If you’ve ever potty trained a child, you know it can include weeks or months of training. I’m still working on fully potty training my 4 year old. Kids are easy to motivate with treats and privileges, and healthy habits can be taught through regular routines. Here are the steps we’ve taken to teach our kids how to leave diapers behind and use the “big kid” potty.
1. Wait until your child is ready
Kids need to be ready to be potty trained. If a child is too young, they may experience frustration and relapses back to accidents. I had to try several times to potty train my first child with mixed results, and she finally got into a good routine once she turned 3 years old. Kids generally won’t learn how to use the potty in one week and be perfectly trained from there on. Insecurity, bladder infections, and distractions can all cause a child to relapse for a time but with a regular routine most kids will be able to make to to the potty every time.
2. Make potty training fun and set time intervals
My 2-year-old daughter was excited to start riding “the Potty Train”. She actually thought it was a train but her excitement and enthusiasm made her bathroom trips a game. She often responds excitedly when I ask her if she wants to try going potty. On days I want to focus on potty training, I set the timer and ask her every 30 minutes if she wants to try going potty. Make it fun! If you are stumped for ideas, you can always check out tried and true potty training tips & resources.
- Set the clock for 30 minute intervals
- Allow your child to drink liquids to encourage potty training
- Try going potty every 30 minutes or at least make the suggestion
3. Get some cute pull-ups for potty training
My daughter doesn’t easily learn how to use the potty when she’s wearing a diaper. These cute cloth training pants from Charlie Banana make my daughter feel special and add an exciting element to the potty training experience. I explain she gets to wear big girl underwear and she can’t wet them. When she feels like she might wet them she needs to try to use the potty. This has worked pretty well, although my daughter tells me she’s wet when she’s not and she tells me she has to go after she’s already gone. Despite a few accidents, these cute toddler training pants hold in moisture pretty well so that I can change her after an accident just like I would a cloth diaper. They also feel different enough from a diaper to encourage my daughter not to wet them. Like I said, potty training is a process.
I love the style and adorable prints that these Charlie Banana reusable training pants come in! I picked some of the most girly patterns featuring princess crowns, beautiful flowers, and bright colors. My daughter easily made the transition from wearing regular diapers to wearing these cloth pull-ups, which encourages me to practice potty training without having to clean up a bunch of messes. These training pants are not as absorbing as cloth diapers but they provide good protection while you are teaching your child to make it to the potty in time and learn how it feels to “need to go” to the potty.
These modern Charlie Banana training pants come in several designs, some with front snaps and another style featuring a pull-up design with adjustable elastic in the waistband. I like both styles equally. Each pull-up has a built in pad that absorbs small accidents and leaks. I definitely prefer using these pull-ups to allowing my child to run around diaper-free, which works for some families but has caused some messes for me. Plus these potty training pants are so cute! My daughter looks so adorable in them and in the warmer weather she can wear these training pants along with a t-shirt as we continue potty training this year. The pull-up design is easy for a child to pull down to use the potty and pull back up when they are finished.
4. Reward potty training successes with treats
My reward system changes with the potty training process. When we first begin, I give my child a treat such as a chocolate chip for trying to go potty. If she successfully goes she gets another one. For a few weeks after, I give my daughter a small treat every time she goes potty. Once she has mastered getting to the potty on time and going every time, we work on minimizing accidents and she gets a reward chart to track her progress (more details below). Rewards could look different for every family. If you want to minimize sugar you can reward your child with stickers, book time with mommy after successfully going potty, or a cup of ice chips to enjoy (my kids love ice).
5. Track progress with a reward chart
Once my kids learn the routine of going potty, I give them a reward chart. This chart replaces receiving a treat every time. My charts usually have a path of squares with a star at the end. Every time my kid goes potty, they get to put a sticker on the chart. Once they reach the square with a star, they can pick out a prize from my prize box or get a special treat from the store. My four-year-old would take about a week to get to the end of her chart and she started collecting small Disney princess dolls.
Potty Training Reward Chart Printables
Grab one of these fun reward chart printables to try out with your own child! Click on each image to open the printable file.
Which tips have you found successful for potty training your child?
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Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, creative projects, taking photos and traveling. I’ve previously worked as a web designer, journalist and barista. I hope you enjoy our creative projects and family adventures!
This was very helpful thank you
These are great tips! We just finished potty training with my daughter and did most of these except the rewards chart. The most important thing was that she was ready.
Belle | One Awesome Momma
Great tips on potty training! I trained two girls and they definitely have to be ready. My son is still a little young, but I will save this for when he is ready.
Definitely agree with #1. Learned my lesson by pressuring my oldest. It’s so much smoother of a transition when you let them set the time
I definitely agree about waiting until your child is ready to potty train. It’s no fun no matter when you do it but that helps.
OMG, so timely. My daughter turns 2 this month. A few weeks ago she started telling us when she was going to the bathroom but she didn’t get the concept of sitting on the potty. Obviously I’ve been busy myself but I think we can start now. Can’t wait 🙂