Potty Training For Boys & Girls (Tips, When and How)

This guide is one of the most comprehensive article on the internet with detailed information on how to potty train kids; both boys and girls.

It’s outlined in various sections for ease of navigation. The later part of the guide shed more light on various potty training gear for boys and girls.

Various potty training methods have been examined, all the techniques discussed in the article are tested and proven by mothers who have potty trained several children; toddlers, boys and girls.

How To Potty Train

when to start potty training

Young parents are sitting on the bed and thinking how to teach kid to use children's potty

Whether a boy or a girl, the end goal of potty training remains the same; the parent wants the child to be able to urinate and defecate on their own, at the appropriate time and properly.

This does not happen overnight, although there are various techniques to potty train a child in three days. The effectiveness of potty training depends on the mutual agreement between the child and the parent or caregiver as the case maybe.

Coming to this mutual agreement of making the child understand the importance of the training has a lot to do with the effort of the parent, both in consistency and encouragement.

Consistency in ensuring that kids keep using the potty every time, until they get used to it, and encouragement whenever kids complete potty usage perfectly. The more you encourage them, the better they get at it.

This section of the guide would explore various methods that parent or caregiver can use to achieve the consistence and encouragement needed in potty training a child.

First, I’d like to point out that you cannot potty train a child by punishing them to use the potty, you would only end up scaring them, this method is counter-productive and should not be used.

The method that has proven effective over time is positive reinforcement until they learn to use the potty properly.

When To Start Potty Training

The first thing to consider as far as potty training is concerned is whether the child is ready or not. Most parents don’t know the appropriate time to get started.

There is no magic formula to this, and the truth is that, if a child is not ready, you as a parent can do nothing about it.

Even if you start forcefully, you would end up spending much time on training them to use the potty than necessary. As far as I can tell, rushing to get started won’t be of much help.

However, it’s no good to stay late as well. So here are some few pointers that would help in deciding if your child is ready for potty training or not.

ready for potty training

Mother telling a story to her baby and giving banana for snack

  • Does he/she understand basic instruction already?
  • For you to effectively potty train a child, they must be able to comprehend (to some extent) some basic instruction that you give to them, either through verbal words, or hand gesture. Once a child is able to comprehend basic instruction, then it’s safe to assume that they’re ready for potty training.

  • Is He/She Walking and Siting Already?
  • This is one of the most important physical sign that shows if a child is ready for potty training or not. If your child is not yet walking and sitting on their own, then it becomes slightly difficult to potty train them.

    They must show this physical sign of readiness before you commence potty training. Can they pull down their pants on their own?

  • Can They Control Their Bowel and Bladder Already?
  • Toddlers cannot control the contraction and movement of their bladder and bowel respectively. This explains why toddlers urinate and defecate several times during the day.

    Their bladder muscle is not yet strong enough to hold a reasonable amount of urine, so they basically let it out in less than two hours after formation.

    Until they grow older, and they bladder muscle is capable of expanding and accommodate urine for some period, potty training them might be counterproductive.

    The major way of knowing if they can control their bladder is by observing the intervals between each urine, normally once they can exceed two hours during nap without bed-wetting; this is a sign that their bladder is ready to some extent.

  • ​Discomfort In Wet Diapers
  • Once kids starts to show discomfort in wet diapers or pants, it’s probably an indication to their readiness. Although toddlers are known to cry when their diapers stays wet for a long period of time.

    The difference here is that, when older kids starts to cry immediately after wetting their diapers, then you know they don’t feel comfortable in it, and they’re probably ready to get started with potty training.

  • Other Cognitive Signs
  • When they time is right for potty training, healthy babies would naturally show some cognitive signs. Take for instance, some baby would hold off peeing until their diapers is removed.

    And once they diapers is removed, they would pee afterwards. This might be an indication that they are ready for potty training.

Potty Training Age

Considering the points listed above, you would notice that the child most have grown for at least 18months before they start showing sign of readiness.

Since there is no magic formula or specific age for potty training, parent can only pay close attention to their kids behavior and try to understand each growth milestone.

Based on past experiences, it’s been observed that some kids can start as early as 18months old, while some do not show readiness until they’re older; three or four years old.

Although some parents engage their toddler in potty training activities as early as age of four (4) month, this method is popularly known as elimination communication. It is done by monitoring child closely and putting them on potty seat when they show signs of defecation or urinating as the case may be.

Experts strictly advice against this method. The most important aspect of any potty training is communication. And this can be achieved, either through verbal or hand gesture.

Nevertheless, most parents start potty training their child between the age of two (2) to three (3) years. By this time, they are physically and mentally ready for the training, and this makes it very easy for both party.

Potty training kids at the appropriate age, based on their own readiness would speed up the process. This explains why it would only take three (3) days to potty train some kids, and while it would take months to potty train others.

Once the readiness of the child has been accessed and confirmed, then the next thing to check is your readiness.

Are you ready to put in the commitment required to potty train your child? Having it in mind that it might take few months before they get a good grasp of the training, you must be ready to commit your time, both during the day and also in the night.

If a caregiver is responsible for their training during the day, then you should be prepared to wake them up during the course of the night to pee. Once you’re ready as well, then you can move on to the next step which is; deciding who will be in-charge of the training.

The second step in potty training a child is to decide who would be in-charge of the training, provided it’s not a single parenting scenario. The choice of who will be in-charge of the training can be influenced by various factors, ranging from the gender of the child, to the availability of the trainer.

It’s very important that the person of the training has a very close rapport with the child, this would make the job very easy.

Potty Training Tips

Mom puts the baby on the potty at home

It Takes Time!

Most parent don’t like hearing this, but it’s the truth, so I will write about it anyway. Potting training a child take times.

You can’t do it in hurry. You’re asking the child to be independent, you’re teaching them a long life skill and as such you should take enough time in teaching them appropriately.

Even when they relapse, they’re still making progress in their own little way.

Once you understand this simple fact, then the job becomes easier.

Potty training takes time in the sense that, kids don’t just enter the toilet and come out after five (5) minutes or less like adult do.

No! It doesn’t work like that. It takes time to train their brain to relax their bladder muscle when they’re in the toilet.

This explains why kids can spend twenty (20) minutes or more in the toilet when they’re training to use potty effectively.

You’ve got to learn patience, you’ve got to make the waiting period interesting for them, you’ve got to find peace in the waiting. So yes, potty training takes time.

Essential Timing:

I cannot possibly overemphasize this. One of the best tip in successfully, fast potty training is accurate timing.

As started earlier in the article, the timing must be right for the child to get it right. If you start potty training at the appropriate time based on the kid’s readiness, then the job becomes relatively easy for you.

Keep an eye out for the appropriate timing. Appropriate time to start potty training, appropriate time to take the kid to the toilet during the day, appropriate time to wake them up during the night to use the potty. Timing is very crucial.

The frequency is also significant. Depending on how available you are, you can set the toilet visit to every 30minutes or 90minutes as the case may be. This would remind the kids to use the potty every 30minutes or so, and once they get used to the idea, training becomes very easy.

Reward Every Effort:

This is another important tip that parent should employ in potty training their child. Motivation has been associated with reward on various occasions. It also works well as far as potty training is concerned. Learn to reward every effort your child makes at using the potty.

The reward does not have to be something huge or expensive. It starts from praises and encouragement to candy or M&M, or chocolate etc. Some parents even reward their kids with penny, once they money becomes significant, they get to use it to buy something they like.

The idea is to associate the use of potty with certain reward. This would gear-up their interest and would make them want to use potty when there is a need for it.

Positive Reinforcement:

Similar to rewarding every effort is positive reinforcement. It works a lot. When you praise them, they want more of the praise and they would do their best to get it right or even better the next time they use the potty seat.

For every successful usage of the potty or toilet seat, praise your kid for a job well done. Clap for them if necessary, sign their favorite song if they have one. Make them see the completed activity as a big deal, and they should be proud of what they have accomplished. Nothing is insignificant.

Child’s Behavior:

It’s important to note that kids behave differently. They have different enthusiasm towards stuffs and they way child A responds towards potty training would definitely differs from the way child B would.

This is why it is very important to master the child behavior and how they respond to things. A certain child would prefer praises over monetary motivation, while another would prefer candy over praises.

Be observant, study each kids to know what would work best for them.

Potty Training Methods/Techniques

how to sit on potty at home

how to sit on potty at home

There are about six (6) different potty training method, five(5) of which is discussed in the guide, as one of them is not approved by experts. Your choice depends on the type of kid you have, how available you are and your desired timeline.

Each method has it’s own pros and cons, I have outlined each method below, and hopefully it would help in making the right choice as regards the best potty training method that best suits your kid.

#1. Child Pace Method:

This is the method recommended by specialist. The concept behind the training method is to work at the child’s pace.

Parents should not enforce them to use the potty until they’re willing to do so. They can place the potty in strategic places once kids begin to show signs that he is ready for potty training.

This method isn’t really effective and is bias towards parents, in that it takes a very long time to get them to use the potty properly, even when they do, there are tendencies of accidents and relapse along the way.

Most parents don’t use this method. Especially if it’s the first kid. This method is not advisable.

But if you’ve got plenty of time on your hand, and you’re not in a hurry, then there is no harm in try the method.

Be careful though. You might end up achieving nothing even after years.

#2. Week Off/Weekend Method:

This is currently the most popular method of potty training kids. There are reports that this method is guaranteed to train your child to use the potty within three days. It’s arguably the most effective method as far as I can tell.

The concept behind this method is to take a week off, and use the period to teach the kid how to use potty.

First day of the training is used in orienting the kid about potty, it’s usage and why it is important to use the potty properly.

Some parents would use a doll for the purpose of this teaching. They would teach the kid how to use the potty and clean up afterwards, then after the lesson, they would ask them to practice what they’ve learnt on the doll.

The second day, the child goes around mostly naked, and they’re taken to the toilet to use the potty at interval of 30minutes.

The third day is similar to the first day, however, the child would wear some clothes (without underwear though) and the second day process is repeated. On the fourth day, they’re fully clothed and the process is repeated all over again.

By the end of the third day, the child would have associated the toilet and the use of potty in the brain, so they’re almost done mastering the required knowledge.

It should be noted that it takes additional time to train kids to defecate than just urinal training. But once you get the urinal training right, getting them to use the potty for the second part is easier.

The pros of the method outweighs the cons. Once you have the required time, then you’re good to go. Most parent would schedule the training to be during the holidays. Or during the weekend. Friday to Sunday is enough to get them started.

#3. Learning By imitation:

This method is similar to the first method described. But it is effective only if the child has an elder brother or sister, and he or she sees them using the potty, then they would usually want one for themselves as well. From that point, potty training them becomes very easy.

#4. Reward Method:

This is not a stand-alone method, as it is used in conjunction with any other the method previously described.

The concept behind this method is to reward every successful effort with something significant. It can be the child’s favorite toy, a penny in the piggy bank or whatever it is you think they would appreciate.

This method works very well, when combined with other methods.

#5. Praise Method:

Another method that can be combined with others to make it potty training exercise more effective.

This is similar to reward method, but rather than giving money or valuable item as compensation, children gets praises and support from trainer and other family members when they get it right.

This works very well for parents that does not subscribe to the “bribe” method.

Potty Training Schedule

Potty training takes time and planning, effective planning would not only ensure a successful training, it would help you achieve more within a very short time frame. The potty training schedule is what would be discussed in this section of the guide.

For the first day of training, it’s advisable to schedule the visit to toilet every thirty (30) minutes. Once the diaper is removed, take your child to the toilet, have them seat on the potty seat, ensure the maintain the sitting position for about five (5) to ten (10) minutes.

When they are done, (in most cases they won’t even pee in the first attempt) reset the timer to the next 30minutes.

Repeat the same procedure every 30 minutes for the first day. If you child can’t hold their pee for 30 minutes interval, this is one of the signs that indicate they’re not ready for potty training, and as discussed earlier, there is really no point in rushing.

If they’re not ready, there is nothing you can do about it. Just give them a month or two and try again.

On day two of the potty training, you might choose to stick to the schedule of the first day, but if your child is a fast learner, then you can increase the time interval a little bit, to something within forty (40) minutes to sixty (60) minutes range.

There is no strict formula for creating a potty training schedule. The most important thing is to pay close attention to your child and follow the rhythm as it progresses.


Conclusively, it’s important to take note that training the first child takes more time than subsequent children.

In other words, second child would get the concept of potty training faster than the first child.

It has also been shown that boys takes longer than girls

Urinal toilet training is the first step, after which they move on to defecation.

You can move on to read about potty training gears.