Toilet training tips: boys/girls

Teaching your little one to use a potty or toilet is a huge step for them – and you! The teaching techniques are basically the same for boys and girls, however there are a couple of differences we thought we’d point out.

Potty training boys

Boys can find learning to use the potty or toilet a bit harder than girls, possibly because it’s often mum, not dad, who’s coaching, so there’s less opportunity to actually show him how it’s done. Also, boys need to learn to stand as well as sit.

Sit or stand?

You could start with him sitting for both number ones and number twos. It’s tough enough just getting to the potty or toilet in time without having to decide whether to sit or stand! Also, kids often need to do both numbers once they’re there, so it’s easier if your little boy stays sitting until he’s done. When he's more confident he can stand.


Point your little man in the right direction, whether he’s sitting or standing. He needs to point his penis down the toilet to make sure the wees goes where it should. If/when he stands up to wee, you can give him a target to aim for in the bowl, such as a floating bit of cereal or toilet paper.

Ups & downs

Once he’s standing, you can start teaching him some basic toilet etiquette. Show him how to raise the seat (all the way, so it won’t fall down on him midstream) and then lower it again when he’s finished. And don’t forget to flush!

Potty training girls

Because they only sit, it’s a bit easier to train little girls. It takes a little practise getting seated in the right position - back far enough so that wees goes in. The main girl-specific advice to give is to wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria, but if it’s a bit too tricky early on, she can just pat dry for a while.

Whatever you use and whatever methods you choose, just remember the three Ps: patience, persistence and praise!

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