Do you think that your babe is ready to start potty training? Do you feel like others aren’t as hopeful about starting at such a young age? Here are 15 tips for potty training a boy. And how to do it before they turn 3!
A little background as to why we started so early…
When our first boy was a baby I had him nakie quite a bit due to frequent rashes.
Meaning, if we were home, I would usually have him naked around the house. As he became closer to being a one year old, I went ahead and just bought him some underwear, so he wasn’t completely naked. I realized that I was able to start to predict when he was going to use the bathroom, based on his body cues and facial expressions.
As he started to learn words, he would start to say “pee pee” + “poo poo” accordingly. I really began to feel as though he was ready to start potty training. But, he was only around 15 months at that point.
I asked our pediatrician, [cause you know, that’s who you are taught you can trust] and she advised me that there was really no possible way that he was ready and that he physically + mentally wouldn’t be able to start training until at least 2.5 years.
Yet, I KNEW that he was ready. He was staying dry at nap, and for longer periods of time during the day. He was also totally interested + loved sitting on the potty. At this point I was several months pregnant with our third baby + definitely didn’t want to be changing 2 sets of diapers.
With his excitement + eagerness along with my determination, I felt like we could totally start this process and do it successfully.
SO I started potty training my 18 month old boy. Despite the odd looks when mentioning it and the slightly negative comments obviously disagreeing with my decisions we began this journey.
At first I had him sit on the potty, then moved to standing to pee, followed by pooping on the pod. After we had that down for a solid bit, we ditched the pull ups at nap + bedtime.
Now our little guy who will be 3 in August, is COMPLETELY potty trained. Like- it all, pee + poop and through the night.
He even wipes his own booty [if you don’t hear that whiny little kid from Big Daddy right now, I’m not sure we can be friends….I kid, but for real, “he wipes his own butt!”] and goes completely on his own accord.
I don’t share this as a #mombrag moment. I share this because I knew that my little man was ready and fully capable of being potty trained at such a young age, yet, I felt as though I had zero support. Even from the doctor + there really wasn’t a whole lot of info on the web about how to do it, and how to do it successfully.
I want to share what we did , so it can help other mamas who are in the same boat!
So here are some tips that helped us get through that daunting task of potty training with a little more ease and a good bit of success!
15 tips for potty training your
boy before age three
*Disclaimer* I am not a medical profession nor do I have a degree in this field. These are just tips that worked for us + our family and hopefully they can help another family too.
These tips are by no means every family’s potty training solutions!
1. You know your child best; don’t be afraid to make the call
You are the one who knows your child best. Not the doctor, not your best friend, not your siblings, not even your own mother. YOU, mama [or rockstar dad] YOU know your kid best.
If you feel your kid is ready to start potty training then give it a go! And even the reverse. If you feel that your child is not ready to start, then that’s okay too.
You know them best. Go with that.
I think had I waited + listen to others [including the doctor] of what was normal, I would have missed my window for potty training our son when he was ready, willing + cooperative.
2. Don’t push it
Which brings me to my next tip. As much as our boy was ready to potty train, there were days in the beginning where I did not actively pursue the training as much as other days, just because we were not feeling it. When you know that you are both in that space. Just don’t push it.
On that same thought, most parents tend to lean in to that comparing game. Where you can get caught up feeling as though you have to keep up with the neighbors.
Yes, my kid is potty trained but he is also slightly behind in his speech. Every kid reaches milestones at a different pace. I just knew that my kid was ready to start potty training.
So if your kid is not ready. Don’t push it. It will only matters worse if you are only starting because you see others doing it. Pushing a kid when he isn’t ready will make things a gazillion times worse. Especially for your sanity. And it could prolong the whole process.
3. Be prepared for setbacks
As you can expect once you start potty training you have to know + accept that there will be setbacks. As long as you know that they are normal, it will go a little more smoothly.
Just like you have good days and excel at certain things and some days you don’t, it is the same thing with babies + toddlers. Lack of sleep, growth spurts, not eating well due to teething can all play a role in a setback.
Being prepared for this will make both of your lives easier.
4. Get the right supplies
To do any job right and succeed you need the right tools. Whether that is a hammer + a nail along with some wood for a bench, or a pen + pad for a story. Having the right supplies makes the job at hand MUCH easier.
Since our little man is on the smaller side anyways, we got a tot sized step stool for him. This was super helpful for successful potty training. Having the little froggy potty is a great tool as well. We found a lot of success using the little toilet seat insert or “potty topper”. It was perfect for his teeny tiny little booty. These were crucial items for us.
Other “tools” that can help potty train are books for babe + you, training ladder, and a potty watch.
5. Make it fun
“Pee-pee in the potty, pee-pee in the potty, pee-pee in the potty is what we do.”
This is the little diddy I made up and would sing while our toddler sat on the potty. Signing this song would help pass the time for me, but it would also relax him.
Relaxation is key to help facilitate the whole potty process. Singing the song made it fun, but also allowed for a positive association with the potty and using the bathroom.
If we were out and about and I would start to sing that diddy, it would make him feel secure enough to pee in a “different” public restroom
6. Use a timer
This was super important for our success in potty training. I would set a timer for 20 minute increments, then would increase it by 15 minutes.
Eventually we got to hours and then to no timer at all.
The good thing I had going for us was that I was pregnant with baby no.3 and so I was basically going every 20 minutes anyways!
Every 20 minutes may seem excessive but in the beginning it gets them used to just sitting on the potty + also allows for you to not “miss” that window of opportunity for them to go.
7. Show him how dad does it
Sounds a little strange but it does help. Toddlers are super curious about everything and mimic what they see. Seeing their dad stand up and pee and then realizing that they can do the same thing, is sure to encourage your little tot to want to ditch the diapers + pull ups for good!
8. Give so much praise
If you haven’t ever seen a mom whose kid just went “pee-pee on the potty” -watch out. You will hear clapping, cheering, possibly even signing and most likely a shrill-like scream of excitement.
After countless minutes of waiting for something to happen, when it finally does, the exaggerated praise just comes out naturally!
My advice is to keep that up. I know it can be draining, especially if it’s been a trying day, but keeping that praise up each time they go to the bathroom. Or stay dry in a given situation or an extended period of time.
This praise will increase the chances of the potty training sticking long term!
9. Bribery + a reward system
On a similar note, bribery is something that does in fact work. At least it did for us.
With our daughter, who was our first, I didn’t really believe in using this tip all of the time. For our boy on the other-hand, especially being on the younger side, it worked wonders!
Whenever he would go to the bathroom, he would get one M&M. If he went poop, he would get two. Sometimes if I needed him to “just try” this would persuade him enough to give it a try and typically eventually go pee.
Letting him pick out his own underwear or a toy is another good reward.
Be careful not to get too crazy with this. Use the big rewards, such a toy for things like first time pooping on the potty, or first car ride dry, or first time waking up accident-free.
I think of it more as conditioning than bribery. But it’s the same thought.
10. When in doubt; just drop yo pants.
I believe that some would beg to differ on this tip.
For us though, + me personally, if we are outside playing, I would much rather have my kiddo drop his pants to go pee and stay dry than to have an accident.
I do not think this has encouraged him to pee in places that aren’t appropriate. What it has done is create the option for him to stay dry when playing, which is great for all involved.
Also| I mean, as a woman, if I could just drop my pants and pee in a bush, I totally would.
11. Be patient
Sounds super simple, right? Yet it can be so hard.
Patience is definitely a practice and is required throughout all of parenthood.
The type of patience I am referring to here, requires you to put yourself in your kiddos shoes. Try to think about if you had someone standing + hovering over you telling you to go pee or poop right.that.minute. It would probably take you a few seconds to feel comfortable enough to go to the bathroom.
Try to remember this type of patience, as you tell the miniature version of yourself to “HURRY UP + GO”
12. IGNORE the naysayers.
There will be people, friends + family that might think you are crazy for starting potty training so early.
Just ignore it.
You know your kid best. If you feel it’s the right time. Then roll with it.
As I am in the midst of managing a threeanger. So I am thrilled that I ignored the naysayers and followed my mama gut + we potty trained when we did. [At least while he was compliant to most of my directions.]
So if your babe is ready, ignore those who feel opposed + take the opportunity to do it while they are at least willing to listen and not apt to argue with everything.
13. Make car rides potty proof
Car rides would induce anxiety with our first kid while potty training. After I realized this little trick, it made my life so much easier!
I would first keep this little potty in the car with us for emergency bathroom breaks.
Also, when driving I would take those little old fashion burp cloths and fold it over and have them sit on it in the car seat. Then if there was an accident, it made for a A LOT easier clean up for this mama!
I would also always store extra clothes and underwear in the car, just in case. Even a few pull ups for those off days.
14. Nap + nighttime woes
When we started to focus on nighttime and nap-time training, I began by limiting the amount of water he would have before going to bed. We would also have him sit on the potty a couple times leading up to finally staying in bed.
For a short period, I would wake him up right before I would go to bed around 11 and have him go to the bathroom. This provided a higher probability for waking up dry!
I think the biggest thing for us, was praising him so much for staying dry at nap or bedtime. Sometimes adding in that extra “prize” or reward for staying dry would help too!
15. Get into nature
Hate to say it but peeing outside is what got our boy even more excited to pee and to do it standing up.
Being able to stand + pee was pretty awesome for him, and really got him pumped up to potty like a “big boy” and stay dry.
Peeing outside also gave him options to work on “his aim”. Having him try + pee on a leaf, a rock or a stick made it fun for him and in turn, much easier for this mama!
16. Don’t give up hope
There will be moments where you question your sanity and wonder why you subjected yourself to this torture BUT don’t give up.
If you’ve made it this far and the only thing causing you frustration is a few intermittent accidents, don’t give up!
They will get it.
Just be consistent, patience and positive.
YOU CAN DO IT MAMA!
[Again another disclaimer, if you are trying and it’s more headache than anything else. Then it’s totally okay to take a step back and give your babe and YOURSELF a break. You can always come back to it when you are both ready again!]
These are some of our favorite items that made potty training easier!
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Tips for Potty Training your Boy before 3
Let me know in the comments below if this was helpful for you!