Tips for Potty Training Boys

You may have read on the blog recently that we have been potty training M.

To my surprise is has all gone rather smoothly. He tells us when he needs a wee and to begin with he held his poo in and wouldn’t go for days but now he quite happily tells us when he needs to go.

I only have potty training experience for boys but some of these tips could obviously apply for girls too. And of course, it goes without saying that these tips are what worked for me and what worked for me, may or may not work for you. Every child is different after all.


Shall we begin?

You don’t need to read a potty training book to know how to potty train
Really – you don’t. I was one of those mums with a precious first born and bought almost every parenting manual/book under the sun. You really don’t need one for potty training! There are no hard and fast rules. Potty training in a week? Yes, it’s do-able if your child is completely ready but if they’re not and you are hoping that a book will magically potty train for you in record time? It won’t. I’ve been there….

Wait until they are showing signs of being ready
There are always, always going to be other mums, meaningful strangers or even your own parents who will tell you so and so were potty trained before they were a year old. DO NOT LISTEN

Don’t feel under pressure to start because your NCT friends are or because your friends who have a child younger than yours are starting. Their child may well be ready but you will know when your child is.

With both my boys they started telling me when they had done a wee or a poo in their nappy, or asked me to change them because they were uncomfortable.

I have heard that in general, boys are ready a little later than girls so don’t be alarmed if girls who are a similar age are potty training before your little boy. Mine were ready just before they were 3.

Talk about the potty
We left the potty out for a while before we started to potty train. Every now and then we would talk about what it was for and the fact that now they were big boys they would need to stop wearing nappies and start weeing in the potty.

When the opportunity arose (before changing into a new nappy for example), I would ask if they wanted to sit on the potty. If they said no, I didn’t push the matter and would leave it for a few days before trying again.

Get them involved
I believe that making them feel a part of the whole process goes a long way. I took M to choose what sort of pants he wanted to wear (he chose Minion and police pants) and when we did it first time round with E he chose Thomas ones.

Choose a good time to start
Although we can argue that there is never a good time to start it is probably beneficial to clear some space in your diary for a couple of weeks so that you can at least get to grips with potty training.

With E – I purposely waited until I was on mat leave to start because the time before that was just too hectic. He had just started nursery two mornings a week and had a new baby brother on the way. There were too many changes happening – waiting a few months for things to settle down was just logical.

With M we decided to start just before February half term where there were no school runs and no rushing in and out of the house.

Teach them to point down
One of the first things I taught M was for him to point his willy down when weeing so that wee would not suddenly spray everywhere. It’s a tip worth remembering because the first time E did a wee? He freaked out because he somehow managed to spray himself!

Reward them for their efforts
With E I had bought lots of stickers and had a sticker chart ready and of course, gave him lots of praise. With M… I wasn’t quite so organised. The first few wees he managed on the potty was rewarded with a small chocolate coin, thereafter it was lots of praise and high fives which thankfully he was just as happy with.

Pants vs Pull-ups or both?
I know some parents decide to stick with pants only and are against using pull-ups for fear of confusion. I have to say I used both with my boys; they were fine with it. For the first week or so if we needed to pop out, I would just pop a pull-up on just in case. I really didn’t want to have a wet car seat to have to clean so for me it was for ease.

Don’t worry about being dry at night
Some children seem to get the hang of this whole potty training thing straight away are dry both during the day and at night.

However, this is all down to the child’s individual bladder control and really isn’t something you should need to worry about when you first start potty training.

It will eventually happen.

We didn’t do anything different with E and he was dry at night of his own accord before he turned 4. We suddenly noticed that there was less and less wee in his night time pull-up so we started putting him in pants and put a bed mat under his bed sheet. He now wakes and goes to the toilet by himself in the middle of the night.

With M – he seems to have bladder control straight away and can hold his wee all night until the morning. We still put him in a night time pull-up in case but will probably look to stop this over the next few weeks.

So that’s my tips for potty training boys –
do you have any of your potty training tips to share?


  1. Wendy Hughes

    Great tips!I have just started potty training my 2 and a half year old son so I found this really helpful. At the minute he’ll only go if he’s naked from the waist down so we can only potty train at home for now. He will get it in time though, I’m not rushing hin xx #BloggerClubUK

  2. Rebecca Phillips

    Thanks so much for this! We have just started potty training my 3.5 year old. He didn’t seem ready for such a long time and I made the mistake of comparing him to other kids his age and being worried. We’re only a few days in but he’s taking it so well 🙂

  3. I’ve got all this to come in a year or so – great tips! #picknmix

  4. Your experience seems to mirror mine with Monkey, we went in the march and he turned 3 in the June. We had the odd accident when he was engrossed in doing something but they were reasonably rare and we nailed it completely in 2 week at night as well. We had been using pull ups for a bit before hand as thats what the nursery did over nappies so went straight to pants to differentiate. I found it reasonably easy and stress free and I am sure thats because we waited rather than one of the NCT mums who had to have the first child to be potty trained and she would just do it everywhere!! I felt really sorry for her. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week x

  5. Mummy Tries

    Great tips lovely, I’ll be coming back to them when we start potty training F x

  6. This is really helpful to me because I am just about to start this process with my toddler. I’m going to take him to choosecpants like to suggested. I’ve shared this in Twitter as I reckon other ppl will find it handy – thanks x #picknmix

  7. It definitely makes a difference waiting until they are ready. Pointing down with boys is a big one haha. I also found mine were dry in the day before the night. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  8. Pingback: Guest post: Baltic Amber - the cure for teething? | Suburban Mum

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