Top Potty Training Tips
Every child is different, so I know there is not one potty training method that works for every child. Therefore, I wanted to bring you the top potty training tips based on what I experienced while raising my own kids since each of them is so unique. Knowing each child has been made so individually makes us need to constantly adjust our methods as we are working with the uniquely created children in our lives. It keeps us on our toes, to be sure. I swear that each person thinks they have parenting figured out after they had one successful potty training or sleep training episode. They have it figured out until they have “that child” that throws their theories for a complete loop. Apparently, we need at least one child to humble us and bring us to our knees. I have one that challenges what I think I know in terms of behavior training. Another one has challenged my strategies for getting kids to eat healthy food. My youngest has challenged what I think I know in terms of potty training. I can tell you that in this process each of my children has responded differently to potty training. One of my children was potty trained before two and this third has finally arrived at age 3 1/2. Therefore, today I can’t bring you one strategy that is a guaranteed success. I can bring you the top potty training ideas that have worked for me or have been recommended by others. It might be a trial and error with your child. It might just take a lot of patience and a few more diapers.
SIDE SOAP BOX MOMENT: In this conversation I also want to encourage you not to judge. You might have easy kids. Some people do. They might be easy now but will challenge you like you never imagined once they get older. They may just be compliant, easy to get along with kiddos their entire lives. I can testify that if I had 3 like one of my children (I won’t name names), I would have considered parenting up until this point delightful and easy. When people say, “Parenting is hard.” I would have thought they just weren’t using the right recipe. With three, I have come to realize there isn’t a recipe. Parenting is more like a test kitchen than a cookbook. We have our expectations and try and remain consistent, but it takes switching it up and trying other methods. When you see “that kid” at the park who is throwing the tantrum as well as the bark from the ground at other kids, you have no idea how that parent is struggling constantly with “that kid.” It might be because of her lack of parenting…it might not. Please withhold judgement until you too have “that kid” that has challenged the very fiber of your being, and you are trying everything you know how to do the best you can with “that child.” Also, people like to think they have all the solutions for what has worked for them – whether it by potty training, sleep training, potty training or training kids to eat. They may even turn to the judgmental side of these issues. Please stop. Parenting is hard enough. If someone asks for your advice, kindly give what worked for you. You can politely ask if they want your experiences. However, just remember that people have different kids than your kids. You might have methods that don’t work for everyone, so try not to impose them on others.
TOP POTTY TRAINING METHODS
The Potty Party – This is the method we used for our oldest child, and it worked very well. I think I heard it on Dr. Phil back in the day – way pre-children. The concept is that you create a big party in celebration of the first success. I’m talking a big party. You have blowers and confetti. You turn on music and dance. We had a “pee pee in the potty” dance and song. It was a big deal. My oldest, especially, responded immediately to this because she gets totally amped up at the promise of a celebration. She had big victories by just celebrating the first potty experience in a major way. However, I wouldn’t say it was that simple for my other two. With the victory experienced with the first, we did think we had found the magic solution. It might be what exactly works for your child. I do wish it were that easy every time.
Reward Chart – A reward chart seemed to work well for my oldest two. We had a chart on the wall where they could earn stickers. Once they filled the entire chart they could go get a toy from the Dollar Store or a new pack of underwear. Kids who thrive off of a visual reminder of accomplishment will do well with this method. It will also work well with kids who like to see how they can earn things from their hard work.
Undies Hanging on the Wall – Sometimes kids are just motivated by the thought of a new accessory for their wardrobe – underwear. I think this was particularly motivating for girls. My son was intrigued by the super heroes and race cars that decorated his future underwear, but it wasn’t enough motivation for him to make the change. The visual reminder of undies hanging on the wall in the bathroom out of their reach may be the only motivation some kids need.
Cheerios to Shoot At – This was the first success we saw with my son. It was, for him, short lived. For other parents, I hear it has been all that is needed. The thought is that you throw Cheerios or some other flushable item into the toilet for them to shoot at. This is obviously a technique reserved for boys.
Candy Reward for Each Success – This is often a motivator for children. After all, a major goal of every child on the globe is to get candy. Get candy. Get candy. While some people healthier than I am don’t like the thought of food rewards, if food doesn’t seem to be an issue for the members of your family or for your kids, I really don’t have a problem with it. I would offer an M&M, marshmallow or some other small reward for each success. This would continue until going potty was the norm rather than the exception.
Baby Potty Training – Many people are choosing to potty training their baby – yes, their infant child. I did not attempt this. It felt like it is more a practice in training the adults about when it is time to rush to the bathroom with your child. Of course, the transition to your child going to the bathroom on their own and understanding where to go when it is time would happen more quickly and naturally. If you want to read more about this technique, please visit Baby Center. I never had the commitment to try something like this, but I’d love to hear your experiences.
“They’ll Do it Eventually” – I have heard the theory that kids are just ready to be potty trained at different times so don’t push it. Just try things out with your kids to gauge if they are ready. If not, take a break from it. I have heard this advice from older parents who are well past the potty training stage. I believe the quote I heard the most is, “They’re not going to go off to college without knowing how to do it.” Of course, we all want it before that time and as soon as possible in most cases. I would just gauge your child to see if they are feeling too defeated by the process. Kids develop at different rates, and maybe taking a break if things aren’t working well is great advice.
Potty Training a Weekend – My friend, Becky at Your Modern Family, put together a book with a method that works for her. Check it out: Click here to visit Your Modern Family.,” which is priced at only $9.99. She is a mom and a blogger that I trust, so I think it will be a great resource for you!
Refuse to Put on a Diaper – This is what finally worked for my son. I tried a number of the other techniques I am bringing to the table today. However, this is the only one that stuck with him. One day I just told my son, “I’m not putting your diaper on. If you can put it on, you can wear it. You’re a big boy now, and we’re done with diapers.” He cried for about 15 minutes…maybe longer. He struggled to get the diaper on by himself. Then, he announced he is done with diapers and was ready to put on underwear. We didn’t look back. He stopped wetting his diaper at night at the exact same time. Prior to that, he had been soaking through his diaper at bedtime. He declared to a few different people that he is a big boy now and big boys don’t wear diapers. That was that.
Potty Time Potty Training Watch – Here is an affiliate link to a tool on of my readers used. She said she had tried everything with her son, but this ended up being the magic tool that worked for him. The excitement of the fun music that played out of the watch was the only motivation he needed to go and try and hit the big boy potty. Thanks to my readers who give great ideas and feedback!
Outdoor Potty Awareness – A lot of moms have told me that they just let the boys run naked all summer. They become quickly aware of how their bodies are functioning and the sensation they feel when it is time to go. One reader pointed out that you could let girls do it too, which is true. I just never wanted to deal with urine dripping down legs. With either gender, I think it is best to make sure that this is done out of view of other people.
On the Potty At Regular Intervals – This is probably the method I’ve heard the most success with, but I think I wasn’t dedicated enough to make it happen. This is when mom sets a timer at regular intervals. After15 minutes or 30 minutes, the child is taken to the bathroom to sit on the potty to attempt to go. This happens all throughout the day until they are able to begin to regulate themselves.
Read Potty Themed Books – We have read a variety of potty themed books. Children relate to books. They can be a big influence and motivator for kids to use the potty. Here are some books that might help (affiliate links added for your convenience): Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books), Potty Book for Girls, The, The Potty Book: For Boys, A Potty for Me!, Sesame Street: Potty Time with Elmo (1 2 3 Sesame Street), The Potty Train, and Princess Potty.
Potty Time is TV Time – I did this one with my middle child. We had 30-60 minutes of TV time a day. I would just move her potty into the living room in front of the TV, and that is where she would sit during TV time. It helped her to have some successes on the potty and make the connection to her body and the potty sensation before moving on to some of the other techniques.
Drink and Wet Dolls – I just received a reader idea that I just had to add to the post. She got a Drink and Wet Doll that you give water, and then it pees in a potty. She used this doll as an example for several days. She would show her daughter how it worked, and then she would pretend reward the doll with an M&M after the doll went pee pee in the potty. I love this idea.
Magic Water Changing Color – This is another wonderful idea from a reader. She would put a drop of food coloring in the water. Then, when her son went potty the food coloring would spread and make the water change color. How magical and fun.
Potty Before Bath – Another reader began having the child is on the potty every time their diaper was removed before bath time. They may or may not go, but it is a convenient time for everyone to have the experience of trying.
Potty training is going to be a unique experience for each child. I hope this gives you some tools to try with your own kids. I’d love to hear about your own experiences.
Potty Training Tools
Affiliate links added for your convenience.