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How to Potty Train a Boy

Updated on August 29, 2014

Potty Training For Boys

Everyone needs to use the toilet at sometime, to most of us when we feel the urge to go, we go do our business and get on with our lives.

To a toddler the toilet can be quite a scary place, sitting on a big hole with water at the bottom of it can be frightening to them especially if it feels to the toddler that mummy and daddy are forcing him to do it.

Toilet training boys can be a long slow process but with preparation, patience, commitment and understanding your son will be out of diapers during the day before you know it.

There will be little accidents, some tears shed, and a few tantrums along the way but it won't be too long before your little one is peeing and pooping like a pro.

Potty Training For Boys

My son Jason began potty training a few weeks ago, he is making excellent progress.
My son Jason began potty training a few weeks ago, he is making excellent progress. | Source

When Should I Start Potty Training?

You will know when your son is ready to start potty training simply because he will tell you, maybe not in actual words but in the way he is behaving. there are many signs to look out for that will tell you that it is time to begin the process learning to use the toilet.

  • Word of mouth. Your son may tell you that he has done the toilet in his diaper or that he is wet.
  • Pulling off his diaper. When he does the toilet in his diaper he might pull it off simply because it is uncomfortable for him.
  • Facial expression. When soiling his diaper your son's facial expression can reveal all, when he strains to poop or pee the expression on his face will say it all.
  • Crying. Your son may cry when filling his diaper or afterwards because it is uncomfortable on him.
  • Hiding. Your son may run away from you or try to hide from you when he is doing his business in his diaper.
  • Clean Diapers. You may find that when you go to change his diaper that it is clean and dry, a sure sign that he can hold it in just like you, my son actually waited until his diaper was removed before toileting.
  • No Diapers. One of the more obvious signs that your son is ready to try toilet training is when he decides that he does not want to wear a diaper. He kicks and screams when you try to put one on him.

Other signs that your son is ready to potty train include him showing an interest when you are using the toilet, he may tell you that he needs to do a pee or a poo before doing it in his diaper or he may just stop what he is doing for a second whilst he is filling his diaper.

Is he Ready to Start Potty Training?

You and your son will know when the time is right to take the big step into potty training.
You and your son will know when the time is right to take the big step into potty training. | Source

Before Potty Training

Before you begin potty training your son, he has to be ready to take such a big step.

Physically he must be able to walk or run, he must be able to pull down his trousers and pants without help and he should be able to sit in the same position for a few minutes.

He should be able to follow simple instructions such as "Can you get the potty". He needs to be willing to try new things, forcing him to potty will make him resist more. He has to be able to tell you that he needs to go with words that you have taught him for pee and poop.

You Need To Be Ready For Potty Training Too

There is no point in starting to potty train your son if you cannot be consistent, if there is some upheaval in your life that means that won't allow you to be committed to toilet training your son you should wait until things get back to normality. Try not to leave it too long though because the longer that you leave it the more difficult it will become.

It may be better to put off potty training during stressful times such as:

  • Moving house
  • A new baby in the home
  • When you or your son is ill

There are no hard and fast rules but if your son is ready and you are ready then there is no better time to begin toilet training.

Potty Training When Out

If he manages to hold it in when you are out, reward him with something he likes.
If he manages to hold it in when you are out, reward him with something he likes. | Source

Top Potty Training Tip

When your child has used the potty, always encourage him to wash his hands. The earlier that you can associate using the toilet with washing his hands the more likely he will be continue it as a habit.

Tips On Potty Training

When you are ready and your son is ready then it is time to begin introducing your son to the potty, at first it will be a case of trial and error and he may take a while to actually do something in the potty.

Getting him to sit on the potty for a short period of time when he has indicated to you that he needs to go is the first step, getting him to actually do the toilet in the potty can be more difficult.

  • Don't rush him. Using a potty is alien to him and it can take a while for him to realise what it is to be used for.
  • Don't force him to sit on the potty. if you try to force your son to sit on the potty, this will only make him upset and slow down his progress.
  • Always praise him. Even if he doesn't pee or poo in the potty you should praise him for being a big boy and trying.
  • Be Upbeat and positive. Try to make the transition from diaper to potty exciting and fun for your son.
  • Never show anger. quite often accidents will happen, rather than being negative and telling your son off, encourage your child to do better next time.

You can also help your son to make it a little easier on him by giving him loose clothing that he can remove quickly.

Jason Loves His Fireman Sam Bed

After a couple of dry nights it may be time to try sending him to bed without a diaper.
After a couple of dry nights it may be time to try sending him to bed without a diaper. | Source

Potty Training When Not At Home

Potty training outside can be a bit more difficult for you and your child, when your son needs to go and you are out, you should try and persuade him to hold it in until you can get to a toilet. Of course accidents will happen and you should always be prepared with a change of trousers and pants.

I am not a believer in pulling his pants down in the street or in any public place to urinate, quite simply because that by doing that you are teaching your son that it is alright to urinate anywhere at any time.

If he manages to hold it in until you get to a toilet reward him with some candy or a toy. If he can't hold it in until you get to a toilet, praise him for trying hard and encourage him to do better next time.

Night Time Potty Training

It will take a little longer to get your son out of diapers overnight and you should be ready to try when he has had a run of two or three nights of waking up with a dry diaper, again there will be some nights he has small accidents but that is all a part of the learning process.

Potty Training

It may take some time to potty train your son but it is a giant leap forward in his development and it gives him a little bit more freedom and independence as well as self confidence.

For you it is an assurance that he is growing up and that he is ready for kindergarten and you have the bonus of a few extra dollars to spend on things that you need other than diapers.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Try the towel potty training method.

    • April Garner profile image

      April Garner 

      5 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Ditto on the earlier comments on naked training. I trained both my boys that way, and it worked wonderfully. It's not for every child, but it's worth a thought if you're having trouble.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Great tips. My eldest grandson went from diapers to underwear in a snap. One day diaper, next day potty. Believe it or not. We were so lucky. Now his little brother is learning. It will come for sure.

      thanks for sharing.

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      stayingalivemoma- I feel your pain! It is incredibly frustrating especially to have to keep buying those expensive pull ups.

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 

      6 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      Jimmy - this was great information as I am struggling to potty train my boys right now. My boys are 3, 4 and 5 years old. My 5 year old is finally going to the potty 85% of the time on his own, but I still need to prompt him to go sometimes and sometimes he still has an accident. Boys seem to be harder to train than girls. I had 2 girls first and then 3 boys and it is definitely a NEW experience! Thanks for this!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Wow, you aren't kidding that it could take a while... my son is 4 and we still have to remind him to go every hour and he has yet to do #2. I appreciate all of these tips and advice. I was looking at all the photos on the hub... your son is such cutie!

    • faithbuilder23 profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great hub!!! I am potty training right now and I need all the advice I can get!!!! Thanks!!! Voted up!!!!

    • twoseven profile image


      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I echo the last comment that it can be easy it you can let them be naked when they are learning. We let our son be naked in our house and kept his potty close by and he just started going in it of his own accord! Also he always liked standing up.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Love your photos, first and foremost! But as a mom of three boys, I can say that your potty training advice is 100% accurate and helpful. Great job Jimmy! Sharing~

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Jimmy, this reminded me of when our boy (now 11) started to toilet train. We were on holiday in the Cook Islands, so we allowed him to wander in the tropical warmth without a nappy. He didn't like it as he wanted a nappy, but I told him to tell me when he needed the toilet.

      When the time came, he just stood in the middle of the garden and went! Throughout the holiday he became more adept at the process of asking and by the time we returned to Australia he was toilet trained.

      I think boys find it easier and get it. I won't bore you with my girls stories, except that they just refused to go until they had the nappy put back on! Cheers Michael

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I did not have boys; my neighbor did. Her pediatrician just shrugged off the process with the offhand comment, "He'll be potty-trained by the time he's 3 whether you do anything about it or not."

      My neighbor was shocked, and I think she changed doctors at about that point.

      Although those days are long behind me, (my youngest grandchild is 4; my eldest is 19), I recall having a great deal of trouble with my eldest girl...she was such a sound sleeper, that I could NOT get her to stay dry overnight--she was in night diapers all the way through kindergarten before she finally managed to hold it all night or at least wake up and go. So, it's not only boys that can pose "issues" in this area.

      Very well laid out article--voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Craan profile image

      Sheila Craan 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Thank you Jimmy! I think getting a toddler to wash his hands every time may be challenging, however, it's absolutely worth the tries.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great advise Jimmy.


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