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Does it really take longer to potty train boys than girls?
Usually, though it's not clear why. The difference may be at least partially due to the fact that moms tend to be the primary potty-trainers in a family. Boys without a male role model to imitate in the bathroom may take a little longer to get the idea, while girls have the advantage of observing someone with the same equipment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says the reason may be that boys are more active than girls and therefore less likely to choose to stop and take the time to use the potty.
It could also be that boys tend to need more time than girls – even if Dad is involved – because for them learning to pee in a potty is a two-step process. First they learn to do it sitting down, and then they have to master standing up (see below).
If your son takes longer to potty train than girls his age, that's okay. Just be sure to watch for the signs of readiness and go from there.
Why should my son start by peeing sitting down?
Since bowel movements and urine often come at the same time, it makes sense – at least initially – to have your son sit for both so he learns that both belong in the potty. This will also keep him from getting distracted by the fun of spraying when you need him to focus on just mastering the basic procedure.
How do I teach my son to pee standing up?
Once your son has mastered going to the bathroom sitting down, he can move on to the standing position. Having a readily available male role model is helpful, so arrange for Dad, an uncle, an older brother, or a good family friend to do the honors. After accompanying his model to the bathroom to watch, let your son give it a try in his potty chair – on his own or next to the big guy at the big toilet.
If your son seems reluctant, try floating a few pieces of O-shaped cereal or other small, flushable targets (some companies sell products just for this purpose) in the toilet bowl. You can expect to clean up a few messes as your son refines his aim.
Tip: When buying a potty chair for your son, look for one without a urine guard (or one you can remove). While a guard may protect your bathroom from a little stray pee, it's more likely that your son will bump into it and scrape his penis. The last thing you want is for him to associate going to the bathroom with pain!