After talking with some other mamas about how I potty trained Jaden, I decided it was time to write a post on my top 10 Potty Training Tips!
Just like all parenting, there are many different ways to “skin a cat” as they say. However, these steps worked really well for us!
I’ll also tell you a bit about our pitfalls and what I would do differently in hindsight!
The biggest thing we found helpful was to have the right materials. Without the right tools, potty training will be very difficult.
I hope these top 10 potty training tips are helpful! Here they are!
1. GET THE BOOK
Tip 1 of my top 10 potty training tips is to get the book. For both you AND your kiddo.
For an awesome “how to” we used Potty Training in 3 Days. This gives you a total detailed map on how to navigate potty training your little one!
This helped us SO much. We pretty much did everything it said to do and it worked!
For your kiddo, I suggest you grab a “potty book” for them too. We used The Potty Book for Jaden. It’s helpful to start reading the book with your little one months before you plan to actually start potty training.
This will start encouraging the thought process behind using the potty. Sometimes this will also spark an interest in using the potty on their own too! You just never know!
We did have to modify Jaden’s potty book a bit since they talked about having his own “little potty” which the “how to” book says not to do. (More on this in a bit!)
Definitely get both books! They will help you and your kiddo!
2. DON’T GET A LITTLE POTTY
Tip 2 on my top 10 potty training tips is to NOT get a little potty.
I know… I know… this shocked me too. But hear me out…
Think about it. Yes, a little potty is portable which sounds nice… but picture this scenario.
Your little guy starts to get the hang of pottying in the little potty! (woohoo!) However, for convenience, the little potty has been in the kitchen, in the living room, in your room, in their room, etc.
Now he thinks the bathroom is in every room. And say he’s already done his business…. And tries to “help” move the little potty to clean it up… now it’s all over the living room floor…
It can be confusing to your kiddo to have a potty in all rooms.
Also, little potties aren’t portable. Say you’re at the store or church or anywhere with normal size potties.
If he’s not being trained on a big potty, he won’t know how to use a big potty.
Little potties can also create a bigger “fear” of the big potty. Jaden definitely had a fear of the big potty for a while.
To help squash that fear, we let him have some time just sitting on the potty LONG before we started potty training. We would give him treats and/or a bit of screen time on the potty just to get him comfortable sitting on the big potty.
GET AN ADAPTER
Instead of a little potty, we used a potty seat adapter and it was definitely the best decision!
We tried several, but this baby Bjorn seat adapter worked the best. We found the ones that folded up either pinched or didn’t feel very sturdy. They kind of collapsed in.
It’s very important that your little guy feels sturdy on the seat. Otherwise, the fear of the potty will only get worse.
This seat is definitely secure and sturdy!
Get a few! We kept one in the car and one in the bathroom. I got a bag that helped make the potty seat a little more “incognito” while we were out and about.
We also used a little stool to help his feet not dangle. And yes. We trained Jaden to sit for both poop and pee.
Don’t worry about teaching boys to stand and pee first. It’s much easier to teach both sitting. Otherwise, he may not ever want to sit on the potty which will make pooping in the potty difficult.
In short, ditch the small potty- get a potty seat.
No transition from little potty to big. No potty messes all over the house. No cleaning out the little potty bowl. Easy to throw the adapter in a bag for on-the-go.
3. SKIP THE THICK TRAINING UNDIES
So yes… I know they try to push these, but the thick training underwear is way too thick.
We used them for Jaden thinking they would be helpful. Sadly, since they were so thick, he ended up peeing in them twice and we didn’t even realize it.
If the underwear is too thick, it will feel too similar to a diaper or pull up.
Number 3 in my top 10 potty training tips is to use normal, thin underwear so they can actually feel when they are wet. No one likes to feel wet underwear on their skin.
This teaches them to stop peeing (even midstream) and tell you. (This happened like 4 times with Jaden the first day!)
Also, don’t be tempted to do the naked potty training. Unless pee and poop all over your house sounds good to you that is! HA!
While we’re talking about undies and pullups, it’s important to make it clear to your kiddo that diapers are NO MORE!
The book suggests having your little one put all the diapers in a bag and “say goodbye” to them.
You can make the potty training days more exciting and fun by letting them open small gifts/treats throughout the day. The first one could be their new undies!
Which leads me to….
Number 4 on my top 10 potty training tips is to use all the treats. And I mean ALL the treats!
Grab a bag of M&Ms. A bag of gummy bears. A bag of cookies. Whatever will entice your child most. But get it ALL.
Have them in the bathroom. Have them in the kitchen. Have them in your diaper bag!
This will help SO much! Usually I don’t like giving my kiddos tons of sugar. But for a few days of potty training – believe me, mama, you’ll thank me!
Always reward her. Even if she just sits on the potty. If she gets on the potty and tries, she gets a treat.
If she produces something, she gets 2! If she poops!!! She gets the whole bag!
I joke. But you’ll feel like that when she finally poops in the potty!
One thing I learned the hard way was to not stop rewarding too early. Once your babe gets the hang of pottying in the potty, there’s no harm in 3-4 M&Ms in a day.
We also used a sticker chart. Everytime Jaden pottied, he got to put a sticker on the chart. Every 5 stickers, he got to pick something out at the dollar store!
Keep rewarding them and they’ll keep pottying!
5. NEW GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
Number 5 on my top 10 potty training tips goes right along with number 4. You want to make these 3 days with your sweet babe fun! Believe it or not, it can be!
Potty training can be a little stressful but you can actually make it fun!
For our 3 day potty training marathon, we grabbed Jaden several new games, puzzles and activities that would really grab his attention.
Because you’ll be spending a lot of time right alongside your kiddo, it’s good to have some fun new things to pass the time!
This makes them feel like it’s a special time and a special treat as well!
You don’t want them to feel forced or pressured in the wrong way. Making this potty training weekend super fun like a party will help!
6. NO SCREENS
Although we’re trying to make this “potty party” (as Jaden and I called it) fun, it’s VERY important that there is NO SCREEN TIME!
Number 6 on my top 10 potty training tips is very key to potty training success. When kiddos watch screens, they zone off.
If they’re used to peeing in a diaper, they will mindlessly do so while watching a movie or the ipad.
Kiddos need to stay as focused as possible and “listen” to their bodies. This is also why it’s so helpful to have new games and activities as number 5 suggests!
7. USE SALTY SNACKS
Number 7 on my top 10 potty training tips is to use salty snacks. Why you may ask?
Well, what happens when you eat salty things? You get thirsty! And the more these babies drink, the more, shall we say, “teachable moments” you’ll get!
We used salty crackers and also a lot of watered down juice! We never buy juice really (unless out at a restaurant) so that was a super fun treat as well!
8. FOCUS ON #1
At first, just focus on teaching your kiddo to pee in the potty. If they magically do both during the 3 day stretch, then GREAT! However, don’t force it.
We made that mistake with Jaden and he got “scared” to use the potty for poop.
Peeing was easy for him. In ways it was almost fun. We would make games out of it. We put toilet paper in the potty to try and rip it by aiming.
We also put cheerios in the toilet to let him try and “sink”. Weird… but effective! I definitely think these games are geared more towards boys but girls could try as well!
(Side note! Another game that may be fun for girls is to put a drop or two of blue food coloring and let her watch the water turn green when she goes.)
However, when it came to pooping in the potty, we kept encouraging him and maybe pushed a bit too far.
Jaden started to be afraid of pooping in the potty. This led to him holding his poop until nap time or bedtime when he had his pull up on (more on this in a minute).
We tried everything! We tried taking away toys. We tried a reward chart. We tried bribing with candy, ice cream, special trips to go get donuts or treats.
Even taking away his beloved “white bonky” (white blankie) which to this day (he’s almost 6) he still takes everywhere.
It took him until the DAY PARKER JAMES WAS BORN to stop pooping in his pull up!
He was 2.5 when we started potty training and 4.5 when Parker James was born!
I know from age 3.5-4.5 it was just a total power struggle. He pooped in the potty several times just for a big toy we promised him and then would quit.
It was a long journey. Matt was home on paternity leave and basically drew the line. It finally just clicked. For some reason, he just understood waiting to poop in his pull up was no longer going to be a thing he could do.
So my point is…. Don’t push the poop thing. (No pun intended…)
Talk about it. A LOT. Encourage. Cheer on. Reward. But pooping in the potty is just a whole other level. So give them time.
9. DON’T FOCUS ON NIGHT TRAINING
This too is something not to push. Just like learning to poop in the potty, learning to hold it all night or while asleep is an entirely different skill.
This will just come on it’s own. Keeping dry all night is a skill for an older child too.
This is something we didn’t push. And it worked! One day Jaden just kept his undies on all night and said he didn’t need his pull ups anymore!
Matt and I just looked at each other like…”Ok then!”
We of course kept a really close eye and made sure he didn’t drink too much before bed.
Every once in a while he has had an accident but mostly, he’s been completely dry through the night ever since!
It’s a good rule of thumb that if your kiddo has had a dry pull up through naps/night time for about 2 weeks straight, they probably don’t need them!
Just remember, this is a skill that will come later.
10. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
And lastly, number 10 on my top 10 potty training tips is to give yourself grace and have patience.
Be gentle and patient with your sweet babe as they’re learning this new skill. There will be moments. Moments of frustration and moments of panic.
But there will be moments of celebration and amazement as you watch your sweet one grow and learn!
There you have them! My top 10 potty training tips!
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Have you tried any of these potty training tips? How did it go? Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email! Be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss a thing as well as follow me on Instagram and Pinterest!