training isn’t really an art at all. There are a bunch of different methods out there, but some pretty key principles to keep in mind. Every child is different, so what works for one child doesn’t always work for the next, which is why fantastic resources from other parents who have been there are so important. With that in mind, here are some tips to get you started on your journey — Happy potty training!
1. Wait For Signs of Readiness
Potty Training should never be forced so always watch for signs of readiness, which include: Interest in the potty, telling you he has to go potty, refusing to wear a diaper, and wanting big boy underpants. If you aren’t already a registered user of Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy, I recommend you sign up (its’ free!) then take the readiness quiz, and print a prep list and progress chart to get started (there are also a ton of super helpful articles on this topic, and activities on this site for members).
2. Teach Him New Tricks
Without pushing the subject, offer information about potty training to your son. Buy books and videos about potty training. Buy a small child-sized potty (nothing fancy, just a basic one that he helps pick out), and place it near the toilet in a bathroom you most often use so that your child can sit on their potty while you sit on yours if he chooses to. Some boys sit on the potty to go pee and poo before they transition to standing to urinate, while others may skip that step and be more comfortable standing like dad.
Keep in mind that just because he’s a boy doesn’t mean he’ll necessarily potty train later than other kids (some boys potty train sooner than other kids). He also may be interested in the potty but then regress to the safety of diapers. It’s all normal.
3. Follow His Cues
If you notice your child is showing positive feelings toward potty training, and expressing interest in trying to use the potty, start having him try to go potty when you need to go. Watch for any cues he may have that signal he’s about to go potty in his Pull-Up, and take him to the bathroom . Some parents like to also set a potty timer on their phone for the first week or two (trips to the potty ever 30-45 minutes depending on your daughter’s bladder control).
4. Make it Exciting
Create a potty reward system with your child. Some parents use food as a reward, but I recommend choosing something that’s more about time spent with you as a parent like a LEGO Dubplo, tattoo or toy car for each time he tries, and a whole set or trip to the movies if he goes potty for 5 days (doesn’t need to be consecutive). A potty chart or potty app on your phone can help make potty training successful, too. Some apps offer games for kids to play after they’ve unlocked levels by using the potty. For boys, working on aim can be fun, too. Put some Cheerios in the potty for your child to aim into, or add a colorant to the toilet water so that the color changes after he goes potty.
5. Help Him Stay On Track
As a parent, be mindful of the clothing you buy for your son now that he’s in Pull-Ups and underwear — stick with two pieces (no more onsies, overalls or jumpers for a while). Making sure your son’s clothes support going potty (especially at the last-minute) will save you on laundry. Also keep a lookout for bathrooms whenever you go out of the house, in case you’ll need to take your little one.
By the time you’ve accomplished steps 1-5 above, you’ll be well on your way to a potty-trained kiddo, but there’s still more to do! Once he has daytime down, begin to teach him how to wipe himself. Most kids can’t reach well enough to do a super job of wiping, but it creates independence and is important for when he goes to school and won’t have help. (Interesting fact: Savvy Every Day polled some moms and most said they’re child was nearly 6 years old before he or she could really wipe themselves well).
Do you have any potty training tips just for boys? Share your experience in the comments!