31 Tips for Successful Potty Training

Are you trying to potty train your child? If so, you may be looking for advice on how to make the process easier.

The good news – there are lots of tips out there. The bad news – most of them won’t work for you. It’s a process of trial and error!

little girl on the potty

Now, obviously all children are different. What works for some will not work for all. You’ve got to figure out what works for you.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help make potty training a breeze. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best ways to train your little one to use the toilet. So, whether you are just starting out or need a refresher course, read on for helpful tips!

Potty training can be a challenging experience, but with the right advice it can be a lot smoother. In this blog post we will give you some tips to make potty training easier for both you and your child.

So read on for some helpful potty training advice!

What Age Should a Child Be Potty Trained By?

First, let’s talk about what age you should begin potty training. We’ve all heard stories from those mothers who have had their children completely potty trained at 14 months old. My advice: don’t try it.

I made this mistake with my first born, Jada. For a year and a half I struggled trying to get her to potty on her own. Finally, when she was three, she got it.

Unless your child is amazingly advanced in this department, trying to force him to hurry up and learn will only set you back. If he isn’t ready, no amount of cajoling will make him ready. Seriously, what’s the rush?

When Ty came along I vowed that I would not push him like I did Jada. I realized that he would get it when he was ready.

I showed him the potty, I let him see how it was used, I got him used to sitting on it and encouraged him to try to use it. But I didn’t force him to try every thirty minutes. And when he was two years old, he just got it.

My suggestion would be that you at least begin introducing the potty to your child by two years old. Most children are completely potty trained (though you can expect night accidents) at three years old, sometime before their fourth birthday. So, this at least gives you a general timeline.

Every child is unique and will show readiness signs at their own pace. If you’re wondering whether your child is ready to start potty training, look for the following behaviors:

  • Ability to follow simple instructions. Your child should be able to understand and follow simple commands, such as “Please sit on the potty.”
  • Interest in using the potty or toilet. This may manifest as your child asking questions about using the toilet, observing others using it, or wanting to use it themselves.
  • Awareness of bodily functions. Your child should be aware of when they need to use the bathroom and be able to communicate this to you.
  • Physical readiness. For boys, look for signs that he is able to control his urine stream. For girls, look for the ability to stay dry for at least two hours at a time.

If your child is showing several of these readiness signs, then it may be time to start potty training!

My Best Potty Training Tips

Potty training can be a daunting task for both parent and child. However, there are a few simple strategies that can help to make the process more smooth and successful.

Be consistent with potty training. Try to set aside some regular times each day for your child to use the potty, and praise them when they succeed. With a little patience and effort, you’ll soon have your little one successfully using the potty like a big kid!

1. Make it a Big Deal!

Start introducing them to the act of pottying by making a big deal about it when you (or anyone else in the family) goes.

Let your child go with you into the bathroom so that he understands what is happening. When he hears the tinkling in the potty, tell him the words “Pee pee!”, or whatever you’re gonna call it, so that he associates the words with the action.

Be enthusiastic about it, so that he knows it’s a good thing to pee-pee in the potty. If you’re working with a little boy, it’s good to let him watch his daddy do this as well, so that he understands how everything works.

2. Should I Use a Miniature Potty?

Some kids prefer to go in a little miniature potty. My kids hated those. Both of mine were partial to the little potty seat with handles that fit on top of the toilet.

Though, once Ty started consistently going on his own, he’d just climb up onto the regular toilet seat, and lean forward with his hands on the tank as he peed. It worked for him. I was always afraid he’d slip and end up in the water, but he never did.

However, some kids do well with a miniature potty. If you decide to choose a potty, let your child pick it out! It will make them feel more included and get them excited about using it.

3. Does Bribery Work?

With Jada, I went all out trying to bribe her with potty charts, stickers, and candy rewards. She enjoyed it, but it didn’t hasten her learning.

With Titus, I didn’t do any of that. I did reward him with lots of praise, and a silly potty song and dance I’d do with him when he was done. He loved that. Most kids that age thrive on praise alone.

Putting Cheerios in the potty as floating targets can be a fun way to encourage them to “go”.

Though I’ve heard some recommend the opposite, I would say don’t allow your child to walk around with a sippy cup all day long. Having a full bladder may lead to more accidents if your child isn’t ready to potty that often yet.

4. Go Bare Bottomed

What worked the best for Ty was to allow him to run in nothing but a shirt all day long for about a week.

I noticed that when I put undies on him, he’d wet them as if they were a pull up. But when he was bare bottom, he’d stop himself from wetting on the floor and run to the potty.

Sure, I had to mop up two or three puddles, but it was hardly anything compared to how much he went in the potty. After he really got good at getting to the bathroom in time, I put his undies back on.

When he kept those consistently dry, I put his pants on as well. This all happened over a period of a couple of weeks.

5. Don’t Hurry Into “Big Kid” Undies

When you are in the midst of potty training, and your child is not good at going on demand, or telling you he has to go before it’s too late, DO NOT put him in big boy undies while going out on the town! It will end in disaster.

You will be in the checkout line of the grocery store, with half of your cart’s contents already on the conveyor belt, when he will suddenly announce in sheer desperation, “I gotta go PEE PEE!”

And you will be left facing the dilemma of either abandoning your groceries right there and running for the nearest restroom, or having your child wet all over the grocery cart seat. Not fun. Pull ups are okay for outings. Your little one won’t be confused.

When your son is able to tell you, “I need to go potty” in time for you to get him there, and hasn’t had an accident in a while, you can gather your courage and take the next step of putting him in undies out in public.

Just be sure to bring a plastic bag with a change of clothes (including socks!) and clean undies for him, just in case. Don’t embarrass him if he has an accident. Just quietly change him, and do your very best not to make him feel bad.

When your child has stayed consistently dry overnight for a week, it’s time to start trying undies at bed time. Explain to your child that he is wearing big boy undies now, and to try not to get them wet. Make sure he goes to the potty right before laying down for bed, and limit drinks two hours before bedtime.

And when you’re ready to start using those big kid undies, let your child pick them out! This can help put them in the right frame of mind and also make them feel more grown up and capable of using the potty.

6. Getting Bed Wetting Under Control

If he is wetting the bed again every night, put him back in a pull up and try again in a month or so. He’ll get it eventually. Night wetting can be the hardest part to learn to control, especially if he sleeps hard.

7. Watch the Discipline

And the most important thing to remember… Never EVER discipline for potty training accidents. No scolding, no spanking, no rebuking or time-outs. Just quietly clean up the mess, or have him help you wipe it up, and do not make him feel bad for what happened.

This isn’t an obedience issue. Now, if he purposely pees on his sister… Well, that’s another matter, but I think you get the idea.

Oh yeah, one more thing. When potty training your son, please don’t make this silly mistake!

8. Get on a Potty Schedule

Potty training is a lot like teaching any other skill, in that it requires patience and consistency. That’s because the whole process is really all about building good habits and breaking bad ones. To get started, it’s important to set a regular schedule and stick to it as closely as possible.

Whether you’re working on daytime toilet training or nighttime potty training, try to stay consistent with nap times, meal times, and play times.

This way, your child will automatically associate these activities with going to the bathroom, which can make the entire process much easier and more natural for everyone involved.

Additionally, be sure to praise and reward your child each time they successfully use the restroom, so that they begin to view potty training as something fun and exciting rather than stressful or daunting.

With a little bit of perseverance and determination, your potty-training efforts are sure to get on track in no time!

9. Put the Potty in a Convenient Spot

When potty training a child, one of the biggest challenges is getting them to regularly use the bathroom.

Sometimes this can be a struggle, as children can be resistant to using a public facility or going far from home. However, there are some simple strategies that can make potty training much easier.

For example, it is important to choose a location for the potty that is convenient for both you and your child. You may want to put it in an easily-accessible spot in your home near your child’s favorite toys or activities.

By picking the right location and creating positive associations with bathroom use, you can help your child master potty training more quickly and easily.

10. Use a Potty Training Song

When it comes to potty training, every little one needs a great song to help them along the way. Luckily, there are plenty of fun potty training songs out there that can help make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Whether you prefer catchy tunes or more soothing melodies, there’s sure to be a potty training song that perfectly matches your needs and your child’s tastes.

So if you’re getting ready to embark on the exciting journey of toilet training, why not turn to music to help guide you? With a little creativity and some clever lyrics, you can turn any song into an upbeat and motivating potty training anthem for your little one.

11. Try a Sticker Chart

One strategy that many parents use to help make the process smoother is a sticker chart. This simple tool provides kids with a visual incentive and rewards them every time they successfully use the toilet.

In addition to making potty training more fun and engaging, sticker charts also help to create a sense of accomplishment, encouraging kids to keep striving towards their end goal.

With consistent use, sticker charts can help children master the skills of potty training and transition successfully into the next phase of their development.

12. Praise, Praise, Praise

When it comes to potty training, every child is different. Some will pick it up quickly, while others may need a bit more time and patience.

One thing that all children have in common, however, is the need for praise and encouragement. A simple “good job!” can go a long way in helping a child to feel confident and motivated.

Children are also more likely to respond to positive reinforcement than negative criticism. So if your child is having a hard time with potty training, try to focus on the progress they are making, rather than dwelling on accidents.

With a little patience and perseverance, most children will eventually get the hang of it. And when they do, be sure to give them plenty of praise!

13. Use a Book About the Potty

There are many different approaches to potty training, but one often overlooked method is using books. Books can be a valuable tool in the potty training process, helping to ease anxieties and provide a fun and entertaining way to learn.

There are many different types of potty training books available, ranging from simple picture books to more complex stories. Whatever type of book you choose, make sure it is age-appropriate and engaging for your child.

Reading together can help foster a sense of trust and openness, making the potty training process less daunting. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for quality bonding time!

14. Go Before and After Bed

One way to help your child succeed at potty training is to urge them to go before and after bed. This can help to prevent accidents overnight, and it will also give your child a chance to practice going to the bathroom on a regular basis.

Of course, you will also need to be diligent about taking your child to the bathroom throughout the day, but making sure they go before and after bed is a good place to start.

15. Lead By Example

As every parent knows, potty training can be a challenging process. Often, young children are resistant to the idea of giving up diapers and learning to use the toilet on their own. However, one of the most effective ways to overcome this resistance is to lead by example.

By demonstrating proper bathroom etiquette yourself, you will help your child to view potty training as an attainable goal. And once your child sees you as a model for healthy behaviors, they will likely be motivated to follow suit.

So whether it’s taking frequent bathroom breaks or wiping up any messes that happen along the way, leading by example is truly the best way to get started on the road to potty training success!

16. Try Magic Tricks With Blue Dye

One strategy that has proven effective is using magic tricks with blue dye to engage and motivate your child. Blue dye can be added to toilet water, making for an engaging and fun way to help them learn to use the toilet.

Many children find the concept of turning blue intriguing, and this motivation can provide the extra boost they need to stay on track in their training.

17. Give Boys Extra Time

Some experts believe that boys should be given extra time to learn how to use the potty. They say that boys generally don’t mature as quickly as girls and that it can take them longer to learn new skills.

Additionally, boys often have a stronger sense of independence than girls, which can make them resistant to learning something new.

For these reasons, it’s important to be patient when potty training your son and to give him the time he needs to master this new skill.

18. Use Target Practice

When it comes to potty training boys, one of the most important factors is persistence. Often, boys are more resistant to the process and can take longer to learn when and where to go. One strategy that can help is to incorporate target practice into the potty routine.

For example, you might place a toy on or near the toilet for your child to aim for each time he uses it – with a small reward offered each time he successfully hits his target.

This can provide a fun incentive that also helps your little one develop good habits and focus his efforts on getting it right. And by working through target practice together, you can increase the likelihood that he’ll become fully potty trained in no time.

19. Remember – Pooping Can Be Scary!

There are few things more frustrating than potty training a toddler who is afraid of pooping on the toilet. It can be a lengthy and difficult process, but there are some things you can do to help your child overcome their fear.

First, it’s important to be patient and understanding. Remember that your child is probably just as frustrated as you are, and try not to get angry or upset if there are accidents.

Second, make sure that you praise your child whenever they use the toilet successfully, even if it’s just for peeing. This will help them to feel more confident and encourage them to keep trying.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a doctor or specialist if you’re struggling to potty train your child. Sometimes, a little professional guidance can make all the difference.

20. Try Show and Tell – Act it Out!

One strategy that can help foster this sense of positivity and engagement is acting out funny scenarios together.

For example, you might pretend to break your arm as you sit on the toilet or sing, “take me to the magic of the moment on a glorious night.” These playful interactions will help to lighten the mood and make your child comfortable taking those first steps toward becoming fully potty trained.

By acting creatively and goofily when potty training, you can help pave the way for a swift and smooth transition into this important new phase of growth.

21. Don’t Flush Immediately

When it comes to potty training, one of the most common pieces of advice is to always flush immediately after each use.

Many parents and caregivers believe that this helps children to grasp the concept of using the toilet, signaling that it’s time to go and encouraging them to do their business.

However, this approach is not without its downsides. For one thing, flushing too quickly can lead to potential messes and overflows if there isn’t sufficient time for water to fill up the bowl.

Additionally, children may get mixed messages about which bodily functions are appropriate for the toilet.

A better practice when it comes to potty training is simply to encourage children not to flush right away. This way, they will get used to putting things away instead of flushing everything down right away, while also learning that bathrooms are not play areas or dumping grounds.

22. Consider the Three-Day Potty Training Method – But Don’t Expect Immediate Results

The three day potty training method is a quick and easy way to teach your child to use the toilet. It involves a three-day period of intense focus and consistency, during which you provide your child with regular opportunities to use the toilet.

This method can be used for children as young as 18 months, and it has been shown to be effective in over 90% of cases.

The key to success is to remain calm and positive throughout the process, and to have patience while your child learns this new skill. Whether you take three days to potty train or not, know that it is not a panacea for all things potty training. It might work well for some families and not as well for others.

With a little time and effort, the three day potty training method will have your child using the toilet like a pro in no time.

23. Try Reverse Psychology

One of the best potty training strategies is to use reverse psychology. Ask your child questions like, “So it’s probably a good idea to still poop in your diapers when you’re a five year old, right? Isn’t that what big kids do?”

In this way, they will develop greater self-confidence and feel more ready than ever when it comes time for them to reach that all-important milestone of mastering the potty on their own terms.

24. Plan for Regressions

When you start potty training your child, it’s important to be prepared for regressions. This is when your child starts to forget or reverse the progress they have made in toilet training.

It can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that regressions are normal and they don’t mean that your child is never going to learn to use the toilet. There are a few things you can do to help your child through a regression.

First, make sure you are consistent with your expectations and rewards.

Second, try to avoid stressful situations that might trigger a regression. And finally, be patient and encourage your child even when it seems like they are taking a step backwards.

With a little bit of planning and patience, you’ll get through this potty training phase together.

25. Normalize Bathroom Talk

When potty training your child, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the importance of normalizing bathroom talk.

This means providing your child with plenty of opportunities to ask questions about using the toilet and explaining why it’s important to ensure that bodily wastes are disposed of properly.

By talking openly and frankly about bathroom issues, you can help your child feel comfortable using the bathroom in public and avoid any embarrassment or awkwardness when using a public restroom.

In addition, frequent discussions about bathrooms can raise awareness around related issues like hygiene and personal cleanliness, which will help your child develop good habits early on that will stick with them even as they grow older.

So don’t shy away from bathroom talk when potty training – embrace it instead as an opportunity to teach your child about this essential facet of everyday life!

26. Commend Grown Up Behaviors in General

Praising your child for their potty training efforts is essential to helping them succeed in this important developmental milestone.

Not only can positive reinforcement encourage them to keep at it and stay motivated, but it also sends a powerful message that you are proud of the things they do.

This is particularly true when it comes to other grown up behaviors.

For example, if your child successfully uses the bathroom on their own or stops wetting the bed overnight, be sure to praise them and offer words of encouragement.

This will teach them that even the smallest accomplishments deserve recognition, and will help motivate them to keep working hard for more successes down the road.

So next time you are working with your child on potty training, be sure to praise all of their good behaviors – big or small!

27. Change Diapers in the Bathroom

For parents who are potty training their young child, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how to manage changing diapers.

It can be difficult to rush a young child into the bathroom, clean them off, and then get them back into their clothes in time for daycare or school.

The best strategy for dealing with this challenge is to install a changing station right in the bathroom.

This allows you to change your child’s diapers just steps away from the toilet and sink, meaning that you can easily clean up messes and get your little one back into clean clothes before you need to head out the door.

Additionally, placing a changing station in the bathroom removes any shame or discomfort that your child may feel around changing their diaper on a separate surface.

It also helps them associate the bathroom with this specific bodily function, so it might make potty training easier later on.

28. Don’t Deny Drinks

For parents potty training their children, it can be tempting to deny them drinks in order to prevent accidents.

However, this strategy can actually backfire, making it more difficult for children to learn how to control their bladder. When kids are thirsty, they are more likely to focus on holding it in, which can lead to urinary tract infections.

Instead of denying drinks, parents should encourage their children to take frequent bathroom breaks and make sure that they are emptied before going out to play.

This will help to reduce the risk of accidents and give kids the confidence they need to successfully use the toilet.

29. Don’t Ask – Tell

Starting a potty training program can be an overwhelming experience for parents and children alike. One of the most common challenges that parents face is figuring out when to ask their child if they need to use the bathroom. When they do ask, most kids will just say no, preferring to continue playing instead.

The best approach is to take charge and tell your child when it is time to go. This will help them get into the routine of using the bathroom on a regular basis and make potty training that much easier.

So don’t be afraid to take control when it comes to toilet time; your child will thank you in the end!

30. Remember to Teach Wiping and Handwashing – but Know These Skills Often Come Later

While many parents focus on these skills when potty training their children, it’s important to recognize that these skills often come later on in the process.

This is because young children may not have the coordination or fine motor skills necessary for effective wiping and handwashing until later on in their potty training journey.

So remember: remember to teach wiping and handwashing – but know it may take a little more time than you think!

31. Sit Them Down Backwards

One approach that has shown great promise is the practice of sitting kids on the toilet backwards. This technique is based on the idea that children will be more comfortable and confident when they are faced away from the commode instead of facing its bowl directly.

By sitting our kids back-to-front, we can eliminate any anxiety or fear they might feel about trying to go potty in an unfamiliar setting.

What is the Quickest Way to Potty Train?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to potty training, as every child is different and has their own unique timeline for learning this important life skill.

With a little perseverance, you can potty train your child in as little as three days. These tips will help make the process easier for both of you.

Be patient, consistent, and positive and soon your child will be using the toilet like a pro! Have you tried any of these potty training tips? Let us know how they worked for you in the comments below.

last update: 04/28/2022

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11 thoughts on “31 Tips for Successful Potty Training”

  1. Dawn, I briefly had 3 in diapers for a bit. But mine were 3y10mo, 20mo and newborn. It’s rough, especially if you’re doing cloth and attempting to keep up on that much laundry. If you’re okay with resorting to disposables for a bit to keep your sanity, that’s also a perfectly reasonable option. 😉

  2. I’ll tell you this, ignore those nitwits who criticise you for not potty training your kid the second they hit 2. Granted you need to be aware of your child’s need. But that’s jsut it, its your CHILD’S needs, not the nosy neighbor’s or the bossy in-law’s. I caught a lot of flak with both boys’. Our oldest has Asperger’s (though we didn’t know that during potty training) and he was nearly 4 before he got it. We tried a million ways of getting it done, but he just wasn’t ready. The end. When he got it, it was something that happened in the course of a week. From pull ups to dry overnight in undies. He was ready, it was easy.

    With our youngest, he’s JUST potty training now and he’ll be 5 in December *gasp* We worried a lot. We tried when he was 3, it was a novelty to him, but nothing he wanted to really do. And we finally caved to the pressure and did a lot of things we regret. The poor kid still isn’t sure its safe to tell us when he has an accident. No matter how tempting it may be in you frustration, do not attach any negatives to the process. none of that ‘clean yourself up’ stuff (unless you can present it to your child in a way that isn’t negative). We finally just told him it was ok. He was too big for pullups so he had special undies (cloth trainers) that he was to wear always. If he had an accident we went to the bathroom (because that’s where those messes belong) and clean it up. And just let it go. We did also give hima chart with star stickers and small prizes (think those cheap beaded necklaces, and those tiny bottles of bubbles) every 7 or 10 times he goes. But we just emphasised it was his decision. No more fight, no more power struggle. We let him make the choice to use the potty or not. And within 2 days he was doing it. We’re 3 weeks in, and he’s having maybe 1 accident a day. Poop is still hit or miss with him, but he’s trying, its his idea and its no big deal. And he does NOT want to go back to pullups (we used them when we went to the state fair) he wants to use the potty, he wants to wear undies. He’s ready!

  3. Kendra,

    There is one thing I did while potty training that prevented extra clean-up for me, yet still reinforced the process:

    Buy the child some heavyweight underwear, put that on the child, then over the underwear put on a disposable diaper.

    This allowed my child to experience the ‘wet’ when accidents happened.
    This also allowed the diaper to ‘hold’ the mess until I could properly tend to it (i.e. at home, in the grocery store, etc.).

    With our son I started when he was three and a half as he wasn’t interested before then. It took nearly 3 months, but he got it, both urinating and bowel movements, which I thought was just fine.

    Hopefully this may be helpful to someone else…

    • Marla,

      Good advice! That reminds me of what I recently suggested to my sister: That she could put her son in big boy undies, and put a vinyl cloth diaper cover over the undies (like the old rubber pants). This would give the same effect- feeling the wetness without the leakage. Thanks!

  4. I thought I firmly believed in waiting until the child led the potty training. I still do, really, but circumstances are making me question myself.

    We’ve got a 2 year old (33 months) a 1 year old (12 months) and a baby on the way. I just can’t fathom the thought of THREE kids in diapers. We don’t have enough cloth diapers to go around!

    So I may wait until October and have my 2 year old (who uses the potty randomly but is FAR from consistent) try the “every 30 minutes” thing for 3 or 4 days to see if it works.

    I love the dab-dab story. I’d do the same thing! 🙂

  5. I’m stuck waiting until these two are ready ( 29 and 16 months) but with the baby on the way I’m determined to figure out Elimination Communication. In other cultures (especially those where they hand wash diapers!) you bet they don’t wait until three! They learn their baby’s cues and potty them right from the start. That way there isn’t a huge retraining from the initial pattern. I know a mom who did EC and her babies were usually reliable by 12 months and could tell her when they needed to go. Even with partial EC it seems like they understand the concept of the potty earlier.

  6. I wait until my kids are ready. My boys were both 3y10mo when they potty trained themselves. Seriously, after us talking up going pee on the potty and the big boy underwear for months (and they always watch me and hubby in the bathroom – it’s never a solo event here), suddenly a light switch flipped in their cute little heads. Both day trained themselves in 2-4 days, night trained themselves in a few weeks (they still got to wear diapers at night for a bit – mama would rather wash a few diapers than change sheets at 3am). My 2yo girl may be ahead of them, but who knows, still diapers so far.

    I think it’s also related to verbal understanding. My boys were on the slower end of verbal ability development. Until they can understand what the whole thing is about and how to tell me they need to go pee, well, it’s going to be a recipe for disaster. And I save my tenacity for the battles like “no running off from me in the busy parking lot!!!” and such. But, the boys do take after me – my sister and I refused anything to do with potties until 4yo. Back in the days of prefolds, pins, and plastic pants. My poor mother. We were just busy doing other stuff to be bothered with it. 😉

  7. You are so right! I have 3 children ages 6,4 and 2. And it was a nightmare with my first until I stopped and at 3 years old she figured it out. I did not make the same mistake with my second who potty trained a few weeks after his 3rd birthday.

  8. This is a good subject to write on. Potty training my first was a nightmare I thought she was ready at 2 1/2 cause she would potty now and then in the potty chair but it turned out badly. I got so frusterated over a period of a few weeks that I put her back in diapers until she was 3 and then it went more smoothly.
    However my 2nd girl is 2 1/2 and goes potty all the time in the big toilet but I am scared to try full on potty training for fear it will be like my first. Maybe I am holding her back and should just try?


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