9 Tips for Potty Training Your Toddler

If you happen to have your children relatively close in age, like mine are (they are all spaced almost exactly two years apart), than you may be familiar with the unique situation of having more than one child in diapers.


Super fun. 

I won’t lie to you–sometimes, it’s really not that great to have two in diapers and after potty-training my two daughters in completely different ways, I’m now looking at trying to potty-train my son before baby #4 bursts onto the scene in all her youngest child glory.

Luckily, I feel a little more prepared this time and I’m brushing up on some potty-training tips to help us succeed. 

1. Aim for summer. Summer is the perfect opportunity to go around with a little less clothing, for both boys and girls to get jumpstarted on potty training. Less clean-up and hey, if there’s an accident, they’re already outside, right?

2. It’s all about the undies. Make the undies a big deal. Choose some with their favorite character (please see above picture of my son showing off his new Jake and the Neverland Pirate undies!). Even better, take your little one with you and let them pick their own new “big kid” underwear out.

3. Time it right. Timing really is key when it comes to potty training. I made the mistake of pushing my first daughter before she was ready, simply because I was ready to be done with diapers and the result was a long, drawn-out, miserable process for both of us. Wait for your little one to show some interest in the potty and even then, try not to force it on them. You will both just end up frustrated. And keep in mind that boys may need even more time to feel ready as well.


4. Hang out with an older crowd. Nothing jumpstarts potty training faster than when your tot hangs out with an older cousin or friend and sees him or her using the potty. Suddenly, it’s cool to use the potty! Plan a play date or take advantage of a family party to introduce your toddler to the older crowd–he or she may show an interest to be one of the big kids.

5. Stay home. If you are able to, set aside a week for some intense potty training when you are both ready. Stock up on some disposable sanitizing wipes and be prepared to be extra vigiliant of your toddler because the accidents will happen. But hopefully, after a few days of intense no-diaper duty, you will have seen some progress!

6. Put out a treat jar. Set out a new “treat” jar that your toddler can see (but not reach of course) as a little extra incentive to go on the potty. If he or she can visually see the reward in sight, it might help encourage the use of the potty. We’ve used everything from Cheerios to chocolate chips. Kids aren’t picky!

7. Forget the rewards chart. Ugh, so much work. Potty training is hard enough and honestly, many times, if you’re starting training between ages 2 and 3, the reward chart is just too confusing for the child. Every child is different, of course, but it always ended up being more work than it was worth for us! Stick to a simple reward after potty visit and you’ll be fine.

8. Prepare the bed. Potty training is a process, and I would definitely say that keeping a pull-up on for naps and nighttime is fine, even for months. But when you’re ready to make the transition to going free during sleep, double up your child’s bed to save you both some time and hassle. Add a puppy training pad under a sheet, then line another pad and sheet on top, so if an accident happens, you can just remove the top layer. Problem solved!

9. Use an insert. I tried for months to unsuccessfully train my second daughter using the same potty chair I had used with my first. Nothing worked until, one day, we tried using a child insert on the regular toilet–and voila! She was totally trained in two days using that thing. Morale of the story? Not every child likes the potty chair, so don’t be afraid to try to regular toilet too!

What’s your best potty-training tip?

Image via the author


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