Here’s something to be aware of every single time you search the internet for ANY kind of supplies list – even a potty training supplies list:

Supply lists are driven by ECOMMERCE.

Do you ever read a checklist of “essentials” and think, HOW on earth did ALL this stuff become “essential”?

Well, I can tell you, it became essential when someone realized they could make more money by selling you more stuff LOL.

And honestly, our generation (I’m talking you and me – the generation that has toddlers of potty training age…) has become attached to the idea that we can prepare for something new or scary (which potty training can be) by purchasing a lot of things.

Potty training is actually not a procedure that requires a lot of STUFF. (And that’s good news, because it means that potty training doesn’t have to be very expensive – except for running your washing machine a bit more than usual.)

Let’s not complicate it by thinking we need “potty training targets”, mmmk?

I think you’ll like this:

I believe the less “stuff” you buy for potty training, the FASTER potty training can actually go!


What do you need for potty training?

There are a very few things you’ll want to have on hand, that make the process easier, but I promise… the list of potty training essentials is short.

You CAN buy a fun potty training book to read with your kiddo, but it’s honestly not necessary. Patient conversation with mommy and daddy will do the same thing as a book!

I am a big believer in cold turkey style potty training:

Take the diaper off one day and never, ever, put it back on. (Except for naps and sleep of course. It’s unrealistic to think your toddler won’t pee while they are sleeping.)

Training pants aren’t an essential potty training item in my opinion, because I believe that pull-ups actually HINDER potty training

Talk to your child A LOT about going to the potty, let them watch you go to the potty, and make a huge deal out of successful bathroom visits.

DON’T shame them, and prepare yourself to deal with some messes.

Stand your ground.

Once you start potty training, don’t stop!

Here’s the only potty training supplies you need:

The following is all we bought to potty train, and both my kids were 100% trained in less than a week. We trained at 2.5 years, and the really messy part was over within 3 days.

If your toddler is ready to potty train, here’s what you’ll need:

1) Potty (or potty seat for toilet with a step stool)

Obviously, this is at the top of the list as the potty is sort of the star of the show here.

If you are tight on space in your bathroom, you may opt for just a potty seat that sits on top of your toilet (like this), HOWEVER, I think there are a couple real advantages to a child sized potty during training.

Many children feel fearful on an adult sized toilet, and they may take more easily to a smaller potty that’s “just their size”. I’ve also had both my kids spooked when the seat sled around under their squirmy little selves.

For the first few days of potty training, I left my kids pants-free, and encouraged them to go sit on the potty whenever they felt the need – and within a few days they were both racing off without my help. I think being able to get themselves onto the potty alone was beneficial for them. Toddlers often have that incredible sense of independence, and a child-sized potty can allow them to exercise that in a really positive way.

Lastly, if things are moving a long more slowly than you’d like, it can be nice to keep the potty CLOSE to where ever you are. In the backyard, in the kitchen, take it along when you go out. (Yes, we did all these things. lol).

Note that you will NOT want to get a one piece potty, you will want one that has a removeable bowl (like this) to make for easier emptying and bleaching.

We eventually did get a seat for on top of our toilet also, but I think starting with a small potty is ideal for most kids. When you move to an on-top-the-toilet seat, you will need a stool for your tiny people also.

2) LOTS of “grown-up” underwear

Unless you want to do laundry DAILY, go for 15-20 pairs of underpants. (And you’ll still do laundry every 2 days for the first week, haha.)

I’m not one of those women who likes to do a load of laundry every night (or ever week for that matter), so I want everyone in my house to have plenty of under wear anyway!

I buy the cutest most “fun” underwear I can find, something I KNOW my kiddos will love – characters they’re really into etc. (My son got superhero and cookie monster, my daughter got princesses and castles.)

We make a HUGE deal out of this grown-up underwear. Only big kids get to wear grown-up underwear!

(I also let them see me wash it before they wear it, and we talk about how if we pee in our underpants by accident, it’s ok because we can wash them… otherwise heartbreak ensues those first few times they think they’ve ruined their grown-up underwear!)

Tip: If your kiddo isn’t adjusting to the idea of using the potty while WEARING underwear, I suggest NOT wearing underwear for a few days. That worked with our daughter when nothing else would get her to try pooping on the potty!

3) Candy / Stickers

Whatever your reward will be for successful potty visits, you’ll want that on hand before you start.

We used smarties with our kids, because they don’t get a lot of treats and chocolate is EXTREMELY motivational for them… we did find that the chocolate affected our son’s behavior tho, so if your kiddo is sensitive to sugar also, you might find that stickers on a rewards chart are a better choice for your family.

(We used larger, more exciting treats for poop – and smarties made that easier too. 2 smarties for a successful pee, 4 for a poop!)

4) Piddle pads (optional)

This last of my potty training supplies list is optional, but if you have fabric couches or if you have to leave the house (in the car seat) the week you potty train, you’ll find it VERY useful.

Like I said before, when we take off the diaper, we NEVER put it back on (during the day, anyhow) so when we DID have to go out in the car, I put a piddle pad under my kids to protect the car seat.

We have leather couches, so clean-up isn’t too bad there, but if I had a fabric couch I would also use a piddle pad under my kiddo if they were watching TV etc.

(I didn’t have to buy these as I had them on had from my postpartum period, but you can get them on Amazon or at the pet store.)

Can you really potty train without buying training pants?

We did!

However, I think pull-ups might be a fun (and good!) way to avoid “the same” diapers at NIGHT and NAPS and remove that diaper confusion even farther.

We still had a lot of diapers left over, and wanted to use them up, so we did use them at night. We talked about how night was different than the day, and at night it was ok to wear a diaper because our brains might not wake up to get to the potty in time.

When we ran out of diapers, then we did move to pull-ups – and the kids thought the new colors and designs were a lot of fun.

What do you think about my list of potty training must haves for toddlers?

Is it overly simplistic? Is there anything else you’d add?

What were the most potty training items you felt were the most helpful to get your babe out of diapers?

Let me know!

potty training supplies list