How to potty train a boy by age 2

potty training a boy

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Potty training can be a tricky task and is often something most mothers probably dread! Thankfully it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to potty train a boy by age 2.

Ok, I know what you are thinking. That is a bold statement and absolutely crazy to potty train by age 2. And especially a BOY, right?

Well call me crazy but maybe just hear me out first. Because you may end up thinking I’m not all that crazy.

Potty training a boy before age 2, CAN be done. It is totally doable, and there are many moms that do it and succeed.

I can attest to that as my toddler was completely potty trained before his second birthday came around and he’s a BOY!

One thing before we get started is that if you haven’t even thought about potty training early or would prefer to wait until your little one is older, that is totally A-OKAY!

I’m not here to make you feel bad if your child is still in diapers. I am just here to tell you that potty training before the age of 2 is TOTALLY doable.

Whether you have a boy or a girl. It is possible and I think more Moms should consider it over waiting until their child is much older.

Anyway, regardless of where you are at now, if this approach isn’t really your thing, that’s cool. Each to their own, right?

Every mother should do what works best for them and their family and always choose what they feel good about doing.

Ok, without further ado, lets dive in!

Are boys really harder to potty train?

I always seem to hear that boys are way harder to train, and you should just wait until they are older to even begin. To be honest with you I have no idea why people say that?!

If you know, maybe you can enlighten me, because I seriously don’t understand that statement.

The way I see it is that potty training is just going to be part of your toddler’s life. There should be no need to delay the process because they are a boy. Or because everyone tells you boys are hard to train.

Just like riding in a car seat in the car is part of life for your toddler, that is how you should treat potty training.

My toddler is a very busy guy and is pretty much your typical boy.

He is active, into everything, extremely defiant, and full of energy but he was also more than capable of learning how to use the potty before age 2.

Maybe some will disagree and say boys are way harder to potty train than girls. Every child is different so maybe that is true for some.

All I am saying is don’t hold back, delay the process, and keep your child in diapers for longer just because you have a boy!

The only difference I see with potty training boys vs girls is that they have a little different anatomy. So with your little boy, maybe help him aim down so he doesn’t miss going in the toilet.

The real question is “are you ready?”

I often hear people say “the best potty training age is when they are ready”

Sure, that might work for some, but I don’t know about you, but I am not changing diapers until they are almost 4 or maybe even older if they “aren’t ready” yet.

I hate to break it to you, but it is not about your child being ready, but it is about YOU being ready.

Obviously, there are some exceptions out there to this. If a child is dealing with other issues such as a developmental delay or other concerns that could affect their ability to understand and grasp a concept, then yes, in situations like that potty training before 2 might not work for you.

BUT for most toddlers out there, boy or girl, they can most certainly pick up potty training before age 2.

Now here is the catch, you have to decide if YOU are ready because if you aren’t ready and/or willing to invest your time and patience into this whole process, it just simply isn’t going to work.

I’m not saying this whole potty training deal is going to be a walk in the park and your little boy will be completely, 100% potty trained in 3 days.

Because honestly that just isn’t realistic. At least if you are wanting to potty train early.

Potty training is hard work, so you have to decide if you are ready to go for it.

Or if you would rather keep cleaning dirty diapers and continue spending money on the monthly diaper and wipe expenses.

This method will take a little bit more time than 3-4 days but I can promise it is sooooo worth it!

I had my toddler boy potty trained in about 3-4 weeks so it still is relatively quick and worth all the hard work, I promise.

Preparation is going to be your best friend

Preparing your toddler is really going to help you if you want to potty train early.

If you are reading this and you haven’t really prepared and your toddler boy is 2 or almost 2, don’t worry! You can still succeed!

But if you can add in some preparation when potty training at a younger age, you will most likely see progress and results even quicker.

Having your child sit on a potty seat at a young age, talking about the potty, or having them watch mommy or daddy go to the bathroom, these are all great tools to help prepare and set your little boy up for better success.

You have to remember when potty training, that whole concept is something completely foreign to your toddler.

So sometimes going from 0-60 with no in between can be a little overwhelming, confusing, or even scary for your little one.

For more in-depth ways on how to prepare to potty train early check this post out. It is full of simple and easy, yet effective methods to prepare your child to be potty trained and out of diapers by age 2.

Signs that it might be a good time to start potty training

I potty trained my toddler at 22 months and about a month or so later he was mostly potty trained, with just an accident here and there.

By his 2nd birthday (even before) he was completely potty trained.

With that being said, you could totally start earlier than I did. I know some countries start at a year old, or even before.

If you are wanting to start even earlier than a year, research elimination communication and there are plenty of moms that find that it works really well for them.

Elimination communication is essentially potty training basically from birth.

If that is too extreme for you, then you can take the middle road, like I did, and have a goal to be out of diapers before your little guy’s second birthday.

I know of mothers successfully having their child out of diapers by 16 or 18 months old. So, in all honesty, you really can do it well before age 2.

Although, it might be helpful to look for some of these signs that might be a good indication of when to actually start.

  • Able to walk/run to the potty
  • Is interested in the potty
  • Likes to go to the potty with you
  • Sometimes wakes up dry from naps
  • Notice he goes dry for longer when wearing a diaper
  • Urinates a lot in one time
  • Is able to sit for a couple of minutes
  • Gets excited when rewarded

Your child doesn’t need to be doing all of these things but even just a couple of these signs might make the process easier.

Consider the timing and whether it is the right time for YOU

This is important because you are going to be at the forefront of this “operation potty training” so you need to make sure it is a good time for you.

Otherwise, you may just be left feeling frustrated, defeated, and rather overwhelmed by the whole process.

Here are some reasons that might mean potty training isn’t right for you right now….

  • If you are moving to a new house
  • Expecting another baby soon
  • If you have an upcoming vacation or trip planned
  • Staying home for about a week while in the beginning phase of potty training isn’t feasible for you
  • If your child is in daycare or something similar where the potty training can’t continue while away from home

These are just a few examples of reasons why potty training may not be the best timing for you.

If you have any large upcoming events happening such as moving or having another child, these things might make potty training a little difficult.

Children are sensitive to change, especially toddlers, and potty training in and of itself is a big change, so you don’t want to start when there might be other big changes happening at the same time.

Potty training does take some strict dedication, so you need to be able to make sure you are able to devote some consistent time to the process.

You must commit

When you decide to go all in and get rid of those diapers, try to fully commit and don’t turn back!

Within that first week or so you may be thinking to yourself “what the heck have I done” and to be quite frank you may just want to throw in the towel, call it quits and pull those diapers back out.

As tempting as it may be when you have scraped poop out of underwear for the past 5 days, just KEEP ON GOING!

Resist the urge to put that diaper back on. I promise you that it gets better!

If you revert back to the diaper, you are telling both yourself and your toddler that you aren’t committed or serious and basically the diaper then becomes the safety net.

potty training seat

You need to show your toddler that once diapers are gone, they are GONE!

Well apart from naps or nighttime (for now anyway). Don’t worry about overnight potty training at this point.

If you resort back to the easy way, potty training will be a forever ongoing nightmare that will never seem to end.

Once you decide to start potty training, trade the diaper for underwear (not pull ups) and don’t turn back.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

Prepare to stay home

At least during that first week or so, you need to stay home. Or at least your toddler does.

Avoiding any outings will just relieve the stress for both you and your toddler. You don’t want to have to be dealing with accidents in the aisles of the grocery store or stuck in busy rush hour traffic.

Keep your toddler home for at least a week when you start potty training.

If you are pulling your hair out and need to get out of the house, or have to, leave you toddler and enlist dad to stay home and get some potty training practice in while you are gone.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a forever thing. It is just something that is super helpful in the beginning.

Take that portable potty EVERYWHERE you go

Yep, I am that mother who drives around with a potty in the back of my car.

I take the portable potty everywhere I go. It is good to have just in case, especially in those early few weeks when running an errand to the store just may be too long for your child to hold going to the bathroom.

Buying a second portable potty specifically for the car can be super convenient that way you just always have it with you.

Even now that my toddler is completely potty trained, I still take the potty with me if I am going to be out longer than he can hold his pee.

This way I don’t have to stress or worry about rushing back home or getting him to feel comfortable going in a public restroom. Plus, public restrooms gross me out!

I am totally that lady who has my toddler pee in the potty in the back of my car in the Walmart parking lot.

No shame here!

Teach them and let them watch

Little ones are really quite smart, a lot smarter than they often get credit for.

My toddler loves to learn and also watch and copy what we do. This is good news when potty training comes into play.

Make potty training a fun learning experience and also have them go to the bathroom with you or your husband.

You can find some fun potty training books or videos that you can show your little one to get them excited about this new adventure!

They will begin to realize that mommy and daddy go potty on the big toilet too!

Teaching your child about the potty and letting them accompany you on bathroom breaks is also great to start before you even fully jump into potty training.

I talk more about preparing your toddler in my post “6 easy ways to prepare to potty train early and be successful” before you even actually begin the process.

Expect accidents

I’m not saying my method is so foolproof that your child isn’t even going to have any accidents, because, well that would be lying!

You are going to encounter accidents and that is just part of the process. It is just inevitable.

Remember potty training is a new skill that your toddler has to perfect. They have to get good at learning how to hold their pee and also tell you that they need to go.

Just like any new skill, it always takes practice. So don’t be too harsh with your toddler.

When they have an accident explain to them that we go to pee and poop in the toilet and not on the floor or in our underwear.

You can even have them help you clean it up so they begin to understand it is just better to make it to the potty in time.

The best potty props

Also, before you start the actual process, make sure you have a portable potty or potty training seat ready.

This portable potty is a 3 in one, where you can remove the seat to place it on a big toilet or just leave it as a portable potty. And it comes with potty liners to make cleanup easier.

I just got my portable seat at Walmart and then bought a separate seat for the toilet.

This is the best potty training seat if you want one that just fits over the toilet.

Plus, it has a decent guard on the front that is perfect for little boys and will help prevent splashing or spraying over the seat.

For traveling or just if you want to keep a portable potty in the house, this option is perfect!

5 steps to potty train your toddler

I am sure you can make variations to this process if you wanted to, or maybe you have some better tactics that might specifically be better for your child, but this is what I did, and it worked out so well!

Keep the core principles the same and I know you will see success. Those principles pretty much boil down to consistency, dedication, and reward.

I will go over each step into detail about how I successfully potty trained my toddler boy before he turned 2!

1. Buy underwear

Some may think that spending money on “cool” underwear is just a waste of money.

But let me tell you, it is totally worth it. I got these Cars underwear from Amazon for like 10 bucks and my toddler LOVES to wear them.

Find some underwear for your toddler boy that has their favorite character on the or something else they are “in to”.

You can explain to them that the new underwear is special, and they no longer need their diapers anymore.

I tried explaining to my toddler that we don’t want to pee in the underwear because then Lightning McQueen will get wet and he won’t like that.

The underwear was a huge motivator for my toddler. He liked putting them on and I think it made him feel like a big boy.

I noticed he was also more conscious to try not to go to the bathroom while wearing them.

Invest in some undies that your kiddo will actually like instead of just plain ole’ boring ones!

2. Say goodbye to diapers

The day I started for real with potty training (after I had prepared my little guy as much as I could) I literally said goodbye to his diapers.

Well obviously, I still had diapers in the house for naps and nighttime but I pledged to myself I wouldn’t put a diaper back on him in the daytime.

I would ask him during those first few days, “Hey Thomas, where did your diapers go?

He would confidently reply with “Bye-bye diaper”.

Like I said before, do all you can to resist the urge to slap on a diaper when the going gets tough.

Stick it out, I know you can do it!

3. Set a timer

This tactic will be the only way you can survive that first week or two, and it will probably drive you insane!

BUT you do what you gotta do!

My toddler actually really liked this whole part of the process, so that was a win.

To start with I was setting a timer every 20-25 minutes. When the timer would go off, I would make a big deal about it and be super excited and say,

Do you hear that? That’s the potty timer! That means its time for you to go potty!

Then we would run into the bathroom and give it a go.

Make this whole thing fun and exciting. Before you know it they will be listening out for that timer to go off and probably actually get kind of excited about it!

Well, that’s the hope anyway.

I got my toddler super involved with the timer and would actually let him help me set it and press the “start” button on my phone.

As your child progresses, you can lengthen out the time and not set the timer so frequently.

Just see how your child is doing and adjust the time increments accordingly.

When you sit your toddler on the toilet, try to encourage them to go.

Whether you have associated a sign, word, or noise with peeing or pooping, make those gestures and see if your toddler is able to eliminate.

If your child doesn’t end up going, that’s ok! Try again in 20 more minutes.

One important note about using a timer

Now there is one thing to be aware of when it comes to the timer.

As your child progresses and is able to hold his pee for longer, going super frequently might become frustrating to him.

So, if you notice that he isn’t peeing a ton while on the potty and is starting to resist going to the potty, maybe you are just going to soon.

My toddler did awesome with the timer for a couple of weeks. As he started to get the hang of things, I was then lengthening my timer to about 40ish minutes.

By about the third week, he had mostly weaned himself from the timer because he could hold his pee for much longer.

The timer is really beneficial for those first couple of weeks to get them into a consistent habit of going.

It is also to help remind you how often you need to take your child to the potty.

Depending on how your toddler boy takes to potty training, you may use the timer for longer.

4. Stickers, potty treats, and celebration

Young little toddlers are usually pretty motivated by a reward.

You need to make sure you praise the heck out of them when they go.

They have to begin to realize when they actually go in the potty is the right thing to do.

Whatever it is a song, dance, clapping, their favorite game, pull out all the stops when they go to the bathroom on the potty.

Toddlers usually love stickers so I decided to head over to the dollar store (or amazon) and grab a bunch of stickers that I know my little guy would love.

I found ones with cars, tractors, animals, diggers. Everything my toddler knows and recognizes and would think is totally awesome.

After each successful potty trip, we would wash our hands, and then run over to the fridge where his potty training chart would hang.

potty training sticker chart

He got to pick a sticker and add it to his collection. He really loved doing this for the first few weeks. It helped build a routine around the whole potty training thing and he knew what to expect when he went.

You could also try little potty treats as a motivator or reward. These little treats are my favorite go-to and they really helped my toddler go to the potty especially when he needed a little more incentive.

For example, when we are playing outside, and I know he needs to go potty but he doesn’t want to go inside.

I would offer a special potty treat and 99% of the time he would happily comply.

5. Consistency and dedication are key

These two things go hand in hand and really are the golden nuggets to success.

Without consistency and dedication on your end, potty training will be your worst nightmare and you will be wishing you never even tried it!

Hate to break it to you but good things take effort, that is just the way it is.

Potty training early isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world, and for a couple of weeks or so you are going to be wanting to pull your hair out.

BUT it is so so worth it! Like a million times worth it.

You save money on diapers; you get it over and done with and you don’t have to be fighting with an older child who is still in diapers by age 4 or 5.

Trust me, when they get to that age, you have missed the window and potty training will be soooooooo much more of a headache!

Be consistent at taking your child to the potty regularly and be consistent with your rewards and praises.

It is just a known fact that consistency always pays off!

And when it gets tough and you want to scream and throw in the towel, don’t give up.

Be dedicated all the way through. Usually, when it gets super tough is when they have a breakthrough, so hang in there!

Potty training early is 100% worth your time and effort. Don’t believe what everyone says about boys being so much harder to potty train than girls.

I just don’t buy it. But I guess that is just my opinion, right?!

I hope these potty training tips for boys has helped you and have given you some confidence that you can do it!

Have you started potty training yet? What struggles or setbacks are you currently facing with potty training your toddler boy?

     Potty Training 

How to potty train a boy
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