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How to Potty Train Boys

Potty Training Boys - How to Potty Train Boys: do you teach them to sit or stand?

Boy Sitting on a Potty

Most potty training experts will recommend that toddler boys should be potty trained sitting down

I am asked this question by many parents -they all want to know whether to start potty training boys to urinate standing up or sitting down.

While there is definitely no right or wrong way to potty train a boy, most potty training experts will recommend that toddler boys should be potty trained sitting down. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends encouraging & teaching toddler boys to urinate sitting down.

The major reason for this recommendation is to keep things simple by teaching them to sit for both urination and bowel movements. Other reasons include the logistics involved in managing the equipment for both types of training and the effort required to clean up while they learn to aim properly.

Boy Standing in front of a Urinal

Once he completely potty trained, then training him to pee standing up like his father and brothers!!

My personal recommendation is to first teach your son to potty training sitting down. Once he completely potty trained for both and is accident free, then I would recommend training him to pee standing up like his father and brothers!!

Keep it Simple and Bowel Movement Training:

Most parents would agree that potty training your toddler son includes not only teaching him to urinate in a potty or toilet, but also to make bowel movements in the potty or toilet. And for bowel movement training, you will have to teach your toddler son to sit down on a potty or the toilet.

So, then if you decide to teach your son to pee standing up, you will have to teach him to have a bowel movement sitting down - that means teaching your son two different things. This can get confusing for a toddler.

Let's take a look at the potty training process in detail from the child's perspective. (Read the article on " When should I start potty training? What is the right age for potty training? " to learn the details of your child's physiological, motor, verbal & cognitive, social & emotional development)

It starts with body awareness and the ability to associate a feeling of fullness with the need to eliminate and the result i.e. a BM or urination. This awareness starts at about age 1 and until now (for the last 1-2 years), when you child has this feeling, he simply goes ahead and eliminates in his diaper or pull ups. Now you want him to learn that when he has this feeling he has to stop and find his way to the potty. Then he has to remove his clothing and then sit or stand on the potty depending on which feeling he has and then eliminate.

So, from your child's perspective you are already asking him to do a lot - and by trying to teach your child to stand while urinating and sit while having a bowel movement, you are asking him to only learn and identify the feeling of fullness, but to differentiate the two feeling and make a decision to sit or stand.

Having said that, bowel movements usually occur with urination, and if you child is sitting down to urinate, he may have a bowel movement at the same time and thus make the whole potty training process a lot easier.

Equipment Logistics and Clean Up Efforts.

What will you use - a potty chair, a urinal or the toilet potty seat? Which one for which? A potty is probably too low to the ground to use for urination from the standing position. A urinal for pee and a potty for bowel movements? Maybe the toilet for both?

If you decide to use the toilet for both, you will need a step stool. You will also have to work out the details of the toilet seat & toilet seat reducer. (You may want to purchase the reducer that attaches permanently to the toilet seat.) Do you teach him to remove the toilet seat reducer and lift the toilet seat? Or do you just leave them there because it is more convenient, but will be harder to clean?

Where will you do the potty training? Since the toddler is just learning, his aim will be off and initially he may also probably also dribble, so there is a good chance of over spray and mess. For this reason, if you may decide to teach your son to stand when urinating, you will want him to learn in the bathroom. Be prepared to do some extra cleaning in the bathroom and around the toilet bowel for a while until your toddler learns to aim.

Having said all this, by the age of two and half or three, children become interested in the concepts of gender and boys will begin to imitate their fathers or older brothers. So, you may find that your child wants to be like daddy or like his older brother and will insist that he urinate while standing and not sitting. If this is the case, then let him stand. It is not worth a power struggle. Work on teaching him to urinate first and then work on bowel movements.

Last, but not least, if your child is in day care, then make sure that you are teaching him the same way that they are teaching him. Some day cares insist on teaching boys to urinate standing and so make sure that both of you are teaching him the same thing!!


Here are some more articles to help you with potty training your son.

How to Potty Train - The Five Potty Training Methods - select one that works for you and your son!

Potty Training Age - When should you start potty training? What is the right age for potty training?

Potty Training Methods - more details on the various methods, including training methods by experts such as Dr. Phil and Dr Sears.

Add Your Comment There are currently 26 comments on this article.
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3yrs and peeing standing (2/2/2014) Reviewer: Kathy (Norfolk, Ontario)

My son (turned 3 in December) has been potty training on and off for a year and a half. So maybe a week on and months off. This morning he said he wanted to go on the toilet. So off we went. I was nearly mortified when he brought the stool over and insisted on standing to pee. But he did it. He had tried a couple months ago and nothing came out so we had explained he is too little to stand up still (he's very VERY tiny for his age). Anyway, he's been standing up to pee all day and only once did he go out of the toilet because his sister startled him. He likes "the bubbles" he can make.

He also has done all his bowel movements sitting today. He has no problem switching it up. Reminds me of my daughter. We tried training her with no luck (we didn't force her but encouraged and asked her if she had to go). Then one day when she was 3 she took her pull ups off, handed them to me and said "I'm done with these now, I'm a big girl". Bam, not one accident...not even at night! She's almost 5 now.

I'm a big believer in showing them how it's done, encouraging but not pushing, and just asking them if they need to go on the toilet/potty. When they are ready they really will do it.

Just starting with my son (12/12/2012) Reviewer: Jennifer

I am teaching him to sit, once he understands the difference between having to poop & pee he can stand.

My mother in law has a daycare -- everyone sits in the beginning. They watch each other & learn. The more positive the situation the fewer the accidents --spanking or over reacting if there is an accident, only leads to more accidents.

Potty Untraining (10/12/2012) Reviewer: Mary (Portland, me)

My daughters are 22 and 24 years old. I did not potty train.

I introduced the potty when they showed the signs. They would occassionaly sit on it with clothes on. I never asked them or put them on the potty. At 28 months my oldest daughter and at 33 months my youngest daughter started going on our adult toilet rather than their potty all on there own with rarely an accident.

My daughter has not potty trained her 3 year old daughter but at daycare they do have the kids sit on the potty three times a day. My granddaughter just started going on the potty recently all on her own at home without reminders at age 38 months. Kids can use the potty as a power struggle. It is not worth the aggravation to try to potty train by a certain age since it is a natural thing and they will do it when they are ready.

Doing number 2 (5/27/2012) Reviewer: Tam My 3 yr old will pee on the potty and then he will go 2 in his pants. How do I get him comfortable enough to go on the big potty so he will stop going in his pants? I noticed every time that he has done this, is when he's in his play room down stairs...getting frustrated and need some help.
Consistency seems to work best (5/5/2012) Reviewer: Lynna Chenault (Henderson, Tx) I've trained four of my own kids and couple of friends' children as well and consistency seems to be the number one rule that worked for me. Accidents definitely happen, but keeping the faith so to speak and putting them on the potty no when or where pays results.
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