How to Potty Train a Boy

According to, boys often take longer to potty train than girls. Every child is different, however, so don't focus too much on how long the process is taking. Your son will get there when he's ready. Keep potty training simple and try to make it a fun experience for him, which can make it (almost) enjoyable for you, too.

Recognize the signs that your son is ready to potty train. He may tell you that he needs to go before filling his diaper. He may show an interest in the potty and sit on it regularly. If he can follow simple directions, understand the words you use to talk about the process of using the toilet and keep his diaper dry for two hours or longer, it could be a good time to start potty training.

Start potty training when your son is in a stable routine, with no major changes taking place in his life. If you are moving, having another baby or enrolling him at preschool, delay potty training until a new routine is well-established, recommends pregnancy and parenting website 1. Potty training will be more successful if he is open to a new challenge 1.

Encourage your son to watch you use the bathroom. Show him how Mommy uses the toilet in a different way than Daddy and take this opportunity to go into detail about how boys go to the bathroom. Buy a potty without a urine guard, to avoid scraping his penis when he sits on the potty. It's important to make sure all associations with going to the potty are positive ones.

Purchase a picture book about potty training for your son 1. Different books are available for boys and for girls. Read the book to your son and help him to absorb the information, making it a fun bonding experience.

Tell your son that the potty is his. Give him the freedom to draw on it or decorate it with stickers of his favorite characters. Encourage him to sit on it with his clothes on. If he is willing to do this for a few days, suggest that he sit on it with his diaper off. Stop immediately if he shows any signs of distress. If you push him into it before he's ready, the process tends to take longer and become more frustrating.

Decide whether you want to ditch the diapers altogether in favor of underpants or use pull-ups until your son is fully potty trained. Pull-ups are more convenient and requires less cleanup, but with underpants your son will be aware right away if he has had an accident, and it may be a quicker process. Consult his preschool teacher or day care provider, as she may have a preference if she is going to be playing an active role in the potty training process.

Teach your son to sit on the potty initially, regardless of whether he needs to urinate or defecate. This teaches him that both "poo" and "pee" need to go into the potty, and he won't get distracted by the spraying when he goes standing up. After he has mastered sitting down to use the potty, start showing him how to urinate standing up. Pop an O-shaped piece of cereal or similar-sized flushable item in the bowl and turn it into a target-practice game.

Celebrate every time your son uses the potty. Make up your own special song or dance to perform whenever he goes. Don't worry about feeling silly; he'll love it. Put a reward chart on the wall and give him a star every time he uses the potty. Congratulate him on his efforts, and don't give him any trouble if he has an accident. It's bound to happen now and again.

Keep your son in nighttime diapers until his diaper is dry in the morning and after naps. Be prepared for him to remain in diapers during the night for a while; it all depends on how deeply he sleeps. If he wants to go without a diaper at bedtime, let him. If he's not ready, tell him that you'll try again in a short while, without making too big a deal out of it. Avoid drinks in the last few hours before bed and make a toilet trip the last thing he does before going to sleep.

article divider