The process of potty training boys is similar to that of training girls, but there are a few key differences that need special attention. The primary difference is that boys must be taught the toileting process both in a sitting and standing position. The best way to approach training is to keep to a regular schedule, provide good examples of how to approach toileting and to persevere with patience and an encouraging manner.
With all children, it is important to start training when they are ready. Trying to start too soon can impede progress. Most boys are old enough to begin training when they become aware of when they are eliminating. A child can be trained anywhere from at 18 months to 4 years old. Boys usually train later than girls.
One of the most effective ways to start potty training boys is to show them examples of how toileting should be approached. Let the boy observe a male family member or trusted friend using the bathroom. Show him books and videos about learning to use the potty as well.
Once the child understands the basics of the toileting process, buy him a child-size potty, or a seat adapter for the regular toilet. Potty seats are best for children who find it intimidating to start learning to use the potty on an adult seat. If the child is comfortable using a seat adapter, make sure the seat fits securely on the regular toilet seat and provide a stool so that he can access the toilet on his own. In general, it is best not to purchase a potty seat with a urine guard, as this feature can scratch the boy’s penis and discourage him from training.
When potty training a boy, it is best to have the child start in the sitting position in order to avoid the mess and potential distraction of spray on the floor or wall. Get the child in the habit of sitting on the potty by having him sit on the seat at regularly scheduled intervals. He may feel more comfortable starting this process fully clothed before moving on to sitting on the potty with his pants down. Dress the child in clothes that are easy to access so that he can learn how to use the toilet completely on his own.
Keeping a regular schedule is an important element of successfully potty training boys. Plan potty time around regular events, such as when the child wakes up or when you are leaving the house. Start with one or two attempts a day, increasing the number of potty sessions to once every two or three hours. If it is helpful, set a timer to remind the child when it is time to go to the potty.
After the child is comfortable going in the potty sitting down, it is time to start having him stand up while using the toilet. If he is reluctant to urinate standing up, cut a piece of paper into the shape of a small tree, place it in the bowl and encourage him to try watering the tree. To increase his feeling of involvement, invite the child to help make the tree.
While potty training boys, it is important to recognize successful eliminations in a pleasant, but not overly enthusiastic manner. Make sure the child knows that accidents are okay and always praise his efforts. If he starts to lose interest in training, encourage him with stickers or small treats. Keep a chart of potty successes, and offer a larger reward, such as a trip to the zoo, for a series of successful efforts.