How We Potty Trained Our Toddler
Well, it’s been several weeks since we started potty training—maybe two or three? I honestly can’t remember right now because every week is running together! But, we’ve made major progress!
I remember someone sending me a message on day one, saying “I promise, there will be a day when you don’t wake up thinking about potty training,” and thankfully, I already feel that way. Owen took to it like a champ after the first week and a half and now it’s pretty much a normal part of life!
Thank you for sending in your questions and topics—I think I covered them all, if not in the Q&A format, I answered them somewhere else in this post.
I’ll start with saying this—if you’re thinking about doing it right now, I highly suggest it! So many books say they’ll have your kid potty trained in 3 days, but from our experience, I found that day 3 was the first one where we weren’t having as many accidents, but it definitely takes longer.
You’re already stuck at home, might as well get this major milestone out of the way while you have plenty of time to spare! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
How We Approached Potty Training Our Toddler
How Old is Owen?
Owen was 28 months when we started—I felt like this was a great age to go for it. Plus, I wanted it done before baby 2 comes!
What Book Did We Read?
Lots of friends suggested “Oh Crap” so I bought that one. I ready part of it, Rob read none of it—whoops! I got antsy and just wanted to get started so I skipped over a few chapters to the one that was all about taking off the diaper and just went for it the next day.
How Did We Know Owen was Ready?
So many people asked this question! Owen had been practicing at daycare and showing interest at home. I was planning on doing it around this time anyway—he’s 28 months old—and with the stay at home order, it felt like the perfect time. I would highly suggest doing it during this period because when else are you going to be stuck at home for this long?!
The book we read suggested potty training from 18-24 months and definitely before 3 years old. I have to agree. We had a few days of resistance and apparently that gets worse and worse the older they get, so if you’re on the fence, I’ll be your encouragement—JUST GO FOR IT!
Which Kind of Potty Did We Use?
We bought this potty seat. It’s not the greatest for potty training a boy, but it’s held up better than expected and it was cheap! I opted to not do the small potty for one reason—I was not about to clean that mess up! Simple as that.
At school, Owen was practicing on a real potty, a smaller one, but a real potty nonetheless, so we just went with that.
What Are We Doing for Naps & Nighttime?
For now, we’re still putting Owen in a diaper (this is the brand we use) at nap and night. Some days he wakes up totally dry, and other days, he wakes up super wet. I’ve heard from several of you that nighttime bladder control simply comes with time. Some kids pick up on it early, and some kids it takes longer.
Eventually we’ll move to these diaper pants (essentially pull-ups, I just love this brand!) when his bladder control is a little more predictable. Right now, the kid pees a TON at night.
Random Tips On Potty Training A Boy
Be consistent! I had a lot of people message me that they started trying then gave up, or their kid would be on the potty, but not poop. Potty training a boy (or a girl) is hard, but just push through. It’s a huge adjustment to their routine, so give it some time. Going back to diapers will most likely just confuse them more, and when you try again, you may hit more resistance.
As for the holding of #2, the book we read said that most pediatricians aren’t going to bat an eye if a kid hasn’t pooped in a week. It’s okay if they hold it for a couple of days—Owen definitely did that, but eventually it happened!
Week 1 Recap & Lessons Learned
It’s a rough one guys. Like the book said, we wore no pants for the first few days. He asked for his diaper and pants several times and was a little confused and frustrated when we asked him to sit on the potty.
We rolled up the rugs the day before and thank goodness because he peed and pooped on the floor on day one. It was long and exhausting for everyone. Owen napped for 3 hours that day (normally does 2), haha!
During nap and bedtime, we still put a diaper on him.
Surprisingly, not bad! We did no pants again and didn’t have too many accidents. He didn’t go #2, and only had a small accident, but realized he was peeing, stopped and ran to the potty!
We put pants on for day 3, we probably could have gone one more day pant-less, but honestly it was COLD and I felt bad because he said he was cold. But, the pants were like a safety net and we had several accidents that day.
I can’t remember how many times he peed, but man, we went through a lot of pants. Even if he caught himself, he still had started in his pants. No #2 today either, I think he was holding it.
Similar to day 3, but not as many accidents. He was really resistant though. Every time I would ask him to go, he’d say no. Or, he’d get on the potty and immediately say, “all done mommy” before he even tried. It was frustrating.
This was the day (I think) that we decided to introduce a reward, haha! The book did not suggest this, but friends said it worked, so we did it. We called them “Potty Beans”—M&Ms. He got one for a successful pee on the potty and two for a #2.
He finally went #2, partially on the potty, but it started in his pants. GROSS, but progress!
Getting better! In the morning, he peed a little pee in his pants then realized he had to go, ran to the potty to finish. Later that day, we also went #2 on the potty. He ran around grabbing his bottom, saying “my booty hurting” and was really scared to get on there. Turns out toddlers are really scared to go poop, because they’re so used to the sensation of going in their diaper. It makes sense, even if it’s gross.
No accidents! No poops, but we still did some laundry because his aim was off and he missed the potty. Girls are probably easier, but boys you have to constantly remind them to push their junk down into the potty.
No pee accidents, but started to go #2 in his pants, again, and then made it to the potty.
Week two was a turning point! We were still having some minor accidents—he’d occasionally start peeing in his pants before running to the potty and we were still having the #2 issue of starting in our pants. We’d made a ton of progress, but I still didn’t totally trust him.
The Turning Point
I can’t remember exactly what day we were on, but Owen and I were out for a walk and one block from home, he pooped in his pants. I had his scooter, helmet and water bottle so he walked home like that, haha! It’s easier to laugh looking back on it.
We got home and he was so upset! I’m sure you can imagine how big of a mess that made. Rob bathed him while I rinsed his clothes and started the laundry. At first I was laughing and then out of nowhere I started crying so hard. I’d had a lot of pent up emotions over the past week, and potty training a boy is exhausting. I felt so much better after.
Despite how gross that experience was, I think it was the BEST thing that could have happened. It completely traumatized him—I mean, it should have, can you imagine?! Since then, we have had ZERO accidents!!!
I still do prompt him to go to the bathroom before we leave the house and before meals, nap and bed time, and if he hasn’t gone in a while, but for the most part, he runs in there himself.
I do think it’s important to keep prompting because toddlers get busy and don’t want to miss out on stuff, so they’ll hold it then have accidents.
If he’s doing something he doesn’t want to leave, I tell him that whatever he’s doing can either come with us, or will wait for him (if we’re watching a show). That usually does the trick!
According to this book, it takes kids’ brains a while to rewire and understand that underwear is not a diaper, so it suggests keeping them commando for about a month. Since we’re not going anywhere anyway, we’re doing it.
I did buy him this set of cute little underwear that he’ll start wearing towards the end of the month.
I hope that I covered everything you were wondering about potty training a boy and gave you the motivation to just go for it! Life is so nice on the other side!