Potty training boys is something many parents think requires special rules. The truth is, besides the difference in anatomy, it’s not that different from potty training girls.
Before you get start
Before you start your potty training journey, a few things to consider are their potty training readiness, a chosen method, and the supplies to gather.
Is Your Boy Ready?
To begin potty training a boy, decide if he is ready for potty training. Look for these readiness cues:
- Showing interest in going potty
- Telling you when he’s wet
- Asking to be changed because he’s uncomfortable in a soiled diaper
- Follows 2-step direction easily
- Your little one stays dry for at least 2 hours (demonstrates the ability to “hold it”)
- Sits still for at least 30 seconds
All of these readiness signs don’t have to be met to start potty training, but they are good guidelines to help you see if your son is on the right track. You don’t want to start too early, or else they could throw tantrums.
You have to decide when to begin the process. I recommend starting around the average age of 2.5 to 3 years old. This age range is when many young kids are mature enough to understand the directives you give and physically start having bladder control.
Decide on training methods
There’s a 3-day potty training boot camp, the naked potty training method, child-led, and so many more methods. But, unfortunately, there is no one right way.
It’s all about choosing the right potty training program that works best for your family and staying consistent with it through positive reinforcement.
I always say there are only two things you must have for potty training – a potty chair and a willing toddle. However, many tools and gadgets on the market make potty training more fun and manageable than growing up.
A good potty training supply list will help you pick the potty training supplies you find the most helpful for your method. For example, various the best potty chairs, such as a small portable potty, colorful potty training seat, splash-guard, and toilet seat covers.
The big question: Sit or stand?
One of the most common questions about boys should be taught to sit on it or pee standing up. However, you’ll find the parenting community divided on how to potty train boys because some have found success one way and others the other way.
My recommendation is to teach boys to sit first. Why? The simple answer is that it stops the confusion that can happen when they stand to pee but sit to poop.
Boys will eventually learn to stand and pee, which adds an extra step to the potty training process (i.e., target practice). But pooping in the potty is usually one of the biggest hurdles parents face when potty training their little ones.
With this in mind, a boy might happily and successfully pee in the toilet or a potty while standing, but when he’s told to turn and sit, he may not feel comfortable.
So, again, it’s an extra step that a young boy may have a hard time adjusting to—because of this, teaching a boy to sit first and then stand once he has mastered pooping in the potty usually produces the best results.
The 8 Best Potty Training Tips for Boys
1. Use food color
A super effective trick to get boys to pee in the potty toilet is to make the water change colors.
Here’s how it works:
- Put a few drops of blue food color in the potty or toilet bowl before your son pees.
- Tell him that when he pees in color, it will magically turn green
- Let him pee and watch the water change colors!
He can do this while standing or sitting. Boys love this trick, and it encourages them to be consistent.
2. Naked potty training
My favorite method for potty training toddlers is the naked potty training method. You can use it to potty train a boy and a girl and can be done for about a week.
Try this method to eliminate any barriers keeping him from making it to the potty on time. Many parents report potty training success after using this method.
What you’ll do is set aside about three days where you’ll be in the house with your son and not leave. Give him your undivided attention for those days and work on getting him to recognize when he has to use the potty.
What makes this method so effective is that your child will be naked from the waist down for the first few days.
For example, get him use to not wearing any diapers. Help him feel what it’s like to have accidents and be uncomfortable with them, so he will want to go potty instead. Encourage them to sit on the potty seat every 20 minutes.
Learn the exact steps for naked potty training in this complete guide.
3. Buy special underwear
Kids have favorite characters, so use that to your son’s advantage making potty training easier. In addition, having fun characters on his undies will help motivate him to want to stay dry and underwear full time.
Take him to the store to buy big boy underwear with his favorite character on it. Once home, let him know that he gets to start wearing his new big kid underwear and that he should not pee in them.
However, you can always start with disposable training pants or disposable diapers, such as pull-ups, training underwear, and training pants.
4. Use fun activities
Kids can get bored sitting on the potty, making their potty time fun by having fun activities and games to keep them occupied.
Here are some ideas of things to keep by the potty for entertainment:
- Coloring books
- Small toys
These activities can keep them entertained and distract them so that they don’t focus on using the potty, and it just happens naturally.
5. Read books
Books about potty training boys can help ease your son’s fears about it. Many fun books show kids that potty training is a natural part of life and encourage them to do it.
There are even books about specific issues like poop problems. Research and buy a few potty books to keep next to the potty to inspire.
6. Watch videos
Videos about potty training boys are another fun way to get them interested in using the potty. Videos work better for boys who prefer to watch rather than listen to a story about peeing.
Amazon Prime has videos like Elmo’s Potty Time, but there are lots of free potty videos on YouTube, as well.
7. Offer rewards
Most people, including kids, are motivated by rewards. So bribe your son a reward every time he uses the potty to know he is doing a good job.
Fill a basket or bucket with small toys or treats like toy cars, stickers, stuffed animals, action figures, etc. Let your little boy know that this is his reward basket, and he gets to pick something out of it each time he has success or reaches a milestone.
You get to decide what success is.
- Is it sitting on the potty for 2 minutes even if your boy doesn’t do anything else?
- Is it having a successful pee?
- A successful poop?
- Does he remember to wash his hands?
Whatever it is, be sure to define that qualification upfront so he knows what to expect. Then, place the bucket out of reach so that it’s only used for the special occasion of a potty success.
8. Use a potty chart
Use potty sticker charts to keep track of pees, poops, hand washing, and anything else that’s important to you. A potty sticker chart is a good idea to help kids see what they need to do and how far they’ve come from the start.
Each time your child completes a task, let your son place a sticker on the potty chart in the appropriate spot. Once he gets to the end of a row of stickers, make a big deal out of it and do a potty dance or give him an extra special treat!
As you can see, there are so many tips to make potty training boys successful. It doesn’t have to be stressful for you or your son.
You can make potty training fun!
With the right attitude, patience, a commitment to consistency, and a few fun reward as encouragement, potty training your son will happen before you know it.