There’s a reputation when it comes to potty training a boy. Experts at the University of Michigan Health System say that although boys and girls are both ready to start potty training at the same age (between 24 and 27 months), boys aren’t often fully trained until a couple months after girls (29 months for girls, and 31 months for boys). Remember that this is just an average, however, and reasons aren’t very clear.
One difference in potty training a boy is they are typically more active than girls, so they may be less likely to decide to stop what they’re doing to use the toilet. Also, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children of potty training age start to become more interested in mimicking the behavior of a same-sex parent. So, if the mother is doing the potty training, their sons might not be as interested as they would if their dads did the majority of it.
For me, both reasons resonate. There are some similarities between potty training my daughter and her younger brother, but also big differences. My son “learned” daytime potty training around the same time she did, around 33 months old. However, I use the word “learned” with hesitation, because even at four and a half years of age, he still has accidents if he’s too busy playing and holds it in as if his life depends on it. Also, he was surrounded by females most of the time and wasn’t interested in his sister’s potty habits, so perhaps that contributed as well. In hindsight, there are a few tips for potty training I wish I would have considered before sitting him on the toilet for the first time.
5 Tips for Potty Training a Boy
If you are potty training a boy in your house, here are five tips that might help.
- Enlist a male role model. As I mentioned above, boys start to imitate their dads by the time they’re ready to start potty training, so having a male role model show him how it’s done can really help. Any male role model can help, including older siblings.
- Buy a potty seat or chair with a splashguard. Until boys are ready to perfect their aim, which may take up to half of a century in some cases, a splashguard can help keep everything where it belongs when potty training a boy.
- Have fun with it. When he expresses interest in standing, which he will if he follows the lead of a male role model, teach him to aim by making a game out of it. Some parents place Cheerios in the toilet and encourage their sons to see if they can hit them while peeing.
- Assess your reward system. Does your son like trains? Get train stickers and train-related potty training books. Does he like cars? Do the same with cars. You know your son better than anyone. Reward him with things he enjoys when he uses the potty successfully.
- Be patient. Since potty training a boy takes longer than a girl, they’ll also need you to be patient for those extra weeks or months you spend potty training. Any sign of anger or frustration from you can cause regression. You don’t want to have to start over at square one just because you threw a little temper tantrum, do you? The more forgiving you are, the quicker they’ll learn.
You might be one of the lucky ones whose son is potty trained early. So don’t assume that you’ll have any problems. Going into it with a positive attitude may be all he needs. Stay positive and be patient, and he’ll be out of diapers in no time.