Toilet training a boy is harder than toilet training a girl.
Yes, Zach is still doing a great job with using the potty, and he’s not having accidents when he’s awake (although he still needs a diaper for his nap and he often likes to poop at that time, which sort of negates the fact that we’ve trained him, seeing as I’m still changing poop diapers … but as usual, I digress).
The problem is one of anatomy. He gets himself to the little potty just fine. He pulls his pants down, sits down, leans forward, and pees, happily, all over himself, or all over the floor, or some combination of the two. Sometimes the pee pools in-between his legs because he’s got them together with his penis somehow wedged in the middle. Then he stands up with pee dripping down his legs, looks in the nearly empty pot (as the majority of the pee didn’t end up in there), and says, “Pee pee poppy (potty) Mama!!!”
See, leaning forward seemed to be the only thing I had to teach Eliza in order for her pee to make it into the pot instead of out the front. With Zach, I have to make sure I point his penis downward manually with a finger or, generally speaking, the pee is going to go everywhere. He has not picked up on the need to do this for himself yet. So though he is trained, it would honestly still be easier if he were in a diaper.
Earlier today he had to poop right when I needed to get to an exercise class. Thus, I took him to the toilet at Eliza’s school before heading to my class. He sat down, started peeing (into the toilet, with my help!) and got red in the face like the big business was happening. And then the automatic flusher on the toilet went off for some reason. (Freaking sensor malfunctions!) As a side note, Eliza will not use a toilet with a sensor unless I cover it with my hands while she goes, because one went off underneath her and I believe it scared the $@)% out of her. Well, Zach had the same reaction to the toilet underneath him. I didn’t get to see if any poop came out before everything was flushed under him (as he reached for me and started whimpering about the whirlpool underneath him).
Then I dropped him off at the YMCA babysitting center, already late for my class, and figured I ought to try to be kind to the childcare workers and make sure he didn’t have to poop. I sat him on the potty there, no more than 8 minutes after he had JUST PEED. And of course I was hoping for a poop, and focusing on that, when I sensed wetness on my leg and looked down and immediately pushed his penis down because he started peeing all over me (and his clothes). Of course, he didn’t poop. Nope. He did, however, poop in his diaper during his nap. (That just happened.)
I can totally see why people say boys take longer to train. I don’t believe that’s actually the case (based on my highly scientific statistical analysis of one boy and one girl). Both of my kids took the same amount of time to train to hold their pee in and get to a toilet to release it. The problem is not in the process; it’s in the anatomy. It would be much easier to wait to train a boy until you can train him to stand in front of an adult-sized toilet, point, and shoot.
The reaction I get when I ask Zach to climb onto a stool to sit on the big toilet is exactly like what his reaction would be like if I asked him if I could give away his Thomas the Train. So we have a long way to go before he’s standing and peeing (and I’m sure there will be accidents all over the seat rim then as well, especially when he discovers his powers to direct pee in every direction.)
The other boy/girl difference is in the underwear. Girl underwear is designed to be easy to pull down. It’s almost like the manufacturers know that girls are well-mannered and deserve to be able to get their underwear off. Boys, on the other hand, have an inch-wide band of elastic around their waists. I’m not sure what purpose this serves. If it’s to keep boys from pulling their pants down and showing everyone their packages, it has worked. If it’s to keep them from playing with themselves, it hasn’t, seeing as they’ve designed the cut-out hole so they can pee without having to remove the underwear. I’m afraid to teach Zach about that hole for obvious reasons, and also because as previously described, he’s not standing and peeing yet.
So, he will continue to sit to pee for the time being. I will continue to be there for each toileting experience so I can help him get the childproof underpants down, and so I can aid him in pointing his manhood in the right direction before the pee goes everywhere. If you have a son who’s still in diapers and you’re reading this, enjoy it. Honestly. I am announcing defeat – for the moment – on this one.