Many of us decide whether we want a little girl or a little boy very early on. Maybe you want to have a baby boy so that he’ll someday grow into your strong, caring son, or maybe you want a little girl so that you can fill her closets with adorable dresses and bright clothes. We all know that we’ll love our baby no matter what, but having a gender preference is natural. In fact, many people also agree that girls are much easier to potty train than boys, which is another reason they might be preferred by the nervous, first-time parent. Believe it or not, there is actually no research that supports this claim.

Studies show that the ability for a child to learn how to use the toilet has nothing to do with his or her gender. Instead, the ability is based on their general level of incontinence and ability to learn overall. People probably assume girls are easier to teach because they don’t have to add the step of standing up to the process, so the training is over sooner.

It’s also important to note that the signs that a girl is ready to learn how to use the potty are the same as those for a boy. You should only start potty training your toddler when he or she is able to “hold it” for a few hours at a time. This ability shows that there is some control. Additionally, your child should be able to understand and follow instructions and have the mobility to get off and on the toilet independently. When all of these things align, it’s time to teach your child the proper way to use the bathroom depending on his or her gender, and the process for boys and girls is actually very similar.

If you think it might be time to potty train your child, get ready for a difficult but rewarding process. Some children learn faster than others, so don’t give in to the pressure to be discouraged by the parents of your child’s peers. Even if it seems like your boy or girl will never learn, there will eventually be a breakthrough day when you feel confident that potty independence is just around the corner. Once your child can use the restroom independently, you’ll be forced with one of many signs to come that your baby is growing up.

Source: JG Barone et al: Later Toilet Training is Associated with Urgent Incontinence in Children International Brazilian Journal of Urology Volume 36 Issue August 2010