Potty Training Boys 101

Just started potty training Boy #2, so potty training is on my brain…and sometimes, all over the floor. Sigh.

I know a lot of people that ask for advice on how to potty train. Honestly, read all you want to and figure out what works best for you and your kids.

But here’s what we have done, if that helps:

Boy #1:

He was three, possibly closer to three and a half, before we really managed potty training.

It took three days and seven nights. Meaning, three days of full-time potty training and a week to manage underwear through the night. Not to say there weren’t accidents…there were.

After tried and failed attempts (and absolutely no bribery, I hate using bribery for something they’re going to have to do every day), I finally decided we were going cold turkey on diapers.

Day #1 we had seven pairs of underwear at the ready. Definitely ready, right? No. He went through all of those and hung out in basketball shorts until a load of laundry went through the wash, because cold turkey. NO DIAPERS EVER AGAIN, I declared.

We did a lot of laundry.

We didn’t leave the house much for three days, and we ended up picking up another week’s worth of underwear. Three days of hating the feeling of pee in his pants constantly, he was pretty much accident free.

Day #4, since he seemed to have gotten the hang of getting to the bathroom during the day, we started the underwear at night too (before this, diapers had been allowed at night, despite my very loud and obnoxious declaration). We wrapped his mattress in a plastic sheet, put a rubber ducky nightlight in the bathroom, and kept his door and the bathroom door open.

I don’t remember the specifics, but I know he had accidents, and it took roughly a week to master nighttime potty training.

Boy #2:

In progress.

The Professor here will be three next month and he’s sandwiched between an older and a younger brother, so my hands are more full than when it was just a three year old and a fairly tame one year old. We are starting a little earlier age-wise though, partly because I know what I’m doing and partly because I’m tired of diapers. And my Professor knows he should use the toilet…he’s just lazy. Or unmotivated. Pick an adjective. It’s just sort of his personality.

Anyway. We’ve gone more slowly than before. We forgot to plan…AGAIN…and only bought one set of underwear. Third time’s the charm, right, so we should get it right with Fish. Needless to say, lots of laundry.

Day #1 went pretty well, notwithstanding the lack of underwear. We had one long line of pee from the kitchen to the bathroom at one point…thank goodness for linoleum. I threw him in a diaper while I did a quick load of laundry and he was back in underwear before dinner. Same as the last boy, lots of accidents the first day but they start realizing this is really uncomfortable and it gets better throughout the day.

Day #2 we were out of the house all day…so diapers it was. But he did request using the toilet a few times, and he used it. Awesome. Love the self motivation.

Day #3 is today…and he’s back in underwear. Still need another set of underwear. Already one accident but it was more of a “I can’t pull my pants down” problem then a getting there problem…we keep practicing.

With the amount of errands we run these days, it’ll be an every other day and weekends thing. Although, we did run one errand in underwear…successfully! Totally stressed me out though. Not planning on night training until day time is mastered.


I hear girls are easier than boys, but I have no comparison. As for the “sit down or stand up” issue for boys, I have them sit. Always. My four year old stands sometimes, now that he’s tall enough and he knows that’s what Daddy does. Very useful for long road trips when he suddenly needs to use the bathroom! (Yep, totally have done that before.) He used a urinal once and announced it to the whole restaurant. Fun times. But yeah, the standing thing is something I don’t introduce and happens gradually.


So there are my thoughts on potty training!

Read Part 2 for an update on how he’s doing!


How about you?

What worked for your family?

Tell me in the comments, or on my Twitter or Instagram!


4 thoughts on “Potty Training Boys 101”

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