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1 October 2020

Potty training boys vs potty training girls

Potty training boys can be very different from potty training girls: there are a few issues you might run into with one and not the other.
Boy girl potty 438578
WhichEditorial team

Girls are typically said to be easier to train and ready earlier, but this is not a steadfast rule. The most important thing is to have an idea of your child's individual needs when potty training.

Potty training boys

Parents often find that boys start potty training later and might need more time to master it. Don’t fret too much about late starting – he'll get there eventually.

If your little boy is showing readiness signs, you can start to give potty training a go.

The best approach is to get your little boy excited about this new stage and coat the experience in positivity. Take him shopping to find a potty he likes and develop a rewards or treats plan together so that he's motivated to use the potty. Make sure you’re supportive of him through the successes as well as the pitfalls, and that you’re constantly communicating about the experience so you can help him through it.

With boys, potty training involves an extra step as you need to teach them to sit down, and then get used to standing up to go to the toilet. You should just start with everything sitting down, so that he gets used to the basic concept and procedure before learning about standing vs sitting.

Once he's regularly using the potty, you can start teaching him how to wee standing up – having a male role model there to 'demonstrate' can be really useful, whether that's you, your partner, an older brother or other male relative. Try to make it a fun challenge by placing some small, flushable targets in the bowl for him to 'hit' - you can buy specific products for this or just use something you have at home, such as cereal rings.

Potty training girls

Girls often want to start using the potty at an earlier age than boys, so if you think she’s showing signs of potty training readiness, it’s time to give it a go. Encourage her to be enthusiastic about potty training and taking on this new stage.

Preparation can be a fun and positive way to introduce her to potty training. You can take her shopping to find a potty she likes, and make up some fun activities or reward charts together to get her excited about trying to use the potty. Communication and support are key.

Girls might be curious about why men stand up to wee and women sit down, so be prepared to explain why girl and boys use the toilet differently. As toddlers learn by imitation, it can be useful to have a female role model demonstrate going to the toilet so that there is normality and familiarity surrounding the process.

The key thing to know for girls is that it's important to teach her to wipe from front to back. It's also worth noting that bladder infections are more common for girls than boys when potty training. Keep an eye out for warning signs, such as a frequent need to urinate, painful urination, wetting her pants, abdominal pain or a sudden urge to have a wee, and call your GP if you're worried.