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5 Potty Training Essentials You Must Have

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When you think you are ready to begin potty training for your son, you may still have questions. Here are some tips for potty training boys to help you reach success.

child on potty chair

It’s potty time! Let’s get this potty started!

How do you know when it’s time to ditch the diapers for your son? Is he really ready? What about nighttime training?

These are the questions I asked when we set out to start potty training Levi. Since he is my first, I didn’t have a lot of prior experience with this stage of parenting. I also knew that he would eventually learn to use the toilet over a diaper. But, how to make that happen?

First, is your son really ready to use the potty?

If you are wondering if you are really ready to get the potty started, here are some signs that it’s time to begin:

  • Can he go for 2-3 hours without a wet diaper during the day?
  • Does he ask to have his diaper changed shortly after being wet or dirty?
  • Can he use simple phrases and sentences?
  • Is your son able to pull his own pants up or down without help?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you are completely ready. If there is one or two that are not absolutely “YES”, your son may still be ready, but there could be a little more hurdles to it. That only means that it may take a bit more effort on your part.

Having said that, having all the questions with a “YES” doesn’t mean that it will be 100% smooth sailing, either. Toddlers are notorious for wanting to express themselves, and assert their independence and their own choices. Potty training can bring a bit of anxiety for some, as they may experience a loss of “control”.

Things you will need to begin potty training

There is some “equipment” that will make the transition easier to go from diapers to “big boy” pants. They certainly made our life far easier in this stage, and can help you, too

  • BABYBJORN Potty Chair– This is the potty chair we are using for Levi. I tried a few times (unsuccessfully) to train him on our potty and he seemed terrified. I know that some experts say to train directly on your potty, but I’m all about easing their fears and worries during this process as well. The shield in the front is perfect for keeping little boy’s urine from going all over the floor.
  • Toddler Boys’ Paw Patrol Boy 3pk Training Pant -Again, another highly debated piece of ‘equipment’. These feel more natural to kids than other training pants, but still give protection to your furniture and flooring if there is an accident.
  • Digital Timer -This may seem like an odd must have, but trust me- it’s a life saver. I set it for 15-30 minute intervals during the day so that I remember to take him to potty. If I don’t set this, I get busy and before I know it, 45 minutes have gone by and we’ve had an accident. This isn’t necessary to use for weeks, but just for the first few days when they are getting in the habit of using the potty.
  • Rewards, if you want to go that route. This can be in the form of little candies or stickers. Treats like Skittles Original Candy can be effective. I keep a small bag of these near the potty and he gets 1 for sitting on the potty, 2 for number “1” and 3 for number “2”. A special treat of any kind will do the trick: small toys, candy, snacks, etc. Just make sure it’s a treat they don’t get to enjoy often.
  • Kandoo Kids Flushable Wipes -I love these for not only cleaning the actual potty, but also for cleaning Levi. Sorry parents: you’ll still be wiping those little behinds for a bit longer! Be careful about flushing these down, though, as some are thought to clog up sewer pipes. I would suggest that you throw them in the garbage.

To sit or to stand

Some boys will learn how to use the potty better by sitting all the time in the beginning. This may lead to “splashing” or “leaks”of urine all over the floor, so be ready with cleaning wipes.

Learning to to urinate standing may be harder for some young boys, but the choice is yours. If your child is watching Daddy do it standing, then he may prefer to stand to urinate. This is one area that is best to let your child decide what works.

Now that your child is ready, and you have your equipment, let’s get to potty training.

A couple of days before you start, make sure that the potty chair is in full visibility of your child. Let him know that the chair is HIS, and he will be using it like a grown up. Allow him to try it out, if he wants, with a diaper in place.

If he is really interested, remove the diaper and let him sit and try it.

One the “big day”, let your child pack away the last of his diapers, if you have some left. Encourage them by saying something like, “NO more diapers for you, big boy!” Take him to go potty, and then put his big boy underwear on. Set your timer and go about your day.

Remember to take them to the bathroom every 45 minutes-hour, and after drinking or eating. Until they get used to listening to their body signals, use the potty before naps, going outside to play, or before watching a favorite TV show or movie.

If possible, have your son go potty with dad or big brother. Toddlers learn by watching and copying other’s behavior, and may feel like a “big boy” going like Daddy.

Some things to keep in mind as your son is potty training

  • Accidents are going to happen. Keep them “no big deal” and take them to the bathroom more often. If they happen more than 5-6 times in one day, your child may need more time to mature before potty training.
  • Day time dryness will most likely come before night time dryness. It could be up to a year before your son is night time dry. Expect to do a lot of laundry in the beginning.
  • Pull ups at night MAY impede progress, but for some it’s a life saver. Try it both ways and see what works best for your child.
  • If you are planning on being home for a long period of time, it may be beneficial to allow your child to go “bottomless” while they learn to listen to their body signals. This will make them unable to go without noticing it. For some, this may not be an option, but again, do what’s best for your child.

What are some tips you have for others getting ready to potty train their boys? Share them here!