Training children for bladder control before bowel control is often easier for quite a few reasons: More frequent bathroom trips = more opportunities for success, digestion and diet issues don’t stall success, and urination is usually a painless, phobia-free, and quick experience. In general, families that hire me as a consultant are encouraged to consider bladder training to be the first mountain to conquer.
But should little boys sit or stand to do the deal? After a child has been sitting on the potty, understands it’s use, and has consistent success, I will encourage parents to have their sons stand to urinate. But it isn’t as simple as that. There are pros and cons.
First, the pros of standing to urinate:
- little boys have probably seen their brothers, cousins and dad use the toilet, and most children want to copy their same-gender parent. This is often more motivation to become independent in the bathroom.
- young children may be a little more mindful of why they are standing in front of the toilet. Children that are sitting have a harder time seeing what is happening and can get distracted. I know, I know, even the “big boys” can have terrible aim. But children need all the help they can get to stay focused.
- improving aim is motivation to use the toilet. I wrote a blog post on using targets to teach boys to improve their accuracy and build interest in toileting.Piddlers Make Potty Training Fun! These really work!
And now the cons:
- See the item about distractibility under “pros”. Some boys are so distracted that sitting on an toilet seat insert with a splash guard is the only way to prevent spraying the bathroom and any supervising adult.
- Some children will start out urinating and begin to have a bowel movement concurrently. Oops! These children often have issues with low tone or digestive problems, and cannot “hold it” long enough to finish urinating and then sit on the toilet to have a bowel movement. If they have an accident, it could be very upsetting to them and make them less eager to be fully trained.
- Children with low muscle tone or postural stability issues may need to sit to achieve a safe and stable position. No one can eliminate when they are unsteady or fearful.
Some children are vocal and clearly tell you what they want to do and why. Some cannot or will not communicate, but you can figure out what they are thinking. Some need to be encouraged to give standing a try. If your son was initially interested and now has lost some of his enthusiasm and is still sitting to urinate, try telling him that it is time to stand like the big guys and see if you can regain some of your momentum in toilet training!
For more information on toilet training children with low muscle tone, check out my other posts such as Should You Install a Child-Sized Potty for Your Special Needs Child?and Low Tone and Toilet Training: The 4 Types of Training Readiness as well as my useful e-book. Here is a post that explains why this unique book will help you move forward with training right away! The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone: Potty Training Help Has Arrived!