Is It Really Harder to Potty Train Boys?
According to conventional wisdom, it’s harder to potty train boys than girls. That being said, we’ve yet to find any scientific evidence backing this up.
However, studies have found that boys achieve training a little later than girls: at an average of 31 months for boys versus 29 months for girls[i]. Do boys take longer? Start later? We don’t know, and we’re not sure it matters. What does matter is making it easy and low-stress for the whole family.
Potty Training Basics for Boys and Girls
Most potty training tips apply to all kids, regardless of gender. First, make sure your child is really ready. Set up a safe, comfortable pottying station, and teach your child to recognize his or her body’s signals. (If you haven’t read all our basic potty training tips yet, it’s a good place to start.)
The Big Decision: To Sit or to Stand?
Parents and pediatricians have long debated whether boys should be taught to pee sitting down or standing up initially. Frankly, the answer varies, depending on who you ask. Our conclusion: both training methods work, and each has its pros and cons.
Why Train Your Boy to Pee Sitting Down?
Those who support this approach say it’s easier for toddlers, since they’re already learning to sit on the toilet to poop. They say it’s one less step to master in the beginning, and boys can still work on aim from a sitting position. The other potential plus: it may be less messy for parents (although there are no guarantees!).
Why Train Your Boy Standing Up?
Proponents of this camp feel that it’s more direct and less confusing to learn to go standing up from the beginning. If there’s a dad or brother in the house, boys may pick things up faster by simply following their example. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
When you do arrive at the standing up stage, be prepared to do some clean up while your child is getting his aim down. Give yourself a break: get a training urinal or potty for boys with a splashguard to minimize messy mishaps. Placing floating targets in the toilet—cereal pieces, ice cubes, toilet paper—no not only helps kids perfect their aim, but makes toilet training more fun.
Set Your Little Guy Up for Success
Whatever method you choose, the right equipment will make a big difference. Whether you get a self-contained potty chair or a kids potty seat that attaches to standard toilets, make sure your child feels safe and relaxed. A step stool for kids will give him safe, stable access to the toilet.
Use Praise and Positive Reinforcement
There are a number of tools you can use to engage your child while speeding the process along. Big kid training pants aren’t just exciting to wear, but let kids feel wet, building body awareness. Most kids think potty watches are major cool, and they also reminds them to take potty breaks. In addition, many parents report that stickers and potty training reward charts are effective training incentives.
Some parents dread potty training, especially for boys, but it may not be as tough as you think. Check out our proven potty training solutions, and get ready to give it a go!
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