Potty training for kids can be a daunting affair for parents. But the whole thing is made even more complicated by the fact that potty training a boy is very different to potty training a girl. It’s a general rule that girls tend to learn how to use the potty about 3 months earlier than boys. They also generally have more patience, learn a lot quicker, and have fewer accidents than boys. Your bag of tricks for potty training your daughter might therefore not work as well when her bouncing baby brother comes along. Fear not, however, we’ve got some useful potty training tips here that you can use to make sure your child, boy or girl is ready for the potty.
Boys are generally not ready for potty training till slightly later than girls. This can differ from boy to boy, however, and your toddler could be ready for potty training at any time between 18 months and 3 years. Sometimes he might not be ready till well past 3. Don’t be in a hurry, though, because if you start too early you’re likely to take longer to train your child. The destination is roughly the same for most boys, so no need to be in a rush. Also, do not begin the potty training process in times of great stress or major life changes as this may hinder the success of the process.
The first step is to let your little boy watch and learn. The watch and learn process is much easier for boys than it is for girls because both parents can be involved. Your little boy will quickly notice that there’s a difference between how mommy and daddy pee. He’ll of course want to be like daddy, so he’ll be interested in figuring out the mechanical differences.
Just be sure to practice precision when referring to body parts. If you refer to all the other body parts by their precise names, then refrain from calling the penis a wee wee so your son doesn’t associate his private parts with shame.
The next step is to get the right potty for your son. You may feel tempted to buy one with a splash guard. This might not be a good idea though because the guard might scrape against your son’s penis, causing him to associate the toilet with pain.
You typically have a lot of options for potty training your son. You could get him a training seat for the toilet if he’s more comfortable that way. But don’t force anything on him. If he would rather have a potty, then that is what you should get him.
Encourage your son to make the potty his own, even if it means writing his name on it and putting stickers of his favorite action heroes. This will help him feel more comfortable using the potty because he’ll have a sense of ownership.
Take it slow with your son. He should practice just sitting on the potty with his clothes on in the beginning then graduate to taking his clothes off after a week and doing the real business. Ideally, you should start with sitting on the potty before standing. This is because he will be sitting anyway when he’s pooing and both peeing and pooing tend to happen at the same time. Boys also tend to be too excited about peeing while standing to concentrate on the important stuff, so you can reserve that for last.
Something else you can do is motivating your son with rewards. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in pushing your child in the right direction. Regular rewards for milestones achieved can be one way of doing this. One thing with boys is that they get bored with getting the same reward each time, unlike girls, who are pretty much satisfied with consistency. With your son, change it up as frequently as you can. Let him watch his favorite cartoon one time then grant him an extra bedtime story the next and so on. The grand finale can be his father taking him shopping for underwear, so he can choose his favorite underwear. This will show him that he’s finally becoming a man.
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With a girl, the process is almost the same as potty training for a boy. There are some important differences, however, that make it a little different.
For starters, the watch and learn process is a little different. Obviously, daddy can’t join in and mommy will have to show the daughter the motions. Also, while boys don’t have to wipe after they pee, girls do. They have to wipe front to back to prevent getting the vagina and urethra infected. You’ll have to repeat this particular lesson a number of times for your daughter to totally get it. Don’t worry, though, girls are a lot more patient than boys when it comes to potty training.
With girls, timing is slightly earlier than with boys. They are generally ready about 3 months before boys. Don’t rush your little girl, though, just like with boys. She could be ready at any time between 18 months and 3 years. Also, just like with boys, you shouldn’t initiate potty training for your daughter during times of major life changes or great stress.
Once your girl is ready, you can buy her a potty or a toilet trainer. You don’t have to worry about the splash guard issue because splashes are not as much of a problem with girls as they are with boys. You should, however, encourage her to make the potty her own by writing her name on it and placing stickers on it. You’ll notice she’ll be much more receptive to potty training because she’s so eager to become a big girl, just like her mother.
For a girl, the consistency is much easier. You can give her a piece of chocolate every time she successfully pees or when she passes a milestone. You can also take her out shopping to choose her own knickers when she’s finally ready to ditch the nappy. Positive reinforcement will go a long way here. You’ll also notice she has far fewer accidents.
Potty training should be a fun activity for both you and your child, so try to make it as fun as possible. The last thing you want is your son or daughter associating the toilet with negative thoughts and emotions. Don’t feel hopeless if your child takes a bit of time to learn; they all go at a different pace. If he or she knows you’re there for them every step of the way, they’ll have more confidence and even get there faster!