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Tips for Potty Training Boys

Updated on April 27, 2012

Every child is different when it comes to potty training. Certain tricks work for some kids and not others. Some kids start early, while others start late.

When it comes to potty training your son, the first step is to make sure he is ready (on average boys are potty trained later than girls - 2 1/2 years old for girls; 3 years old for boys).

Signs that he is ready include an empty diaper after naps or bedtime, an interest in going to the potty, and limited resistance in going to the potty.

Once you know that he is ready, here are a few tips that may help with potty training.

Reward Him

One of the most common methods of potty training involves the use of rewards.

After your son goes to the potty, simply give him a reward.

Edible treats such as M&Ms or mini Oreo cookies are popular rewards, and so are little toys. Some parents even give "bigger" rewards for going "number 2" in the potty, such as a cookie or extra M&Ms.

Rewards do not even have to be edible or tangible. An extra 10 minutes playing a video game or an extra 30 minutes playing at the playground would also make great rewards.

Chart His Progress

Many parents use progress charts to help with potty training.

It's easy to create your own chart with any word-processing, spreadsheet, or photo-editing software.

You can also search online for free printables, or buy special charts at various retailers.

Charts can be a simple grid, or they can be more creative. For example, a train's track could act as a "chart."

Each time your son uses the potty, he can place a sticker or draw a star on the chart.

When your son sees all of the stickers or stars on his chart, he'll feel a sense of accomplishment for all of his potty progress, which will encourage him to complete the chart.

A completed chart is a great reward in itself, but often times you can create a reward system in conjunction with the use of a progress chart.

For example, after a certain number of stickers, your son can get a reward. The following is an example reward system:

  • 5 stickers = a cookie
  • 10 stickers = a small toy
  • 15 stickers = a book
  • Completed chart = watch a movie of choice

Tailor the chart and reward system to your child's preferences to keep him interested and enthusiastic about potty training.

For instance, if he likes animals, buy animal stickers to place on the chart or little toy animals as rewards.

Use a Visual Process Chart

Many children work better with visuals, so using a visual process chart may be able to help tremendously with potty training.

You can create your own visual process chart with clipart images from the internet, find free downloadable charts online, or purchase specialty process charts at retailers.

You can also use large bold words instead of images to make your chart.

A simple visual process chart could consist of images and wording such as the following:

Go to potty -> lift seat up -> pull pants and underwear down -> go number 1 -> pull pants up -> close lid -> flush -> wash & dry hands.

Use Targets

A common technique that parents use to potty train their sons is "target practice," in which they place an object into the toilet for their sons to aim at.

The target can be a variety of flushable objects, such as:

  • Cereal (Cheerios are popular amongst many parents)
  • Toilet paper "snowballs" or shapes
  • Special targets that you can purchase at retailers which change color or grow bigger if your son successfully aims at the target

Target practice will make going to the potty seem like a fun game, making your child eager to go to the potty to take aim at various objects in the toilet.

Let Him Observe

One of the simplest methods of potty training involves letting your son observe dad or one of his older siblings going "number 1".

There's no denying that kids like to imitate their parents and other siblings, so take advantage of this when it comes to potty training.

Often times he'll be eager to "do what daddy does" or "do what big brother does."

Patience is Key

The above-mentioned tips and techniques are just a few of the many methods that parents have tried to successfully potty train their sons.

Some kids will be able to train in a matter of days, others will take weeks, or even months.

You may have to try more than one technique, and you may find yourself getting frustrated at times, but no matter which method you try, the biggest tip in ensuring successful potty-training is to be patient.

If your son walks into the bathroom, lifts up the seat, and that's all he does, consider that a step in the right direction.

Praise him for his efforts and encourage him to try again, and again, and again.

With patience and perseverance, your son will be successfully potty trained.


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    • Grant's World profile image

      Grant Handford 5 years ago from Canada

      excellent advice. I have a 5 month old and will be able to use your advice some day soon.