You may have heard that little boys finish toilet training later than girls. There does tend to be a difference, but the amount is insignificant in the big picture. Studies show that on average girls are just one to three months ahead of boys, however, all children are different, and the age range for starting and finishing training is quite broad. Also, since the whole process can take up to a year from start to finish, the difference likely doesn’t mean much to your family.

Children’s individual personality traits, readiness factors, the age of training, and the parent’s approach are all more significant factors in the timing of toilet training.

In most cases it is best to begin potty lessons with your son sitting down to pee. The primary reason for this is that if you teach him to pee standing up you will be splitting toilet training in to two separate jobs: urination and bowel training. The more often your little boy sits to pee the more likely you are to catch a poop in the process, particularly since they often occur at the same time.

It also makes sense to wait to teach your son how to stand and urinate until he is tall enough to easily master the aim into the bowl. Until then, keep your little boy on the potty chair, and get him in the habit of holding his penis pointed down toward the bowl to avoid having him sprinkle outside the potty. You might also try having him sit and straddle the toilet seat facing backwards. It’s easier for him to climb up this way, and it also puts him in the proper position for elimination. Plus you’ll avoid the overspray that can wet his clothing….and you….and the floor…and the wall.

A new option has appeared recently on the market – toddler sized urinal potties. These look like miniature versions of a regular urinal but have a bucket just like a potty chair. If you use one of these make sure you either put in on an easy-to-clean floor surface or place a plastic mat around the base until your little one masters his aim. Keep in mind: The potential problem with teaching a little boy to stand to pee from the start is that it may interfere with bowel training. Children must sit and relax on the potty in order to have a bowel movement, and BMs often accompany pee, so the combination often makes for more effective and easier training.

Once your little guy has begun to master toilet training and is tall enough to reach the toilet bowl easily you can switch him to standing up at the regular toilet. If your family has been comfortable with family nudity, and if Daddy or a brother is a willing teacher, have one of them show your toddler how this works. You can also toss a square of toilet paper, a specially made potty target, or a few Cheerios into the bowl as targets can help him perfect his aim.

As the mother of two boys with excellent toilet seat manners, but whose many young friends lack them, I beseech you: Teach your little boy to lift the seat to pee, and then to return it to the lowered position when done. If you make this a habit from the start he’ll always do it that way. Otherwise, women that use the toilet after your son does will get the shocking surprise of landing with a thump on the cold porcelain rim, or of sitting on a splattering of urine drops – neither of which is very pleasant, to say the least. Good lessons will prevent you from sitting on a wet seat in the middle of the night – and your son’s future girlfriends and wife will thank you!

From The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution (McGraw-Hill) by Elizabeth Pantley 

About The Author

Elizabeth Pantley
Bestselling Parenting Author

Parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley is president of Better Beginnings, Inc., a family resource and education company. Elizabeth frequently speaks to parents at schools, hospitals, and parent groups around the world. She is a regular radio show guest and frequently quoted as a parenting expert in newspapers and magazines such as Parents, Parenting, American Baby, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, and Redbook and on hundreds of parent-directed Web sites. She publishes a newsletter which is distributed nationwide. Elizabeth is the author of twelve popular parenting books, available in 26 languages, including the popular No-Cry Solution series and the international bestseller The No-Cry Sleep Solution. Elizabeth and her husband, Robert live in the state of Washington , along with their four children, Angela, Vanessa, David, and Coleton, and “Grama.”

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