Potty Training Little Boys: A View From the Cheap Seats

No Telling

The Perfect Grandson won’t keep his pants on. This is a male phenomenon I’ve got little to no experience with, although everyone tells me it’s What Boys Do. Interesting.

I raised a daughter. My parents raised two girls, and most of my experience with small children is braiding hair and sitting with books and picking flowers and hugging stuffed animals and incessant talking. Little boys are different. The Perfect Grandson is a running, jumping dervish. Every waking moment he’s on the prowl, fixing things with plastic tools and throwing them with deadly-accurate aim. These are boy-things I expected, and it’s a great fun to watch him scamper everywhere to do everything Right Now.

It’s the naked-from-the-waist-down business that’s a challenge, though. A few minutes of quiet at naptime usually means a semi-naked boy peeing between the crib slats and onto the floor. He likes to point, then, at his little parts and growl “Heeeaaah!” proudly. I’m not allowed to laugh.

And that’s if we’re lucky. A tossed diaper full of poop is, well, exactly what it sounds like. Yikes.

So even though he’s only a year-and-a-half old, my daughter has begun potty training The Perfect Grandson. She bought a lot of books, scanned the internet, then introduced him to a convincing plastic potty that he immediately took apart and reassembled half a dozen times. So far his gnat-like attention span allows him to sit on it for two, maybe three seconds before running across the room and grabbing a soccer ball instead. Again, no laughing.

I’m not much help. My potty-training expertise is nil. A million years ago I bought the potty, my daughter sat on it, we read books and sang potty songs until – voila – the child was trained. I don’t think it took a week. There was a Sitting Still component to that experience that doesn’t look promising this go-round.

There’s also the lack of a Visual Aid in this manless house, if you don’t count the dog. Boner (don’t ask) our little black daschund is also a boy, but he’s constantly lifting his leg on bushes in the yard. He’s no help at all and has other bad habits that make him more of a cautionary tale than an example.

The word out there is that boys take a long time to potty train. Sometimes forever, they say. A friend of mine raised boys and tells me with a straight face there’s a trick with floating Cheerios and aiming and such. What? In the meantime we’re keeping an eye out for his lightning-fast Pants Off maneuver, my daughter is giving me stern looks, and I’m not supposed to laugh.

“Heeeaaah!”

9 thoughts on “Potty Training Little Boys: A View From the Cheap Seats

  1. Since you’re not permitted, I’ll laugh for you… ha ha ha! I had friends who had to duct-tape their little one’s diaper on to avoid suddenly encountering the Fountain of Youth. My won son was fairly easy to train, but we had the benefit of doing it during a warm CA spring when we declared Naked Weekend for The Boy. It was a rough go, but it may have just been because he was our first, and we really had No Idea. Oddly, he never took to playing aerial bombardier with Cheerios on a Ti-Di-Bowl sea, I’m not sure why.Anyhow, we resorted to setting a kitchen timer for a 20-minute period after he ate or drank anything. When the bell went off *ding* “Ah, the timer says you need to sit on the potty.” (30 minutes being the general time that he went from Input to Output.) The Timer was the bad guy, not us, and it seemed to work OK, except for the lone Poo On The Porch Incident.Gor help us with our youngest — a girl — who feels that the bathroom is simply a place to bathe and gnaw on hair bands. The only interest she’s shown in elimination is to pee on the rug — while standing, mind you — in the magic window between being removed from the tub but before being wrapped in something absorbent. It’s uncanny.I would suggest that you focus your grandmotherly enerygies on trying to teach him something more socially acceptable than “Heeeaaaah!” Perhaps “Here comes the Thunder!”Good luck!

  2. A squirt of soap in the toilet lets little boys make bubbles… That briefly entertained my son. Of course, we worried that he would wear pull-ups to kindergarten (he didn’t by the way). And I was a piece-of-candy-for-trying kind of mom. Yes, I knew they were sitting on the toilet expressly for the candy, but for a while, I went along with that. Eventually I demanded some production, of course, but it does help with the start.As for modeling, can you borrow a man who is unselfconscious enough to model a few times? I will tell y’all to save the five bucks for the toilet training in a day method, though. It takes five minutes to explain, which I would be happy to do, but mostly involves stripping child down in a room with no carpet, a potty chair, all the drinks he can drink. Oh, and a baby doll to demonstrate with. (See baby drink? See baby pee in the potty? Do you want to do that? Great!). Yeah, whoever makes that work has *way* more compliant children that I do.Laura

  3. MP, less than an hour after I posted this, he did it again. Ah, the magic window! I remember it well. We did our drying off why she sat on the potty – multitasking!Oh Laura. I’m trying to imagine Em asking cousins or uncles to “model.” I’ll have to be out of the house entirely for that exercise – the No Laughing Rule and all. I’m still trying to get a picture of her reading Potty Training for Dummies. Maybe she could put it on her Facebook page.I LOVE being the Grammy.

  4. I wish I had some wisdom to impart, but alas, I don’t. We also heard about the Cheerios trick but never really tried it. I’m convinced it’s the sitting still factor. Convinced.Until then, I’d go with the duct tape. Honestly.

  5. UPDATE: The potty has now been strategically placed, open, beside the crib. The logic here is that he’s peeing off the side anyway. This gives him an acceptable target.I don’t know. I think the duct tape sounds better at this point.

  6. Okay, potty training boys sucks and it does forever. And, you can stuff a whole bunch of cheerios down the plumbing if you want, but it didn’t work with Max. He wanted to get them out. My ex husband let him pee outside. He enjoyed that, but we lived in town, so the neighbors didn’t so much.And the stripping? Max rips his pants off the minute he walks in the door-just like his dad. I just had to ask my friend’s sister that has something nuts like six kids what to do because he said his balls are sticking to his legs.This is a very long way to say it only gets more fun from here!

  7. Well, ya know, I’d be glad to let you snap a shot of me reading Potty Training for Dummies, IF a certain boy hadnt ripped the cover off in one of his heeeeaaaah moments. Sigh. Stop laughing(I’m making ‘the face’)

  8. I’ve been inundated with email tidbits on potty training. All of them end a little like your comment, Candace. Girls are easier but prom dresses cost a fortune. It all evens out eventually.Topher, that potty training video on your blog is a scream. And Em, it’s true. He did tear the cover off of Potty Training Fro Dummies and yes, I AM laughing.

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