I think that some children are hard to potty train and for others it seems to come easy for them. It depends on the child, not the sex of the child. All that said and done, my son has been very hard to potty train. Getting him to go pee was the easy part, he liked making bubbles, or aiming at a piece of toilet paper. It has taken about a year to get him to where he is now. It took a lot of work and all sorts of tricks and methods to get my son to finally be potty trained. We had him using the potty/toilet and then one day he would not go near it for 3 months. He would actually get upset and scream. It took a long time for us to find out he had fallen into the toilet at daycare and got his bum wet. We had to start all over. What finally worked for my son was to take away the diaper. He knew what was expected of him, and what to do but he was just not doing it. It took about two weeks before he no longer had any accidents. He had already gone through all the training he just needed that little extra push.
Our daughter is now ready for potty training. She did show some interest in using the potty a few months ago, but quickly lost interest when I had to explain to her she could not pee standing up like her brother. She is running to the potty saying she has to pee, but she usually has already gone. We are now to the point where she knows she has to go, and she is trying to get to the potty. She has made it through one day no accidents so as of tomorrow she is graduating to underwear all day from now on. We expect lots of accidents but will give it a few weeks.
I spent a lot of time on forums talking with other parents on how to potty train. I got some very good ideas. Some I tried. What seemed to be the most common in all successful potty training methods is:
Consistency: Be consistent with whatever method or system you are using. Make sure every one is using the same method, not Mom doing the sticker reward system and Dad doing the I think you have to go, so every ½ hr I am putting you on the toilet until you go. Find something that your child seems to like (and this can change at any point) and go with that. Don’t just try it for a week and expect miracles, keep doing it for a few weeks. If there is no improvement find out what else will motivate you child and try that for a few weeks. But keep in mind if you are not consistently doing the potty training method it is not going to work, you kid just gets confused and frustrated.
Positive reinforcements: Making a big deal when you child has some success on the toilet goes a long way to making the child want to use the potty. The have positive associations with the toilet or potty. Going in it makes Mommy or Daddy happy. However, getting angry, punishing a child for not making it to the potty, or not using it has a very long negative effect on potty training. If the child is scared, is afraid, or has negative associations with the toilet or potty it is going to be just that much harder to get them to use it. That one time of letting your frustrations known in a negative way will do a lot more damage then good. Do you really want to add months to the time it takes to potty train your kid?
Follow through: With every thing, if you say your going to do some thing with your kids you have to follow through. If you are using a reward system but don’t carry out your side, why should your child keep trying. If you are giving them a smarty or sticker each time they succeed, you have to do it consistently. If you use the sticker reward system, for so many stickers you get to have an extra story at bedtime then you better give them the extra story at bedtime. The child has worked so hard to earn that reward, what damage do you do if you don’t give it to them? How does it make you look in your child’s eyes?
Realistic expectations: Not every child is the same. What works with one may not work with another. Just because your neighbours kid got potty training in a week (nice story by the way, do you have a bridge to sell me to?) does not mean your child is working on the same time line. Don’t expect to do one method for a few days and Ta Da your kid is potty trained. It still takes time and consistency. Also not all children are ready for potty training at the same age. Make sure your child is showing interest in the potty, is aware that they have to go or have gone, and can pull their pants up and down, or take off their diaper. Nothing is more frustrating then having someone put expectations on you that you just cannot meet. If your kid is not ready for potty training, forcing the issue is not going to help.
No matter what method or system you try you have to have patience. This is a skill that has to be taught to your child. They have to learn and then practice so they can get good at it, just like any thing else. Just remember even we the adults have accidents, your child will to.