Puberty for Boys

Do you feel like every time your boy leaves the room he comes back a little taller? Is your sweet little sugar monster turning into a sassy-mouthed grump? Congratulations! Your child has reached puberty! Let’s take a look at onset and features of puberty in boys. 

The Tanner Stages

The progression and features of puberty are tracked by a scale known as the Tanner Stages, or sexual maturity ratings. These were developed (pun intended) by child development expert, Professor James M. Tanner. These serve as general signposts of puberty, even though each person’s development is unique.

Stage 1 – Prepubescent

In this stage the body is making preparations for puberty, but no outward changes are showing. The pituitary gland begins making hormones that will influence reproductive glands. This typically begins around 8 or 9 years old. 

Stage 2 

In this stage the beginnings of physical changes can be noticed. Pubic hair may start showing at the base of the penis. A boy’s testicles will start to get bigger. This stage typically begins around 11 years old. 

Stage 3 

In this stage the changes begin to be more noticable. Height growth accelerates to 2 to 3 inches a year. Muscle development accelerates and they become larger and more defined. His voice may begin to “crack.” Breast tissue may form under the nipples. This usually goes away after puberty. The penis begins getting larger and he may begin experiencing wet dreams (night-time ejaculation.) This stage typically begins around 13 years old. 

Stage 4

In this stage boys are continuing to experience many changes. Hair begins to grow in the underarm area. The penis, testicles, and scrotum continue to grow and coloration continues to darken. Fluctuations in the voice settle into the darker, deeper timber. This stage typically begins around 14 years old. 

Stage 5

This stage signals the beginning of the end of puberty. Pubic hair fills out completely and the penis, testicles, and scrotum have reached adult size. Facial hair arrives and some boys begin shaving. Height growth slows way down, but muscle growth may continue. This stage typically begins around 15 years old and is usually completed by 18 years old. 

It must be noted that these milestones are what is “typical” and your child’s progression may be different. If your son is experiencing puberty signs earlier than 8, you may want to schedule a visit. If your son has not begun showing signs of puberty by 14, you should make an appointment to discuss. We are currently (as of this writing) accepting new patients. If you are looking for a new holistic pediatrician, we would love to talk to you.