Potty training boys

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by SC, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. SC

    SC Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone. My boys just turned 3. They were born 3 months early and while we do not adjust their age anymore, I'm wondering if in this case they are a little delayed.

    I'm looking for your experiences/advice and whether you think we are being too inconsistent/infrequent with training or if they are simply not ready.

    We started working on it about 4-5 months ago. I started off very slowly; asking every now and then if they wanted to try to go on the potty and every now and then we'd have success (always pee, never poop). As time went on, I put them in underwear or let them go naked from the waist down. DS2 pretty quickly started doing well. He very rarely tells us (still) that he has to go, but will hold it until we take him (we ask frequently and take him at least every 1/2 hour--more in the beginning) . DS1 has never done so well. I have asked him as frequently as every 5 minutes if he has to go, he'll say no, and there have been times I'll walk away and 2 minutes later he'll be full of pee and poop. I backed off on DS1 a while ago and decided to focus on DS2.

    One problem is that we do most of the training when I'm home alone with all 3 boys and it is inconsistent. If we have company, I don't do it, if I take them to the park, I don't do it, etc... Lately, we've gone through a few weeks of sicknesses, so we again backed off on it. When DH has days off, we're so eager to get out of the house, we don't do it. So, it's sporadic, maybe 4 times/week for at least a few hours at a time. That said, DS2 was doing really well, until late. The last 3 times he's trained he's had pee accidents and I'm pretty sure he's aware enough to tell us at this point. I don't know why he's doing this.

    Let me also add something very important. They started nursery school two mornings/week last month. In my wildest dreams, I would not have imagined last spring when we enrolled them that we'd still be at this stage. DS2 had his first poop the other day at school (in diaper) that they had to change. Luckily, they will, but they are clear that they want to see progress toward complete control. And, my boys are the only two in their class in diapers :(.

    So, please give me your advice here. Are they just not ready? I hear about kids catching on after a few days in underwear and never having any more accidents. Are my expectations too high? Or, am I doing something wrong? I'm really willing to try anything right about now.

    Thanks very much :).

    PS. I have not practiced with DS1 in a while because once we got over all the sicknesses, I wanted to focus back on DS2 who now has had some regression.
  2. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    My boys aren't quite as old as yours, but we had some of the same issues for awhile because I was not being consistent and trying the more "stress free" approaches, which did NOT work for us. Once I finally said we were doing underwear and not going back, it took a few days of total misery and things got much, much better. Now, a little over 2 months later, we have a few accidents here or there, but not too bad overall.

    I totally got rid of diapers except at night, carefully monitored how much they were drinking, and only used Pull-ups if we were going to be somewhere with no bathroom access. For example, we went to the zoo, a 2 hour drive in city traffic, so I put pull-ups on them because I didn't want a miserable accident in the car, and I really limited their water. And even with the pull-ups, we made as many stops as we could for the potty, and I knew that the day after wearing the pull-ups, they would have a regress day. After the zoo, they each had like 3-4 accidents the next day, but then we were right back on track.

    At home, it is all underwear, and for a week or so, I minimized ANY trips out of the house. Then I finally just started doing trips out with underwear, too. Yes, I've had some messes in public, but I find if I make them go potty before we leave the house, that helps. I also often carry a potty with me if we are in the car for very long, and the nice thing with boys is, they can pee just about everywhere!

    So, from my experience, I think you may just need to go cold-turkey and try to stay home mostly for at least a few days or so (it sucks, I know, but that really helped us). The first couple of weeks, we had to MAKE them sit on the potty every 30-60 min., and when they went, we praised them like crazy and gave them candy. Eventually we started getting there and having less and less accidents.

    No, it wasn't a quick, miraculous thing. It was and sometimes still a lot of work and mess. I have a friend whose son literally trained himself in about 2 days at 20 months and only had like 3-4 accidents. I was totally jealous, of course!! But they are finally ALMOST potty trained, but I still carry a few changes of clothes around just in case.

    Hang in there - they will get it!!!
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  3. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I would say being consistent is key. Once you decide to go fill tilt with potty training, I would pick a few days where you can be home for most of the time and only need to take short trips out.

    My son I had to PT 2x, the first time he showed signs of readiness before his sister and then he completely stopped. So we took a break and then we did the 3 day PT program with him (he was a holder and could go 12 hours without going or would wait until nap time/bed time to pee and poop) and that worked well for him.

    PT-ing is tough, hang in there!
  4. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    My boys were ready when they were ready. Marcus trained at 3 years 3 months, and Jonathan 2 months before he turned 4. Really, when they were ready, they trained, and that was it. Our preschool did change them, but wanted them in underpants, not pull ups or diapers, and only required that they knew what to do in the bathroom--like pull their own pants up and down. We found that the timer method did not work for either of my boys. Jon did train with the help of his preschool teacher, and a reward put up high in the bathroom, where he could see it, but not get it--that probably worked the best.
  5. slugrad1998

    slugrad1998 Well-Known Member

    Just here to offer support and commiseration. Mine are 3 years 4 months, were NOT preemies, and are still not trained. We also had a slow start and although physically ready they just never seemed to be willing so we kept waiting. About 2 months ago we tried the 3-day method and it failed. My son just held all day until nap or bed (even when he sat on the potty he held) and my daughter just refused to tell us she had to go and went in her undies like it was no big deal. We took a break from it because it was stressing them out. I'm trying to figure out when we are going to try again, and in the meantime we ask them all the time and they always refuse to sit on the potty. There is no making them go every 30 min or something like that because they flat out refuse to sit on the potty! We have yet to find what will motivate my daughter to go. She doesn't seem to care about praise, incentives, candy, etc. This is the toughest parenting task I have had so far! Good luck and I hope your boys figure it out quickly for you
  6. SC

    SC Well-Known Member

    Thanks, ladies. We're going to try the 3 day method again in a couple of weeks when DH is off. Underwear from morning til night and see how it goes. If it fails, we'll try again in a couple of months. I talked to their teacher because I guess I've been feeling some pressure (even though they've never said a word about it). She was reassurIng and told me they're not the only ones not trained (I thought they were). If they're not ready, though, they're simply not ready. School or not, it'll happen when it happens I suppose. Thanks for the advice and commiseration.
  7. twinsnowwhat

    twinsnowwhat Well-Known Member

    We didn’t really start until they were 3 and did the 3 day method. One of them got it right away and has done great – even started telling us at night that he had to pee (they have gates on their doors) so we would get up and take him, he is now 99.9% potty trained day and night, very rarely has accidents.
    Now for twin #2 – the 3 day method didn’t click at all for him. We figured he wasn’t ready. Off and on through the next year we tried – mostly half assed on our part and he resisted. Finally at age 4 we said enough is enough we have to do this and went cold turkey. It was TWO WEEKS of hell – he didn’t get it at all! Then it finally clicked – not sure what it was that finally sunk in with him but we were SO relieved. So my advice (like the others) is to go cold turkey and stick with it and he will eventually get it. I will say that he has had far fewer accidents than his brother did when he was learning. I think at this age they are able to hold it longer – not really sure but he is doing amazingly well and we are SO proud of him.
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