Is potty training girls different from training boys?

Apr 10,2017

Did you know that the world over children are being potty trained later and later? Anecdotal data as well as research suggests that with busy parents and the convenience of disposable diapers, potty training is being pushed to as old as three years of age.

So then, is potty training, as difficult as it is, different for girls and boys? Apparently, yes. But mostly because boys take longer than girls to learn to indicate or go to the loo themselves. A study was conducted over two years by the Medical College of Wisconsin, where researchers found that girls stayed dry during the day at 32.5 months, but for boys it was 35 months. Furthermore, at approximately two years, girls showed interest in potty training whereas it took boys to get to 26 months. As far as vocalising the need to use the loo went, girls began at 26 months while boys waited till 29 months to indicate verbally that they needed to use the bathroom. A 2008 Brazilian study discovered similar differences between the sexes, with 27.8 percent of girls and 21.4 percent of boys went out of diapers during the day by 24 months, and 10.6 percent of girls and 6.8 percent of boys out of diapers at night by 24 months.

While this shouldn’t make any difference to your plans, you should know that diapers, if used correctly, aid the potty training process. For instance, if you put your child in diapers during day time when he is with a caregiver or at daycare, then once he’s back home around you, keep the diaper off. Children feel this very keenly, this lack of a diaper. So, while they might not be able to tell you that it’s time to go to the loo, they will definitely start to get uncomfortable or fidgety or something like that, if you are watching for the signs. This is your indication to take him to the loo, or ask him if he wants to go. Once this becomes a habit, potty-training him for daytime when he isn’t with you also becomes easier.

Some things to remember when you are training boys and when you’re training girls. There are essentially three elements to potty training: equipment, positioning, hygiene.

For girls:


Use a potty seat that allows her feet to touch the ground, this opens up the pelvic muscles and allows for motion. If she’s using an adult commode, give her little stool to prop her feet upon.


To avoid spray all over the seat, teach her to position herself right above the opening of the commode.


Teach her to wash and then to wipe herself dry, front to back to avoid any infection passing from the rectum to the vulva/vagina.

For boys:


Give him a potty chair to pee sitting down in if he isn’t old enough to stand and aim. Alternatively, keep a stool handy so he can climb and use an adult commode.


This is tricky. Have him tuck his penis between the toilet seat and him before he starts to pee so that he doesn’t splash the seat. If he’s standing, then teach him to stand feet slightly apart and position his penis in the centre of the commode space. Give him a book or music he likes in order to encourage him to sit if he is going to poo.


It’s a good habit to teach him to wash the tip of his penis after he’s done peeing.