How to Potty Train Boys

Potty Training Boys - How to Potty Train Boys: do you teach them to sit or stand?

Boy Sitting on a Potty

Most potty training experts will recommend that toddler boys should be potty trained sitting down

I am asked this question by many parents -they all want to know whether to start potty training boys to urinate standing up or sitting down.

While there is definitely no right or wrong way to potty train a boy, most potty training experts will recommend that toddler boys should be potty trained sitting down. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends encouraging & teaching toddler boys to urinate sitting down.

The major reason for this recommendation is to keep things simple by teaching them to sit for both urination and bowel movements. Other reasons include the logistics involved in managing the equipment for both types of training and the effort required to clean up while they learn to aim properly.

Boy Standing in front of a Urinal

Once he completely potty trained, then training him to pee standing up like his father and brothers!!

My personal recommendation is to first teach your son to potty training sitting down. Once he completely potty trained for both and is accident free, then I would recommend training him to pee standing up like his father and brothers!!

Keep it Simple and Bowel Movement Training:

Most parents would agree that potty training your toddler son includes not only teaching him to urinate in a potty or toilet, but also to make bowel movements in the potty or toilet. And for bowel movement training, you will have to teach your toddler son to sit down on a potty or the toilet.

So, then if you decide to teach your son to pee standing up, you will have to teach him to have a bowel movement sitting down - that means teaching your son two different things. This can get confusing for a toddler.

Let's take a look at the potty training process in detail from the child's perspective. (Read the article on " When should I start potty training? What is the right age for potty training? " to learn the details of your child's physiological, motor, verbal & cognitive, social & emotional development)

It starts with body awareness and the ability to associate a feeling of fullness with the need to eliminate and the result i.e. a BM or urination. This awareness starts at about age 1 and until now (for the last 1-2 years), when you child has this feeling, he simply goes ahead and eliminates in his diaper or pull ups. Now you want him to learn that when he has this feeling he has to stop and find his way to the potty. Then he has to remove his clothing and then sit or stand on the potty depending on which feeling he has and then eliminate.

So, from your child's perspective you are already asking him to do a lot - and by trying to teach your child to stand while urinating and sit while having a bowel movement, you are asking him to only learn and identify the feeling of fullness, but to differentiate the two feeling and make a decision to sit or stand.

Having said that, bowel movements usually occur with urination, and if you child is sitting down to urinate, he may have a bowel movement at the same time and thus make the whole potty training process a lot easier.

Equipment Logistics and Clean Up Efforts.

What will you use - a potty chair, a urinal or the toilet potty seat? Which one for which? A potty is probably too low to the ground to use for urination from the standing position. A urinal for pee and a potty for bowel movements? Maybe the toilet for both?

If you decide to use the toilet for both, you will need a step stool. You will also have to work out the details of the toilet seat & toilet seat reducer. (You may want to purchase the reducer that attaches permanently to the toilet seat.) Do you teach him to remove the toilet seat reducer and lift the toilet seat? Or do you just leave them there because it is more convenient, but will be harder to clean?

Where will you do the potty training? Since the toddler is just learning, his aim will be off and initially he may also probably also dribble, so there is a good chance of over spray and mess. For this reason, if you may decide to teach your son to stand when urinating, you will want him to learn in the bathroom. Be prepared to do some extra cleaning in the bathroom and around the toilet bowel for a while until your toddler learns to aim.

Having said all this, by the age of two and half or three, children become interested in the concepts of gender and boys will begin to imitate their fathers or older brothers. So, you may find that your child wants to be like daddy or like his older brother and will insist that he urinate while standing and not sitting. If this is the case, then let him stand. It is not worth a power struggle. Work on teaching him to urinate first and then work on bowel movements.

Last, but not least, if your child is in day care, then make sure that you are teaching him the same way that they are teaching him. Some day cares insist on teaching boys to urinate standing and so make sure that both of you are teaching him the same thing!!


Here are some more articles to help you with potty training your son.

How to Potty Train - The Five Potty Training Methods - select one that works for you and your son!

Potty Training Age - When should you start potty training? What is the right age for potty training?

Potty Training Methods - more details on the various methods, including training methods by experts such as Dr. Phil and Dr Sears.

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3yrs and peeing standing (2/2/2014) Reviewer: Kathy (Norfolk, Ontario)

My son (turned 3 in December) has been potty training on and off for a year and a half. So maybe a week on and months off. This morning he said he wanted to go on the toilet. So off we went. I was nearly mortified when he brought the stool over and insisted on standing to pee. But he did it. He had tried a couple months ago and nothing came out so we had explained he is too little to stand up still (he's very VERY tiny for his age). Anyway, he's been standing up to pee all day and only once did he go out of the toilet because his sister startled him. He likes "the bubbles" he can make.

He also has done all his bowel movements sitting today. He has no problem switching it up. Reminds me of my daughter. We tried training her with no luck (we didn't force her but encouraged and asked her if she had to go). Then one day when she was 3 she took her pull ups off, handed them to me and said "I'm done with these now, I'm a big girl". Bam, not one accident...not even at night! She's almost 5 now.

I'm a big believer in showing them how it's done, encouraging but not pushing, and just asking them if they need to go on the toilet/potty. When they are ready they really will do it.

Just starting with my son (12/12/2012) Reviewer: Jennifer

I am teaching him to sit, once he understands the difference between having to poop & pee he can stand.

My mother in law has a daycare -- everyone sits in the beginning. They watch each other & learn. The more positive the situation the fewer the accidents --spanking or over reacting if there is an accident, only leads to more accidents.

Potty Untraining (10/12/2012) Reviewer: Mary (Portland, me)

My daughters are 22 and 24 years old. I did not potty train.

I introduced the potty when they showed the signs. They would occassionaly sit on it with clothes on. I never asked them or put them on the potty. At 28 months my oldest daughter and at 33 months my youngest daughter started going on our adult toilet rather than their potty all on there own with rarely an accident.

My daughter has not potty trained her 3 year old daughter but at daycare they do have the kids sit on the potty three times a day. My granddaughter just started going on the potty recently all on her own at home without reminders at age 38 months. Kids can use the potty as a power struggle. It is not worth the aggravation to try to potty train by a certain age since it is a natural thing and they will do it when they are ready.

Doing number 2 (5/27/2012) Reviewer: Tam My 3 yr old will pee on the potty and then he will go 2 in his pants. How do I get him comfortable enough to go on the big potty so he will stop going in his pants? I noticed every time that he has done this, is when he's in his play room down stairs...getting frustrated and need some help.
Consistency seems to work best (5/5/2012) Reviewer: Lynna Chenault (Henderson, Tx) I've trained four of my own kids and couple of friends' children as well and consistency seems to be the number one rule that worked for me. Accidents definitely happen, but keeping the faith so to speak and putting them on the potty no when or where pays results.
(3/20/2012) Reviewer: Kelly I am shocked that you would ask if spanking a toddler for having an accident is acceptable. They are children and they are learning, is fear their method? The daycare should not be spanking the children as a method of potty training. My child would not be allowed to go to that type of daycare.
spanking a toddleer (2/16/2012) Reviewer: wendlandtl@yahoo.com (richfield, mn) I was wondering if spanking a toddler for going potty in his pants, I'm thinking they shouldn't be spanked? i know my grandson's day care will spank him if he has an accident and I really have a hard time dealing with this.
potty fears (1/24/2012) Reviewer: d smith (lamar, co) When we started potty training we had started a little early all I wanted was for him to sit on the potty anytime he went in the bathroom, and it was going good one night I got him ready to go in the tub for bath time and while I was running the tub water and washing his brother he walked over and complete emptied his badder we got excited and he danced around and had to show the house what he had done. Next we tried to have him go every 30 minutes he was so not having it that he held it in all day and peed so much that it soaked his bed. now anytime we even head down the hall to the bathroom he freaks out. We have gone back to diapers and he still sits on the potty but there is no forward movement. If it is this hard to get him to pee in the potty i can't believe that poop will come any easier. Please help should we keep trying to potty train or should we abandon ship
Ahh I dont think this is possible (11/22/2011) Reviewer: Holly Jeakins (Salina, ks) I have been trying to potty train my little boy for over a year now. He understands that he needs to pee in the potty but knows with a pull up he can be lazy and just pee in his pants so I put real big boy underwear on then he goes to the potty most of the time but when he has his accident and I go to put more underwear on he throws a tantrum and wants a pull up back on. As far as the pooping thing goes well when I know he is trying to go I rush him to the potty and have him sit and tell him to sit there and let it fall in the potty but he says its all gone now mom and insists on getting up then when he gets his pullup back on he goes. What do I do? I'm at a loss of ideas. My daughter was so easy.
11 months of poo poo training!!! (7/29/2011) Reviewer: Natalie (Austin, TX) The day my son turned 3 I told him no more pampers that he was a big boy and that he needs to pee in the potty. Since that day he has pee'd no problem at all day or night. BUT I made the mistake of showing him to pee standing up after just a couple of weeks of him pee'ing sitting down... So he never got the idea to Poo Poo in the potty. He knows when he has to go, I caught him closing the door to the restroom and standing in there pooping in his undies. Ive tried every trick I can think of... I need serious help. He starts school in 3 weeks and if I can't get him to go poo poo in the potty then he cant start school.
nightmare (7/20/2011) Reviewer: april (pinellas park, fl) Potty training has been a nightmare for me, my 3 year old will urinate in the potty standing, but will not while sitting, he still has BM's in his pants. He refuses to sit on the potty. He knows when he has to go ( also I watch for signs) but still refuses to sit whether it be his potty chair or the toilet. I do not know what has made him so afraid to sit on the potty. We even have the small seat that goes over the toilet. I really feel I am running out of patience and I really need some advice. I have two older children and have never had any problems . Thanks
Almost there???? (7/13/2011) Reviewer: Renee My son is 3 and will use the potty when we are at home and he don't have any cloths on, but as soon as we put underwear or pants on him he will use the bathroom in his pants. How can I get him to tell me when he needs to use the potty when he has something on?? Potty Training Concepts: Have a couple of practice runs with him for about 1-2 weeks. Make sure you give him a reward when he does poop or pee on the potty. After the 1-2 weeks of the practice runs, step back and he will let you know when he has to go potty. He just needs to get to know the signals his body is making.
Ready to train? (6/1/2011) Reviewer: Brandi K (Fayetteville, NC) My son is 22 months and is incessantly taking his diaper off (especially after he poops- and he's figured out how to get the tape off.) He used to always poop in the morning, and now after we moved him to a "big bed" he's pooping shortly after we put him down for bed at night. It seems to me like he's ready, except that he doesn't talk. He communicates by grabbing my finger and pulling me to what he wants (and I try to encourage words, "Do you want more juice?). So I'm not sure how potty training will work. But I'm tired of cleaning up poop and pee! Potty Training Concepts: If your child can dress and undress themselves, squat or go hide to pee or poop, or show signs that they want to be a big girl or boy, they are ready. If they don't show any of the signs just listed they are not ready yet.
to soon to potty :{ (5/12/2011) Reviewer: jessy (bainbridge , ga) my son is one and he is starting to pee in potty crazy and unrealistic but he is he does not go all the time but be for bath and bed he loves to give it a go :) is this going to mess him up for when we get serious on potty time or is it ok to let him try for now i feel it gets him use to the idea but realize he is no where near ready but he has already started taking off diapers when they are wet and bringing me diapers when he is done sitting in the corner from a poopy WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE FOR MY to soon to potty son ?

Potty Training Concepts:

He is showing signs that he is ready. Him squatting in the corner when he goes poopy is a major sign that he is ready. I would begin showing him where poop and pee goes and sitting him on the toilet when he usually goes poop or pee. This is not too soon some children are potty trained by the time they are 11 months old.

Standing VS Sitting (4/28/2011) Reviewer: Happy Dad (Grand Junction, CO) Training boys to stand to pee is actually counter-productive. They'll figure that one out on their own all too soon. Even the biggest of boys who have "PERFECT" aim, still splash around! There's a new children's board book to solve all of that. look it up at www.wix.com/pottyproperly/pottyproperly
kola2010 (11/7/2010) Reviewer: Kay (cumming, ga) someone told me to but cereal such as fruit loops or cheeiors into their potty and tell them when you go potty u have to aim for tha cereal and this is supposed to help??? I don't know if it's really worht trying because it seems a little odd to me and my son is 20 moths so we're really tryin to introduce the potty training; any other suggestions?
Insightful Review (9/3/2010) Reviewer: Carmelia Belter (Long Beach, Ca) I was potty training boys using this method, but I feel that it works better for potty training toddlers. This information helps a lot but I had to go to other sites for a more well rounded view of how to potty train. Overall this is a good resource
Life Saver (1/22/2010) Reviewer: Nesquik (Sacramento, CA)

For us the most helpful thing is the Potty Power DVD I ordered... I bought potty training books too...

The thing is, Toddlers don't always listen to what you're telling them, or won't do what you want them to do. Instead they learn and copy what they see on TV or other kids doing.

The Potty Power DVD worked like magic... he's not completely potty trained, but we are well on our way now.

He goes to the potty by himself now... and today he didn't want to wash his hands after peeing, and just ran to the living room. When I reminded him that the kids in the DVD were big and washing their hands and making bubbles, he ran to the bathroom to wash his hands immediately.

He's even taking his pants off... and trying to put them on now, after going potty. I think that DVDs are better than the books... one teaches the kids directly... the book teaches you...

useless (12/21/2009) Reviewer: Michael Of course I know where to conduct the pottying. Tell me how to help my son tell me that he has to go or has gone. Examples! I'm not retarded for Christ's sake!
HELP! (11/22/2009) Reviewer: Lisa (Albuquerque, NM)

My son is 3.

He will uses the potty at home to go pee, however he won't go #2.

Also, when we are in public he won't use the bathroom at all.

And at night, forget it!

What do I do?

PTC Comments:

Please see our section on Encopresis and more specifically Non-Retentive Encopresis We also have a section on night time potty training.

Shanaynay (11/5/2009) Reviewer: Shanaynay (Rockland, Maine) Does anyone have anything to help me?!?!? my son doesn't wanna pee in the toilet!!!
how can teach him (11/2/2009) Reviewer: yadira torres (los angeles, ca)

my son is already 3 and he refuses to use the restroom.

I am a single parent and its difficult to spend money on diapers. can some one help me out n give me tips on what to do please!!!!!!

PTC Comments:

Please see our section on Potty Training Tips and Information and Potty Training Problems and Solutions

Don't know what else to do!!!! (11/2/2009) Reviewer: Jodie (Las Vegas, NV)

My little guy just keeps having poo accidents in his pants.

I think we have tried everything possible and don't know what else to do cause he knows to go in the potty?

PTC Comments:

Please see our section on Potty Training Problems and Solutions and more specifically Pooping in Pants, Potty Accidents and Encopresis.

mommy (10/14/2009) Reviewer: erica my son refuses to use the potty it is soo hard he already 3 what i am going to do all he wants to do is play help!!!!!!!!!!
THE PLAYER (10/3/2009) Reviewer: VEGAS (LAS VEGAS, NV) HOW DO YOU POTTY TRAIN A KID WHO ONLY WANTS TO PLAY & NOT STOP TO USE THE POTTY WHEN HE'S SUPPOSED TO.
Frustrated Potty Mom! (5/19/2009) Reviewer: Agnes (Lindenhurst, NY) I like your blog. A lot of work and so much information. I wish I could read this before I started potty training my son