Potty Training Boys Early: Part One of Two

One thing moms of boys hear often is, "Boys are harder to potty train." Not having girls, I have nothing to compare it with. But I have to say that my oldest was in underwear full-time by the time he was 20 months. And my youngest boy is in underwear at 19 months. So, I thought about it and decided that it's not about gender.

The next question you would ask me is, "HOW?" Well, I almost feel like potty training has gotten out of control. Everyone is afraid to "push" their child, causing them to rebel. But possibly, introducing your child earlier is a good thing? (Introducing - not pushing - there is a difference). Otherwise you end up with a child who is so used to their diapers, they don't want to contemplate using the potty.

So here is how I potty trained 2 boys before they were 20 months, and what you can expect.

ONE: Look for signs of readiness.

We are not looking for your child to have EVERY sign of readiness. We want them to have ONE sign of readiness. Here is what I kept an eye open for:

1. Using Potty Words: Peepee, Poopoo, Caca, Weewee, WooWoo, Urinate, #1, #2 - whatever words you use ... are they saying them? With my first son, every time he had caca in his diaper - I told him. And whenever I saw him pee in the bathtub, I said, "Oh - you're going peepee!" And I said it nicely, not mad. I didn't want him to associate body movements with negativity. And I wanted him to understand what was going on.

With my second son, it was easier. First, he had a model in his older brother. If the older one was going peepee or caca, I told the little one. Plus, he had me and his dad as models too. Most moms know there is no such thing as a closed bathroom door when you have toddlers. Finally, I did the same that I did with his brother, telling him when he was peeing or pooping.

2. Holding in pee for long periods of time: Do you notice that their diaper is dry .... and then it is overstuffed with wetness within minutes? Or are they waking up from naps dry. Are they peeing just a little at a time or a lot? If they are saving up their pee to do all at once ... that's a great sign!

3. They tell you they are wet or dirty.Verbally or nonverbally.

4. They show an interest in the potty.

TWO: Introduce Videos

I am not sure videos are a must-have, but I used them. I had three videos in rotation for each boy. I'll post my reviews on them later. My favorite was Potty Power, and that was the video that really spoke to my oldest. He wanted Potty Power! No more diapers for him! Diapers are for babies and that's okay! My youngest loves the Elmo's Potty Time DVD. He is all about Elmo, Elmo, Elmo. The third one we had was Bear in the Big Blue House. I put all of the DVDs on occasionally as a good reminder to my little one to use his potty.

THREE: Introduce the Potty

This happens at the same time as the second step. I daresay, the earlier you have the potty there and ready, the better. That way it's there when you need it. My friend just bought her potty when her child was 14 months because he is telling her he's wet. So... now is the time to really introduce it. But, how do you choose a potty? Here are my rules. There's only two.

1. Do NOT buy a potty that has a cushioned seat. The cushion looks comfortable, but it will absorb waste and become a breeding ground for germs.

2. Do consider the height of the potty. Your child has to sit on it comfortably. Tall children will appreciate a taller potty. Short or younger children need something more suitable to their size. For my oldest, a shorty, the Boon Potty Bench was only 6.5 inches high and was perfect for him. When my youngest started potty training, I liked the shape and size of the Bjorn Travel Potty. Since I had two children to watch at that time, it was easier for me to have a little potty in the living room and the Boon in the bathroom. Plus, the shape of the Bjorn let's him sit from either the front or the back. And he also has an easy time peeing in it standing up due to the large hole.

Okay - so now you know my thoughts on knowing when your child is ready and what tools you need. Next we start my How-To's of Potty Training! (Come back around noon!)

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