How to Potty Train Boys

Boys have a bad rep for being extremely hard to potty train. I hear horror stories and stories of perseverance. I hate to admit it, but my mom pushed me to start potty training my oldest when he was 26 months old. I knew he could do it, and I wanted him to be out of diapers before my next one came along.
Image: My Child Guide

Mom gave some suggestions, I did a ton of research, and decided I needed a plan. Not only a plan, but a plan that I was determined to stick with. The second boy was on the way, and I did not want to change diapers for two. This is the plan I stuck with, and it worked well. J only had an accident three times, and within a couple of weeks he was getting the hang of it.

Step 1.
Whether you decide to follow this plan or another, the key is to stick to it. Boys are capable of learning just like girls. If you go back and forth between diapers and potty training it will only prolong the process and be more of a hassle for you.

Step 2.
Prepare a poster. J and I went to Hobby Lobby, and he picked out the color of poster board he liked. We also picked up stickers. Hobby Lobby has 350 stickers for around $4. We went home and I printed out 3 months worth of calendars and taped them to the poster board. Every time he went to the potty he put a sticker of his choice on the poster. At the end of the day he was able to show Daddy how many times he went potty that day.

Note: I do not like the idea of using food or candy to praise my children for going to the potty. I wanted to promote a healthier option. Please use your discretion. After about a month and a half J was tired of the stickers and we stopped putting them on the poster. I was afraid my sweet toothed child would not quick asking for candy.

Step 3.
Pull ups for a week.
I am one of those mothers that hates a mess, especially a bodily function mess. I was determined to have as few accidents as possible on my furniture or floor. I used pull ups for a week because I wanted J to get used to the motion of pulling his underwear up and down. Every time he went pee in the potty, he received 1 sticker. When he went poop in the potty, he got 2 stickers.

Step 4.
When you start potty training, give your child plenty of fluids. Give him salty foods so he wants to drink more liquids. Take him to the potty every 30-45 minutes for the first week and have him stay on the potty until he goes. Running water in the sink will help. Again he received a ton of praise and a sticker every time he went to the potty without an accident.

Step 5.
Underwear only after week one. After practicing pulling his pull ups up and down for a week we decided it was time for big boy underwear. We used just the plain white, cotton underwear. J was told that after he could go to the potty without having accidents, that he could pick out his own underwear. He had 3 accidents in 2 days and did great. Boys will play and ignore the need to go to the potty, so you will still need to take him every 30-45 minutes.

Step 6.
Pullups remained apart of our lives, but only during the night after week one. We would limit J's liquid intake after 6pm and put him in the pullups for bedtime. This lasted for about a month; until he was able to stop going potty in his sleep. After a week of not having a wet pull up in the morning, we switched to big boy underwear.

Note: J would wake up during the night and seemed to be sleep walking. We figured out he was half asleep and needed to go potty, but was too asleep to tell us. We praised him (quietly) for getting up to go potty, and then put him back to bed.

If you stick to the plan, prepare for a few messes, and give positive reinforcement to your child, the diaper days will be gone before you know it.

Good Luck,


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