Potty training boys: He says/ She says

When it comes to raising little boys, I’m learning as I go. I guess I could say the same about raising a little girl, but being a girl myself (and having three younger sisters) I feel like I have a lot more experience in that department.

When it came time to potty-train Lil’ J it was a piece of cake. She liked going into the bathroom and sitting on the toilet, and when we bought her Pull-ups, she didn’t want to pee on the princesses, so she was sure to make it to the toilet. I hardly remember the diaper-to-undies transition because it went so fast with not much stress on my part. Basically I took her lead.

Big T is now 18 months old and he also loves going into the bathroom… To flush the toilet a dozen times and see what can sink or float in the toilet. He also will lift up his shirt as if he needs to go to the bathroom, and let me sit him on the potty (fully clothed) until he says “all done.”

Big T in helmet Since he’s showing such an interest, and this is about the time I started to capitalize with Lil’ J (I think… or maybe she was closer to/ already two, I need to re-read my journal entries). I’m debating taking his diaper off and seeing if he will go. But when I explained to my husband my technique with setting him on the toilet, I was surprised by his reaction.

He says: Why are you setting him on the toilet? He’s suppose to stand up.
She says: Are you sure? That seems a little difficult at his age.
He says: Well, we should probably wait until he’s older because yea, he should pee standing up.
She says: Ok well, then you can teach him then since you know so much.

I’m not a boy, and the only thing I know about potty training boys are the tips I’ve heard about putting cheerios in the toilet for them to aim for while they pee. But I asked a couple of my girlfriends (one who is a mom of two potty-trained boys, and another who is just more informed than I am) and they laughed at our conversation.

“No, boys do not start off potty training while standing up, that’s too hard and it would just go everywhere,” they said. I thought about it and realized that my son is just tall enough to look in the toilet, much less pee in it. And even if I did get some kind of stool for him to stand on, there’s no way he’d know what to hold or how to aim.

I chuckle now thinking of my sweet husband thinking “Oh no, my boy’s gonna pee standing up!” (though of course that was not his tone at all). I really do hope he takes the reigns with potty training this time though because from what I hear boys can be more challenging… And messy.

What say you?


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  1. I always learn something new I’ve never heard of sitting down for boys and the Cheerios my best friend shared with me which I passed on in my my own potty trying post. I love dads response, men are hilarious.
    Nice share best of luck.

  2. My sweet girl basically potty-trained herself at 2, despite my not wanting to because I had a newborn. My sweet boy was 3.5, and I finally did it because he was starting Primary in a few weeks. My 2nd sweet boy will go to Primary in diapers because I’m not doing it. Plus, he turns 3 with only two weeks until Primary. My 3rd sweet boy… no clue yet. He’s only just barely in Nursery.

    Anyway, Lucas learned to pee sitting down (and so will the other boys). We reminded him to point “it” down (I think he held it there at first) and where it points is where the pee goes. I’ve heard some say to put the boys on backwards because they can lean further forward to make sure the pee goes in the toilet and not on the floor. Having seen his dad use the bathroom, Lucas stands sometimes (and it was the cutest thing ever watching him try at first), but mostly he sits.

    The funniest thing with potty training a boy was watching him discover all the silly things boy parts can do as we sat there waiting for things to happen.

  3. Yeah, are 15yr old started off sitting and evolved into standing but this was thru my husband’s guidance. He said it takes awhile to master that task. I can attest girls and boys can be messy when it comes to potty training. But just like with the diaper, “point that thing DOWN!” and you should be good to go. (BTW when my daughter holds her urine too long and then goes to the bathroom….it shoots straight between the toilet & seat onto the floor & her clothes! She doesn’t like to stop & use the bathroom and I wouldn’t have believed it until I saw it happen with my own eyes, smh)

  4. LOL I thought JUST like your husband! But it’s much easier when they start that young to sit them on the toilet so they get used to it and then teach them how to control it standing up. Good luck! I hear training girls is much easier but it wasn’t that hard with Chunks, now WIPING up is the hard part smh

  5. I taught my son sitting down. I too told dh it was his job to teach him standing techniques. I had to teach sitting down at first because he mixed up his words “pee” and “poo.” I was never sure exactly what he was gonna do and he needed to be seated just in case. Definitely teach the point it down! My little guy is 4 and, for the most part, prefers sitting to standing. He tends to make a mess standing (Ie on his hands, drips on his clothes, etc) which he hates. I did teach him standing later (dh wimped out), but it doesn’t bother me that he prefers to sit. When dh takes him to the bathroom he might use a urinal, but I don’t know. ?? I don’t even know if he can reach easily.

  6. I just went over this with my cousin, who has no kids but assumed standing was the best way. I assured her that sitting is very important:

    1) Early on you’re just getting them to do ANYTHING on the potty, so sitting allows for peeing AND pooping.
    2) Usually it’s a waiting game, too, and sitting is MUCH easier for that.
    3) Training potties are not meant to be peed in while standing up, and little boys are much to short for the real thing.
    4) Getting a stool doesn’t work either, because it’s nearly impossible for them to a) take their pants down and then get up on a stool themselves or b) get up on the stool and have the balance to pull down their pants (let alone keep aim in mind).

    My son learned sitting down, sometimes using the potty, sometimes using a seat on the toilet. Eventually he started standing. I don’t think he was fully trained until 3.5, and he’s now 6 and still sometimes is rushing in there. UGH. And wiping is still an issue. My other one is 20 months and has been grabbing a bit at his diaper lately, but he freaked out when I tried to put him on the toilet. I said I wasn’t even going to bring up the potty until he turned 2, but every kid is different!

  7. I smiled reading this remembering those days with my sweet boy who is now 14. I was a single mom during potty training him so I stuck with what I knew. This may be TMI but he had a serious curve going on so he sat till he was nearly 4. His dad agreed “he needs to sit till he knows how to control that thing”. We started at age 2 and it only took about 3 months, thanks to the home daycare owner.
    Daughter came along yrs later and we didn’t have the same childcare provider so it took much longer. She is 8 and still waits till the last min, ugh.

  8. When we potty trained Dom, we definitely started with sitting. Once he was actually potty trained and he was comfortable with aiming it downwards into the toilet and understood this was necessary so he didn’t pee on the floor, then Tim started showing him how to stand at urinals, like when we were out and about. Now he understands how to do it, and he loves to stand. I hate it though, because he is still a little short for the toilet, he can barely get it up and over, so I just worry about the mess. Haven’t seen anything too horrific yet… But I know it’s coming.

  9. There is no law that says men have to stand and pee. That’s ridiculous. But they do sell little tiny urinals if it’s important to your husband that he learn to pee while standing.. just an idea.

  10. As the mother of four boys, I have a little bit of experience in this arena. 🙂

    First of all, sitting down is THE way to go. It’s so much easier for them (and for you, or whoever is responsible for the cleanup. Ha!). They will learn in time to stand up – all of my boys have – but while they’re learning, it’s definitely better to have them sit.

    Also: don’t rush things. Boys can be hard to potty train, but take it from me – they practically do it themselves if you follow their lead and their timing. When they’re ready, they’ll take care of business. Trying to get them to do it early (the way I did with my oldest two) only ends up backfiring and taking longer.

  11. Years ago I worked at a daycare and there was only one toddler that peed standing up. He had a terrible accident one day trying to stand on a stool while going. The stool slid from under him, in an effort to catch himself he grabbed the lid of the toilet slamming it down on himself.

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