Tips for Successful Potty Training

I’ve done some past potty training posts that you may find useful:

This post is intended of more of a “quick reference” type post! After potty training two kids at around 18 months old (Kye was 19 months when we started and Britt was 15 months) and also having experienced potty training both a boy and a girl, I thought some of my knowledge would be helpful to others!

  • When my kids first used the potty both times it was at night before bed. So my first move that next morning is to take them to the store as soon as possible after they get up and to let them help pick out “big kid” underwear/panties.

  • It’s also wise to buy some type of reward to use for both them staying dry and clean as well as for when they go in the potty. I did m&ms at first for Kye and it was a disaster so I switched to fruit snacks and did the same for Britt

  • When first starting training you want to take the child to the potty OFTEN. Every 30 min if they actually use the potty but if not I’d go every 20 min

  • Also always be sure to take them right when they wake up, right before they go to sleep, right before you leave the house, right when you leave that place, right when you get back home, right before meal times, soon after meal times. Basically take them anytime you would normally let your dog outside to avoid accidents in the house haha!

  • You want to completely clear your schedule and stick to the house for 5-7 days. 

  • Let them LIVE in their underwear/panties. I don’t like anything to be covering up that area so I can make sure to easily see if they have an accident.

  • Personally, I don’t like to let them run naked. I know people have found success with that method but I find that them being able to FEEL the wetness against them when they have an accident really helps in the process

  • We also aren’t big on the pull-ups. I like to use real underwear/panties. We do have pull-ups and use them OVER the underwear/panties when we have to leave the house for whatever reason or for longer periods of time. Just as an added protection but I like to have them still wearing the panties/underwear so they still feel that wetness if they do have an accident

  • We keep a basket of toys and books by the potty and sing songs and such to help them sit on the potty for as long as possible. Typically, the longer they sit the more likely they will go!

  • Praise praise PRAISE. When our kids use the potty it’s like a PARTY at our house. We sing, we dance, we give a treat, we make it super super exciting for them! Positive reinforcement is so important in order to find success in training!

  • When accidents do happen we don’t make a big deal about it. I will say “oh no!” or “ugh oh!” and show them the wet underwear/panties and have them touch them and I will say “ew yuck, these aren’t dry and clean!”

  • The emphasis is on being DRY and CLEAN! I constantly check them to see if they are dry and clean and in the early days of training will reward them for being dry and clean when I check. I praise hardcore for being dry and clean. Going in the potty is a HUGE deal, of course, but the GOAL in training is for them to keep their under garments dry and clean so that’s the biggest deal of all!

  • Do not focus on nap/night training. That is something you can’t really TEACH and is something they can only obtain once their bladder is big enough to hold it in for that long. I continue to put my kids in regular diapers for naps and for bedtime. I do NOT talk about it at all. I don’t call them diapers anymore. I don’t draw any attention to them not wearing underwear/panties. I just put the diapers on without saying a word about them. 

  • Keep a record of when they go. Most kids will develop a pattern of when they will use the bathroom, especially poop. When we know their typical “go times” you can be prepared and have them on the potty to avoid accidents!

  • Wipe for them. Kye is now 4 and we are just now teaching him to wipe himself when he goes poop. I know for his school in the 3 year old class the girls have to be able to wipe themselves so we’ll be teaching Britt that at a younger age but staying clean “down there” is important so we make sure to always do the wiping. With a girl don’t forget it’s important to always wipe front to back!

  • Be on the look out for diaper rashes as it’s VERY common for them to get a bad rash when training. It made me realize how many chemicals are in diapers b/c their little bodies are so used to the chemicals against them alllll the time that when they stop wearing the diapers they get a rash! I just loaded my kids up with cream before naps and bedtimes until it healed.

  • Use older siblings to your advantage. For us, Kye was a HUGE help in Britt becoming trained. We would have him use the potty first, letting her watch. We’d praise him like CRAZY and even give him the same treats she would get. 9 times out of 10 she’d use the potty right after he went! Younger siblings idolize older siblings and this is a great tool to help in the training!

  • Even if they don’t have a sibling, watching you go to the potty will also help and you can even praise yourself 😉

  • Don’t stress if they don’t go. Kye went on command, all the time. Britt didn’t and it worried me. I did some research and as long as they are going tee-tee once every 8 hours and poop once every 3 days, they will be fine!

  • Encourage them to go with offering certain foods. I’m not a big juice fan but diluted apple juice is a great thing to get the tee tee flowing! Prunes also help with the poop. I don’t overly stress or offer a big change in the foods we typically feed our kids but I’ve heard that salty snacks would also help.

  • Other ways to “help them go” while on the potty are to run water from the faucet and to pour warm water on their privates. Many children have to learn the ability to realize the tee tee and by being calm about it, it will help them to calm down and let it go 😉

  • During the early training days you have to CONSTANTLY watch them. I stopped doing independent playtime for my kids so I could be by their side at all times while they were awake. It’s so important to catch them right when they start having an accident so you can run them to the potty and they can learn that association!

  • I bought a doll that wets for Britt and I don’t know that it helped much with her training? I am not saying I’d recommend buying one, but if you do think it would help your child this is the one I purchased! 

  • With a boy, I wouldn’t worry about having him stand up to go potty. I had Kye sit until he was tall enough to use the regular toilet…he naturally started to stand once he got old enough to do so as he wanted to be like Daddy! At that point we simply told him to always aim in the toilet bowl and we’ve never had a single issue with him “making a mess”

  • Patience. More than anything else the potty training experience requires lots and lots of patience. Many a time we would sit with our kids on the potty for, what felt like, ever and they wouldn’t go only to immediately get off the potty and have an accident. It’s frustrating. It’s time consuming. It’s stressful. However, it’s one of those things where CONSISTENCY is KEY and the reward is HUGE. Hello? No more diapers! No more changings! It’s well worth it in the end and I recommend rewarding YOURSELF too 🙂

What tricks did you use when training your little ones? 

1 Comment

  1. Laurena
    June 1, 2013 / 10:24 am

    I haven't tried making pot with my kids before! I think making pot is a great summer ideas! Got some fun activities too, for sure you'll gonna love it. Check this out!

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