Potty training your boy can actually be a fun, exciting process. Follow these tips to learn how to make the switch out of diapers as smooth as possible.
While potty training might seem like a daunting, un-fun process, it can actually be a very rewarding and exciting time for you and your little one.
In fact, potty training boys can go smoother than we think.
With a few expert tips on potty training a boy, you’ll be well on your way to saying adios to diapers.
Learn when to start potty training and read top tips for potty training boys.
Before you know it, your little guy will be so proud of himself for pooping, flushing, and being a more independent fella.
In this article: 📝
- When to start potty training boys
- What is the average age for a boy to be potty trained?
- How do you potty train a boy?
- 16 best tips on potty training a boy
- How do you potty train a boy in 3 days?
- At what age should a child be fully potty trained?
- Should a 4-year-old boy be potty trained?
When to start potty training boys
You can start potty training boys as early as 18 months up to three years old, but in general, the best time to start is around the time they turn 2 years old.
Starting around 24 months is recommended because you’re less likely to enter into a battle of wills.
Your child is ready to start potty training if they can do some (or all) of the following:
- Can walk
- Show interest in the potty
- Know when they’re pooping or peeing
- Can push down and pull up their pants
- Follow basic rules and guidelines
What is the average age for a boy to be potty trained?
The average age of potty training for boys is around 2-3 years old, according to the AAP, while being fully trained for nap and bedtime might not happen until age 4 or 5.
And according to a study in 2022 by Timothy Schum, “the median ages for readiness skills for girls and boys, respectively, were as follows: ‘showing an interest in using the potty’, 24 and 26 months; ‘staying dry for 2 hours’, 26 and 29 months; ‘indicating a need to go to the bathroom’, 26 and 29 months”.
How do you potty train a boy?
You potty train a boy by taking a few days at home to teach them to sit on the potty and to walk to the potty before they need to go.
Watch for cues and help bridge the connection that all pee and poop goes in the potty.
If an accident happens, try not to scold or get upset, just remind them calmly that pee and poop go in the potty.
16 best tips on potty training a boy
Looking for an easy way to potty train a boy?
Well, we won’t call it easy, but here are the best expert tips on how to make it as smooth as possible.
1. Start with sitting
Teaching a boy to stand and direct their pee to the bowl takes practice, time, and the right motor skills.
That’s why one of the top tips for potty training a boy is to have him sit instead of stand.
A small potty like this is best because it features a lip that funnels the pee into the bowl, so you don’t have to hold his penis down.
You’ll have to help wipe him after poop as most kids don’t master the wipe until somewhere between the ages of four and six.
2. Be hyper-focused
The fastest way to get your boy to make the connection that pee goes on the potty, is to make sure that each time they have to go, they sit on the potty.
This often means staying at home and doing not much else for two or three days.
You’ll be watching your child, looking for cues — such as wiggling or holding themselves — and helping get them to the potty quickly (and sometimes that means literally picking them up and setting them on the potty).
3. Practice the pant action
Some people choose to have their kids wear nothing on their bottoms — ie. no pants or underwear — during the first days of potty training.
That’s often a great method for your child to learn that they must find a potty before peeing or pooping.
After that, you can progress to pants or shorts, but ensure they have an elastic waistband and are easy to push down when he’s ready.
You don’t want the pants to be a barrier for putting things in the right place.
Give your guy a chance to practice “pushing down” his pants to pee, and pulling them back up when he’s done.
Some experts recommend forgoing the fun underwear until a few weeks after you start training.
Going commando can give him a more “free” feeling and he won’t feel the security of pooping or peeing in the underwear.
After the initial weeks have passed, you can include underwear in your clothing routine.
4. Remain calm and consistent
Accidents will happen, there’s no doubt about it.
But rather than instilling a fear or negative emotion associated with the potty, try to remain level-headed.
While it can be frustrating for pee to end up on your carpet, it can be cleaned.
It’s more important that your boy has a healthy connection with the potty.
5. Never ask them if they have to go
One of the best tips on potty training a boy is to not ask your child if they have to go, but instead to gently tell him it’s time to sit on the potty.
Almost any toddler who’s asked if they have to pee will give an automatic “no” response.
After a few weeks of successful training, you can begin to ask your toddler if they have to pee when you notice the physical signs that they need to go, but still be prepared for many “no” replies, even when they indeed have to go.
6. Remind frequently
Just like you probably pee before leaving home or eating dinner, have your little one make it a regular occurrence to stop by the potty.
In their initial days and weeks, you may want to remind them about every hour as well, depending on how much liquid they’ve had to drink.
If they’re busy playing, you may have to pull them away to the potty, as many kids have a hard time stopping doing something fun, even once they’re a couple weeks into potty training.
Tip from potty training expert Allison Jandu: “To avoid power struggles, allow them to bring whatever they were playing with along on their potty visit.”
7. Listen to your child
Your kid is different from any other kid.
Communicate how you normally do, and teach them as you generally teach them.
What worked for them when they were learning to walk?
Or to hold a crayon?
Use that same gentle or excited method for potty training.
Pay attention to what your little guy might be telling you and look for signs of what’s clicking for him and what’s not.
8. Keep the potty close
Especially in the first few days and weeks, your fella might not be able to hold it very long.
Move their training potty to the same room you’re playing in, or keep it in a bathroom close by.
Wherever you go, consider bringing his potty and showing him where it is.
In those few seconds he has to make it on the potty with pants down, give him the best chance of success.
9. Maintain a good diet
Nothing derails potty training like constipation.
Ensure your little one is getting good nutrition and enough water to keep things moving easily.
10. Bring friends
Invite his favorite teddy bear or racecar to come to the potty and watch him pee.
You can also try reading to your kid or singing — whatever will make them happy and relaxed, and give them enough time to do their business.
11. Let go of crutches
Diapers and pull-ups communicate to your child that poop doesn’t go in the potty.
Set aside all diapers and pull-ups — unless, of course, it’s for bedtime (going diaperless for sleeping usually comes later).
12. Don’t set a specific timeline
You’ll see some kids learn to use the potty in a matter of days, while others take weeks.
Try your best to take it one day at a time and listen to your child.
He might not have it down in three days, and that’s OK.
With consistency and the other potty training tips for boys, he’ll be mister independent before you know it.
13. Offer praise
Just like when your son learns any other skill, ensure you offer praise and congratulations for good potty use.
Chances are he will feel pride and excitement too.
Some children do well with external motivation through rewards, but this is ultimately your family’s decision.
There is no research that shows a negative impact of using rewards to teach new skills.
14. Ask for outside help
If you’re having trouble, feel free to reach out to other moms.
Don’t be afraid to ask for tips or to vent after a long day of potty training.
You can also find books that are specifically written for potty training boys – including kid-friendly potty training books to help your little guy warm to the independence.
15. Keep regressions in mind
Teething, being sick, or any other major change like a new baby or moving can set back your boy’s potty training.
It’s easy to freak out and think that all is lost, but try to remain consistent and keep your guy on track.
Chances are it’s just a stage and that with a little fortitude, he’ll be back pooping and peeing on the potty in no time.
16. Hold off on bedtime
Get the daytime potty training out of the way, then work toward no diapers at nighttime.
Tell your guy that he’s only wearing a diaper for sleep because it’s hard to know that you have to pee when you’re asleep.
Explain that the diaper will come off as soon as he wakes up.
Keep an eye on when your little guy wakes up dry from a nighttime sleep, and transition to no diaper then.
Some parents wake their child up to pee every few hours during their nighttime sleep, while others wait until their sons are waking up dry in the morning to forgo the diaper at night.
Once you transition to sleeping with no diapers, keep a pad or mattress protector on their bed for accidents.
How do you potty train a boy in 3 days?
You can potty train a boy in three days by having him wear no pants, teaching him to sit on the potty, and gradually adding pants in.
Watching their “I have to pee” cues and giving reminders to go to the potty is a great way for your boy to make the connection that all waste goes in the potty.
Include short outings after your child has shown that he can go on the potty and can make it home or to the bathroom before an accident.
Slowly increase the length of your outings, and help your boy go on the potty in new places.
This “out and about” experience helps instill the brain connection that pee and poop goes in the potty, no matter where he is.
Remember that some accidents will still happen, and that’s expected.
At what age should a child be fully potty trained?
A child should be fully potty trained by age three and a half, but some kids aren’t fully potty trained until they’re four.
Most kids may still need help wiping until they are six.
Many kids still wear diapers at bedtime and nap time, depending on their ability to wake up dry after sleeping.
Should a 4-year-old boy be potty trained?
Yes, a 4-year-old boy should be potty trained, especially as some preschools and pre-K programs require kids to be potty trained.
Still, each child is different and has different learning curves.
For more resources and step-by-step guides, check out these popular books for potty training a boy:
- Oh, Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki
- 3-Day Potty Training Method by Lora Jensen
- No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
On Peanut, you can connect with other moms who are going through the throes of potty training their boys.
Don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone.