I am asked this question by many parents - they all want to know whether to start potty training boys to urinate standing up or sitting down.
While there is definitely no right or wrong way to potty train a boy, most potty training experts will recommend that toddler boys should be potty trained sitting down. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends encouraging & teaching toddler boys to urinate sitting down.
The major reason for this recommendation is to keep things simple by teaching them to sit for both urination and bowel movements. Other reasons include the logistics involved in managing the equipment for both types of training and the effort required to clean up while they learn to aim properly.
Keep it Simple and Bowel Movement Training:
Most parents would agree that potty training your toddler son includes not only teaching him to urinate in a potty or toilet, but also to make bowel movements in the potty or toilet. And for bowel movement training, you will have to teach your toddler son to sit down on a potty or the toilet.
So, then if you decide to teach your son to pee standing up, you will have to teach him to have a bowel movement sitting down - that means teaching your son two different things. This can get confusing for a toddler.
Let's take a look at the potty training process in detail from the child's perspective. (Read the article on " When should I start potty training? What is the right age for potty training? " to learn the details of your child's physiological, motor, verbal & cognitive, social & emotional development).
It starts with body awareness and the ability to associate a feeling of fullness with the need to eliminate and the result i.e. a BM or urination. This awareness starts at about age 1 and until now (for the last 1-2 years), when you child has this feeling, he simply goes ahead and eliminates in his diaper or pull ups. Now you want him to learn that when he has this feeling he has to stop and find his way to the potty. Then he has to remove his clothing and then sit or stand on the potty depending on which feeling he has and then eliminate.
So, from your child's perspective you are already asking him to do a lot - and by trying to teach your child to stand while urinating and sit while having a bowel movement, you are asking him to only learn and identify the feeling of fullness, but to differentiate the two feeling and make a decision to sit or stand.
Having said that, bowel movements usually occur with urination, and if you child is sitting down to urinate, he may have a bowel movement at the same time and thus make the whole potty training process a lot easier.
Equipment Logistics and Clean Up Efforts.
What will you use - a potty, a urinal or the toilet? Which one for which? A potty is probably too low to the ground to use for urination from the standing position. A urinal for pee and a potty for bowel movements? Maybe the toilet for both?
If you decide to use the toilet for both, you will need a step stool. You will also have to work out the details of the toilet seat & toilet seat reducer. (You may want to purchase the reducer that attaches permanently to the toilet seat.) Do you teach him to remove the toilet seat reducer and lift the toilet seat? Or do you just leave them there because it is more convenient, but will be harder to clean?
Where will you do the potty training? Since the toddler is just learning, his aim will be off and initially he may also probably also dribble, so there is a good chance of over spray and mess. For this reason, if you may decide to teach your son to stand when urinating, you will want him to learn in the bathroom. Be prepared to do some extra cleaning in the bathroom and around the toilet bowel for a while until your toddler learns to aim.
Having said all this, by the age of two and half or three, children become interested in the concepts of gender and boys will begin to imitate their fathers or older brothers. So, you may find that your child wants to be like daddy or like his older brother and will insist that he urinate while standing and not sitting. If this is the case, then let him stand. It is not worth a power struggle. Work on teaching him to urinate first and then work on bowel movements.
Last, but not least, if your child is in day care, then make sure that you are teaching him the same way that they are teaching him. Some day cares insist on teaching boys to urinate standing and so make sure that both of you are teaching him the same thing!!
Copyright 2004-2005. Potty Training Concepts. All Rights Reserved.
Narmin Parpia, inventor of the Potty Scotty? and Potty Patty? potty training dolls and Potty Training in One Day ? The Complete System for Girls and for Boys. Narmin has been dispensing products, information and advice online at http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com
Her products have been featured on the Today Show on Mother's Day and in May 2nd 2005 Edition of TIME Magazine. Her products have been feature on the various TV and Radio stations across the country. Articles about her and her products have aslo been featured in newspapers and magazines across the US.