Toilet-training toddler boys and girls: the same... but also very different 4 days ago

Toilet-training toddler boys and girls: the same... but also very different

My daughter was almost two-and-a-half when we took the plunge and started toilet-training her.

It was a nightmare.

Being a smart, mature sort of toddler, I naively assumed Giulia would be done 'n' dusted in a matter of weeks - if not days. I read of miracle children who just 'got it' over a weekend. I was told that girls are generally 'really easy' too.

But truthfully, the whole ordeal took at least six months. It was hellish. Six months of bringing countless changes of clothes when leaving the house; of tears, of thinking we're making progress... only to suffer another set-back.

Now we're on the cusp of round two: my toddler son is almost two-and-a-half so we're gearing up to once again say goodbye to nappies.

I kinda reckon that after the toilet-training wars I endured with my daughter, my son should be a doddle (like if you get an awake-through-the-night baby first - the laws of nature should really dictate that any additional kids are perfect sleepers).

That remains to be seen, of course. But it has got me thinking about the differences between getting boys and girls to use a potty. I did a bit of digging around, and here's what I discovered:

1) Don't go too early

Regardless of their gender, you shouldn't consider taking the toilet-training plunge until your child is at least 24 months. That's because the skill of going without nappies is actually a defined 'developmental task'. Indeed, beginning too soon (before your child is developmentally ready), may create more setbacks.

2) They start off the same

Both boys and girls should learn how to pee by sitting on the toilet - advice confirmed by Dr Tanya Remer Altmann. It's only when boys learn to control their pee and learn to properly aim that you should consider getting them to stand-up.

3) Position them differently

It helps girls to encourage them to sit all the way back with their knees apart to help their pelvic muscles relax. Boys will need to push their penises down before they pee and they might also need to lean forward to keep their penis pointed down as they go.

4) Wiping

After a poo, girls should always wipe front-to-back to prevent a painful UTI.

5) Girls take to it quicker

As my own experience proves, there are definitely exceptions to this rule - but in general girls are toilet-trained quicker than boys. Still, remember there is also no 'right' way to toilet-train... so do what works best for you and your child and don't take too much heed to how your child's peers are getting on. They all get there in the end!