Getting boys into the potty requires careful timing. On average, they are ready to begin training around the 18-month mark, but every child is different.
Talk about the potty ALL THE TIME – during diaper changes, meal times, and playtime. Choose clothes that are easy to yank off if they need to go and watch for clues like jumping or holding themselves.
1. Start Early
It’s important to watch for signs that your son is ready to potty train. Most kids show visible clues, such as hopping or holding their bottom, and may also begin talking about peeing or pooping. They’ll also usually want to wear “big-kid underwear” and will ask to go on the potty. If you see these signs, it’s a good idea to start training him.
If your son isn’t showing any of these signs, it’s probably best to wait a few weeks and try again. Trying to train your child before they’re ready will only lead to frustration for both of you and could set the process back. Also, it’s better to avoid starting the training during a period of change or stress, such as a move or visiting relatives.
When you decide to start your boy’s potty training, ensure you have the right equipment. Place a small potty chair in your bathroom, initially just in front of the toilet. Encourage your son to sit down on the potty in their pants and underwear for the first few weeks, and try to wear clothes that are easy to pull down and up. You can even let your little one personalize their potty by writing their name or decorating it with stickers.
For the initial stages, it’s a good idea to teach your son to sit down to pee and poop at first (and then stand up to wee). This is better for them than standing on the toilet since sitting can help prevent them from over-filling their bladders. It will also be more comfortable for them as they will be able to fully empty their bladders, and it won’t have the same messy consequences as pooping while standing.
Rewarding your son for using the toilet is a great way to keep them motivated and on track. Children are particularly responsive to rewards, especially for new skills, so be sure to offer praise and rewards when they succeed. You can also set up a rewards bag with cheap, age-appropriate presents like miniature cars or Paw Patrol stickers.
2. Be Patient
It is important to remember that every child is different. Some kids will take to potty training quickly, while others may face more challenges. The key is to start when your child shows signs of being ready. Eventually, they will learn to use the toilet properly.
On average, boys will start to show signs of being ready for potty training around 18 months, but they can also be trained much later. Many parents choose to wait until their son is at least three or four years old before starting. Depending on their individual needs and how well they respond to the training, some children can be fully potty trained by that time, while others may need diapers at night or for nap time.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to put too much pressure on your boy during potty training. This will only frustrate him and make the process even harder. It is best to let your little guy sit on the potty with his pants down for a few weeks after you begin and then to allow him to stand up to pee once he has mastered sitting in the potty for bowel movements.
While you are potty training, choose a small potty that will fit comfortably on your bathroom toilet. You can buy one specially designed for boys or get a regular toddler seat that attaches to the top of the toilet. Look for a potty that doesn’t have a urine guard, as these tend to scrape your boy’s penis while he is sitting on the toilet and can discourage him from using it.
During this time, be sure to take your boy out and about often so that he can become comfortable using the potty in public places. This will help him to make the connection that he should pee and poop in the potty, no matter where he is.
3. Be Flexible
Many parents have heard that boys are harder to potty train than girls, but that isn’t necessarily the case. On average, boys are ready to begin potty training between 18 and 30 months, just like girls. However, it can take a while to fully master the process. The key is to be flexible and try to avoid stressors that can interfere with your child’s progress.
For example, try to be patient with your son if he has accidents while learning to pee standing up. This is a common step that many children will experience, and it can be frustrating for both parents and children. Try to help him by reading a book or playing with a toy while he sits on the potty, and don’t push him to stand up right away if he wants to stay sitting.
It’s also important to be flexible with your schedule and allow for extra potty breaks when needed. For example, you may want to make sure your son has a dry diaper first thing in the morning and after naps. Also, you might need to allow him to wear pull-ups at night for a while until he can successfully use the potty all night long.
If you have boy/girl twins, you’ll likely need to be more flexible with their individual schedules. Often, one twin will be ready to start potty training sooner than the other. Try to keep things positive and encourage both twins, even if they aren’t progressing at the same speed. Many families have reported that their twins become jealous of each other during this process, so it’s important to be neutral and supportive to prevent any unnecessary stress or drama.
Another way to be more flexible is to have your son wear jogging bottoms during the day rather than pants, especially when you’re first starting out. This will allow you to quickly remove his clothes if he needs to go, and it’s less obtrusive than a pair of pants. Once he’s more comfortable with wearing underwear, you can move on to more “grown-up” clothing.
4. Reward Success
There’s a popular belief that boys take longer to potty train than girls, but it really depends on the child. The key is to start when the child shows signs of interest, readiness, and physical ability. The first sign is usually when the boy says he has to go rather than just having an empty bladder. If your son is exhibiting these signals, it’s time to pull out the big kid underwear!
Be patient, stay positive, and help your little man through the process. If he has an accident, don’t get discouraged — it happens to every toddler (and even some adults). Just be sure to clean up the mess and start again later.
It’s also a good idea to reward your son with small treats like stickers, a special treat bag, or time reading for each time he successfully goes on the toilet. Try to limit the rewards to this specific behavior so that your son will learn that going on the toilet means he gets something fun.
When you’re ready to switch to nighttime underwear, wait until your boy consistently uses the potty during the day and nap time, then slowly start switching over at bedtime. This can take a few weeks, but it’s worth the effort when your little guy is finally sleeping through the night without a diaper.
Ensure your son drinks plenty of liquids throughout the day and that he wears loose pants, shorts, or overalls that are easy to yank up and down if needed. Boys may have more accidents if they’re wearing tight clothing. Also, a urine guard on a potty can rub against a boy’s penis and cause him to be reluctant to use it, so look for a smaller potty that doesn’t have one.
Another way to reinforce the potty-training habit is to take your boy out and about and help him sit on the potty in new places. You can also help him wipe himself after pooping, as most kids still need a bit of assistance with this until they’re four or older.