Posted on 09. November 2016 by
Potty training – boys vs girls
Learning to use the potty is an important milestone for all toddlers – but it’s a good idea to remember that potty training is not a one-size-fits-all pursuit. Just as little boys and girls can be startlingly different in the ways they learn and play, they tend to approach toileting quite differently, too. So to give you a head start (and hopefully save some head-shaking), here are a few gender-specific strategies to help you get your toddler from nappies to knickers with the least fuss.
- Try not to rush them. Does it seem as if every other toddler in the vicinity is happily using the potty, while your little boy remains obliviously content to use nappies until the end of time? You’re not imagining this – boys do often take longer than girls to decide they’re ready for potty training, sometimes a lot longer. This is perfectly normal; though most toddlers show an interest in potty training at around age 2 to 3, some start as early as 18 months, and a few are still in nappies at age 4. On average, boys start potty training around three months later than girls, but the good news is that children who start the process later seem to pick it up more quickly and have fewer accidents along the way... welcome news to parents who are tired of the change table!
- Let them sit down, at least at first. Most parents find it easier – and less messy - to introduce boys to the potty by making sure they sit down to both wee and poo. Once they’ve got the general concept, they may well find it quite intriguing to practice standing-up weeing; when this happens, a practical demonstration from Dad or an older brother can be invaluable for teaching them the basic technique.
- Target practice can help perfect their aim. It will probably take little boys some time to perfect the art of hitting the bowl neatly when weeing (personally, we know a few adults who could use a remedial lesson or two!) Luckily, it’s easy to provide some fun incentive by adding a flushable target or two, in the form of a few pieces of cereal (O’s are good) or a table tennis ball (don’t worry, it won’t flush away and block the pipes!)
- Help them notice when they’re wet. One of the reasons some experts think boys take longer than girls to start potty-training is that they may have a harder time noticing the sensation of wetness when they wee. If your son doesn’t seem to notice when he has a wet nappy, you can try putting part of a sheet of kitchen towel in the front of his nappy when you change him; when he wees, the towelling will help keep the nappy from whisking the urine away quite so fast, helping him to notice that he’s wet (and hopefully ask to use the potty!)
- Let her be the ‘teacher.’ Many girls at this age are very fond of pretend play and role-playing, so why not take advantage of it by asking her to “train” a doll or other favourite toy to use the potty? This can also help overcome any resistance when you tell your child it’s potty time; just tell her the toy really needs to do a wee! (Of course, this strategy works well on boys who love pretend play, too.)
- Be clear about wiping. It’s especially important for girls to learn to wipe themselves from front to back, in order to avoid unpleasant infections. It’s not always easy for a toddler to master, though, so a reward of some sort might be needed to give her an incentive.
Has your toddler started potty training yet? We’d love to hear your best tips – let us know in the comments section below! If we choose your comment to share on our Facebook page, we’ll even send you a bottle of our new Duck Foaming Soap to celebrate your little one’s bathroom victories!