Mamas, I attended a Montessori workshop when Raines was roughly two-and-a-half. We learned a ton – some of which I've shared with you previously, in our Independence Building: Cheap and Easy Montessori Style Shelves article.
But my hands-down, favorite Montessori tip ever was in regard to potty training boys. And while true Montessorians (is that a word?) advocate that you start potty training at 18 months….that was SO not gonna happen. But happily, this tip worked wonders for our little man. And here it is:
While potty training, your little man must wear…underwear.
You know the conventional wisdom that says that you are supposed to wait until summer to start potty training? The thought being that the kiddos run around naked all day and will eventually figure it out?
Yeah. This strategy might work well for girls (I wouldn't know), but there is one key difference between boys and girls: Boys love to pee…all over, on everything.
Running around naked for Raines was awesome. Running around naked and peeing was even better. "I pee on tree!!!" was often shouted, gleefully. He peed on rocks. He peed on the sidewalk. He even (since we were living downtown Denver at the time) peed on a fire hydrant. There was absolutely NO incentive to use the potty. None. None whatsoever. Peeing on things, peeing at things, just peeing peeing peeing was fun.
But…once I slapped some underwear on the kid, things got serious fast. It turns out that wetting your pants is actually uncomfortable. And wetting your pants and then having to take time-out from playing to wipe up the floor and yourself? Total. Torture. So here's what the Montesorrians had us try:
- Give your kiddo a head's up: X many days, and there will be no more diapers! Repeat often, etc etc.
- Go shopping for underwear. Get him excited (Raines wasn't…I just ended up buying the underwear myself).
- Once that fateful day arrives, put your kid in underwear (pants are optional, underwear is not).
- There may have been a step about encouraging them to use the potty. Raines would fly into such a rage if I dared mention the potty (I DON' HAFTA GO!!!) that I usually skipped this step.
- When he pees his pants say something like "Bummer, buddy! Here's a towel to clean yourself up!" in a light, loving voice.
- Let him try to clean up himself. Only help if he absolutely needs it.
It took only two days at home, using this strategy, before Raines was, relatively, potty trained. (One exception – We used diapers for naps/bedtime for the next year or so. I could only handle one thing at a time, Mamas.)
THE BIG DISCLAIMER: Every kid is different (I know you know this). I only employed this strategy because I knew, deep down in my gut, that Raines was totally ready to potty train.
We had been working on potty-training for a while, using varying tactics, but had reached an impasse. Essentially, the novelty of the "big boy potty" had worn off, and Raines simply found potty-training inconvenient. (snort) However, he was also embarrassed when he pooped in his diaper, and had managed to outsmart all of our efforts to reward him for peeing. He had so much bladder control that he could literally pee two drops, then ask for his M&M. Then pee 2 more drops…and ask for another. He could continue this peeing-charade for hours, Mamas. Hours. And once we started arguing with a two year old over how many exact drops of pee were required for chocolate…I knew we had lost. So bring on the Montessori method!!
But we had one remaining point of contention: Not only was Raines totally uninterested in buying underwear, he simply refused to wear it. And I'm not much of a forcer – really, I don't know where you'd even begin with this one. The kid was adamant that all tighty-whitey underwear was "too tight! Too tiiiiiiiiight! TOOOOOO TIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!" Even when we bought a size larger.
Um. Ok. Now what?
Luckily, the other parents at the Montessori workshop had dealt with the same issue. And their recommendation? Boxer briefs. For two-year olds!
It turns out that Hanes makes man-style boxer briefs for two year olds. They are hysterical in their simplicity – they do look exactly like hubs'. And he wore them! (With only a small amount of convincing on my part…)
Now, more companies have started to get into the boxer-briefs for-the-3T-crowd game. Carter's makes some that have a few stripes and ball action (punny!!)…but I'm also loving Crazy 8's selection: Motorcycles, Guitars, Mod looking dogs and lots of skulls:
(All images above from Crazy 8's toddler boy underwear collection)
Cute, no? However…the boxer briefs at 77 kids (and YES – they carry them starting at 3T) are even more over-the-top and result in a total I'm dressing-my-little-dude-like-a-teenager vibe. I'm not wild about the logo waistband, but I have to admit: Raines would love these:
(All images above from 77 Kids's toddler boy underwear collection)
And so do I. Seriously! How flippin' cute would these be on a toddler??
Hey Mamas – any other little words of advice on potty training, or potty training boys? What did you do?
ps. His insistence on boxer briefs didn't last….he'll now happily wear any type of underwear, preferably super-hero.