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Potty Training Boys: Ready! Aim! Fire!

When did this become so commercial?

Our niece was visiting over the weekend with her 2 year old daughter. The conversation turned to toilet training. As the proud parents of 4 boys, we had quite a bit of experience potty training boys, but not girls.

Since our youngest is 24, we haven't done this recently. How much could it have changed? Boy, was I surprised. Today, there is a whole industry dedicated to it.

Our boys weren't easy

Potty training our boys wasn't particularly easy. It was mainly due to a lack of interest, not by us, but by them. They were too busy doing whatever little boys do and the convenience of a diaper allowed them to keep doing it.

Our oldest had so little interest in using the toilet, my wife actually asked her mother if they would let him into kindergarten if he wasn't potty trained.

Eventually, this little milestone in life was achieved by all of them.

Ready! Fire! Aim???

It took quite awhile for our boys to even get ready to be potty trained. The first step was for them to get comfortable sitting on the pot. The little potty chair would be strategically placed to encourage the boys to start sitting on it. Eventually, success would be achieved and, of course, shared with all. So far, we were right on tract with the experts.

Shortly there after, a little step stool was purchased to teach the boys how to go standing up. Frankly, I think this is when the problems began. I believe this act is very difficult for most mothers, or at least my wife, to comprehend and obviously relate to. There was no natural instinct or past experience to guide her in teaching the boys while I was away at work.

This also seems to be the time when the whole process got out of whack. After finally convincing the boys to recognize when they had to go and then to use the toilet, you now start to have them stand up. My wife would plead for me to teach the boys how to 'control that thing'. I'm not sure that they didn't want to aim, they just didn't want to aim where she wanted them to. They were more interested in target practice, wall washing and distance.

What I believe should be a natural tendency for boys has grown into a huge marketing bonanza for countless entrepreneurs and self-proclaimed self-help gurus.

What Do The Experts Say?

If you do a Google search, "Potty Training Boys" everyone and anyone who has even a remote interest puts themselves out to be an "expert".

Health websites such as WebMD and the Mayo Clinic offer tips and strategies.

Countless blogs exist to offer insight and suggestions from Ask Dr. Sears, to Parents Magazine and finally

Obviously there are commercial interests from Kimberly-Clark and Pull-ups to countless others trying to sell a product to aid in the whole process.

There are even numerous YouTube videos, live and animated, on this rather personal subject.

In summary, all the experts say that you should start when the child is ready. Boys are usually ready later than girls. Also for boys, it may be best not to confuse the issue and have them start off doing everything sitting down. When they are ready, you can introduce standing. Their most important piece of advice for when the boy starts standing, have them aim down!

What's On the Market?

Everything! There doesn't seem to be anything that you can't buy to assist you with potty training your child. Many of the products are branded, from Elmo to Dora the Explorer.

From potty seats to step stools to seats for your toilet. From tinkle targets to potty training timers to potty training charts. They are all there just waiting for your money.

Personally, I would like to find a potty seat that looks like a Darth Vader helmet when it is closed. As far as the training timer watch goes, maybe I should get one now. It would help all of those times that I know I have something to do, I just can't remember what it is.

Save Your Money, Just Ask Suzie!

A friend of ours, Suzie, had a simple inexpensive way to encourage her boys to aim where she wanted them to aim. Give them something to shoot for. A few Cheerios dropped in the bowl before the boys started, instantly gave the boys a target to aim for. Cost? Nothing!, Value? Priceless!

Cheerios in a bowl, an inexpensive target to shoot for

Cheerios in a bowl, an inexpensive target to shoot for

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For a Much More Serious Look at Potty Training, Check out HubPages.

There is a whole subsection of HubPages dedicated exclusively to Potty Training. Many of these Hubbers have just gone through the process or are going through it now. They have some very up to date tips and practical suggestions that can help get you through one of the major challenges of being a parent.

© 2012 Mark Shulkosky


jc on February 27, 2014:

Try the towel potty training method on February 01, 2014:

Great article. We have a potty seat coming out designed just for a boy's anatomy that lets him comfortably train sitting or standing. You can check us out at!

ladyfountain1 on June 04, 2012:

I agree. I eventually told my husband that he wasn't ready.

Thank you bankscottage.

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on June 04, 2012:

Ladyfountain1, you would think that boys would be easy to train, they can aim and shoot. Didn't work that way for our boys. Ours were too busy and the diaper was too convenient. They will go in their own good time (my wife was worried it wouldn't be before kindergarten!). Hang in there. He'll surprise you. Boys like to keep moms off balance.

ladyfountain1 on June 04, 2012:

Great post, I can really use the advice. My husband and I have been trying to potty train our 2 year old son for the longest. He actually cries when he has to sit on the potty. I know other little boys who were potty trained before they turned 2. I have to try the cheerios in the bowl. Very funny!

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on June 04, 2012:

MsDora, thanks for your nice comment. Raising 4 boys (or girls) you realize sometimes you have to throw the book out and do what makes sense. fpherj48 wrote a great Hub on raising 4 boys "RAISING BOYS..........and coming out alive". Her second photo is precious as to what happens when little boys learn how to pee standing up. If you get a chance, check it out.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 04, 2012:

Voted useful and funny! This is a topic every parent must deal with, and you underlined its importance on the parenthood curriculum. Good job!

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on April 29, 2012:

Maybe I should get one of those watches for all the times I know I am supposed to do something, I just can't remember what it is. Thanks for stopping by OutBound Dan.

Dan Human from Niagara Falls, NY on April 28, 2012:

You know I was looking for a new watch, that potty-time watch may just be the ticket. I'm always surprised by the baby industry in general.

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