Toilet Training Boys

My toddler (Babaganouski) is now showing all the signs of being ready for toilet training. The signs that I have picked up are:

    Comes and asks me to change me his nappy when it is wet or soiled.
    Can put his own pants on and off.
    Tells me he has done a wee or poo.
    Wants to stand and do a wee at the toilet with his brothers.

My other three children have all starting using a toilet at different ages, ranging from 2 years old to just before 3 years old. I have waited for not only the child to be ready, but for the timing to be right for me as well.

I have a pretty simple toilet training process that I have used with the other children that I will use again for my toddler. I also go into the toilet training with a flexible attitude – if I have judged the timing wrong, then I will be prepared to pull back if it looks like it is not working.

The toilet training process that I follow is like this:

    – Give the toddler some warning that we are going to stop wearing nappies soon and use a toilet.
    – Allow the toddler to have some time sitting on the toilet (we have one of those seats with steps that sits on the toilet) when they want to, so they can get used to how it feels.
    – Start the first day wearing underpants and only use nappies for sleep time from that point on.
    – Ensure that we have a few consecutive days when we are at home a lot or in an environment where it will be okay if there are accidents.
    – Ask the toddler regularly if they need to wee or poo.
    – Keep a closer eye on toddler, looking for signs that they need to use the toilet.
    – Endure a number of days of cleaning up wee and poo mishaps until it comes together for them.

Using this toilet training process I have found success within the week. Of course there is occasional accidents (especially when they are engrossed in an interesting activity) and times I will still need to remind the toddler to go to the toilet, but I have found they once they are free of nappies, they tend to get the process relatively quickly.

I am waiting until we start school holidays (Friday) before I start toilet training our toddler. Knowing that I was going to be revisiting this process, it was with great interest that I read an extract from Professor Joshua Gans new book “Parentonomics: An Economist Dad’s Parenting Experience“. The extract from Jans was published in the Sunday Life magazine from The Sunday Age. It detailed his experience of toilet training his little girl.

When Gans and his partner started the toilet training process, they immediately used jelly beans as “incentives. One for “number ones” and two for “number twos”. This worked for a while but eventually they needed to increase the incentive to chocolate frogs. Once this had happened they then found that their daughter had worked out how to manipulate the system (lots of frequent small toilet sessions) to increase her incentive intake. In the end they ceased using rewards and Gans concluded:

“the management process was painful and I can’t prove whether this wouldn’t have all happened of its own accord anyway, without rewards.”

I do have a business background in both theory and practice (which all seems so very long ago now!) and found it interesting that a Professor of Economics would overlook the importance of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivators in human behaviour.

When Mr I was completing his Masters in Business, he studied in detail concepts of motivating behaviour. When I starting to read about intrinsic motivation in parenting articles, we found it amusing how we were effectively studying the same aspects of human behaviour, just on very different age scales. I think using extrinsic motivators on any age group can be detrimental to the original aim and needs to be considered carefully before being initiated.

What has been your experience with toilet training your toddler and do you have any tips for success?

Postscript: I have just proof read this post and can’t quite believe that I have written a post that contains the words poo and wee so many times!