Potty Training Girls and Boys

 By Cynthia Noell

Mom to eleven kids, Cynthia shares with us some of her observations on the differences between training boys and girls!

gender differences in potty trainingOkay we all know there are differences between girls and boys. But did you ever stop to think about how many differences there really are?  I have 5 boys and 6 girls and believe me when I say they are really different about certain things, from the things they want to eat to the games they want to play. In my house, the boys prefer red meat for dinner, while the girls don’t really care.  Boys of course want to play a little more violent video games than the girls would choose, and so on.

Now just like everything, there are those exceptions. One of my little girls absolutely loved to watch car crashes on television when she was very little. I questioned her then on why she liked it so much but she never really could explain it fully to me. I kept an eye on her as she grew and she is a pre-teen now and loves to dress up and is quite the girly girl. I guess everyone needs a way to escape now and then and for her it was car crashes.

These are just a few examples of how I have found girls and boys are different, and of course kids don’t come with rules so you will have to know your own child well enough to know what works for them and you. The point is, just like everything else, there will be exceptions in all the “rules” about boys and girls, and this applies to potty training as well.

boys have a harder time pulling themselves away from play to go pottyI have found that for the most part, boys don’t really care if and when they were potty trained. They were very content to use their diaper.  I’m thinking this is mostly true because they just couldn’t pull themselves away from what they were doing, after all it is a lot more important when you’re little to finish that wonderful block tower than to actually stop and use the potty. That is where a few good incentives would come in, but that was another article.

The girls were usually a little more interested in using the potty, fully realizing they would just go back to what they were playing. I often wondered if this had something to do with the difference in patience level with boys and girls.

Let’s touch on cleanliness a moment. Boys I think are generally just not as interested in washing their hands for long enough for it to be as effective as a mom would like.  You tell them to sing a song and wash their hands for that long, but let’s face it, they can just sing it faster. I did have one boy who was extremely  neat. He always wanted me to help to make sure he was clean.

Wiping of the bottom was an issue in our house as well. Now you have to teach the girls to wipe from front to back and, not to be insulting to those sweet little boys, but in my experience they need a little extra help wiping. They are perfectly content to ask for help and need it maintained for a longer time. They just either didn’t have the coordination to quite get the job done or they didn’t have the desire to do it. My bet is on the desire to do it, of course a little extra attention from the mom never hurts. It is hard to grow up and potty training is a big step.

Aiming is probably a conversation many people may not want to have but it is part of life. So as crazy as many people thought I was I decided to take the route of teaching the boys to sit when they  are first learning to use the potty. That is a decision for you to think about, but a lot of people have a younger child by the time they are teaching one to potty train, there for you do not really want the children to miss the potty or the younger one may crawl and inadvertently get into it. Clearly that would not be good for so many reasons.

celebrationsAs with all things when it comes to children, they vary. Every child varies and boys and girls vary, these are just a few of the ways I think you can see they are different and a few of the choices to make in dealing with the differences between girls and boys when potty training.

2 thoughts on “Potty Training Girls and Boys

  1. I need some help with my 3 year old boy who doesn’t care about anything. We’ve tried all the incentives, dances, apps, books, etc out there to get him interested in potty training. He goes through bouts where he wants to sit on the potty (but NEVER goes even after drinking apple juice or water) to bouts where he refuses to even go into the bathroom if he’s not taking his bath or brushing his teeth. Physically he’s more than ready, but he has NO drive at all to do it.

    • That’s a tough one! Let me give you a few thoughts…
      1) Have you tried a sticker chart where he earns a prize at the end? I would maybe start with a chart where he only has to go 2 – 3 times before he earns a prize. Then after some success you can bump it up to 4 – 5 times and he earns a prize, increasing from there.
      2) Does he like to watch TV? Maybe he has to go on the potty a few times before the TV goes on that day. Tell him, “First potty, then TV”.
      3) I’m also wondering about his dislike for the bathroom in general – any chance it is the sound of the toilet flushing that is bothering him? You might try a portable potty that you can keep in a different room for a little while. Then maybe he can follow you to the bathroom door to watch you dispose of the contents in the toilet.
      4) He’s old enough to help clean up, especially pee. You may want to handle the poop for sanitary reasons. But, if you put him in underwear and he has to be the one to wipe up after an accident the potty might start looking pretty inviting!