Huggies pulls gender-specific toilet training advice

 Photo: Shutterstock

Baby brand Huggies has removed gender specific toilet training advice from its website, admitting it was "not appropriate".

The move followed an online roasting from a New Zealand mum who labelled the advice "1950s drivel".

Until recently, the Huggies website detailed separate advice which encouraged "superman undies" for boys and honing "caregiving instincts" in girls.

"Emphasising that your daughter is responsible for looking after her potty can be great motivation during training," the girls' page stated.

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"From a very young age, a girl's caregiving instinct kicks in."

Among the tips for girls was one that said: "Stories about princesses or heroines that involve a potty will be extra helpful."

Huggies screenshot

Parents could invest in a pair of superhero undies for boys, because "he might be more inclined to keep his hero clean".


Wellington woman Nicky Lynch wrote a tongue-in-cheek public post on Huggies' Facebook page stating, in teaching her son to be caring, and not dressing her daughter in princess dresses, she must be doing something wrong.

"I'm sorry to say I tried to explain her cleaning responsibilities to my little girl and she shouted something about poo poos, wee wees and farts and ran off butt-naked to make mud pies. I'm concerned that she may be confused about her gender identity and her future as a toilet cleaner could be at risk," Lynch wrote.

"How do I get her back on the straight and narrow??"

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She singled out advice from the website which stated: "Boys are traditionally more competitive than girls," and "Little girls, more so than boys, love to know when they've been helpful", while encouraging slightly different rewards systems for each gender.

Huggies NZ apologised for any offence caused and agreed the content needed to be updated.

"We agree that this content on our website is not appropriate, Huggies' marketing manager Jason Biggs said in a statement.

"This section of our website was evidently missed in our content reviews that ensure the guidance we provide to parents and caregivers reflects today's society and lifestyles.

"We have now removed the content and are currently in the process of reviewing the entire website."

It's a move that has prompted the Australian arm of the company to do the same.

A spokesperson for Huggies Australia told Essential Baby said the content had also been removed from the company's Australian site. 

"This section of the website was evidently missed in our content reviews that ensure the guidance we provide to parents and caregivers is up-to-date," the spokesperson said. "We sincerely apologise for this oversight and for any offence caused."

Lynch's post prompted a flurry of comments from parents who joined in with their own sarcastic responses.

"I read 'Princess wants her Potty' books to my son. Now I know why he's screwed up. Can I trade him in and start again?" one mother wrote.

Others zoned in on Huggies' gender specific tips by making a point about gender identity, including one mum who joked she recently almost bought a superhero playsuit for her daughter, before discovering they were in the boys section.

"I promptly removed them from my basket... Just to be safe, I immediately went and glued a bow on her forehead."

- Stuff