Early Potty Training for Boys – Where to start?!

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This is Micah. He is 19 months old and he can go pee in a bucket. He only wears a diaper to nap, when we go out, and bed time. I wouldn’t say that he’s “potty trained” but it’s definitely a start! If you’re reading this, I’m telling you right now that I’m not an expert. I only have very little experience and what worked for us might not work for you. I’m writing this post mostly for my sake so I don’t forget when I do this the next time around. 🙂

Also, if you’re potty training a girl… this post probably won’t help you very much.

Why did we start so early?

I’ve read lots of criticism about early potty training. There’s a lot of negative opinion out there warning people not to start potty training too early. However, both my husband and I felt very strongly that we should start teaching Micah. Micah was getting really horrible diaper rashes and wearing diapers was not helping.

It hasn’t really been easy. It has tested my patience and self control in may ways. I definitely don’t think early potty training is for everyone. It’s taken some time sacrifice and lots of work but, recently, it has paid off for us!

What worked for us?

  • I started by taking of his diaper and letting him run around with a naked bum.  (Scary! I know!)
  • I got a bucket… yes a bucket not a potty. Also, I got lots of paper towels and disinfectant.
  • Then I gave him lots (I mean lots) of water, juice, and milk. This allowed Micah to go every 15 to 20 minutes sometimes.
  • I watched out for his “gotta go” signs. Micah would cross his legs, squat, or hold himself.
  • I watched the clock and kept track on paper when he needed to go. I saw a pattern really fast of when he needed to pee and when he needed to poop.
  • I tried to keep him contained in one area when I knew he needed to go soon. I read him books, watched youtube videos, or let him play with the Ipad in the kitchen next to the bucket.
  • I was on alert and had the bucket ready to catch his discharge at all times.
  • Every time Micah was going, I tried my best to catch his pee or poop in the bucket. Trust me… this wasn’t always easy and I missed a lot! When you miss that’s where the paper towels and disinfectant come in. 🙂
  • Afterwards, I would show him what he did, congratulate him, and give him a piece of chocolate.
  • This helped Micah pay attend to what is going on with his body and soon he figured out how to use those muscles. He also figured out fast that he got chocolate every time he went pee or poop in the bucket. I was trying to be really nice and encouraging at first so I would give him chocolate even if he missed the bucket but then as he got better I would only give him chocolate when he made it into the bucket.
  • Then after a while of doing this catching thing… Micah learned that he can control his bladder muscles!
  • I slowly cut Micah back to normal amount of liquids but I still kept time on his bowel movements. I notice what time during a normal day he needs to go without filling him up with juice. For Micah, it is poop/pee right when he wakes up, then pee ~every 1.5 hours until nap time… ect.
  • By now I could give him underwear which is really nice to prevent him from touching his private parts but not so nice because it’s an extra thing to worry about.
  • Now, when I know it’s time and I see the “gotta go” signs, all I have to do is help Micah take off the underwear and prompted him “Do you need to go pee?” Then I show him the bucket. He goes to the bucket, aims, and pees. Afterwards, he points to the cabinet where the chocolate is and ask me for one. 🙂
  • I also started to say “sssshhhhh” to encourage him to start going when he’s next to the bucket. I don’t really know if it works but it’s just what I’ve read in the books. I also make sure to use the same potty terminology so he understands what I’m taking about.
  • We’re still working on Micah to sit on a real potty to poop but it’s pretty easy to catch that too since it’s only two times a day.

What didn’t work for us?

  • I read online that I could try putting Micah on the toilet/potty every 15 minutes. This got him really frustrated and angry with me.
  • Making Micah sit on the potty/toilet in general didn’t work for us. I tried to read him books on the potty but sometimes it took hours and nothing would happen. Other times he would just go right after he got off the potty.
  • Rushing him to the potty/toilet didn’t work because it scared him and made him frustrated. He would tense up and not do anything.
  • Freaking out every time he peed on the floor didn’t work. At a point Micah was afraid of me and didn’t want to be near me when he needed to go. He would literally go hide in the corner because he was scared of me.
  • Not giving Micah enough fluids was bad because I would be waiting and waiting and waiting and nothing would happen.
  • Giving underwear too early didn’t work because he would just think it’s a diaper pee all over the place.
  • A intense potty training day didn’t work for us because in the long run I needed to show Micah consistency.
  • Too many reminders to go pee didn’t work because I would sound like a broken record and Micah would become resistant.
  • Being overly excited when he had success was actually discouraging. A simple “Good job” made Micah feel better than being overly exaggerating.
  • Potty training on days I felt stressed or overwhelmed was a disaster… on those days I find it better for Micah to be in a diaper so I don’t stress him out! 🙂
  • If I ever got too forceful in anyway, Micah would rebel quickly. We’ve tried our best to allow Micah to choose whether or not he wanted to be potty trained.

Now what?

I have no idea… just keep trying I guess. I don’t know what the future brings. One big thing I’ve learned is God is here to help even with potty training! From the beginning we felt inspired to start potty training. My husband and I prayed about it a lot. We prayed for help. We prayed that Micah would be ready. We prayed that I would be patient. My husband and I both received inspiration on how to start potty training. We counseled together when ideas fail and then celebrate together when things start working out!

What has worked for you? 🙂

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