How to Start Potty Training a Boy

Baby boy learning how to use the toilet.

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Starting potty training is an exciting, and sometimes challenging, time—for toddlers and their parents. For boys, this means learning to pee sitting down and standing up. At first though, it's important to make sure your child is ready to potty train. Then, focus on the potty training itself before worrying too much about their technique. You can let them try sitting or standing at the potty, but often sitting at the toilet is easier at first.

A young boy's penis is small and it usually sticks straight out. This can make it hard for them to grasp and direct where the urine goes. Add in that they're still learning how to control their body and what this potty training is all about, So, it's easy to understand why sitting down is probably the better option at first.

Teaching Your Toddler to Stand While Potty Training

Having said all that, once your son is a little older (and bigger and taller), teaching him how to stand up isn't all that difficult and something he should master fairly quickly. (And if he's ready and still not tall enough, pick up an inexpensive step stool to give him a few inches.) First off, let him watch his dad or older brother (if he's got one) use the toilet when they are urinating. Once your son thinks he is ready, encourage him to stand, help him pull down his pants, get into position (leaning forward slightly) and help him direct his urine stream into the toilet water. (This may sound obvious, but you also may need to make sure that your little guy understands that standing up is for urine only, not bowel movements.)

How They Can Practice Their Aim

There are actually some great potty training products on the market that encourage boys (and girls) to perfect their aim (small balled up pieces of toilet paper and O-shaped cereal work well too) and keep the urine in the toilet and not all over the bathroom.

If he's still making a mess or having trouble understanding how the process should work, try bringing him to a public restroom where there is a kid-sized urinal (try a library, doctor's office, daycare or play space).

It might sound counterintuitive (some new potty trainers balk at using a toilet other than their own) but the shape of a urinal is designed for men and boys who stand up to urinate. (And as always after using the bathroom, make sure he washes his hands when he is finished.)

Another option is to head outside. If you have a private backyard (and the weather is agreeable) let your child practice in a secluded spot. It may take a few tries for your son to get used to the idea, but having your child urinate outside is a great way to help him practice while completely eliminating the mess factor. If you go this route, however, make it very, very clear that he is not to do this any place but your yard and under your supervision.

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