Potty Training Questions- Works For Me Wednesday

potty training

I am making up my own rules this week on WFMW. Because I need to know what works for YOU.

I have potty trained two kids with relative ease. Basically they potty trained themselves. I know. You can hate me. But I just waited until they were ready and then we tackled it in like half a day.

Oh and they were girls. Simple, pull your pants down, sit on the potty and wipe- girls.

And now I have a two year old boy. And the thought of potty training him makes me tremble.

He is REALLY interested in the potty. He wants to sit on it all the time. In fact I frequently find him with his diaper off (courtesy of him) running amok in the house.

BUT he isn’t talking much yet. And although he is getting new words every week I am not sure he would do a great job at telling me when he had to go potty. Also, while my girls were staying dry through the night at like 15 months, he still frequently wakes up in the night having leaked through his diaper. The little dude pees a lot.

BUT (again) I do realize that this might be a good window to capitalize on his interest and excitement. So I ask (frankly hoping you will all tell me to wait):

Any tips for potty training a non-verbal, not staying dry through the night BOY?

I figure at least it will make good blog fodder and put this tagline to good use.

This post is linked up to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.


  1. You’d better wait. Otherwise, you’ll have to change your blog title! Personally though, just get it done while he’s interested so as to avoid any later power struggles.

  2. I am currently training boy number 3. The first was 3-1/4, the second just 3 years old. My mother in law trained 4 children and said the two she let do in their own time did great, the two she pushed had so many problems. I’m trying to do my 2-1/2 year old right now and he’ll go but isn’t quite ready. I wouldn’t push it or you’ll most likely have a lot of accidents. Just my experience :)

  3. I don’t have any great tips for you, but I’d love to hear other’s responses. My almost 2 year old is definitely interested and has used the potty on several occasions. However, now all of a sudden he’s acting scared of it! I think he’s realizing that the ‘pretend’ days are coming to an end and the training days are going to be beginning! ;)

  4. If he is really good with his hand dextarity, the sign for potty is simple–hook your first finger over your thumb, while holding the rest of your fingers in a loose fist and shake it (or even just teach him to shake his fist gently from side to side). Make the sign with his hand when he seems interested and go hand out at the potty with a stack of books or while singing songs. If he performs, make a big deal out of it, if not try again later. See what motivates him–stickers, dried fruit, keep it simple and immediate at his current age. Best wishes!
    Kristy recently posted…BirthdayMy Profile

  5. Like Kristy, I was going to suggest sign language. I started training both my girls right around their first birthdays and we used sign to communicate. But, they are girls and boys are a different ball park from what I hear…
    Sarah @ Loved Like the Church recently posted…Presents, Friends and Free Pizza – Friday JoyMy Profile

  6. Funny, I clicked over from WFMW hoping you had all the answers for potty training :)

    I’ve heard that sleep-time potty training shouldn’t coordinate with potty training and to focus on that after mastering day time training. If he is waking up after his nap dry, then you know he can hold it for a while. If I were you I would put it off a little longer. Unless he starts peeing in the potty I wouldn’t push it but every time he gets on talk briefly about what it’s for. Though, if he’s running around naked it might be worth it to potty train so you have minimal messes to clean up.
    Judy recently posted…Handprint SpidersMy Profile

  7. First, marshmallows are baby crack. Put a jar of them in the bathroom. Get a potty seat with one of those boy plumbing covers. Stop liquids 2 hours before bedtime. Give him a marshmallow just for trying. If he can’t tell you then ask him every 20 minutes to try.
    Olivia recently posted…PinsMy Profile

    • Boy plumbing covers. My head just exploded.

      • Don’t worry! My doctor told us not to use one of those because he’d seen several minor injuries from them. Nothing evil, just that it’s a hard plastic thing sticking up from the seat, so when a small person is clambering on/off the seat he can bash into it and hurt his delicate bits.

        The doctor’s advice instead was simple: “Point it down.” Your boy can do this himself. A fingertip pressed against the base is easy.
        ‘Becca recently posted…Traffic Safety for Little KidsMy Profile

  8. First of all, I wouldn’t worry about the staying dry through the night thing. Neither of my older two did and my daughter (who has been PTed for over a year) is just now starting to wake up dry. We just use pull-ups at night…no biggie. I just finished PTing my 2 1/2 year old son. He still occasionally poops in his pull-up during naptime but I’m not pushing him; my daughter had poop issues too and it was much better for our sanity to let her figure that part out on her own. It’s been about two months since I started PTing my son and he’s now telling me when he needs to go and rarely has an accident. I don’t use any specific method, but I do advocate putting them straight into underwear. It helps them to feel wet and realize when they are having an accident. However, I think if I were you, I would start to watch your son for cues that he is ready. Interest alone is not enough unless YOU are prepared to do all the work. He needs to be able to hold his pee for a reasonable amount of time (an hour, maybe longer). Babies start to show interest just before their second birthday but if they are not holding it for periods of time, potty training them is EXHAUSTING. Once they can hold it, going from Mommy-initiated potty breaks to child-initiated breaks is so much easier! Plus you can see their potty cues (a dance, wiggle, squirm, etc.). Otherwise you’ll be sitting them on the potty every 20 minutes for weeks and won’t see much progress (or at least you’ll see lots of accidents if you don’t watch the clock). That’s too stressful, in my opinion. Better wait until the child is ready….again, not them telling you they are ready, necessarily, but knowing their little bodies well enough to tell they are ready. Waking up fry from NAPS is a good cue they can hold it too. Good luck!
    Emily Kay recently posted…Propping up my eyelids with toothpicks…My Profile

    • There is just a whole lotta wisdom in this comment. I really don’t want to do ANY work. I think most of the time people aren’t training the kids, the kids are training the parents!! Definitely not what I am going for.

  9. My daughter trained fast, too. She was always way more verbal than little brother, too…. My son seemed very interested in the potty, and although I wanted to wait until after vacation, we did start… He got the whole “pee on the potty” thing down much faster than I thought (success from day 1). Staying dry has been another issue…..
    I am trying to have much more patience than I did with our daughter ( a few times I over reacted to accidents and I think it set her back occasionally).

    Whatever you do, good luck!
    OneMommy recently posted…Our Newest PetMy Profile

  10. I don’t believe in potty training. I forced my oldest at 2 and it was a nightmare. The next 5 kids I followed their cues and they did it pretty much like your girls and we avoided lots of accidents and a very frustrated mom. The 7th one is almost 3. And talks about the potty and sits on it but that is it. I sure she will decide before she leaves for college that she doesn’t want to wear diapers. Of all the foster kids I needed to guide in this department I figured this out …kids have control of 2 things. What they put in their mouths to eat and what they let come out of their bodies (I’m talking toddlers here not babies). So let him decide. Just thoughts from my experience.

    • Well if anyone knows what they are talking about it is you. Wise advice. I assume you were hinting that I could just send him over when he seems ready……

      • ha..well thanks for that..however…i say every time we adopt another one…the worst thing is the whole potty thing…ugh…

        and no..as much as Sam would love a little testosterone around here….

        • Sam keeps asking me to find him a brother…and we keep getting calls for girls…

          good luck with your little guy

  11. This summer our toddler’s older brother helped him learn how to “pee pee on a leaf” (or rock or lizard). As cold sets in, I’m not sure how we will transition. :)
    Amanda recently posted…Apple Peeler, Corer, Slicer ReviewMy Profile

  12. Abbie J says:

    We started our boys by sitting them backwards on the big potty. there’s more space for them to aim that way and just seemed more comfortable for them. My almost 5 y/o is just now finally staying dry at night. We still take him to the bathroom before we go to bed though–he never remembers it the next morning.

    • we have done that also with boys…works great.

      FYI…my son is 11 and JUST stop wearing pull-ups at night..we had him see all kinds of Dr.s and they all said the same thing..some boys just don’t stay dry at night..he still has an occasional wet night. (good thing he doesn’t read this blog!! he would be very upset with me)

    • Backwards is good. That makes total sense.

  13. To help with the nonverbal thing – teach him the sign for potty. It’s the letter “t”. all you do is make a fist with your thumb between your index and middle finger. Then you just shake your hand a little side to side. It’s a great little thing to know because it’s so discreet. Teach it to the girls for when you’re out and about and don’t want them announcing to the world they need a pit stop. Lots of schools use this now to ease embarrassment of asking to go.

    Now I need to go back and read all the other comments. I’m afraid I’ve already made so many mistakes. I’m so over this. Keep hearing about the 3-day method. Good luck with your little guy.

  14. Well, I’ve only trained one child and he may be weird :-), but this is what worked for us.

    Make sure to get his daddy involved, when he’s around. Big sisters can be good role models, but a guy with the same equipment, who can do comparatively impressive things with it, is even more inspiring! :-D
    ‘Becca recently posted…Traffic Safety for Little KidsMy Profile

  15. My mother raised 3 boys and 2 girls. She says hands down, the girls were the easiest to potty train.

    All of my boys have potty trained on their own timetable when they were ready. They were 3+ years old. Our baby is almost 3 and he is not on board with potty training yet. He likes to pretend, but he is not there yet.

    My philosophy, they will not be graduating high school wearing diapers. Boys just kind of need time.

    I would love for you to linkup and share this over on my mommy solution meme. http://www.crystalandcomp.com/2011/10/the-mommy-club-share-your-resources-and-solutions-13/

  16. Ah, the potty training. Too bad it’s not summer and then you could just train him to pull his pants down and pee in certain spots in your yard; boys love that!
    I always freed myself up by never admitting to anyone that we were (or were not) potty training. I just called it “playing potty” for as long as we wanted to. Then the child could sit on the potty whenever the child wanted to, but there was no pressure for me to actually finish!
    Somebody else might have suggested this, but how ’bout underpants to go over his diaper? This might make it harder for him to get it off by himself, and make you the master of whether or not he gets to “play potty.”
    Olivia recently posted…Freshen Up for FallMy Profile

  17. Andrea says:

    Here’s my question: how much freedom do you allow with potty training? My oldest will be three in February, and he is NOT READY to be left in the bathroom alone. I keep every door in this house closed except the play room and the kids’ bedrooms. He’s also still in his crib, and frankly, I’m planning on keeping him in that crib until I know for sure he won’t roam around in the middle of the night doing who-knows-what. (He is quite the little engineer and has figured out things I would never have imagined a two-year-old could figure out.) As for speaking ability, he’s off-the-charts verbal. Can carry on full-blow conversations. So verbally and brainwise–SMART. But common sense wise? Not so much. In other words, he’s a little man.

    • I wouldn’t leave a 3 yo in the bathroom alone until I was quite confident about their abilities. And I kept my kids in the crib as long as possible. That “cage” comes in handy ;)

  18. Night training is a hoax. Kids will stop when their bodies are developed (says the mom whose 2 olders who wet, the 2 youngers are dry). My friend talked to a neurologist about it. THat’s what he said. Until then, GoodNights!
    All My Monkeys recently posted…Just a normal SaturdayMy Profile

    • I have heard this. I think I am only surprised because my first two never had a single issue with night dryness. Why I assume kids would be the same is beyond me.

      • “Why I assume kids would be the same is beyond me.”
        I know, right? In my case, it was reverse, so I was tickled pink to have one that finally didn’t wet the bed. However, she did have (and occasionally still does have) more daytime potty accidents than the other two combined. We moms never win, do we? ;)
        All My Monkeys recently posted…Just a normal SaturdayMy Profile

  19. First remember — every kid is different. And yes, boys are different than girls. Saw the same thing with my boy versus my girl. Specifically the through the night thing. First things first — the at night wetting –there is nothing you can do about it! Some kids just sleep so soundly at night — that they don’t even recognize they have to go. It is quite common for kids to wet the bed at night until 5 or 6. So either put on a pull up at night (if they are okay with it) or underwear and have cleans sheets available and don’t make it a big deal. It is not your fault or his fault!

    I’ve seen so many worry about this and it is not a big deal. He won’t wet at night forever!

    Good luck with the potty training!


    • Renata says:

      We did the 3 day method with our son at the start of the summer and it was awesome! My best advice for y’all is to use more than one sheet on the bed, separated by sheet protectors. This way when they pee (or have a tummy bug, ha!) at 3 in the morning you only have to carefully strip the upper layer and presto, you’ve got a clean bed!

      Good luck!

  20. My son talked big time about the potty so we tried at age 2. Tried for months, it was awful. We tried again at 2.5, still awful. Horrific. Worst thing ever, everyone was crying. That’s when I realized we were just going to do nothing and ignore the books. We finally suceeded after he turned 3 and did it in only 3 days! I definitely will be waiting until son #2 is begging to use the potty.
    Our first game changer was asking if he was dry, not if he had to go. I guess he’s wired for reverse psychology. Having a goal of staying dry worked for him. My other gamechanger was to teach him to go sitting down. That was part of our problem in the earlier attempts.
    And he still doesn’t stay dry at night. And I’m okay with that. At 3.5 he is just now starting to ask to go in the middle of the night so there’s hope, and I don’t really mind one diaper a day.

  21. My friend Jill has a boy, and she is the one who coached me through the 3 Day Potty Training. But he WAS older than Silas is. But as long as he understands rewards, I think it would work. Here is my post about it: http://www.vanderbiltwife.com/2011/07/quick-and-easy-potty-training-it-worked.html
    Vanderbilt Wife recently posted…31 Days of Reading Well: Day 15My Profile

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