Boys and girls are sometimes ready to be potty trained at different times and different tactics need to be used. Here are some tips for potty training both toddler boys and girls.
Potty training readiness can vary by as much as a year or more between toddlers and it’s as individual as personality. The key (as with many toddler trials) is patience; it’s also wise to wait until your child is truly ready to get started and to take potty training setbacks in stride. While girls do tend to be slightly faster at learning the potty basics, readiness is much more tied to personality than any other factor. Here are the gender differences to take into account when it’s time to get started.
Tips for potty training boys
These tips should help your son catch on:
- Undress like a pro
When it’s time to go potty, boys have to learn to pull down both their pants and pull-ups, training pants or underwear. Get started early by making sure that your little one is dressed in pants or shorts with an elastic waist that’s easy to pull down when nature calls.
- Start with sitting
Have him sit down for both peeing and pooping at first. For now, it’s tough enough just getting to the potty in time without having to decide whether to sit or stand. Plus, since one bathroom visit might produce both, er, outputs, it’s easier if your son stays in one spot for the whole shebang. Once he’s really got the hang of things, he can stand “just like Daddy”.
- Pointing in the right direction
Whether he’s standing or sitting, show your son how to aim (you might give your hubby a refresher course, too). He needs to point his penis down into the toilet to make sure the pee goes where it needs to go. If/when he stands to pee, you can do target practice by floating O-shaped cereal, bits of toilet paper or drops of food coloring in the toilet bowl and challenging him to go for a bull’s-eye. Potty training urinals can also be a great tool to help your little man learn to point and shoot like a pro.
- Teaching ups and downs
Now’s the time to teach your son some basic potty etiquette. If he’s standing up to pee, show him how to raise the seat (all the way, so it won’t fall down on him midstream) and then lower it again when he’s finished. And don’t forget to flush!
Tips for potty training girls
With their seated-only style, it’s a little easier to train toddler girls but there are a few tips that are specific to little ladies.
- Hike it up
- Learn wiping etiquette
- Face girls forward when on the toilet while placing a small stool under her feet
Girls may need to learn to pull down their pants, pull-ups and training pants like boys, but they’ll also need to learn to hike their dress or skirt up to get it out of the way when it’s time to go potty. Like boys, difficult buttons and overalls will just slow her down.
Teach your daughter to wipe front to back to avoid spreading bacteria. If this is too tricky for now, you can have her pat dry instead.
Girls may be ready to toilet train before they are tall enough to reach the potty on their own.
How is potty training different for boys and girls?
Boys tend to have a tougher time with the toilet. For one thing, it may be Mommy, not Daddy, who’s doing most of the coaching, so there’s little opportunity to actually show him how it’s done. Plus, boys need to master both sitting and standing to do their business.
Do girls potty train faster than boys?
Large studies have shown that boys are delayed by about 6 months when it comes to potty training. Experts also think this may have something to do with the fact that boys are more physically active during preschool and don’t like to stop their fun to go potty. But experts also contend that personally traits and individual readiness have more to do with when your child will be ready than sex does.
It may seem impossible right now, but your toddler will eventually do his or her business in the toilet instead of in a diaper. Sure, it might take your little boy longer than your little girl but it also may not. Either way, eventually he’ll learn to pee and poop in the potty and the trials and tribulations of toilet training will be a humorous thing of the past.