How to Teach Boys to Pee Standing Up
by Anna Kaplan, MD
Dr. Anna Kaplan is a writer and a licensed physician. She completed a 3-year residency and board certification in Family Practice and was in active practice for 15 years. A parent herself, Anna still remembers the "I know how to use the potty" song that her children sang.
- Most people pee when they have a bowel movement, immediately before, or after. The two are associated naturally and trying to separate them makes learning more difficult.
- Standing to pee involves more skills.
- Most boys of toilet training age will have difficulty aiming accurately.
- Even if they can aim, boys may not want to. Either way, this means more work for parents who must clean up.
How and When to Teach a Boy to Pee Standing UpIt is time to teach a boy to pee standing up, into the potty or toilet, when he has been completely toilet trained, has enough motor skills and coordination to do it, and shows an interest in learning. The only reason to start earlier is if your child insists on peeing standing, having seen others do so. If your child is resisting toilet training, you do not want to get into a battle over the issue of standing. If he says he will only pee standing, you can try beginning that way. Most boys will learn to pee sitting, but once your child is ready, the easiest way to teach a boy to pee standing up is to have a male relative show him what to do. Hopefully his father, brother, uncle, or grandfather are available to do this. If not, perhaps a close family friend would be willing to help. Boys will also imitate other boys, so if your child is in preschool, he may already be watching his friends pee standing up. That might lead your child to express an interest in learning. Moms with no friends or relatives to help will have to try and explain it to their son by themselves. If you have any skill drawing, a simple illustration might be helpful. There are animated illustrations as well as videos available on YouTube.
How to Improve AimPeeing standing up takes practice. Little boys are notoriously poor at aiming their urine stream. Partly they just cannot do it without a lot of practice, but they frequently just don’t want to. It is fun to see how far pee will travel and what it looks like when it hits the floor and walls. Your child can stand using a potty, or a toilet with a step stool so he can reach. If possible, he should pee in a bathroom with an easy-to-clean floor, not carpet. If he does miss, you can have him help you clean up each time. Make a target for your child to try and hit in the potty or toilet to improve aim. Parents have used Cheerios for this purpose for a long time, although some prefer other round breakfast cereals. Mothers can use a squirt gun to demonstrate aim if there is not a male around. There are many products available to teach a boy to pee standing up, that are fun and improve aim. These include:
- Targets you put in the toilet that in the middle and float until urine (or spray from the water bottle) hits them. Then they sink. These come in fun shapes. You can buy biodegradable, non-toxic, septic-tank-compatible targets.
- Special potties with plastic parts that spin when hit by a stream of urine. An example is a green frog with a red or yellow spinner. These potties are lightweight, and you can use them in your child’s room or bathroom. Place them on the floor or mount them to the wall at the correct height with suction cups. They are easy to remove and clean, so you can also use them when traveling.
- Motion-activated, battery-operated lights for nighttime once your child is using a toilet. These are mounted on the ceiling and shine a light the spot in the toilet your child needs to hit to improve aim.