Potty Talk!

March 14, 2022

Occupational Therapists have expertise in addressing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). This includes toileting and hygiene. It’s in our training to become an OT and it’s a common discussion with families who bring their child for OT services. So, as an OT, I have “potty talk” a lot.

As a dad of a son and daughter, I’ve had a lot of “potty talk” during the course of their development as well.

Ironically, I was just reading the parenting manual everyone received when they had kids (insert sarcastic eye roll here). Apparently, according to this non-existent parenting manual, boys MUST stand to pee because they’re boys and if they sit to pee, then clearly they’re not “manly” enough to be boys. 

Let’s blow up the internet with some earth-shattering news: 


Let’s take it a step further. Research tells us that sitting encourages a “more favorable urodynamic profile.” (2014, Leiden University Medical Centre). Also, physicists have found that peeing while standing up significantly increases the velocity of the stream and potential for backsplash, amounting to less hygienic, more bacteria-filled bathrooms. (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24820279). 

Now, let’s talk practicality! Why are we splitting the toilet training process into two separate jobs??? Keep it simple. Sit to use the potty. AND, since kids have to sit and relax on the potty in order to poop, and BMs often happen at the same time as urination, you may even get an “whoops” poop while they’re sitting to pee! Sitting down to pee often makes for more effective and easier potty training.

So, I’ve presented some research, the physics, and the practicality of teaching young boys to sit to pee. Now, let’s talk about the most important part of what I’ve written about above, and the true inspiration for this post. There is absolutely no correlation between “manliness” and sitting down to urinate. Your young child will not grow up to be “less of a man” if they learn to pee sitting down. Yes, he will still learn to use a urinal in public restrooms when he is older (and tall enough). We have to get over our insistence that boys MUST pee standing up. Obviously, if a boy wants to “be like dad” and pee like daddy does, that should be embraced, but sitting to pee makes a lot more sense than encouraging standing to pee just because he’s a boy and that’s what boys do. 

Finally, to anyone who has ever approached a urine-covered seat because a boy in your life decided to play Fire Marshall Bill with his hose and spray down the bathroom, we just solved the problem.