27 answers

More Potty Training Advice

I need some more potty training advice. My 21-month old son is finally showing signs that maybe he's ready to start potty training but I don't know what kind of potty seat to buy. I have seen all kinds but I want to know which ones work; I don't want to get one that may be too intimidating.

Also, maybe the moms who have boys can tell me the best way to get started with my son. Do I have him sit to pee or should he stand? At this age, aim will definitely be a problem. He is very excitable and seems to be fascinated with the toilet, especially the flush. I welcome any ideas to make the bathroom more comfortable for him so that he will go with ease and stop following me every time I have to go ;)

I do have another issue. My son has no interest in talking right now and I feel this will be a stumbling block with trying to potty train. Don't get me wrong, he is very vocal and babbles all day long but it is his own little language. He has yet to name everyday ordinary items and goes to speech therapy to work on that. He understands me and can follow commands but with potty training, I would hope he was already talking so that he will be able to tell me in some way when he has to go. I don't know if I am making this clear enough to understand but it would be a lot less frustrating if we had some way for him to communicate with me. I am trying to teach him sign language but it's not going so well. i welcome any ideas on this issue too. I don't want to rush things which is why I'm just now considering potty training and I already know that boys tend to be late in this department but I also don't want to prolong the situation if he is indeed ready to try. I'm also tempted to wait even longer because he's not talking but who knows when that will actually kick in; I can't wait forever because I do have a 3 month old daughter at home too. Help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Try teaching him sign language for potty. Use the sign (or a sign for potty) every time you have him go to the bathroom, then ask him using the sign.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is also 21 months old and is showing signs interest in potty training. We are starting out slow with letting him watch as we use the bathroom. He gets excited when we say we need to go potty and runs in the room with us. We let him flush for us and tell him he's doing a good job.

As far as communication goes, I highly suggest watching Signing Time! (www.signingtime.org) You can find it on PBS public television (here in utah on mondays and fridays) or rent the DVD's from the library. My son LOVES the show, it's his absolute favorite. I'd recommend teaching him the sign for potty (a closed fist, shaking back and forth). My son picked up on it pretty quick as it's pretty easy to do.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

We love the book "Toilet Training in a Day" by Azrin. I may be a bit off on the title and I don't remember the author's first name. Sorry. It's great. The best part is the child is "independent" so there wouldn't be a need for him to be able to tell you he needs to go potty. We used it with our first and loved it. At the very least, you'll get some good ideas. GL!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't get discouraged if he doesn't take to potty training. I think 3.5 yrs old is normal for boys to potty train. Still, it can be done earlier if he's ready.

My kids all refused to use potty seats. They wanted to be just like mom and dad - even when they could barely climb on themselves. I've heard it helps to have the kid sit on the toilet backwards (like facing the back of the toilet). I can't remember the reasoning behind it though.

good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

you sound stressed out. your son is only 21 months, he is very young to potty train. Dont rush him into potty training, if he is interested show him how to pee like Daddy, or better yet let Daddy show him how to pee like a big boy. The only thinking I would suggest for a potty is that he can reach over it when he pees. If you toilet is low enough dont worry bout a potty for peeing
It sounds llike you are working on his speach development This might be enough for a little one right now. He will eventualy pee in a the potty but pressure and stress from you will make it difficult. The little man is so young, give him time and patients.

Mother of 3 kids, ages 6, 5, and 3

1 mom found this helpful

Hi -

I can tell you from experience that 21 months is probably too young to even think about potty training. He may be interested in the potty and that's great, I got my boys a very simple potty and had them just get used to sitting on it. No pressure. That's key. If you ask your pediatrician (I did) the nerves that allow him to control his pee and poop aren't mature until about 3 years old. Another thing we know is that boys take longer to mature than girls ;) I started trying to train my older son at 3 years old. He had zero interest. I tried bribes (candy, big boy underwear, stickers) and nothing worked. Finally I just gave up. He was about 3 months shy of his 4th birthday when he told me he had to go and he went in and did it. Like the light turned on and he thought, "I can do that". Took about another 4-5 months before he started pooping on the potty. That's what I know hope it helps.

As for the talking thing. My oldest son (same one) started talking really well when he was nearly 2 and a half. My youngest turned 2 in March and has been speaking in full sentences for months now. He has the example of his older brother and I think that's made a big impact. Hopefully he'll be potty trained sooner too.

Good luck and happy Mother's Day!

1 mom found this helpful

I start potty training with having them sit on their potty chair every morning and night with me in the bathroom. When they do finally go I make a big deal about it. My oldest would always go pee and sometimes poo in the potty chair. This is a way to get them used to the idea. They will catch on and do it on their own. The other idea is to ask every couple hours if they need to go potty.

1 mom found this helpful

I have three boys- ages 12, 7 and 21 months. 21 months is very young for a boy to be potty trained. I won't even start mine yet. However, if you really want to get him started, this is what worked best for me. Get a training seat that fits on top of the "big potty" and a stool to go next to it. This helps eliminate the fear of using the toilet in other places. Have him sit to start training- this gives a lot less headache for mom. He will pick up standing easily when he is older. To get him used to the potty, put him on it every 1-2 hours and if he goes, praise him. If he doesn't, don't stress. It takes a while for them to learn, especially at that age. My boys were almost three before they were finally trained, as were the boys of my friends and family.

As for communication, my boys were a lot slower in this department that my daughter was and they are very advanced now. Don't stress it too much. He will find a way to tell you what he needs, even if it doesn't sound like "real words" to you. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Mom,
As the mother of three boys, let me give some advice. COOL IT, boys have neither the muscle control or the sustained focus for potty training until they are close to three. Let him mature. The fact that he isn't communicating well yet is a big red flag for the fact that he isn't ready to interpret signals from his body as communication. He isn't ready. Give it another year, at least.
Trust me on this, I've done it three times already. You don't want to complicate this issue with emotional baggage and failure.

1 mom found this helpful

Start him sitting down or you'll have lots of messes to clean up. Teach him to hold it down though! All potty seats work, they just look different. You just buy based on preference. I like the kind that just fit onto the regular toilet because kids like to flush and there's less mess to clean and it takes up less space.
All three of my boys were potty trained between 18 and 22 months so not all boys are late with pottytraining. If he won't speak yet and sign language isn't working then start him out by taking him on a schedule. Depending on how often a day he has to go, take him to the bathroom at regular intervals. Some kids have to go every hour at this age and some, like my niece, only goes two-three times a day. Eventually, they'll get around to telling you when they have to go or they'll just start going on their own. Taking them on a schedule reduces accidents also. Put books in the bathroom and some sort of bribery for when they're successful like raisins, m&ms, or stickers. There are also watches you can buy for your kids that will beep at times you set to tell your child that it's time to go. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

E.:
I am in a very similar situation as you are. My son is going to be two in June and although he hasn't really expressed an interest yet in wanting to use the toilet, I was wondering when I should start to introduce him to it so reading all of the responses that you got has been very helpful. My son is also seeing a speech therapist as he is not saying very many words yet either. So I feel as if we are in the same boat! Thanks so much for posing this question as I really feel like I can relate. If you want to contact me to talk further about our sons and what we are experiencing, please feel free to do so.
Thanks,
A. (SAHM with an almost two year old son.)

1 mom found this helpful

We've found the best potty is the Baby Bjorn model - they make a small one and a larger one (we use the larger one), but it's got one easy piece to empty into the toilet and is comfortable enough (apparently!) to not need a cushion. I highly recommend it over ones with cushions (i.e. Safety First) - our cushion got discolored even though it was cleaned after use every time...maybe I was using the wrong cleaner!

Our son just turned 3 and is just now consistently using the potty. That's great that your son shows such an interest! But if the interest wanes after you start training, don't be discouraged...21 months is pretty young, especially for a boy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi
My little guy is 29 mtns now and has shown signs of readiness for a while. We have carpet so it's been an on/off start. Let's just say we're very familiar with stain removal :) He has an older brother which helps. He didn't train to after 3. So I'm happy the LG is willing to try.

We have two potty seats out and visible on each floor. We sit his dolls/teddies on the potty to start with and made the sound. Clapped at the ' wee' and flushed the toilet. LG was soon happy to try the seat himself. He taught him the sign for book. ( his favourite activity) So he sits on his 'throne' and demands reading with menaces :)- not really. When he did tinkle- ( we had fed him a lot of drink) we did the happy dance and he got to flush etc. Works for us.

LG is seeing a speech therapist for the same things you described and we use the potty/toilet sign alongside the word so he knows what it is. It's also handy for the BG to ask in a crowd without asking out loud. We are really getting into signs with ST and the ST is working alongside us with that. His sounds and word count has improved especially now he's looking at us more and imitating the signs. A recent happy development.
Perhaps you can ask for specific help with that side.

It's been a long process- but I'm pg and really rather prefer spring/summer to potty train. Most when ready train quickly.

Now we're up to no diaper and he'll run to the potty- just or we see him crossing his legs and tell him. He wears a pair of pants twice a day if he had 2 wees/a poo on the potty. Still getting them wet though as he still thinks of them as diapers. He cleans up the wee with cloths and gets me the stain remover to apply and changes his clothes . He not too happy to do all by himself so hopefully all that work by himself will be a little encouragement. We still use diapers when we go out and sometimes at home depending on what I'm doing as I have to really watch him. He's doing pretty well.

Hope things get better.

1 mom found this helpful

I am the mother of two boys and I am a teacher. My first son started showing interest in the potty at 18 months --- but wasn't potty trained during the day until age 3 --- and at age 5 we are still struggling with wetting the bed at night. Have a potty chair and potty seat available for him so he can figure out which he is more comfortable with. I think sitting down to potty is easiest --- but I bet standing up to potty is more fun --- and messy! I would let your son take the lead. Don't pressure him. Only give him positive reinforcement when he is successful. Buy big boy underwear with his favorite character and encourage him not to get that character wet or dirty. Let him run around without any clothes on from the waist down. Give him rewards for successes. Be patient --- boys potty train only when they are ready. I would be concerned about the speech issue. I think it's good that you have a speech therapist and are teaching sign language. Read to him lots. Help him name things around the house. Use songs. I personally like the Baby Einstein videos --- because the visuals are entertaining & stimulating. Consider getting his hearing checked. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi,

My son used the potty training toilet from Target that looks like a really toilet with a roll of TP on one side and a handle they can flush on the other side. He loved it because it sings two or three different "potty" related songs. It also is pretty easy to keep clean. It is about $25-30 but is well work it.

As for ideas to keep them busy - I put a basket in the bathroom with books, small games and fun things to do while sitting still.

I hope this helps! Have fun during the process even if it takes a little longer with boys.

M.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is also 21 months old and is showing signs interest in potty training. We are starting out slow with letting him watch as we use the bathroom. He gets excited when we say we need to go potty and runs in the room with us. We let him flush for us and tell him he's doing a good job.

As far as communication goes, I highly suggest watching Signing Time! (www.signingtime.org) You can find it on PBS public television (here in utah on mondays and fridays) or rent the DVD's from the library. My son LOVES the show, it's his absolute favorite. I'd recommend teaching him the sign for potty (a closed fist, shaking back and forth). My son picked up on it pretty quick as it's pretty easy to do.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

1 mom found this helpful

When I potty trained my 3 year old, he was delayed in his speech such that it was like talking to a 18 month old. I didn't know how to potty train him, nor did he really show interest. But I bought some cheep car(his favorite) toys and each time he pooped I gave him a toy and each time he peed I gave him a car sticker. He was potty trained within a week...no accidents! As for telling me, it was all action. He would yell for me as he was running for the bathroom. After about 2 months, he was doing it on his own. I started by sitting him on the toilet ( I didn't want to deal with the mess of him standing). I bought him a stool to stand on. To get him high enough to reach the toilet and have his feet on something firm. I never bought a potty chair, I felt it confused my older two kids when I tried. They just held on to the sides of the toilet and by having his feet secure on the stool, he never fell in or felt unsure. After a few months, I don't remember if it was his Dad or his Grandpa that he walked in on that was standing up....that was the end of him sitting down to pee. But he was very good at his aim, and I only had to remind him like once how to do it standing up. He is now almost 5 and I have had no problems or any extra messes!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

E.,
Oh I have so much advise for you. I am just finishing this process myself with my second boy. He is 3. Please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to impart any advise that might be helpful. Both of my boys that are potty trained we quite difficult so I had to learn a lot.

I wouldn't hurry too fast with the potty training if he is not communicating well enough to tell you when he needs to go. I have three boys of my own, two of them are potty trained ages 9 and 3. Boys do tend to be later in this area but I think it depends on the kid too. I also think they are more difficult as well. I have a daughter as well age 7. Communication is one of the most frustrating parts of potty training for the child I think. Because they have so much to figure out. But don't get me wrong I think that you should definately nurture his interest to any length that he will let you ie. when he wants to go no matter what you are doing or where you are take him and don't get frustrated if he doesn't go every time. Let him know he did a good job every time. Then when he is ready to communicate as well you will find that it just falls into place. This may sound like it would draw out the process and that may very well be the case but it will most likely be the most calm way to introduce it to him.

I would also not waste your money on an expensive potty that sits separately from the actualy potty if he is not afraid of big potty. I use padded potty seats that just fit right on top of the big potty but don't allow for their little bums to fall through. With a step stool of course to get up there. It gets them used to the big potty from the start. I think that this is easier because it is one less transition that you have to go through. I have tried both ways by the way. I have found that once I put the kids on the big potty with the padded seat that they have no interest in the other potty that we have.

I had my boys sit at first too. You have to pick your battles. If you don't mind cleaning your toilet every day with pee all around it then you can have him stand but they don't pay attention at that age no matter how many times you tell them and wanting to stand will definately come later naturally. Besides that, sometimes when he sits down to pee he will also realize that he has something else that needs to come out that he didn't realize before.
M. C.

1 mom found this helpful

For potty training they are all different, there are some great kids books that help encourage them. Virtually no one get into adulthood unpotty trained so don't stress too much. The talking is a concern - again they all go at their own pace and boys tend to start later than girls but my son was difficult to understand and slow to speak. It turned out he had dimminished hearing due to a combination of nasal/internal ear structure and a dairy sensitivity. He is 14 and an honor student, we have limited his dairy consumption all his life and one day he may have some inner nasal surgery to reduce pressure and congestion.
You may want to have your little guy's hearing tested. Child Find is great at this.
Here's something to think about: 5% of the Caucasion population is dairy sensitive, mostly lactose intollerant. Better than 50% of the African American population is dairy sensitive and that jumps to over 90% for Native Americans and Asian Americans. These groups sensitivies aren't just lactose intollerance, in my own case heavy dairy (cream) can produce symptoms of slurred speach and lack of coordination (like being drunk) in my son's case he can lose his upper and lower range of hearing. You might want to look at food sensitivities as a possiblity. We don't actually need dairy after being weaned, we do need a healthy diet, plenty of activity and adequate magnesium to utilize the calcium we get from non dairy foods.

Do you read to your kids everyday? This can be vital in language development too.

1 mom found this helpful

Make sure your son is really ready. I think the worst thing you can do is start and stop repeatedly. It gives the wrong message.

when you decide that your son is definitely ready (interested, goes a long time between wetting/pooping in diaper, follows instructions well, etc.) then start training. When you decide to train, stick with it. Although there is some benefit to you putting the child on the potty regularly, you really want to teach him to know when to go and to do it himself. Teach him how to pull his own pants down, how to get on the potty himself, and even how to clean up his own accidents (you may sneak in afterwards to clean a little better later). This teaches him responsiblity for his actions and gives him motivation for using the potty. I also recommend having him run around in just underwear. It is easier to get out of them and will help him feel the wet. Buy some fun underwear ( to excite him) and buy it a little large so it is easy to pull up and down. You might have good times and bad times, but stick with it. He will learn pretty quickly.

1 mom found this helpful

My son was potty trained at 19 months old. It CAN be done. We bought him the little baby bjorn seat and he would sit on it randomly for about a month and then at 19 months old showed more interest in training. So we ran with it, we took away diapers, now just pullups for bed time and nap time. I take him every hour, since he is still so small he needs help with his pants and getting on and off the toilet. It took us about 4 days for him to really get the hang of it. It has been 4 weeks now and he has an accident every few days. I am not discouraged because he is so young and understand that he may have accidents for 6 months. But, he learns from those accidents. Now it is he will usually start to go in his undies and say uh-oh pee-pee and he will finish in the potty. It has been an easy process if you don't force it and let your son take the lead. But, once you start you can't go back and forth. Take away the diaper and go with it. Good Luck!!

I just wanted to say to all the mom's saying it isn't physically possible. All kids were potty trained by 18 months old before the 1970's when the CEO of proctor and gamble made a statement saying kids were potty training too young. It is all in the parents head. I feel like parents these days put it off. Because yes it is a lot of work and dedication on your part as a parent, but it is easy when you look at the big picture and a lot cheaper.

1 mom found this helpful

I have three girls - so I may not know the best way with boys. We used to have a jar of smarties candies (unwrapped and single) and when my "trainer" went potty they were allowed to hand out "super circles" (one candy for each person) and have one themselves. If you have other kids around - it works great - because the kids swarm around them are so excited to get a super circle that handing one out is the biggest deal. I know from friends and my daycare lady - that boys should start training sitting down for all the obvious reasons.
Potty Training is a period that seems like it won't ever end - but then miraculously it does. Don't worry - you will have success (sooner or later - just hope for sooner) Also - have other people help with it - I mean have lots of people taking him to the bathroom and encouraging it. Than it doesn't become a power struggle between you and him.
Good Luck.
Oh and may I add this - My second girl was born when I my first was 2 - and it became overwhelming changing diapers on two kids - I had tried everything in the book to get her trained - but there was never any activity on the toilet and I felt like it would never happen. They say - "don't ever yell or insist on it" Well that's exactly what I had to do one day - and she peed for the first time that day on the toilet and has been ever since (she's 12 now! :)
So go with your gut and know that he won't be in diapers forever. You know what he responds to. Funny enough - my daughter needed me to be firm about it and tell her she had to. (My other two girls were a little more conventional.) Ahhh motherhood.

1 mom found this helpful

Try teaching him sign language for potty. Use the sign (or a sign for potty) every time you have him go to the bathroom, then ask him using the sign.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.-isn't it so fun and exciting to see your little one start to be excited about a new phase in his life. I have a 3 1/2 year old little boy who started to show excitement and interest in the potty at 18 months. I got the potty that plays music when he goes in it and we went to get some "big boy" pants of his favorite characters. However-he really didn't get the idea of "going" until 2 1/2-almost 3 years of age and it took roughly 4-5 months to finally get the idea and use the toilet. And from what I have heard....around 3 years old is about the average for boys. It doesn't hurt to get a potty chair and let him sit on it while you are using the bathroom, go through the motions of pulling your pants down, sitting down, flushing potty, washing hands, etc.

Another suggestion I had was use the "Potty training in 24 hours" book (not sure of the name) but I believe it recommends waiting until closer to 3 years before doing it? I have heard good things from that.

There is a potty chair that flushes-maybe your son would like that?

Lastly, I am a speech therapist and suggest using the "toilet" sign and saying the word, possibly even a picture of a toilet may help. Ask your ST for a PECS picture of the toilet sign and make a few of them.

Good luck! Just remember, do not push it-or you may go in reverse later on and have LOTS and LOTS of patience!!!
Lisa

1 mom found this helpful

Dear E. P,
My advice would be to wait until your son is closer to 3. I have a 3 year old and I thought he showed signs of readiness at 18 months. I did buy him a potty so that he could get used to the idea but did not officially start potty training him until two weeks prior to his 3rd birthday. It took us a long weekend but he was potty trained afterwards. He still has a few accidents here and there but I am very thankful that I waited. Boys don't seem to care as much as girls about being dirty and wet so it will save you some grief if you wait. Something magical happens when they turn 3. I have a friend who started potty training her boy at 18 months and was bound and determined to potty train him at an early age. However, he did not get it until he was 2 years and 9 months. I don't have the stamina for that. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

We have the Fisher Price singing potty and my daughter loves it! Good luck.
M.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi!

I am trying to find a potty seat, too, so I can't help with that part. However, I highly recommend the Baby Signing Time DVDs. My son is not very talkative yet but he has picked up on lots of sign, in large part from the videos. Also, it is way easier for adults to learn sign by watching the DVDs, too, so watch together! Anyway, the volume 1 DVD has the signs for diaper and potty (you could probably look these up if you do not want to buy the videos). Use the signs with words and you should have no trouble communicating during potty training. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I recommend the Baby Bjorn seat for the full-sized toilet. We decided for our kids that it was best to just get them using the big potty from the beginning so that we didn't have to go through more transition later on. We have a stool for them to make it easier. I've had a few potty seats & the Baby Bjorn is definitely the best we've had. With my son, we just have him go sitting down & figure we'll deal with standing up once he has the hang of using the toilet when he needs it. As for the speaking thing, it definitely helps with potty training. I wouldn't worry too much about that - I have known several kids - usually boys - that haven't said much until after 2 years old. And once they do, they progress very quickly. But as that relates to potty training, I agree with other moms here that say that most kids (there are always exceptions) really don't have the physical capability of potty training until they're closer to 3. With my kids, we've introduced potty training early - around 18-24 months and they're not really ready to be fully trained until closer to 3. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any advice, just wanted to let you know I'm in a similar situation, so I'm interested in the advice you receive.

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