Potty training your toddler might seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. And we won’t sugar coat it - sometimes it DOES get overwhelming! But these potty training hacks will help you get through it a little more easily. Read our 12 potty training hacks and feel free to share your own when you’re done.
1. Remove the Pants: If you can strip your toddler naked from the waist down, this tends to work best, especially for kids who don’t realize they need to go until it’s time to go. The trick here is that they’ll immediately realize the connection between the potty and a major cleanup on aisle three (and hence an interruption of whatever they were doing). This plan works best for parents with patience and willingness to accept the risks of pantsless potty training. But many parents swear by this method!
2. Use the Potty Backwards:This one is great for boys and girls who get easily distracted or haven’t mastered the art of aiming. By using the small training potty - or even the big toilet - facing the “back” of the potty, you have a designated catch zone that means they won’t be leaking out the front of the potty and making a mess everywhere else in the bathroom
3. Set a Timer: Set a timer (on your phone, on the microwave, or use a special potty timer) for every 30-45 minutes and have your child sit on the potty whenever the timer goes off. If they go, celebrate and praise them with your reward of choice (be it a special high five, a sticker, a treat, or anything else). If they don’t, go back to playtime and try again next time the timer goes off.
4. Use an App: There are a variety of apps available for your smartphone or tablet to make potty training easier. Some are designed to entertain or educate the kids about the potty, while others are useful tools for mom or dad to keep track of timing and progress. Check out The New Potty - Little Critter (for $1.99 on the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone) and Potty Training Kids Learning With Animals (free on the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone). For Android devices, try Daniel Tiger’s Stop & Go Potty ($2.99).
5. Select 2-3 Designated Potty Books: Keep some books for entertainment in the bathroom while pottying, but don’t switch them out to keep your child interested. This isn’t about reading, it’s about you-know-what. Keep a library of two to three designated potty books. As the books get a little boring and predictable, the bathroom will become more about doing their business and getting back to the fun stuff.
6. Sing a Song: Make up (or borrow from your child’s favorite show or book) a song about potty training to make each trip to the potty entertaining and add a sense of ritual. This could be as simple as singing “wipe, flush, and wash your hands” to a favorite tune or making up new lyrics to the tune of a popular song.
7. Use a Disposable Changing Pad: This one is a great life hack for potty training. Use a disposable changing pad or even a puppy training pad to place in your child’s car seat or anywhere else you need to avoid a mess when you’re not sure if you’ll have trouble making it to a bathroom on the go.
8. Use Incontinence Pads or Pantiliners: It’s one thing to rinse out and wash an accidental leak, but cleaning up an accidental poo should be avoided at all costs. Place a small pantiliner or incontinence pad in your child’s undies for easier cleanup of #2 accidents.
9. Pack the Sticky Notes: This hack is for public toilets with automatic flushing mechanisms. A sudden flush before your child is ready can scare them and set you back in the potty training process. Savvy parents keep a pack of sticky notes in their arsenal to place one over the sensor on an automatic toilet. No flushing until you’re ready!
10. Mark the Point of No Return: Use decorative tape to mark the “do not pass” zone for toilet paper. Kids are still figuring out how much they need, so set the mark at a few squares’ length so they can get used to appropriate toilet paper usage.
11. Designate Kids-Only Toilet Paper: Giving your child their own roll of toilet paper is a small hack that makes a big difference. They’ll be so excited to have a sense of control since parents aren’t allowed to use this roll and might be extra excited to use the potty for their special toilet paper.
12. Make a To-Go Bag: Sure, keeping your kid pantsless at home is easiest, but when you need a trip to the grocery store or have to leave the house for a playdate, you’ll need to be prepared. Pack your training pants, underwear, sticky notes, a potty book, and anything else you need.
There you have it - 12 hacks for potty training to make things easier on you AND your little one. Potty training is hard work, so every little thing helps until you find the trick that works best for your family. Of course, we also recommend a waterproof pad for your child’s crib or toddler mattress, like the Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress Pad, which maximizes airflow for a more comfortable sleep and has a waterproof backing to keep those nighttime accidents from becoming a nightmare.
If you're still not sure if your child is ready to potty train read on for 5 Signs Your Child Is Ready To Potty Train.