Potty training is such a huge milestone, but it can also be completely terrifying. It’s a milestone many of us parents look forward to, whether or not we know exactly how to tackle it yet. It’s a sign that our little ones are growing up—but with it comes worry, sweat, and lots (and lots) of patience. Don’t fret – you can make potty training an easier experience for yourself and your child by equipping yourself beforehand with all the knowledge to help them through this big transition in their lives!
This post will explore 11 potty training tricks and tips that may be new to you as you journey down the road of potty training your toddler – so that finding success is a lot faster!
When Should You Start Potty Training?
There is no right or wrong answer as to exactly when you need to start potty training, the “right time” can be different for each child. Depending on where you are in the world, there can be huge differences in the age that an average child potty trains.
The average age to be potty trained combining all cultures throughout the world is 18-27 months.
If you are in America, that might sound really early to you, as Americans tend to wait until after even the latest end of this to potty train these days. The average age to potty train in America has drifted later and later over the past 75 years for many reasons. Most American children are potty trained AROUND 3… 2 1/2, 3 1/2, or something like that.
But for many other countries, even the average potty training age mentioned above sounds very late.
For instance, in Russia potty training typically begins at 6 months, or whenever the child can hold up their heads. In China, it begins even earlier, oftentimes at or before one month.
Depending on how far in advance you are researching potty training, this info might inspire you to start even sooner. And that brings us to our very first potty training tip you probably haven’t heard before, along with 10 more potty training tricks to help smooth the struggle for you mama.
11 Potty Training Tricks and Tips to Try You Haven’t Heard Before
Try Infant Potty Training
Have you heard of infant potty training? I mean before I mentioned Russia and China above. If not don’t worry, I hadn’t either the first time I was pregnant!
It’s referred to as elimination communication, or EC. Whether you want to wait until your baby can hold their heads up or not is up to you.
Basically, the way it works is that at a very young age, you introduce your baby to the potty.
You hold them over it after eating, or any time you have a mother’s intuition moment that makes you think they may need to go and then you make a peeing sound at the same time. “Psssss…”
You would be amazed how well babies can pick up on peeing in the potty. This whole process also helps the parents become very attuned to their baby and when they need to go.
See that face you know?
Run and hold baby over the potty and make a grunting noise to associate with poo (or whatever sound you choose). It might sound silly, but I know people who had their babies peeing in the potty from only a few months old! Poop is a little harder, but it does work for that too.
If your baby is still young, learn how to start elimination communication!
Try the 3 Day Potty Training Method
Haven’t heard of this one yet?
Well imagine one day just throwing the diapers all away (or packing them away if you do reusable), and telling your little one that now they go in the potty like a big kid, and the diapers are gone?
That’s how it starts.
This is what I did with both of my kids. Surprisingly, this method is highly effective for many children. (As with most potty training methods, it IS often a bit easier with girls for some reason… but oddly enough my kids were the opposite. This worked wonders for my son but my daughter put up a bit more resistance. Learn how I finally got my daughter to poop on the potty too.)
Here is the original 3-Day Potty Training Book from Laura Jensen. It is really helpful walking you step-by-step through this process. (This method is so effective a lot of people have started talking about it on their own and even made their own books.)
Even though it sounds kind of harsh to just toss the diaper, she walks you through exactly how to gently potty train in a weekend. There are a whole lot of rewards and praise with this method and yes accidents too.
Be prepared to give your kid your FULL attention and stay home for at least 3 days, but it will pay off!
Use a Sticker Chart
Kids love to hear that they are doing a great job. They love rewards and they love praise.
Making a potty time sticker chart might be just the thing to encourage your little one who might use the potty on occasion but not consistently. You can coax their interest in the potty with this potty training trick.
Don’t use too big of a chart, no more than 5 across or it becomes too difficult to win a prize and their motivation will dissipate.
You can either have the sticker be the prize for each time using the potty and give them a larger physical prize like a toy or treat when they fill up a row. OR you can give them small treat for each sticker (like an M&M or something) and a larger treat when they fill an entire row of stickers.
The prize doesn’t have to be something big, a cookie for instance is just fine. Whatever works best for your kiddo.
I made a potty time chart you can download for free here.
Fill a Jar of Marbles
This trick might have you scratching your head but just hear me out. It’s along the same lines as the sticker chart above by encouraging your kiddo and peaking their interest in the potty.
Have a jar that they can see but not reach and let them add in a marble each time they successfully use the potty. When it’s full they earn a prize!
You can use anything to put in the jar: rubber ducks, bouncy balls, etc. Just be sure the jar size you pick goes well in relation to the item you are putting in it.
I found a baby food jar works really well with marbles, a full sized jar just takes way too long unless you use a bigger item.
Try a Potty Watch
Everyone chooses to try potty training at a different age so I am being sure to include tips for all ages. If your child is on the older side, consider trying the potty watch.
It’s a special treat for them to get and makes potty training pretty fun.
You can choose to set the watch to go off at intervals of 30, 60, or 90 minutes. Your kiddo will get a flashing light and a reminder that it’s potty o’clock. It also features music and a potty jam session. This watch really brings a fun element to potty training.
With millions of success stories, it’s well worth the $20 investment.
Have Different Potty Options
When your child is first getting used to the idea of going potty in the toilet, it’s going to be a pretty foreign sensation. There are so many different potty seat options you can choose from.
- There are some that look just like a real toilet
- others that have characters on them
- and then basic affordable choices too. Don’t overlook those portable seat cushions that turn any toilet into a kid’s potty.
The one YOU think might be the most well-received and the most comfortable for your kiddo might be totally off. (Been there.) So it’s a good idea to try a couple or a few different types. If you have multiple bathrooms in your house, just have a different potty in each and see which one sticks.
Try Giving Them a Ton of Liquid
Got an afternoon or day that you can commit to trying to make some progress on potty training?
Dial up that fluid intake! Like, a lot. That means giving them some extra juice, popsicles, watermelon, really anything filled with fluid.
With more liquid comes more opportunities to use the potty. Practice makes perfect so by giving them a lot more chances to notice the feeling inside that would cue them to run to the potty, you are giving your little one more chances to learn.
Prep with Potty Books
There are so many books about potty training to get your child familiar with the idea. This is one of the simplest potty training tricks to implement right away. Get some books about potty training and using the potty and read them every day.
Don’t worry, though YOU might get sick of the same stories over and over, your little one thrives on it. You can even find some with their favorite characters sometimes.
Here are some really good potty training books to start with:
- Cocomelon’s JJ’s Potty Training Book with buttons
- Pottysaurus Potty Training Board Book
- Everybody Pottys!
- Let’s Go to the Potty
- The New Potty Book (Look Look!)
Prep with Potty Videos
In addition to reading books about using the potty, there are a lot of videos and sing-along songs that encourage your child to try out using the toilet as well.
Encouragement, fun songs, and being associated with a big kid can really make a difference when trying to potty train, and potty training videos can really help make the vague idea of using the potty more than something grown-ups do, it will become something big kids do in their minds too.
And what little kid doesn’t want to be a big kid? (Well ok so they ALMOST always want to be a big kid… unless you recently added a new sibling to the mix then that oftentimes goes right out the window. But aside from THAT, yes, they probably want to be a big kid now!)
You can always browse YouTube for potty-training songs and find some really fun ones. Or you can buy a potty training video too fo a bit longer engagement that might just include some of their favorite characters.
Try Using Potty Training Pants
If you are ready to ditch the diapers, but still a bit terrified of that concept and the inevitable messes that will ensue, try switching to potty-training pants. Many potty training methods encourage you to dispose of the diapers pretty much immediately so as to not cause confusion to your little one.
After all, if they are in those nice cushiony diapers that they have been eliminating in all along, what is going to signal to their brain, “No, THIS feeling of pants is not where I potty.”
That’s why switching out of the diapers BEFORE doing the actual potty training can be so helpful. If they start to dribble that diaper will absorb that moisture right up and they won’t even feel the yucky wetness until there is a ton in there.
But let’s be honest, Pull-Ups are really just expensive glorified diapers. They feel the same and are no easier to slip up and down than a diaper itself is. Enter…
Potty training underwear!
There is thick underwear (but not too thick) that will absorb some of the dribbles and save you from cleaning up accidents quite as much, just the big ones. Plus it’s great that they are washable and don’t end up in a landfill.
Potty training underwear is also a great solution if your kiddo is partially potty trained but you still are concerned about accidents while they sleep, nap, or drive. Use potty training underwear at these times so they still feel like a big kid making progress towards tossing the diapers, but you can have some peace of mind that there won’t be a huge mess to clean up if an accident DOES happen.
Enforce Potty Times
If you are making a bit of progress with potty training and your little one DOES use the potty sometimes, and other times not so much, try enforcing certain potty times. This is where the Potty Watch I mentioned above can come in handy.
If they sometimes use the potty, you can just enforce certain times that they HAVE to use the potty too. Whether the sticker chart or marble-in-a-jar trick helps make enforcing actually work doesn’t matter, what matters is that they listen so that times when they typically would wet themselves are no longer an issue.
For instance, insist that they try to use the potty before leaving the house, before their naps, and before bed. It is rare that if they use the potty they will wet themselves for at least an hour in those instances.
If you are kind of stalled out on potty training progress, enforcing certain potty “try” times as mentioned above (or even every hour or various set time) can really help give them more opportunities for successful potty uses. You do not have to force them to pee if they genuinely don’t need to go. It is TRYING to go that is important here.
Wrapping Up 11 Potty Training Tricks You Probably Haven’t Heard Before
I know potty training can be daunting, frustrating, or terrifying even; but I hope after reading this post you feel confident to add a few more potty training tricks to your list to try so that you too can find success with potty training.
Some extra tips I’ll leave you with:
Be patient. Not every kid is ready to potty train at the same time. Sure, in Russia they start around 6 months, but that doesn’t mean YOU have to OR that your little one is ready at that time. One thing about starting potty training younger, though they will ultimately be fully potty trained earlier, it does take longer. Sometimes waiting until your kid is fully ready makes an easier transition.
So whether you want to start early to be done with diapers sooner, or don’t really mind the diapers and would rather wait until the potty training is much less daunting and drawn out, make the right choice for YOUR family, not anyone else’s.
Also don’t feel ashamed or disappointed if you give it your all and potty training doesn’t work. Your child might not be ready yet. Stop. And try again a month or more later after prepping them with some potty training videos and/or books.
IF you haven’t tried my second tip here yet, the 3-Day Potty Training Method, I HIGHLY encourage you try it if you can fit it into your schedule. It worked for both of my kids and I think the consistency with this method really helps children actually learn to consistently use the toilet way faster.
I hope one of these potty training tricks ends up being your secret weapon to finally ending your diaper-filled days.
You got this mama!