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!”