Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Review: Potty Training for Boys the Easy Way

Potty Training Boys the Easy Way: Helping Your Son Learn Quickly--Even If He's a Late Starterby Caroline Fertleman, MD and Simone Cave. Da Capo Press, 2009, 126 pages, $11.95 US.

We head into the Martin Luther King Day holiday as of this posting, when we are going to take another crack at potty training Jacob. My wife will be handling the boy while I run interference with Lucy. Wish us luck!

Brief overview of content:

The book goes over the basics of potty training with the focus entirely on training boys. The method is more relaxed. Starting at about 12 months, parents look for signs of readiness and introduce potty training ideas and the actual potty as the boy becomes mature enough to use a bathroom. They advise having positive early exposure: seeing mommy and daddy use the bathroom, letting boys pee in the bathtub as an early practice or awareness of what is happening, etc. The authors recommend what equipment to buy and what not to buy for potty training. When the time to train comes, their program uses sessions of about an hour that is convenient for parent and son. The step by step plan is straightforward involving getting in big boy underpants (or nothing at all), having a drink, sitting on the potty, hopefully peeing or pooping there. Accidents should be met with a positive attitude and encouragement to try again later. Positive feedback is encouraged throughout the book. After a successful session, the authors review what to do for the next few days, then the next few weeks and finally beyond the one month mark. The system should work in two to six weeks depending on the readiness of the child and how many sessions are done. Problem solving, night training, and common medical problems are also explained.

Author overview:

Blurb from the back of the book: "Caroline Fertleman, MD, a leading pediatrician, and Simone Cave, a health editor, conduct lectures and write extensively on parenting topics."


1. Read cover to cover vs. consult as needed.

It's a short read, so going cover to cover is pretty easy. Some of the advice is common to other books, so skimming over parts is definitely possible. The index is quite extensive, so consulting is a snap!

2. Readability.

The style is very relaxed, second-person writing, making for an easy read and instilling confidence in the reader.

3. Helpful to a parent?

The book seems like a great program if you get started on time (and if you have a boy to train). The laid-back approach is good for rambunctious boys and would definitely cut down on the stress of potty training.

4. Did we use it?

We did not use it for several reason. First and foremost, we are too late! Their program starts around twelve months and our boy is three years old as I write this. Also, we have a younger daughter and what to do with younger siblings isn't covered. I suppose the training sessions are short enough to be done during the sibling's nap, but Lucy sleeps at the same time as Jacob. If we had read this book two years ago, things would probably be very different.

Sample text

What the program will be like: "If you follow our 'potty-training sessions' approach, there will be very few accidents and hopefully no tears. It may take a little longer than other methods--probably two to six weeks depending on how many sessions you fit in and how quicly your son learns--but because it's such a relaxed way to learn, the chances of future problems and setbacks are minimized." [p. 44]

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