Is potty training different for girls and boys?

Does gender affect potty-training behaviour? We found out.

3 min read

Is potty training different for girls and boys?

Does gender affect potty-training behaviour? We found out.

3 min read

The endgame may be the same but getting there can be a different story. Insight shows more people search for potty training tips for boys. Does that mean girls are easier?

In a survey, 35% of parents thought potty training was easier for girls

There is a general view among parents that girls tend to take to potty training more readily and quickly than boys. A survey by the website Made for Mums found that over a third (35%) of parents believe girls are easier to potty train than boys, while only 14% of parents believe boys are easier to train than girls. In addition, 54% of parents of girls start potty training before the age of two compared with only 38% of parents of boys.

Gender vs personality: which matters more?

So, boys are harder to potty train than girls, right? Childcare professional Julia Perry isn’t so convinced.

“Little girls tend to be more advanced in physical development and in speaking too, which makes the potty-training process quicker for them. But that doesn’t mean training boys will be harder and slower. What’s more important is your child’s personality and their readiness, not their gender. Every child is different.”

Julia’s theory is supported by parents who experienced different levels of potty-training success with same sex siblings. Rebecca, mum of three, agrees. "My eldest, James, was potty trained in a week, no accidents. My next son, William, took an extra year, after numerous attempts."

How did potty training go for mixed gender twins?

Proof of the pudding? We asked twin mums with mixed gender twins.

Sam, mum to twins Alfie and Molly is on the fence. "I needed to potty-train them together, so was forcing Alfie ahead of time - I’m not sure it’s a fair comparison. Molly was more ready than Alfie, he took longer, but he was no less tricky – it was just a more gradual process. I believe it’s more about a child being ready, not their gender."

Carolyn, mum to twins Ella and Lars. "Ella was ready quicker, we started when she turned two and she mastered it very quickly. I knew Lars was going to be later so we didn't rush him, they are very different kids! I’ve always treated them as two different people. If they had been same sex twins, it still doesn’t mean they would have hit the same milestones at the same time."

Potty training is an individual thing

It seems there is no hard and fast rule and your child’s individuality is likely to play as much a role as their gender. There are plenty of books and resources that take a more gender-specific approach, such as Stephany Hicks’ boys’ and girls’ versions of Potty Training in 3 Days, but we’re not convinced it’s worth your time. Instead, check the potty training tips we collated along the way for girls and boys.

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