Potty Training Boys

 potty training boys

Here's a little secret you may not know about me. 

A long time ago, when my 3rd child entered school – I applied to teach at the local preschool.  I thought this would ease her transition into school knowing that I was there.  Turns out, the whole experience blew up in my face (that’s a blog post for another day).

I taught 5 mornings a week, time split between a 2 and 3 year old class.  Many of the kids in the 3 year old class were potty training.  In fact, most of them wore actual underwear to school. 

Part of the deal – of course – with children this age is that they require help in the bathroom from time to time.  It turns out however, that my all female estrogen laden parenting experience did not prepare me for potty training boys. 

Did you know that boys don’t wipe?  Seriously, they just put their hands on the wall, stand on a stool – and pee all over the potty aimlessly.  And then when they are done, they don’t wipe. (I did NOT know this!)

I learned this lesson the hard way. 

After each boy would go in to the restroom to pee, I would hand them a piece of toilet paper.  One little boy said, “What is this for?”  And of course, I said – “To dab, you know – to wipe after you pee.”  He looked at me like I was crazy, and I made a mental note of how unsanitary his mother must be.

For about two weeks, I did this each time the boys went in.  Each time, the boys gave me that same glaring crazy look (I didn’t actually go IN the bathroom with them, so I have no idea what they actually did with the toilet paper after they were done).

Then, one day – I asked my husband why he didn’t use toilet paper to ‘dab' after peeing. 

He looked at me with that crazy look, like I had just grown horns.  And I quickly looked down at the little wet spot on his sweatpants that proved he didn’t ‘shake' well and that wiping may be in order.

I proceeded to tell him that I gave the little boys in my 3 year old class a few squares of toilet paper when they had to pee and told them to dab when they were done. 

And suddenly, his eyes grew wide.  And I was schooled in the proper mechanics of potty training boys.  I was also told that I was probably traumatizing these poor little boys – because BOYS DO NOT WIPE AFTER THEY PEE.  THEY SHAKE!  In a voice that was almost a shout, he told me to cease and desist this behavior right away lest I want to completely and forever scar these little boys.

How was I supposed to know this?  I spent all my time potty training little girls.  And girls DO wipe  (I still think boys should).  And why didn’t any of the little boys object to the toilet paper, or at least tell their moms that the crazy teacher at school gave them toilet paper when they had to pee?  (Probably because they appreciated the lack of pee stains on their sons’ tighty whities!)

At any rate, I listened to my husband.  I stopped handing little boys toilet paper when they had to pee.  Today, those boys that were in my class are in 5th grade, and I see them from time to time.  I always wonder if they see me and secretly think, “There's the crazy whacko lady that tried to teach me to dab my penis after I peed,” then duck their heads and run in the other direction.  Or maybe, just maybe – they DO dab.  Truth is, I will never know. 


But here's a little word to the wise for those of you who – like me – have no experience potty training boys.  Boys do not wipe.  They shake.  Now I know the real reason God did not give me sons – because I would have turned them into blotters.

Image via iStock

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Potty Training Boys

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. Fredrick says:

    Okay ladies, this is why you leave this to a man to teach. “Dabbing” does not eliminate the “wet spot” that may appear. Shaking will eliminate any pee that may be on the outside. The “spot” usually comes from what may leak out afterwards. So dabbing does not address this. Girls dab, boys don’t! As for sitting, just know that men don’t think “males” that go into a stall to pee, are very manly. Why? Because they are peeing like a woman. Say what you want about how right you think it is, your son will be made fun of in school for doing this. Please don’t do this to them.

  2. sayhola says:

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Hillarious!!! My fully-trained 25-month old will occasionally "tap" if there’s a drip hanging while he SITS on the potty. Darn, I thought this article was going to tell me why little boys shouldn’t sit. (Should they?) HA HA HA! Thanks for a great giggle!

  3. anotherjenb says:

    I have two boys and got confused the first time I had to potty train. I kept asking my husband "Are you sure they’re not supposed to dab?" Nope. They shake.

  4. Christal says:

    That is funny because I give my 2 year old son toilet paper only because he thinks he has to wipe after mimicing me.

  5. Jessica says:

    My oldest (5) is a dabber my youngest (15m) still sits on the potty! Lol.

  6. starla says:

    I’m dying laughing right now! this is the funniest thing I’ve heard recently! I have had this discussion with my husband he also thought I was crazy lol our boys won’t be "dabbers"

  7. Amber says:

    My sons (almost 5 and 3) both dab. My hubby doesn’t think it’s weird because little boys are messier.

  8. Alecia says:

    My family was just having this conversation the other day because I’m starting with my little mister. I remember my mom teaching my brother to sit. And he said that it wasn’t until recently that he would stand when using the bathroom at home (and he’s 25). My moms philosophy: "I’m not cleaning up ANYONE’S pee off the floor!" And I agree. When you’re old enough to REALLY clean up after yourself, you can take aim from the tub for all I care! lol But he will be a sitter AND a dabber.

  9. I learned this the hard way too! I am also guilty of trying to traumatize my little boy with a piece of toilet paper to DAB it! My husband had to educate me on the wiping rituals of boys! I secretly still made him dab whenever I could get away with it! These boys can’t aim to save their life either, I am so tired of bleaching bathroom floors around toilets! You’d think I have ten boys not just one! But I know my husband has to be missing the bowl on occasion too because there’s just no way one kid can pee that much!

  10. That’s so new to me too 🙂 I have a son and I always asked my husband why they don’t wipe he looked at me like I was crazy 😛 good to know !

  11. BethAnn says:

    I had 2 boys and they learned to shake, now it’s time for the grandsons.

  12. lol I dread the thought of my son shaking pee all over. Perhaps I’ll teach him to dab.


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