Is Potty Training Boys and Girls Different?

Is Potty Training Boys and Girls Different?

When you have a child somewhere between the age of 2 and 3, chances are you have one topic frequently buzzing in the back of your mind: potty training.

As my daughter approached 2 she started showing an interest in using the bathroom and potty training was a breeze for her. My son is now halfway through 2, just starting to get the hang of it, and already it’s been much trickier. I was dreading the process because all of the horror stories I’d heard about boys being harder than girls.

I’ve learned a lot about the differences between potty training boys versus girls and how you can prepare. Here are five things I’ve learned with my son and daughter that may help get you through.

1. Remember all kids are different: Let’s just get this right out of the way. A child’s individual physiology matters more than gender. Even if you have two boys or two girls, they’ll catch on at different times.The most obvious difference I’ve noticed between my son and daughter has to do with physics. When my son sits down to pee it can be a lot messier, and a little trickier, to make sure it’s all getting in the toilet. And no, he’s not even standing up yet. Make sure your potty seat has a splash guard to keep the liquid in the potty. Set your son back a little more and teach him how to push his penis down so he doesn’t miss.

2. Have incentives: Both my son and daughter loved getting rewarded for going potty. Some people use stickers. I shamelessly use treats. If it’s been awhile since my son sat on the potty I’ll ask him if he wants to go potty while showing him the treat, then he’ll usually take the bait.

My daughter liked the seats that fit on top of the toilet but my son prefers the regular toilet seat and potty chair. If your son or daughter is scared of big toilet seats, a training seat or portable potty could be a better option.

3. Get dad involved: I asked a few of my boy mom friends how they transitioned their boys to peeing standing up and many agree daddy was a big help. Some sit their little boys backwards on the toilet to get used to peeing that direction. When your little boy is ready to start standing up, you can put some Cheerios or goldfish in the toilet as target practice to help with aim.

4. Wait until he or she is ready: This is the #1 piece of advice I hear over and over from parents who have been through the trenches. My daughter showed signs of readiness and interest in using the potty around 18 months old whereas my son was about a year older. This can be common for boys. I was frustrated that my son wasn’t picking it up as quickly as my daughter, but when I tried to force it he started dreading the potty. So we took a break and started again when I noticed he was squirming when he had to go, staying dry for longer periods of time, and asking to try sitting on the potty.

5. Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants can make it fun: Characters on training pants really made a difference. My daughter didn’t want to go pee pee on Dora. Pampers Easy Ups are cute and look similar to underwear so your kids can feel like big kids. My son love seeing Thomas on his Easy Ups but so far he’s not quite as empathetic as my daughter. He doesn’t mind peeing on Thomas where that was the last thing my daughter wanted to do.

6. Be patient: Whether you have a boy or girl, don’t underestimate the power of patience. If potty training isn’t going well, don’t despair. Realize that eventually he or she will get it and be out of diapers. For most kids, potty training doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process and eventually it’ll click and you’ll look back and wonder why you ever stressed about it.

In my experience, my boy is much more stubborn and slower to learn than his big sister, but with the right tricks and lots of patience, even parents of the most headstrong toddler will make it through the trenches.


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