pants as a hat toilet training

Toilet training and busting the myths – Part 1

f you’ve not already experienced it, toilet training a boy is hard work.  Toilet training (as we can’t really call it potty training) any child is hard work, although some do find it easier than others as with everything about children.

But N is finally in pants at the age of 3 years and 3 months.

pants as a hat toilet training
He’s now wearing pants on his bottom instead of his head…Result!

I’ve found it the hardest thing on our parenting journey so far.  Much harder than weaning which was a breeze with such a piggy child, harder than learning to deal with disgusting soiled nappies, and harder than comforting him when we had no idea what was wrong.  The thought that it could carry on for a while is quite depressing, and as with most developmental things that N has done, I was quite happy to leave it until he was ready.

How did it happen for us?

You always hope that your child will wake up one day, know what to do, and do it all on their own.  Or that you’ll be able to read a book and get all the answers (hopefully that the knowledge will transfer via ESP from you to your toddler).  I like to follow processes, so a step by step guide was what I wanted.  Gina Ford’s potty training in a week was duly bought and read, all the toilet training paraphernalia was purchased and ready.   But obviously, despite all the preparation and the fact that N was ticking off all the steps on the ‘is your child ready to potty train’ checklist, he wasn’t having any of it.

We’ve ended up doing it in instalments by default, going from playing with the potty, talking about it, sitting on it, using it as part of a bathtime/bedtime routine and then morning routine.  We tried the summer ‘let him run round naked’ idea, but that didn’t work as N looked at me in disgust when I suggested him just weeing outside if he needed to go…it didn’t seem to bother him sitting in a dirty or wet saggy nappy though!

Because I wanted to make a stab at toilet training him myself (to show willing) before nursery started back again, after Christmas I had a few days off so we tried it then.  Everything was ok at home for 6 days (with a few accidents), but first day back at nursery was a disaster so it was recommended that he wasn’t ready for pants, stick with pull ups and we’d try again in a few weeks.  After that he regressed and wouldn’t use the potty or toilet at all for a month or so, then gradually began to sit on it occasionally at nursery and use it at home again.

Then, the Thursday before Easter, N woke up and said he wanted to wear pants.  In that moment all our plans for the Easter weekend went out of the window, but he’s been in pants since then, and is doing ok.  Some days he’s totally dry, then he’ll have one day and one accident will seem to lead to more.  But he’s not disheartened, now it’s the norm for him to wear pants, so hopefully it won’t be too long before he’s totally dry.

As we’ve been one of the last of our online birthboard friends to toilet train, as well as our NCT friends, and at nursery (where he was the only  child on his days at nursery in nappies for a term or more), there’s been a bit of despair from me in how long it’s taken for him to come on board.

If you’re worried that your toddler is showing no interest, I have polled amongst my mum friends with children around N’s age and older, to find out what age their children were toilet trained.

toilet training infographic on age

Because this had started as a huge post, I’ve split it over 2.  Watch out for my tips for toilet training boys tomorrow.

What age did your children move into pants?  Did they use a potty or go straight to the toilet?

You can read part 2 My top 7 tips for toilet training boys here.

Why not take a look at these similar posts.

toilet training boys tips
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  1. Thanks for sharing this experience – I’m going through a traumatic time trying to potty train my 3 year old, so it is comforting to know I’m not alone!!

    1. Glad to have helped. It’s such an horrendous time for so many people, and all you hear about is how early some trained, or traumatic stories, but actually if you get it at the right time when the child is ready, then it can be less painful. Good luck with it.

  2. It’s a good week for potty training posts! We’re very early on in the toilet training process and taking it very, very slowly. Little Miss did her first two wees on the potty in the last week – which I got very excited about! But we’re only trying her on it just before her bath at the moment. Plan to continue taking our lead from her but she is not much over two so I have no major expectations at all for the time being. I don’t want to stress about it, or worse make her stress about it and put her off, and every child is different – I’ve heard of such a broad range of different ages for getting them dry. I am hoping the theory about girls being easier to train than boys is right though! And love the infographic.

    1. Thanks for popping by. Sounds like you’re using the same approach that we did…we also started with the pre bath thing and it worked really well. It’s like a routine, like brushing their teeth.

  3. My eldest was about 3 by the time she was in pants all the time but my youngest has only been dry all the time for the last 8 months or so…She’s 7 in August. She had problems and was on tablets for a time because her bladder was too relaxed. It’s been a long process…
    Well done your boy! It sounds like he’s getting the hang of it x

    1. Must be so hard when you and the child have to cope with something different especially once they’re in school. Glad she’s got there, and got the help needed.

      He’s doing really well. Some days has accidents, other days, all dry, although the accidents seem to be when he’s at the toilet anyway, rather than when we’re out.

  4. Thank you so much for this post!! My little man has been toilet training for just over a week, he’s still having the occasional accident but is doing really well. He is 3yrs & 5months and I’ve lost count of the amount of comments I’d received about his still being in stand-up nappies and not pants. It’s so reassuring to know that it’s not actually that unusual xx

    1. That’s ok. Seems to be little out there to reassure people that there is no normal when toilet training.

      It’s my view that the older they do it/if it’s led by them, it’s a lot quicker and less painful. I know people who started training their children at similar age to you (often advised by nursery or feeling pressure from others/previous child’s experience), and it’s taken a year to get them dry. I couldn’t have hacked that, so wanted to wait…but blimey, N took his time which was very demoralising.

      Thanks for commenting.

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