How to Potty Train a Boy (Without Driving Yourself Crazy)

If you’ve hung out around the site for long, you know that I do NOT believe in gender stereotypes. I want my boy to play with dolls and my girl to play in the dirt, and I want them both to grow up to be whatever they want to be.

But sometimes, there are undeniable differences between the sexes. And nowhere are these more obvious than when you’re trying to figure out how to potty train a boy.

My daughter was stubborn as all get out, but potty training a girl seemed to be pretty straightforward. You sit. You pee. You receive your bribe reward. A couple weeks later, you’re walking around in big girl underwear like it’s no big deal.

But you might also find that your son has different interests and energy levels to contend with,  and that presents its own challenges.

So if you find yourself with a kid of potty training age, and that kid happens to have a penis- here’s how to potty training a boy (without going crazy in the process).

Toddler Potty Training seat. Text overlay: How to potty train a boy (and make it fun)

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Avoid the Splash Back

If you’ve already potty trained a girl, you likely have a little toilet or toilet seat on hand already. But you may or may not be able to use it.

See, when a girl pees, it trickles right on down. With a boy? Think of a rogue water hose. That stuff can go ANYWHERE.

Gray toddler potty training seat in the corner on tile.

You need a toilet that’s designed to help potty train a boy. They come with an extra “splash guard,” or have a built in feature to keep everything where it belongs (namely, to keep urine off of your floor). We really like this one– simple, easy to clean, and takes care of business.

Ride the Potty Train

If you didn’t catch our advice to never mention the potty train in time, you’re going to have a very disappointed little boy in your hands. You’re going to need a potty train.

boy playing with toy train

For us, that means that whenever he pees, we “ride the potty train” by marching to the little potty in the bathroom while singing, “chugga chugga chugga chugga, chugga chugga chugga chugga, POO. POO.”

We make a big ceremony about flushing the contents of the potty and washing our hands. It’s weird, but EFFECTIVE.

Related Post: The 9 Stages of Potty Training

Grab a Boy-Specific Book to Read

If you’ve got some masculine energy on your hands, you might need books that cater to those specific interests. Mainly, gross jokes and toilet humor.

Susan Levy has some HILARIOUS books that your little guy is sure to love. They’ll help him get interested in toilet training, and frankly, they’re just a lot of fun.

Smiling toddler boy holding the book called "We pee"

Consider reading these special books only when your child is sitting on the potty for a little extra reinforcement. It’ll turn all that time you’re waiting into something a little more fun, especially when you’re using a book that’s just his style.

Take out the guess work with our printable potty training planner:

images of potty planner pages for your boy; water tracker, daily toilet tracking

Color Changing Potty Magic

Have you seen Crayola’s Magic Color Changing Drops? We use them in the bath on the reg for a little extra fun while we’re getting sudsy.

But don’t use those blue ones in the tub! Nope, those are reserved for the toilet. Drop a blue color drop in the toilet, and tell your little guy that he can turn the blue water green with his pee.

Rolls of toilet paper stacked and a container of Color bath dropz.

It really works, too. Your little guy will get a kick out of his magic pee (omg, I die a little just typing that, but if it works, IT WORKS). Talk about incentive to go!

Related Post: Make Bathtime More Fun with the Best Bath Toys for Toddlers

Sit Backwards on the Toilet

My mother-in-law swears by this method for potty-training-a-boy, and says it worked wonders for my husband. Instead of sitting on the potty the normal way, your son will straddle the toilet, facing the tank. It eliminates splash back, and is more fun.

toddler putting toilet seat down

Tell him he’s a cowboy, and that the toilet is his horsie. Heck, give him a cowboy hat to wear everytime he sits. Whatever you can do to get him on board? Do that thing.

Buy Some SuperHero Underwear

Is your toddler SUPER into super heroes like mine? We bought this pack of DC Super Hero Underwear for Abram, and we told him that the underwear gives him super powers. So when he’s wearing the Flash undies, he moves super fast, and when he’s in Superman, he’s crazy strong. He LOVES it.

Red and Yellow Superhero Flash boy underwear and a baby blue Fruit of the loom pair of boys underwear.


If you pee on your Flash underwear, of course you have to take them off. And then you can’t be super fast anymore. Nope, when you pee in your superhero underwear, you get a plain colored pair from this pack. You can’t have superhero undies back until you pee in the potty.

Clearly, your kid has to be old enough to “get it” before you use this trick. But it’s been really effective with Abram so far!

Related Post: Potty Training Humor & Tips for Mamas in the Trenches

Remind Your Son To Use the Bathroom

I feel like I’m training myself as much as I am my son. We’re talking about reminders every thirty minutes. And if I lose track? Well, we’ll have a puddle to show for it.

We found this amazing watch that sings every 30, 60, or 90 minutes (you decide on the interval). It reminds your son (and you!) that it’s time to use the bathroom. And since it’s not me reminding him- hey, blame the watch!- we don’t battle about it as much.

Blue Potty watch. That's shaped like a toilet.

And the fact that it’s shaped like a toilet? Well, as far as my yucky boy is concerned, that’s a huge bonus.

Take Aim

We haven’t actually done this yet, because I’m terrified for my son to find out that he has that much control over his urine. BUT a ton of boy moms drop a cheerio into the toilet, and have their son try to “hit” the cheerio with his pee.

a cheerio in the toilet

I mean, you’ve got to give it to moms in the creativity department.

Get the Cool Soap

My son never wants to push pause on his play long enough to wash his hands.  As soon as I saw these soaps that a local mom makes, I knew we had the solution.

These soaps are not only super fun (they come with a toy inside!) but they are excellent incentive to get kids to wash their hands. If they wash their hands enough, the toy will be released from the soap and then they can play with it. Make sure to hype it up every time you wash. We like to chant, “come out army guy,” as he scrubs, but you do whatever works for you!

Different colored bar of soaps with toys in the middle.

My favorite part is that these soaps are handmade by a local mom, so buying a soap supports small business as much as it does your son’s potty training endeavors. You can get your own on Etsy (we love these little skateboarding ones, or these dinos). 

It can be a long process, but with the help of these potty training tips for boys, it can be a lot more fun.  Drop your favorite potty training tips in the comments below!


Do you have your Potty Training Planner yet?? Get yours here and make getting ready for potty training a breeze!

images of potty planner pages; water tracker, daily toilet tracking

Looking for more toddler tips? Head here next-

16 thoughts on “How to Potty Train a Boy (Without Driving Yourself Crazy)”

  1. I’m sorry, I didn’t see shouting “I give up, just take a dump in your diaper!” on this list. Am I doing it wrong? LOL. For reals though. We got this peeing this down. It’s the pooping that is making me crazy.

    • So… Not sure this will help you deal, because my nearly 4yo still won’t poop on the potty. She will, however, diligently get her own Pull-Up, put it on and let me know when she’s done. So I have ABSOLUTELY shouted that! (She has also promised that she’ll poop in the potty when she’s four so…here’s hoping!)

      • OMG MINE DOES THE SAME THING. Just when you think you are alone in your misery…you just have to look online, lol. It’s SO ridiculous to have the poop conversation with someone smart enough to go get a pull-up themselves. He will ask me to get one for him first and I say no, he needs to poop on the potty. Then I finally give up and tell him if he wants to dump in his pants then he has to go get his own pull-up on. So he does.
        I’m just like…what’s the appeal??

    • Although it may be too late, I let my son have 5 M&M’s if he poops on the potty. But if he poops in his underwear the deal is that I get to eat his M&M’s. We are three weeks post-underwear-pooping and only once did we have a near-miss when I walked into his room first thing in the morning and he held “you do not get to eat my M&Ms!” At which point I took him to the potty and he did his business. He had been consistently pooping in his underwear with a complete loss of interest in the potty and with the M&M trick he hasn’t missed a single opportunity to eat M&Ms. Score.

    • Lol…not this far yet with the boy, but my “easy to potty train girl” took months after bring completely tee tee trained to poo poo train. She was very able, just not ready. Bribery worked well 😊

  2. For my boys it has definitely been about teaching the word Privacy. As much as it makes me nervous, they have both needed to poop ALONE. So even if they were pooping in their diaper I read to start putting them in the bathroom (and walking out of the room) then eventually they get that it can be a spot for them to be alone and DoTheir business. So teaching them they can ask for Privacy has been so crucial since they really do feel more comfortable pooping by themself. Juat make it clear they tell you when they’re done and you help clean up, but really by then they are sometimes happy to show off their big accomplishment.

    They will get there!

  3. Ok, so my little guy didn’t want to poop either. He too has the pee thing down like gang busters, but poop, oh man, I was ready to pull out my hair. BUT, we found an amazing trick…… Naked Time…… No, you did not read that wrong. We found that every evening, about 30 minutes after dinner was over, he would poop in his pull up, or underwear if I was having an empowered mom night. So, we instituted Naked Time. Right after dinner daddy and Peter would go to the bathroom to wash up. While in there, daddy made sure his special book was in reach and the pants and pull up or underwear would come off. Peter loved running around the house naked. The first night, he didn’t catch it in time and he pooped on the floor. We did not make a big deal, just said, next time try to get to your potty, and I cleaned it up. The next night, he grabbed his bottom and ran……pooped in the potty. We kept it up for 2 weeks (with that 1at night being the only mishap) and we were able to transition to underwear full time, accept at night. ….. ……… Now, does anyone have ideas for night time, he’s 4 1\2 and still is a heavy wetter at night. We cut him off from drinks after dinner, and make him pee every 30 minutes before bed but still he pees out of a pull up, with cloth diapers insert for added absorbtion, at least 3 nights a week.

    • With my daughter (she’s 5 now) we had the same issue, when we potty trained her at 3. So unfortunately for me, I had to get up twice a night pick her up and carry her to the potty. Sometimes she’d wake and go potty other times she would be just kinda half awake mostly asleep and I’d have to hold her up on the seat and she would go. I did that for probably 1 1/2 weeks to 2 weeks. Before she’d get up herself at night

  4. My son knows how to pee and poop in the bowl. But how would I get him not to be scared going in a public restroom and pee while standing. I got a stool for him and he still prefers to potty sitting on the toilet.

    • There’s a couple different things you can try, but it depends on what part of the public bathroom are causing the problem. For example, my daughter was scared of the automatic flushing toilets. If I covered them up until she could cover her ears, she did better. (I’ve even heard of moms bringing post it notes in their diaper bags for this reason.)

      You can also get a foldable potty seat to take with you so he can continue sitting on the public toilets without germs.

      If those don’t work, you might consider taking a small potty with liners along with you on outings until he gets more comfortable. It’s not ideal, but if it prevents having an accident in public I’m all for it!

    • My son did not get the whole standing to pee thing since we don’t do that at home…which Daddy knows. So he never had the pressure of standing to pee. I figured we’d tell him about it when we dropped him off at college. Then my brother-in-law took the boys to the bathroom and my son reported to me that he peed on a blue thing with his cousins. Apparently there’s something to aim at? Idk? But now my son loves going to public bathrooms.

  5. At what age do you recommend potty training? My little boy turned 2 in December..a couple months before he turned 2 he was SO interested and dying to try the potty. Now I can’t even get him to sit on it for 10 seconds!

    • Between The Salty Mamas 5 kids, we’ve had kids all over the map! A couple weren’t even remotely interested until after their third birthday, one decided on her second birthday she was done with diapers, and everything in between! But the one thing we can agree on with all five kids is that it went the easiest when they were ready and we did it on their timeline! Good luck!

  6. Oh, so glad I found this article on Pinterest today! It happened to pop up in my suggestions. We are about to start the potty training process and I was a little frightened (to be honest). I love the train idea! My son is fascinated with trains and I think that might be his thing, as crazy as I am going to feel while singing the song. haha

  7. I honestly don’t remember potty training my daughter. She just got tired of having her diaper changed and wanted to use the toilet…and that was the end of diapers. My 1st son just wasn’t making progress. He’d go on the toilet one day and be too lazy to leave his toys the next day and no amount of rewards helped. So I sent him to my Mother-in-laws for a week and he came back without diapers. He had just turned 3. A year later and my next son doesn’t seem to understand what a toilet is for. He likes sitting on it and then getting off and peeing on the floor. A trip to grandma’s house is in his future.

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