Training A Sharp Shooter: 5 Ways to Teach Your Son to Aim at the Toilet

Potty training little boys can be hilarious and messy, so check out these tips to teach your son how to aim at the toilet.

We (and by “we” I mean mostly my husband) spent our Memorial Day weekend replacing the floor in our downstairs half-bath. Why, you ask?

Our three-year-old lacks skill in the “peeing-in-the-potty-with-precision” arena.

Removing our floor after one two many repetitions of our toddler missing the toilet while going to the bathroom!
Removing our floor after one too many repetitions of our toddler missing the toilet while going to the bathroom!

Our less permeable new floor should hold up well against any future accidents. But with that being said…

We’ve got to get busy training a sharp shooter.

No, we are not talking about BB guns and squirrels, here. We’re talking potty talk. We’re talking pee-pee. In the toilet. Not on my floors.

I thought we had it made when we finally turned that corner of 100% potty trained. I had no idea that it was going to be an uphill battle on the precision end. I’ve tried to figure out why in the world when my little darling boy goes into the bathroom to go pee-pee, it results in a puddle to the left (always to the left) of the toilet. Notice I didn’t say drip or drop. It is literally a puddle. He was doing so well! And now – stinky, moldy, wood floors that had to be replaced.

My sweet little Jake is a work in progress, and we are trying all the tricks we can think of to get that stream flowing STRAIGHT. I’ve sneaked by the bathroom as he goes in and leaves the door cracked (despite trying to give him his three-year-old bathroom privacy) and witnessed what may be the problem – boredom. Yes, 30 seconds of peeing can apparently produce boredom in a toddler. I’ve seen him get bored and look around the room, thus shifting the stream. I’ve seen him get bored and remove one hand to play with the toilet paper roll to his left, thus shifting the stream. I’ve even seen him get bored and start scratching at a bump of excess paint on the wall, thus shifting the stream.

We’ve got to put a stop to this. I refuse to come monitor the pee-pee flow for the rest of his life. I don’t want to have to do this, and he certainly won’t want this either! So it’s time to get serious. I’m making a battle plan full of techniques for whipping this kid into sharp-shooter-shape. Surely one of these has got to work, right?

Battle Techniques (For Precision-Peeing-In-The-Potty):

1. Watch dad.

Alright, little dude. We’ll start with learning from the expert. This worked when starting to potty train, so let’s revisit this. Dad’s going to try and teach you precision now. Pay close attention to that form!

2. Cheerio in the Toilet.

This is a technique that worked with daddy when he was a little boy, so it should work with you, right? Let’s give it a go. Throw a little floater in there, and make a game out of it. Aim for that Cheerio! And who knows. If your aim is good, there may even be a prize for you!

3. Sticker in the Toilet.

We have an abundance of Lightning McQueen stickers these days – why not use one of those as a target? Stick that sucker on the inside of the toilet bowl and let’s aim to give Lightning a shower!

4. Remove Distractions.

So you like playing with toilet paper, little one? Multi-tasking isn’t working out so well for you. So guess what? Boys don’t need toilet paper (except for #2 and mama’s still got to help you out with that one) so buh-bye toilet paper. Mom will keep it somewhere close by, out of your reach so you’re free of the temptation to be distracted by it!

5. Sit backward on the toilet.

Alright, I’ll admit – I’m a little skeptical of this one, and he certainly won’t want to get into the habit of doing this when he gets older, but we’ll give it a try. But, I’m thinking that standing or sitting, distraction is distraction.

LAST RESORT: Let him loose in the backyard (when Mama’s too tired to deal with it).

For those days when I’m just done. When I’m tired of mopping up pee and training techniques. We’ve entered the summer months. We have a fenced in backyard that is semi-private. Go ahead. Be one with nature.

What techniques have been successful for training your little guy in the art of pee precision? What’s the craziest idea that you’ve heard that actually worked? What’s a training technique that you tried that was a complete flop?

5 ways to teach your son to aim at the toilet

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Lauren Hanley
Lauren is a graphic designer, mom to two rambunctious boys – Jake (4) and Nate (2), and wife to an amazing husband – John. She was born in Upstate New York, but her family moved to Portland, Oregon when she was 5, and moved back to New York 9 years later. After graduating from Syracuse University, Lauren and her husband moved down to Atlanta, where she attended Savannah College of Art and Design for graduate school. She and John were married in 2007, in Roswell, Georgia. She has a creative spirit, and especially loves to cook in her spare time. Lauren and her family love to go on adventures in the surrounding Atlanta area – finding activities to do with the kids, hiking, and making new memories whenever they can! They also spend a lot of time volunteering in their community, and strive to involve their boys.


  1. This post makes me thankful for tile floors…as long as we seal the grout before our little dude hits the potty training stage!

  2. Ladies, it doesn’t get better for quite a while. Sorry to tell you this, but my 11 year old now scrubs his own toilet. I hope you have better luck. We started a sit to pee rule in the downstairs public half bath.

  3. I don’t remember how easy/difficult it was to potty train my older two kids… but my 2.5 year old is giving me a run for my money! I’m going to need ALL the tips you listed – I can already tell.

    Great article!

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