How to Potty Train a Boy….When You Don’t Pee Standing Up

My nephew is being potty trained and this brought back fond memories of when I had to potty train my boys. I remember when I thought my oldest was ready. I ran out and bought him a potty seat and underwear and expected to be able to remove diapers from the next month’s budget. I was either highly optimistic or an idiot.

My son loved the potty seat….it became his favorite HAT. I’m not joking, he refused to sit on it but wanted to wear it everywhere. I don’t care how many crazy people of Walmart things you have seen…you haven’t seen it all until you see the exhausted mother of an almost two year old walking around the store with her child in his potty hat.

After the first few days I decided I had no clue what I was doing and I consulted every parenting magazine article I could find. I quickly learned that most of these articles are probably written by people who have never even been in the same room as a two year old. One of the biggest pieces of advice I remember was “buy a potty chair, sit it in the middle of the room, and give your child naked time with it”. I had tried that…remember, potty hat. I needed better advice.

I called my mom, who was his day care provider at the time, she said she would work on it with him. Two weeks later he was potty trained at her house and still wearing the potty hat at mine. I felt like a failure. Instead of admitting to my mom that I didn’t have her superior potty training genes I posted my experience on Facebook praying someone would be my potty training Yoda.

“I told my kid this morning he needed to go on the big boy potty today. His response was taking off his diaper and dropping a deuce on the floor. I think he just declared potty war on me!”

The only substantial response I got was someone asking me if I rubbed his nose in it. I’m assuming her only potty training experience had been with fur babies.

I started to fear that my son would still be in diapers at his high school graduation. I was in a panic. I felt like the worst mother in the world. If one more person pointed out the fact that he was still in diapers and gave me that disapproving glare I may have gone postal. Luckily a good friend called with five tips that turned everything around.

1. Buy the right potty toilet for a boy. Something with a comfortable urine guard, cool colors, and that makes fun sounds when you flush it. You want it to be both comfortable and inviting. For a kid diapers are easy so you have to make potty training exciting.

2. Remember Underwear is AWESOME!!!! Think about the last time you went shopping and got yourself a really cute and comfortable pair of underwear. While your son probably won’t get excited about something black and lacey with a Victoria Secret tag he will get super excited if you take him to the store and let him pick out his favorite super hero, cartoon minion, scary dinosaur underwear. If you buy the underwear he wants to wear he is more likely to put effort into potty training.

3. Let him watch the big boys do it. It never even dawned on me that the best way to teach a boy to use the potty is by letting him observe Dad, big brother, or any other trust worthy male role model use the potty. Have them explain what they are doing and ask your child if he wants to try it. Have them treat it like some super cool privilege only big boys have. (However, this tip did backfire when my youngest observed his older brother peeing in the bushes because then he wanted to race outside and “water” my flowers every time he felt the urge to go)

4. Give Him Targets. In order to teach him to pee standing up put a few cheerios or gold fish in the toilet bowl and make a game out of aiming at them. This won’t only help him pee in the toilet it will also make peeing in the toilet exciting. Just remember to monitor this ‘game’ because my son started choosing his own ‘targets’ and we had to spend a lot of money paying a plumber to remove the ‘targets’ from the drain.

5. Bribe Him. I guess the word bribe sounds bad so let’s change this one to “Potty Celebrations”. Offer him an incentive or a reward each time he goes to the bathroom in the potty instead of in his diaper. This can be anything from a small piece of candy or a sticker to a crazy potty celebration dance with mom. Just make sure whatever you decide to “celebrate” with happens right away and is consistent.

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful. However, if you do end up with a child in a potty hat just remember he will decide to give it up by graduation and it doesn’t make you a bad mom. Stay positive and be persistent.

Now if anyone has any tips on how to get older boys to put the seat down or not to sprinkle around the toilet when they pee…. let me know.

“When your son’s in the bathroom and you walk past and hear him singing “Shake it Off” you know why there’s always pee on the toilet!” #lifewithboys


Tiffany O’Connor is a mom to two amazing, energetic, and fearless boys. She is married to her high school sweet heart and has three college degrees. Her hobbies include watching TV shows about zombies, hiding in her hot tub with a bottle of champagne, and writing all about her misadventures parenting in a “man cave” at #Lifewithboys.

Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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13 thoughts on “How to Potty Train a Boy….When You Don’t Pee Standing Up

  • February 25, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Great tips thanks for sharing 🙂
    I'm sorry you had such struggles to getting there but now you have definitely seen it all!! Love the potty hat haha! -#sharewithme

  • February 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

    These are brilliant. It took forever to potty train my son and it was a nightmare and MM is now almost to that point and I am not looking forward to it. Yes the aftermath of no more diapers but the process I am hoping girls are easier. Great tips. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • February 27, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      My niece is a week younger than my youngest son & I feel like she picked up on it a lot faster. Hopefully the process goes smoothly for you this time around 🙂

  • February 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Tee hee great advice, I'll definitely be coming back and rereading the time comes to toilet train my boy!

    • February 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks! Remember to teach your girls to look before they use the toilet once your little man starts potty training….falling in is never fun 🙂

  • February 27, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Lucas says – he he!! We're little monkeys aren't we? The Mother did targets with me too and they really worked. TIP: When I'm aiming at the targets, don't talk to me as I WILL turn around and won't have stopped weeing!!!!!
    The Mother says – This brought back so many memories and I really enjoyed reading this – great post. Good Luck and looking forward to reading progress :0 #sharewithme

  • February 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    These bring it all back. My eldest was a nightmare to potty train, my girl, the middle one was super easy to train, but my youngest is a boy and is 19 months, so we aren't there yet, and I am absolutely dreading it. x

  • April 28, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it


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