What you need to know:
- My potty-training story was rather sad but funny.
- It coincided with a time my son had a running stomach, so he kept soiling diapers.
Potty training is hard. If you are a father and have a son, the responsibility automatically lies squarely on your shoulders, and potty training a boy is twice as hard as training a girl.
Please don’t argue with me. Boys will sit on the potty and instead of peeing inside it, you will see the fountain shoot out, away from the intended destination.
So, the genius in you decides to buy one of those creative ones that look like a little car on which he can sit more comfortably and, hopefully, get it right. But boys being boys, he will dismantle it so you have the actual potty on one side and the detached car on the other.
Sadly, he will prefer hanging out on the car instead of the potty.
Sad but funny
My potty-training story was rather sad but funny. It coincided with a time my son had a running stomach, so he kept soiling diapers and requesting they be changed.
At some point, I got tired and showed him the potty, explaining that it was his little toilet to make things easier for the running stomach. That began the process of him making a dash for it every time he felt the bowels threatening to open.
Countless times, he would mess midway before getting there, but five out of ten he got it right and earned a congratulatory pat on the back.
That made it easier for me to concentrate on medicating his running stomach while he worked on internalising that he had a designated toilet bought solely for him. By the time his stool was back to normal, I had successfully made him learn how to use it well.
As I would learn not so long after, the harder part was yet to come: toilet training. Parents will attest that training a boy to control his thing and aim perfectly into that tray without messing the bowl is difficult.
Things would be easier if boys accepted to sit like they do during long calls, but most refuse because their peers have short calls while standing. It can be so frustrating that many parents resign to fate and wait to clean up after their boys whenever they visit the washroom.
In my quest to find ways in which I could make the process seamless, I picked a few tips that can, hopefully, help parents who are struggling with toilet training.
The first is in the form of a game where the parent puts a ‘target’ that can float on the water inside the toilet bowl so that he aims at hitting it.
That way, the young man increases his concentration as he tries to hit the bull’s eye, essentially directing his urine where it is meant to be projected.
To make the aforementioned game of aiming easier, work on shortening the range between him and the toilet so that he is as near as possible. That he is close reduces the margin of error substantially, making him even more confident in his aiming skills, therefore, encouraging him to be more meticulous.
The other way to offer clearer directions to the urine is by teaching him to hold his penis from the extreme end rather than the middle or the rear. When held that way, it is easier to point it directly into the toilet without messing the surrounding.
Habit carried to adulthood
It also dawned on me that some of us aid our boys in being poor aimers by cleaning up after them. Since that is usually done in their absence, they never know the hustle, so they continue splashing the toilet and leaving for us to clean up.
This, sadly, becomes a habit that some boys carry into adulthood. To mitigate against this, make the young man clean up the toilet every time he messes it so that he appreciates the need for aiming correctly.
I know the struggle is real in many households but with patience, practice and perseverance, you will realise the desired outcome.
I have not experienced training a baby girl to use both potty and toilet, so those with girls please engage me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hillary has raised his son alone since he was six months old