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Potty Training Your Son

Potty training can be two of the dirtiest words in the English language for mothers of toddlers, especially if those toddlers happen to be boys. Is it a gender stereotype that boys are harder to potty train than girls? Perhaps. Do gender stereotypes exist because, often, they happen to be true? In many cases, yes. If youíve ever potty trained both boys and girls, you likely find that this particular gem has some credence.

There are several issues to consider when thinking about potty training your son. First, what age is best? Second, how will you know when he is ready? Third, how best do you go about it? Fourth, what if you fail? (Iím kidding about the last one Ė I promise you wonít fail. Your son will get potty trained.)

Often, it is not very fruitful to consider what age is best to begin potty training your son. Instead, consider whether or not he is showing you that he is ready to begin. Does he show any interest in potty training? If not, you can pretty much forget having any success. As with anything in life requiring change, if the person who needs to change isnít interested in making the change, success will elude you. Does your son let you know when he has to use the bathroom? Even if he doesnít tell you in so many words, can you tell by his body language that he has to go? If so, he may be ready to begin trying.

One very important word of advice here: patience! You may very well not be successful on your first attempt. Or your second. Something that seems so very simple to us as moms can end up being the most frustrating thing we experience as parents of toddlers. If your son isnít ready the first time you try to train him, wait a little while and then try again. Do not let this turn into a battle of the wills, though, because, as you surely know, you will not win.

How you go about potty training is as individualized as everything else you do as a mother. Some moms bribe incentivize their sons with a treat every time they use the potty chair. My son was particularly fond of M&Ms. Some moms have great success just by emphasizing the ďbig boyĒ angle. Some lucky moms donít have to do much work at home because they have great day cares that have potty training down to an exact science.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, potty training is one of those things for which there is no right answer. Keep in mind the following things: patience Ė yes I said it before, but it bears repeating. Donít wait too long to start trying, but donít start trying too soon. Very few children are ready to start potty training before the age of 2. Their bodies are just not there yet. If you wait until the age of 4 to begin, though, you may have a very hard time convincing you son to give up his diapers. This all comes back to watching your son for signs of readiness. Finally, donít despair: your son will be potty trained. If you ever find yourself doubting the eventual outcome, take a look around at a kindergarten classroom and feel reassured!

This rite of passage is a hard one for some moms, probably for most moms. You will get through it, though, and both you and your son will come out happier (and cleaner!) on the other side!

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Content copyright © 2013 by Laura Delgado, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Laura Delgado, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Delgado, Ph.D. for details.

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