Parents of boys, we're sure you've heard, “boys are harder to potty train,” many times. But, we’ve got some good news for you: that’s not true! Yes, boys can eventually learn to pee standing up, but to start it’s best to teach them to sit when starting out. Meaning, potty training boys vs. girls is actually not that different!
According to Quiara Smith, the pediatric pelvic floor therapist that leads our Potty Training: The Stress-Free Guide to Success online class, the length of time it takes for potty training is also not dependent on the gender of your child, but very much so on their personality. When potty training a boy, the personality of the child will dictate how you approach potty training, in order to support and set them up for success.
“Some children are extrinsically motivated and others are intrinsically motivated and some are a combination of both,” says Smith. ”You have to find out what makes the child who they are and focus on their strengths and interests!” She does however, encourage educating both boys and girls about the correct anatomical terms for boy and girl body parts as it relates to potty training.
With all that said, there are two key differences to remember when potty training boys:
- Wiping: Boys usually only wipe after pooping, girls wipe after both peeing and pooping
- Boys sometimes eventually learn to stand to pee
Overall, here are a few tips for potty training boys:
Make sure they are ready. When to start potty training boys is dependent on two things:
- They are showing some signs of readiness
- They are at least 24 months old
Check out more expert tips on when to start potty training, here.
Prepare them, yourself, and your home. When starting to potty train your boy, it’s important to make sure you prepare for the process. This means pique your son’s interest with fun activities and books about the potty, but also preparing your home physically with all the potty training gear you’ll need.
Find the method that works for your little guy. There are many methods out there that claim to potty train “early”, or in three days — these methods can lead to not only a stressful and unsuccessful potty training attempt, but also long-lasting challenges like bed wetting, constipation and more. Our Potty Training: The Stress-Free Guide to Success, will walk you through exactly how to potty train a toddler without the drama. Including tips on how to prepare them, how to protect their pelvic floor health, and how to address any problems that pop up along the way.
Start them off sitting. First, teach boys how to pee sitting down. Our expert suggests parents encourage sitting to pee throughout childhood into adulthood for good pelvic health —standing does not promote relaxation of pelvic floor muscles and can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder when urinating. However, for those parents who want to transition to standing, she suggests waiting until phase 3 of our potty training method. Phase 3 is the final phase of initial potty training, and usually happens after a couple weeks.
This leads us to the most common challenge that arises with potty training boys: they often forget to aim their penis down into the toilet or potty seat when peeing. Which, as you can imagine, creates quite the mess. Don’t fear though, there are many potty choices out there, including ones with a higher front part to protect from urine sprays.
So, if you're ready to ditch the diapers, keep in mind the tips above, and try not to compare your boy to others. Our online class will walk you through the process from start to finish. Remember, whether you’re potty training a girl or a boy, your child is unique, and the length of time it takes to potty train depends much more on their personality than their gender.