Top Ten Tricks to Successful Potty Training

Top Ten Potty Training SucessAre you wondering if there will ever be an end to the diaper pail at your house? Rest assured, potty training will happen at some point. All it takes is a little patience -- or a lot -- from parent and kid alike.

Your child won't be attending college with diapers on. Hopefully, even preschool attendance will be diaper-free. Some kids take a bit longer than others, but at some point, your tiny tot will get tired of sitting in mushy, yucky diapers.

Has that moment arrived? If you feel that your child's ready to transition to the potty or you're hoping to encourage them to say "goodbye to diapers," we have some tricks to help you along the journey.

Potty Training Tips

1. Synchronize Your Readiness with Your Child's

Just because you're ready to toilet train doesn't mean that your little one's following the same time schedule. On the flip side, your child might show all the signs, but the timing might not be convenient for your family.

2. Keep Poops Soft

Around age two, kids tend to become picky eaters. They prefer the "white" foods, like milk, white bread, crackers and pasta. Offer whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables to combat constipation and keep those poops soft.

3. Use Cloth Training Pants or Regular Underwear

Are you using diapers or pull-ups? Some moms of preschoolers find that training pants or big kid underwear speed the training process. Kids can feel the wetness and learn quickly to associate urge with the unpleasant result.

4. A Little or a Lot?

Side step power plays. Ask a toddler if they need to go potty and often the answer is an emphatic "NO!" A couple minutes later, the car seat is drenched. Instead offer a choice. "Do you need to go a little or a lot? Let's see!" Then go to the toilet and allow an attempt. This trick almost always works.

5. Bribery Can Work

For some kids, bribery works wonders as a potty training motivation. A sticker, a candy, a bathroom piggy bank or an animal cracker might focus your child's attention on the task at hand.

One family I know kept a plastic piggy bank in the bathroom. They rewarded each success with a penny or two for a poop. Their daughter would shake the bank and brag how heavy it was getting. Once potty was a done deal, they traded the pennies in for quarters and rode rides.

6. A Bare Beginning

If your toddler shows interest in the potty, allow a pre-bath time naked time. Encourage a trip to the toilet. Later, shed the pants around home for increasingly longer periods of time. Work your way up to underwear and then pants once naked potty use has been mastered.

7. Target Practice Time

Some little boys find transitioning from sitting to standing difficult. Turn it into a game. You can buy targets, but the round oat type cereal works just as well. Drop three or four in the toilet and encourage him to take aim.

Success might mean you brag on his ability or he might get to choose a prize from the goodie bag. The only problem with this game is he'll need to "refuel" before playing again.

8. Bring the Toilet to the Child

Your child might have the idea and notice when it's time to head for the bathroom. If accidents consistently happen in route, consider bringing the potty chair near the play area. Gradually, move it closer and closer to the bathroom.

9. Is Forward Facing Scary? Sit Backwards

Does your child do fine on the potty chair, but when you move to the toilet, it's panic time? One mom discovered her little boy preferred facing backward. He could put his hands on the tank for stability. Facing backwards helped her child and could help yours.

10. The Power of Peer Pressure

When all else fails, hang out with other moms and potty-trained kids. Often seeing another "baby" actually using the dread potty spurs a reluctant toilet training into gear. Seeing other kids the same age or or younger going to the toilet can encourage the most reluctant child to rethink their potty resistance.

Good luck, parents! What tried and true trick worked for you?


BessFL's picture

Submitted by BessFL on

Love the tips -- and will be trying out #4 tomorrow. One of my biggest challenges, however, has been potty training while out and about! Many public toilets are downright yucky with those port-a-potties just plain G-R-O-S-S! Since my little one has a habit of putting their hands down on the seat (to keep from "falling in"), we now carry Clorox wipes for use before they take a seat. I will be so glad when this stage has passed!

zobi's picture

Submitted by zobi on

Great tips....I tend to do the cold turkey approach....pulls ups were out when I train #2 I tried them, but didnt like them, I found they just used them like a nappy, underwear is the way to go.....
I also find that as much as you are training the child, you also have to train yourself to remember to toilet them and consitancy...You cant start training then skip a day here and there etc...Once you start you have to keep it going....Although if you can see its getting nowhere, have a break and come back to it in a couple of weeks....
Ive got one more of my oen to train, CANT WAIT TILL I DONT HAVE NAPPIES!!!....Then I have children I look after full time to train just never ends Smile

AlyssaEimers's picture

DD3 recently potty trained. We bought a little Princess seat from Wal-mart that goes in the potty that the child sits on. It has handles and keeps the child from falling in. She loved it and it was the added motivation she needed to train. She loved sitting on it and thus trained faster. Good Luck!!