Is Potty Training Boys Harder Than Potty Training Girls?

Have you always heard, “potty training boys is harder than potty training girls“? This was definitely something I had heard once I became a mama. There is always something on the internet that says “boys are harder to potty train than girls.”

Once I had my son and the time came for me to start potty training him, I couldn’t help but have that thought in my head. After potty training my son and my daughter, I discovered, potty training boys is not harder than potty training girls.

From my experience, the outcome for a boy or a girl, is actually based off how you start.

In this article, I am going to to explain my experience with potty training my son and daughter, and answer the question many parents are asking. “Is potty training boys harder than potty training girls?” 

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I was blessed to have a boy and girl, which taught me a few things about potty training. So here are some differences I have experienced when it comes to potty training a boy and girl.

Differences between potty training a boy and girl

*These differences are of course based off my two kiddos, which may differ from your own kids*

BOYS:

  • Stand to pee – This sounds like a pretty obvious difference between a boy and girl, but some parents in my experience want to know, “should my son sit or stand to pee?” I had the same question when I first started potty training my son and I discovered, boys don’t typically start standing to pee until later on because they also have to learn how to to poop sitting down. I personally started out having my son sit on the potty, but eventually had him stand to pee with my assistance until he was tall enough to stand on his own. Once he started to stand, he began to tell me when he needed to go.
  • Motivated by physical reward – My son enjoyed my excitement to get him to potty, but it did not actually cause him to go. After a couple of weeks of trial and error, I discovered he was motivated by food.  A few moms at the time, suggested I reward with candy, but I didn’t like that idea because I didn’t allow him to eat candy. So instead, I gave him a piece of blueberry protein bar that he only got if he pooped and that did the trick!
  • Structured and to the point – My son was not very interested in potty training when we first started because I didn’t know what I was doing at the time to be honest. But, once I started a structured routine, he was all for it.

GIRLS:

  •  Go with the flow –  The first time I placed my daughter on the potty seat at just 14 months to practice Elimination Communication, she peed and pooped! To say I was shocked is an understatement. She surprised herself when it happened but she did not cry and from there, our potty training process had begun.  
  • Want lots of praise – My daughter loves praise and she especially loved it when we first started our potty training journey. I didn’t have to reward her with food or anything else for that matter. All she wanted was praise and lots of love.
  • Enjoys an exciting routine – Anything that involves music, my daughter is all for it. So, I made up a fun potty song every time she sat on the potty to encourage her to go. I then made up another song just for washing hands. She and my son really enjoy it! There’s also this really cool potty watch that will play a song as a reminder, when its time to use the potty.  Adding music to her potty routine really keeps things fun and exciting.
  • Easily distracted – When the time came for my daughter to do most of the bathroom routine (pull her pants up/down, get on the toilet, flush the toilet, etc) herself, she would easily get distracted and still does at times. She knows what to do but sometimes she’s so excited from singing and dancing, I have to remind her what to do next.
We had to make a stop on a road trip so baby girl could potty. She was telling us when she needed to go at 22 months!

I am personally a believer in early potty training and have seen great results from starting early. I started my son at 19 months and my daughter at 14 months.

Never with a forceful intent to have them potty trained over a weekend or anything, but to get them familiar with the potty training process at a more gradual approach.

You can either practice early with Elimination Communication, or you can just get your child familiar with the process by exposing them with things they will be doing during potty training. 

For example, you can allow your child to go in the bathroom with you or a close relative (older brother, uncle, aunt, etc.) so he can see what the process is like.

You can also have your child watch potty training shows, read books, and take him with you to buy underwear.

My daughter is 27 months and is fully nap time and nighttime trained and has been since 23 months.

My son was daytime potty trained by age two but wasn’t nighttime potty trained (after several attempts!) until right before he turned 4 years old.

Potty training is simply a milestone that every child has to go through and he/she will learn at their own pace.

My daughter actually caught on to the potty training process a lot faster than my son, and I believe this was a result of starting her off with Elimination Communication.

*If you want to learn more about Elimination Communication or infant potty training, please visit Go Diaper Free. Andrea Olson teaches parents how to practice Elimination Communication with their babies as early as birth!*

I started potty training my daughter earlier than I did with my son and had her on a great routine from the start.

So she did achieve the potty training milestone faster than her brother because of the way I prepared her to learn the process, and of course – every child learns differently.

With my son, he was my first child, I had no experience with potty training, and didn’t start with him as early as my daughter, nor did I practice Elimination Communication.

I also did not have him on a structured routine in the beginning.

Had I start potty training him the same way I did my daughter, I believe there could have been less struggles.

So, I have concluded, it was harder to potty train my son because of the way I started the process, but It had nothing to do with him being a boy.

So don’t fear mama, your son will potty train just fine once he gets the hang of the potty training process.

My sweet little humans! Ages 4 and 2 and full of energy!

As a first time parent, it can be hard to admit you are the cause of something not going as planned when it comes to your child. But it’s always wise to look back at the situation and learn from it.  

Going through the process of potty training a boy and girl has taught me: boys learn how to potty train at their own rate based off how we teach them and the same goes for girls.

Hopefully this has answered the question and makes since. Feel free to comment below with your experiences on this topic!

 

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22 Comments

  1. I have 2 boys… After much conflict with the first and potty training I’ve been hesitant to push it with the second (he’s much more headstrong) you bring up some interesting stuff in the article, thanks!

    1. Hi Trina, potty training the first child is definitely a learning process, but it also prepares us for what to do with future children.

      Just as a suggestion before you start with your second son, you could just get him acclimated with the potty training process but not actually start.

      For example, you can allow him to go in the bathroom with you or his brother just so he can see what the process is like. You can also have him watch potty training shows, read books, and take him with you to buy underwear.

      All of this will help him understand what is to com and before you know it, he’ll be wanting to start all on his own. I would recommend starting this at least 2-4 weeks prior to actually starting potty training to give him time to understand the process…unless of course, he is ready to start before then.

      I pray you have much success this time around!!

  2. My son will be 4 next month and he knows HOW to go potty he just doesn’t WANT to. Meanwhile, my co-worker’s daughter is almost 2 and she is fully potty trained!! Ugh!!

    1. Hi Shelby, there could be several reasons he may not want to go although he knows how.

      Here’s a few reasons why from my personal experience: He is afraid to poop, he doesn’t want to be forced, he doesn’t fully understand the process, he’s not motivated with the correct reward.

      Those are just a few things it could be but here are some suggestions you can do to encourage him to go on his own:
      Start having him watch potty training shows more often, read books, sing songs, talk to him about why it’s important for him to listen to his BODY, get a timer that will remind him to go so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being forced by mom or dad to go. Normalize poop talk as much as you can.

      Hopefully this helps!

  3. I haven’t had luck in my potty training twice and my daughter now is 5 years old. She did say she has a poop in her nappy but she doesn’t want to be maneuver in the bathroom and doesn’t want to leave her nappy yet for another potty training. Sigh.

    1. Hi there! I’m sorry to hear potty training your daughter hasn’t gone as planned. I do have a few suggestions that may help:

      1. Get rid of the diapers. As long as she knows they are there, she will continue to want to poop in them out of comfort. Out of sight out of mind works really well in this case.

      2. Explain to her how she is a big girl now who has super cool big girl underwear. If you are still working on nap time/night time then you can cut fluids at least 2.5-3 hrs before bed or only give a tiny bit. They also have absorbent training pants on amazon that you can use only for night time.

      3. That’s awesome she is telling you she has a poop in her diaper! Anytime she has an accident, dump the poop in the toilet and explain to her that her poop likes to live there.

      4. Talk more about how her BODY likes when she goes pee and poop in the potty, don’t pressure her to go but set a timer that reminds her or play a potty song when it’s time for her to go, and keep a light fun exciting potty training environment. If she feels like you’re getting upset with her, it will only continue to prolong the process.

      I hope this helps!

  4. Your babies are so adorable! My daughter is only 6 months old but I will definitely keep these tips in mind for the future. Very helpful post!

  5. I have heard this a lot as well amd I was so worried when my son wasn’t ready to be potty trained. But I just went with his timing and potty training was such an easy process! Hopefully my daughter will be easily potty trained when the time comes!

    1. Hi Stephanie! I’m glad you found out what works for you son. It’s amazing how each child adapts to the potty training process. I’m sure things will go well with your daughter as well.

    1. Hi Julia, my son started out sitting to pee for awhile but eventually started to stand to pee as we held him up until he was tall enough to stand on his own.

      That’s also very interesting your first son still doesn’t stand to pee. But, every child is different right? I’m sure he will start to stand the more you encourage him about it. You can also have a male family member (dad, older, brother, uncle) that you trust show him how to stand and pee.

      Thanks for your comment!

    1. Hey there Anh! That’s awesome! I’m sure you’re going to do great. Please let me know how it’s going or if you need anymore suggestions.

      I’m glad this was helpful for you!

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