8 answers

Potty-training a 23 Month Old Boy? Any Tips?

Hi there,
My son has just recently began to notice going to the potty and showing an initiative in wanting to use the potty. He may just be wanting to flush it, and I've explained to him not to flush the potty unless you use it. Otherwise, he stand there all day flushing the toilet! He has also learned how to take off his diaper. So, I thought I would start introducing the potty to him. I bought the seat for our toilet and sat him on it a few times. He understands how to make himself pee pee and has done it a few times. Should I be putting him on the seat to pee pee or start with standing up? Not even sure. Any tips and suggestions on making this transition as smooth as possible.

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It is my guess that it may be a bit early to fully potty train, but introducing him to the potty is a good start. I highly suggest having boys sit down to learn until they are regularly pooping in the potty. If you start the peeing standing up then there is no going back and that is a big problem if they haven't learned to poop. I had one kid that was fully pee trained for 9 months before he ever even once pooped in the potty...ugh!

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We're in the middle of potty training my 2 1/2 yr old son and we're taking a much more laid back approach this time compared to how we handled our daughter's potty training experience. Also, I've learned that potty training is as much an exercise in learning independence as it is in learning to use a toilet.
My son actually prefers the big potty and, in my opinion, if he's ok with the big potty, go with it. The only reason I see for using a separate child's potty seat is if you have a very small kid, or one who is afraid of the big potty (both were true of our first child!). Why add one more thing to clean? ;-)
Right now our son sits on the potty rather than stands. The reason you start boys out sitting is because they're often not able to independently control bowel and bladder movements. So, if he's standing, you might have pee go in the potty, but something else land on the floor in front of it...
For when there's no seat topper (with the splash guard),We taught him to scoot back far enough so that his "pee-pee" points into the toilet (instead of shooting straight at the wall across the room from the toilet).

One of the main things that I've seen related to REAL potty training readiness is the ability to dress and undress himself. That is, to sit down, put his legs in a pair of shorts or underwear, stand up, then pull the up. This is the independence part of the training. You can work with him on this now by showing him where to hold on to the waistband of his pants, etc. and letting him have a go at getting dressed while you stand by in case he needs assistance. This is also a good reason for using pull-ups for a while so he gets used to putting them on like he would underwear. You can also use clothes that are a size or two too big. It's probably not too hard to find shorts on clearance now that he can use for practice. Because our son goes on the potty about half the time, we use pull-ups because they're just easier to get off an on.

After the frustrating experience with potty training our first child, I consumed all sorts of literature on potty training so that we wouldn't be stressed out this time. From that "reasearch" and my own experience I found this: You will have pee on your floor. Invest in some of the "pet odor remover" carpet stain remover. Regardless of your best efforts at behavior modification, your child still has ultimate control over when and where he eliminates. You just have to let it go. Practice giving him choices so that he still feels in control of things -- "Do you want to use the downstairs potty or the upstairs potty?" And, if there's not a choice available, don't ask a question -- "It's bath time, let's go potty then hop in the tub" rather than, "Do you want to go potty before you get in the tub?"
Finally, one of the best guides for parents that I've seen is "On becoming Potty Wise" by the authors of the "Babywise" books. While I think their other Babywise books have a sort of militant tone that I find a turn-off, this potty book offers the best, most thorough explanation of the stages of potty readiness. It really helped me understand where my son is at in the process and that it really can take a LONG time between that first, innocent interest in the potty, to a full-blown, completely trained kid. For example, I was beginning to get frustrated with my son because he has the ability to hold and control when and where he goes, he TELLS me every time he wets in his diaper, he usually poops in the potty, and he can pretty much toilet himself independently other than using toilet paper (literally, goes into the bathroom, undresses, says "I need privacy," shuts the door, gets on the potty and does his business, then hollers for me to help him finish up). However, he is still unsuccessful in underwear. Literally, we've gone for 5 straight days in underwear where he just couldn't tell us he had to go before it happened. There was a LOT of pee on our floors those days. Anyway, after reading the pottywise book I understood that we're still waiting for him to have something called "volitional readiness." That is, basically, him having the will or desire to use the toilet consistently. He simply can't stay interested in it longer than a couple hours. If I stay on top of him and take him at regular intervals, he can stay dr most of the day, but then I'M potty trained, not him. Since I don't want that to be the case (and it's hard to stay on top of it with another kid to distract from it!). So, we are still waiting for that magical moment I've heard moms talk about where their kid just woke up one day and put on underwear and never looked back.
So far, he will wear underwear in the evenings, or if we have an "off" morning where we stay at home a while, but not a full day. Interestingly, he simply loves public restrooms and wil stay dry all day if I'm running errands because he wants to go at every stop. The Target family restroom is his number one favorite place to pee. Ha!
I figure the hard part -- the actual training of how to go -- is behind us, so there's light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, this month I got the "feel wet liner" pull-ups to see if that might spur him to use the potty more often (without me prompting it). He doesn't like the wet feeling, so he's actually holding it in for longer periods of time, then tells me every time he goes and wants dry pants! Hopefully this is furthering our campaign for underwear.

I know this was probably too much information but, well, you asked :-)

1 mom found this helpful

Kids are all different. They learn different things at different ages. I have 7 nephews and 2 neices, plus my 2 sons. If he is ready to use the potty now, let him. My 7 yr old started potty training at 3 yrs old. My sister's son started at 2 yrs old. Another sister's son was off and on till he was 4 yrs old. The biggest thing I can tell you is don't pressure him. You can let him sit down when starting out. If you notice he is splashing up, you can buy a potty seat that goes on top of the reg seat that has a guard that flips up to catch. When he starts to stand put 4 cheerios in the toilet and tell him to sink them. They won't clog the toilet and it is makes it fun for him. You can also have daddy take him to the potty and teach him how boys pee pee.

If your bathroom has the space for one, I'd recommend buying your son his "own" potty (we have the first years' Wonderful World of Disney Pooh Bear and Friends potty). Our son was also great at taking his diapers off, so we started buying him "pull-ups". (We used Pampers diapers, but the Huggies pull-ups have the sides that can re-fasten, so we prefer them for that reason.)

Little boys need to start their potty training by "sitting". They simply do not have the ability (esp at your son's age) to stand and try to aim correctly; simply too much to try to accomplish all at once. Once they are able to KNOW when they just need to pee, then he can start standing. He'll probably be closer to 4 years old to do that. We also take our little boy into the bathroom with us (both Mom and Dad) whenever we have to use the bathroom, and that helps him make the connection. We sit him on his potty while we are on ours, or Daddy lets him stand close by to watch.

Since your son is still so little, it will take a longer while to potty train him. My oldest son (now 16) wasn't able to train until he was just over 2 1/2 (33 months), but when he did at that point, it took me less than 2 weeks to complete the process. Our "little man" is about to turn 30 months, but is non-verbal, so he isn't able to tell us when he needs to go. His process is going to take me a whole lot longer! (16 year old had to have kidney surgery; 2 year old has PDD-NOS, a form of autism)

Be proud of your little one for wanting to start so early! But don't get discouraged when it takes longer than you expected, or if other moms tell you it shouldn't take so long.

All kids are different....you'll just have to find what works for you. We had a little potty but my son did not want to use it so we would put him on the toilet, straddling it backwards (since this is the way he would be facing eventually anyways). He was much more successful on the big potty. Also, at a friend's suggestion we let him run around "free willy" (bottomless) as much as possible. The breezyness makes them much more aware of needing to go. Yes, there were some ocassional accidents on the carpet. We did not use pull-ups, in my opinion, these are too much like diapers and it confused him. We used training pants and rubbers over that. My son was really interested in coins at the time so we would reward him with pennies which he put into a piggy bank on the back of the toilet. Like, I said each kid is different - so just pay close attention to what motivates him most. I hope this helps. Good Luck

Hi, K.-
I just purchased and downloaded 3 Day Potty Training. I am excited and will let you know how this turns out for us! This will be interesting since I have 26 month old twin boys! They have been really interested since 22 months and used the potty on and off and just decided to stop just after they turned 25 months, but are showing interest again. Good luck to you!

When my son turned 2 I got out his sisters potty chair. He showed some interest and peed a few times. After a few weeks he could've cared less so I put it away. Not until he was turning 3 did he actually tell me he had to go potty (on an airplane no less!). I started slowly and had him pee while sitting on the potty each morning. I just let him lead me. I selected a preschool that didn't require a 3 yo to be potty trained so there wasn't any pressure to get him trained. When he trained he trained in a couple of weeks. He liked the feel of underware better than diapers. I would say from his airplane pee to no diapers at all, even at night was 3 months. Totally blew me away since sister took a year or more for night time training. He quickly went from sitting to standing and he's been good with that but a few times he experimented and turned around and covered the wall and floor. So much fun!
Since your son is taking off his diaper, take him to the store to pick out his underware. Make sure he knows that he can't make a mess in them, that so & so doesn't want to be wet or pooped in. We had one 'I pooped in Bob (the builder)' incident. I would skip pullups. Just put a diaper on when he takes a nap and as soon as he's staying dry keep him in underware. Make sure you have a plastic cover on the mattress and extra sheets. I found that for about a year my son would wet his bed every few weeks for several nights in a row. I think he was growing and I did notice that if dinner was later than usual or he had more activity than usual then he'd usually have an accident. What every you do don't make a big deal about potty training or accidents. Keep in mind that you don't see many 3 yo in diapers/pull ups and all are trained by kindergarten unless there's a medical issue. It will happen on his own time table but he sure sounds ready. Lucky you. Good luck.

It is my guess that it may be a bit early to fully potty train, but introducing him to the potty is a good start. I highly suggest having boys sit down to learn until they are regularly pooping in the potty. If you start the peeing standing up then there is no going back and that is a big problem if they haven't learned to poop. I had one kid that was fully pee trained for 9 months before he ever even once pooped in the potty...ugh!


My advice is to start slowly and follow his lead. Perhaps start with putting him on the potty after he eats or before his normal going time. My two boys started sitting down and quickly graduated to standing. I found that is important not to confuse the little ones. Perhaps you can make a big deal out of being a big boy and take him to the store to buy big boy pants (underwear and rubbers or pull ups). Then get rid of the diapers until nap or bedtime. My kids really liked their own little potties too. Good luck!

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