Skip to main content

Tips for potty training a boy

Potty training a child is a task that no parent really looks forward to doing, but it is something that has to be done. If you have a little boy that is transitioning into the stage of being ready for potty training and you are looking for some tips, we’ve rounded up some of the best advice from the experts. When it comes to how to potty train a boy, there are different things you can do to encourage them to use the potty when they feel like they have to go.

Potty training tips

Be sure they’re ready

You can kick start the process by talking to them about what is going to happen with potty training. Mary Gavin, M.D. for Nemours Kid’sHealth recommends that you should talk to your child about “identifying” the process, such as asking them if they have to go “poo” or “pee.” Gavin also recommends using small words in order for them to understand better. Another thing you can do is to have your toddler let you know that their diaper is soiled. That way, they can start recognizing what it feels like and how they will benefit from potty training. When they become uncomfortable in their diapers or disposable underwear or they don’t like the feeling of even wearing a diaper anymore, that’s when you know that they are ready to be potty trained.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Find the right potty

Locating the “right” potty for your son is very important. They have to be comfortable with the potty they are using, otherwise, all of your hard work will be all for naught. Many small children are rather intimidated by a large toilet seat, so it’s best to get a smaller one for them to sit on. Dina DiMaggio, M.D., writing for the New York Times, says that “Often pediatricians find it is easier to use a potty chair, or a small portable potty that your child can sit on while placing both feet on the ground.” Having these smaller potties eliminate the fear of using a big potty and many small children’s fears of falling into the toilet. A potty chair gives them more comfort and a place to put their feet on the ground.


Positive reinforcement is something that is so important when you are potty training a child. Dr. Michael McKenna, a pediatrician from Zionsville, Indiana tells TODAY, “Celebrate the little victories. Figure out what will inspire your kid to make good decisions.” This does not necessarily mean that you need to give them a piece of candy or a toy when they use the potty, but by telling them how proud of them you are, they will then feel that inside themselves. Toddlers enjoy that feeling and very much want more of it, so they will start doing their best to try and use the potty.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Sit or stand?

When it comes to potty training boys, many make the case to begin potty training them sitting down. This kind of takes anymore kind of guesswork out of it for them. They don’t have to think about two things at once just yet. Many also believe that this will ease up on the “mess factor” of potty training. Dr. Maureen O’Brien, Ph.D., director of parenting and child development at The First Years, in Avon, Massachusetts tells Parents, “It’s not just because of the mess factor. When a child is learning, you want to keep the number of variables that he needs to think about to a minimum. Deciding whether to sit or stand can cause him to hesitate a few seconds—and those seconds can be crucial.”

Final tips

Help them feel comfortable

Once your child has found the right potty for them, help them choose a location in the home where it is easy for them to go and sit down when they need to. It should be a place in your home where they are comfortable. Jen L’Italien, certified Oh Crap Potty Training consultant and owner of Oh Crap Potty Training From ME To You said to CNN, “It can take time before kids are comfortable with flushing. And you don’t have to rush the child to flush the toilet.” So, finding a place in the house together is a great idea. That way, everyone is happy.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to potty training. Even just having them practice by sitting on the potty with their clothes on, even if they don’t have to go can be effective. This is to get a sense of when to take potty breaks. Accidents are going to happen, and Joanna Vogel, education director of Kidz Village preschool in Maspeth, New York tells CNN, that when they go to school, “Several sets of extra clothes in the cubby are a must.” But we shouldn’t let accidents discourage them from potty training.

Once you know that your child is ready to start potty training, get ready for it. A good place to start is to get them some gear. A step stool for reaching the sink to wash their hands is good to have on hand. Other items include a potty seat, special soap to wash their hands, anything to make it special for them. These helpful tips will help you accomplish your potty training goals.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Passmore
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer has written two books on how to deal with living with chronic illness using the power of positivity. She has written…
The best party games for your sports-loving kids
These best party games score big with sports lovers
Kids running with each other at a party.

Got a sport-loving kid with a birthday coming up? Hosting a sports themed birthday party for your kiddo is a super easy way to score a touchdown. Whether you've got a kickball fanatic or a budding soccer star on your hands, choosing the birthday party theme for your sports fan is a lot easier than scoring in a shootout. There are tons of sports party games that are a slam dunk.  You don't have to stick to one sport either when choosing the activities for your little one's big day. From soccer-themed games to kickball games to an Olympic theme, there are a ton of options for all your guests whether you are hosting indoors or out. Now, let's hear the starting lineup for the best party games.
Sports party kickoff
Before we get to the best sports party games to knock it out of the park to celebrate your child's special day, let's not forget about the warmup. It's a big part of any sport as all athletes know. So, a fun way to get all the kids excited about a sports-themed birthday party is to kick it off with a warmup.

Have an adult dress up as the coach and lead the kids in some useful and silly stretches. Play upbeat music to pump them up. The theme from Rocky is a timeless choice. Then, have the coach give the partygoers tips for the games ahead before concluding with an introduction with a cheer for the birthday guy or gal.

Read more
6 early signs of autism in toddlers to be on the lookout for
Which toddler behaviors are quirky and which are red flags for autism?
toddler boys playing a party game

Autism spectrum disorder is very common — about one in 44 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learning that your child is on the spectrum is upsetting, but early intervention following a diagnosis is vital. The early signs of autism in toddlers though can be easy to overlook. If you have a child that you think might be on the spectrum, it's best to know what the early signs are as your toddler develops.

There is a long list of possible signs as the autism spectrum is wide and diverse. One sign may appear in one child, but not in another. Certain early signs of autism are more common than others, which is why knowing the red flags is important. The earlier a child receives a diagnosis, the better the support system will be for them.

Read more
Are your kids watching TV too much? The screen time guide every parent needs
Everything you need to know about screen time and your kids
Two siblings lying on the floor watching tv together.

By now, every parent has gotten the message that the time their kids are watching TV should be limited. Parents are inundated with messaging around screen time and how much is too much, but the reality is that kids watching TV can often give parents a much-needed break. Whether it's to get a meal ready, throw in a load of laundry, or simply enjoy a few minutes without a child asking you for something, letting your kids watch TV feels like an easy and harmless way to keep them occupied, but what amount is okay and how much is too much?
Watching TV can impact children in a few ways, and it all depends on multiple factors. For instance, are you spending time with them while they watch? How many hours per day do they spend glued to the tube? What shows do they watch? We've collected the important information so you can make the best decision about your child's television intake.

What age is too young for kids to watch TV?
According to pediatrician Dr. David Hill, MD, FAAP, "it takes around 18 months for a baby's brain to develop to the point where the symbols on a screen come to represent their equivalents in the real world." So, it's important that babies get real-life social interaction, and not stare at screens all day.

Read more