AHEAD: 100+ tips, tricks and words of encouragements for when you are potty training. Tips from real parents, moms and dads just like you who have been through it.
Potty Training Hell
When I started potty training my eldest, I decided to do it over Christmas holidays. I planned three days of just focusing on potty training and nothing else. We wouldn’t go out, no outings or appointments. Half way through day 2, I was loosing my mind. I had the idea that if all we focused on for 3 days was potty training she would immediately get it. Not so. It would eventually take many more weeks and lots of accidents before she was fully trained.
Potty Training Advice
No one has all the answers or a one size fits all advice for how to potty train your child. All kids are different and will require a unique strategy to potty train them.
When I started to potty train my twins, I knew how hard and unpleasant potty training could be. I had a strategy for training my older daughter but I wanted to find out what other parents have done that they found worked when they were potty training. Since I had to train not one but two toddlers, I need all the tips and tools I could get.
How this List was Formed
Enter this massive list which was crowd sourced from my instagram followers. So many amazing smart, creative, ingenious moms and dads, grandparents, caregivers and teachers with centuries of experience between us all. This list is from them.
I first read through all the advice and tips and I suddenly didn’t feel so alone and discouraged. More than just having more tips for potty training toddlers and preschoolers, I felt good about starting and facing this important new step in my toddlers development!
No Magic Answers
I hope this list will help you too. Of course, not all the tips will work for your toddlers. But you know your toddler best. You know what will probably work and what won’t but I’m sure you will find ideas here you never thought of even if this isn’t your first time potty training. I know I did!
Potty Training Resources
Do you like gadgets? Here is a list of potty training books and products that parents actually used and loved.
- Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right (1) (Oh Crap Parenting)
- Potty Time: The Original Potty Watch
4. Let them pick out their own favourite underwear.
7. Potty Training Chart for Toddlers – They are available in may different themes.
Check out these potty training books:
Tips on How To Start the Process of Potty Training
- Let them be aware of their own bodies for 5/6 days before you train.
- Before they can start the training they need to be aware of what it feels when wee comes out.
- Have favorite dolly or stuffy use the potty first to spark interest. Practice with a doll for 1-2 days before.
- Start changing their diaper standing up.
- Start by changing diapers in the bathroom. To help create a clear association on when things happen.
- At the beginning, try being low key. Try before bath time when the diaper is already off.
- Don’t rush it, they will initiate on their own if you slowly introduce it and make it fun.
- Buy a potty way ahead of time so they get used to it and just practice even just sitting on it.
- Take your child to the bathroom when you go and show them that you go potty. Talk about potty all the time.
- Have them sit and try every time you change them.
- No training. Just start offering the potty as an option when toddler shows signs of being ready.
- One month before you want to start make sure they child can pull their own pants up and down.
- Read lots of picture books about potty training.
- No screens for anyone. For some screen time of any kind makes potty training worse.
- Put the potty in the washroom long before it potty training time.
Tips on When To Start Potty Training
Here are some tip on when can start to potty train you toddler or preschooler. Remember every child is different.
- Keep in mind that it’s not a training. It’s just about looking to see whether the child is ready and encouraging them.
- Wait until they can jump. Muscles are ready.
- Wait until they can ask themselves.
- Wait until they are ready (anywhere between 22 months to 3 years old).
- Ignore silly social expectations. Who cares if they start late.
- Wait for the child to show interest ie. if you ask if they want to sit on potty they do so without protest. Don’t rush them.
- For some, if you wait till they are ready and they will basically do it on their own
Potty Training Tips
OK. So get ready. Here is the big list of tips from real parents like you who have gone through potty training.
- Stay home for whole weekend and set aside a whole week. No appointment. No going anywhere.
- Ditch the underwear. It feels too much like a diaper.
- Start naked from the waist down. Let them run around nude for 2-3 days and they will figure it out fast. Lots of carpet cleaner or steer clear of carpets. Then add pants, no underwear for at least a month, loose parts only. Commando is key. Then undies and pants.
- Let them master it naked before using pants.
- Don’t waiver. Go cold turkey! No diapers. Don’t put a diaper back on because the situation would be easier with it. Ditch the diaper completely. They are no longer an option. Go all in and don’t look back. This came up lots on the list so I will say it again NO DIAPERS. There will be a few rough days then it’s over.
- No Pull Ups Ever. They delay process because they feel like a diaper. Cold turkey to undies is faster.
- Get a “real looking” potty. Put it right next to the real thing.
- Big happy celebrations. Loud obnoxious over the top praise! Cheering and clapping and encouraging words. [I love this. I do this with my girl twin but this does not work with her brother.]
- Stop liquids 2 hours before bed.
- Get them poop potty trained early then work on pee.
- Use a real potty no little ones.
- Have your kids wear crocs. Easy to wash and quick to dry.
- Keep potty in the same spot in the house so they know where it will always be.
- Layer your toddlers bed – sheet, mattress protector, sheet so on.
- To get over fear of pooping in the potty put a pull up in the tiny potty.
- Load them up with fluids so they can learn the feeling of a full bladder. Make they drink all day long. More tries equals more success.
- Use regular toilet and put a small lid on top.
- Use a potty training buddy like a favorite doll or teddy bear. Baby doll to go then they go every time.
- If nothing comes out after a few minutes let it be. Forcing creates resistance.
- Let teachers at school/day care lead the way, they’re the expert.
- Have the children help clean up their messes (if just pee only).
- Make a big deal of “throwing away” any diapers in the house. Show you are committed too.
- Puppy training pads on furniture, makes accident clean up easy.
Tips on Getting them to Go Potty
Here are some tips on actually getting your toddler or preschooler to go to the washroom.
- Don’t over prompt. Don’t over nag them to death about whether they have to go potty.
- But be diligent about talking to them every 15-30 min and tell their toys they will be right back.
- Give your child their own timer to start and let them tell you when it goes off to try.
- Scheduled potty breaks woven into daily routine.
- Don’t ask if they need to go potty. Just say, come on time to go potty.
Rewards for Potty Training
Does your child respond to incentives? Here are a few tips from parents that worked for them.
- No bribing (this may work for some kids).
- Or find the right bride.
- Fill Easter egg surprise for trying and bigger prize for going.
- Wrap a “poop present” that they earn when they first poop on the potty.
- Food colouring in the potty.
- Use a potty chart or sticker chart with gold stars. They will receive a treat depending on how many they have at the end of the week.
Potty Training On the Go
Here are some tips of what to do when you are potty training and you are out and about.
- Having a travel potty in the car to help avoid public bathrooms.
- Double line the portable travel potty with old grocery bags or doggy bag. Have it ready.
- Have a potty everywhere so you are so that you are never too far from one.
- Set timer for every 15 minutes and they get a sticker when they sit on the potty
- Post its to disable auto flush in public restrooms. (I love this tip. My oldest was terrified of public washrooms for this reason).
- First store outing should be Petsmart because they can pee on the floor and no one cares. (lol)
- Take potty and a large glass jar when you’re out and about.
Things to Do While on the Potty
- Special toy or book only while on the potty.
- Kinetic sand and potty in the living room. Helped them figure out the sensation and to keep her in one spot.
- Potty Phone (an old flip phone).
- Fidget toys for when they are on the potty. This is the only time they get to play with those toys.
Tips for Boys
- Mini urinal.
- Teach them to pee sitting down first because it’ll help them learn to poop too.
- Bear bottom method for boys.
- Make it a game for boys by putting a sticker on the bottom of the potty and he would aim.
Tips for Girls
1. Have them wear a dress with no undies.
Potty Training Words Of Encouragement for YOU!
- Have lots of grace and patience. It takes time. Sometime many weeks. They are learning a new skill. Give encouragement not reprimands.
- Don’t force it. See what your child’s comfortable with. Whether is a small seat or separate potty chair.
- Be consistent. It doesn’t happen overnight but they need you to guide them.
- Don’t make a big deal out of it. They get it when they’re ready.
- Just breathe.
- It’s a journey. Likely won’t be perfect after one weekend.
- Commit 100%. Consistency is key. Putting on a diaper/pull up for car rides or certain situations is confusing.
- Support and encourage them, don’t shame them for accidents.
- Only praise no consequences.
- Stick with it and trust your kid.
- It will take longer than you think for them not need frequent prompts/reminders ie 3-6 weeks. It doesn’t mean you or they have failed.
- Go easy on yourself and flow with your child. Some take 3 days and some take 3 years.
- Wine for mom and dad.
- Make sure that you’re ready as well as your toddler.
- It does not happen over a weekend for MOST unlike some people and books claim.
- No expectations before. Know there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
- Make it fun!
- Don’t give up. Stay consistent.
- Don’t stress over it.
- If you hit a rough patch put a pull-on them and go do something fun. It helps.
- Be as relaxed as possible.
- Embrace the mess. They learn so much quicker if they just wet themselves.
- Make it a fun experience! Even when they have accidents. Have a positive attitude.
- It doesn’t need to happen in 3 days, it is okay to do what is best for your child.
- Don’t get mad when they have accidents.
- Don’t push it. Be careful of your language as to not discourage them.