Taking aim at potty training a boy
I feel like I’m a pretty decent mom-to-a-boy. I don’t pine for pink. I can whip up a Play-Doh truck or Lego train in minutes, as requested. A little dirt and grime is no biggie. And I look forward to teaching my son how to keep score at baseball games like my dad taught me.
But there’s one area I am feeling particularly, uh, ill-equipped these days.
I have no idea how to stand up to pee.
My son is 2.5 and began potty training at day care six months ago. His teachers started him sitting, which was great by me, and we took it slow. Within the past month, the whole process has really started to click with him and I guess now that he feels like he has mastered the timing, he is ready to change things up.
As with everything child-rearing, I feel like I’m a step behind him.
He hurried into the bathroom on Monday toward his little red potty and then suddenly stopped. “I want to stand,” he said.
I didn’t want to say no and wind up with a temper tantrum and an accident. And he will have to learn to stand eventually anyway. So we muddled through, with me trying to hold him as close to the potty as possible and him spraying and spraying.
Clearly not a good potty training method. I cleaned up and then appealed to my Facebook friends for help.
Advice ranged from investing in a lot of Clorox wipes (done) to outsourcing the entire job to my husband (works for me). Some said to get a step stool so he could be closer to the big bowl or let him stand on my feet. Pull the pants off, they said, to minimize mess.
Many mentioned aim issues.
Turns out there is an entire industry based on helping boys keep the stream in the bowl. You throw a flushable object into the bowl and your son shoots for it.
A Google search yielded “Tinkle Targets” and a “Toilet Sniper,” as well as
“Sinkems” and Piddlers.
One friend said he was raised on confetti. A mother suggested Cheerios as an option.
It’s not as weird as it sounds. Huggies offers a lot of potty training advice on its web page, including articles from experts in the field. One of their “potty training partners” actually mentions throwing cereal in the bowl to learn to aim (don’t worry, one mom told me -- her son feels no need to pee every time he sees Cheerios now!).
My friends who said dad take over potty training might have been joking but they were on to something, too -- not that dad should take over entirely but that he could, shall we say, model good behavior. The American Academy of Pediatrics says an open-door policy can be helpful. Letting kids watch their parents, especially ones of the same gender, use the facilities can answer their questions and inspire them to mimic what they are doing.
I’ll just make sure we stay stocked up on Clorox wipes in the meantime.
--Courtney Cairns Pastor
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