12 Parents Share The Potty Training Tips That Actually Worked For Them

For the first two years of my daughter’s life, I tried not to think about the inevitable days/weeks/months of potty training that were in store for us. It seemed likely that we would have a challenging time, given her track record on everything else up until that point. Breastfeeding, solid food, daycare... She had taken her time embracing all of these things. Naturally, we couldn’t expect any less for this major milestone. We were going to need all the potty training tips that actually work out there.

Sure enough, she showed very little interest in even acknowledging the toilet seat when we brought it home. I asked her every day if she wanted to try using the potty. Everyday she said, “No, thanks.” We got her books about going to the potty, which she loved to read, but didn’t convince her to go on it herself. We bought a different style of potty, so she could sit on it and watch television. Nothing. We instituted a reward system, which worked and then didn’t and then worked again, and then stopped working for good.

All of this isn’t meant to discourage you if you’re deep in the throes of potty training. In fact, I’m writing this, so you’ll you can know you’re not alone. It took us trying lots of different ways, to unlock the key to our daughter finally going to the bathroom on an actual toilet. And every kid has a different lock. Read through this list for a fresh set of ideas on how to approach this monumental task with your own child.


"A potty chart with stickers. Seriously."


See how they're going to try to go about it. It was hard for us to go from, "OK, let's get him to do this," rather than, "Let's see what angle he's going to approach this from and nurture that," but once we did, it worked.


"Mini M&Ms. Best poop bribe ever."


Dubious potty training moment from this weekend: My almost 3-year-old refused to have a bowel movement all weekend since we were away from her typical, I asked her if she wanted to go poopie in the grass like a doggy...and she did. Sooo, there's your parenting pro-tip.


"Never using [pull-up diapers], I think. He didn't like getting his undies wet/dirty, so that didn't last long. I know that wouldn't work for everyone, though. Also, we always had him pee on the potty right before bed from a very early age."


Our magic potty trick was naked time and little cheap-o treasure jar for rewards.


"Have them wear a pull-up over big kid undies while they are in the car (even if they haven't had an accident in a while). Cars are tricky with potty training and it will save you from having to clean/get a new car seat."


"Follow the kids lead. [It] may not be the perfect timing for you, but if you pay close attention, it'll be the perfect timing for them and be sooo much easier."


"Potty training is bullsh*t. It's parent training. You have to Jedi mind trick them into going and trying all the time. Sometimes I even ask my toddler to help me go because I'm lost and can't find the potty and suddenly that kid can pull her own pants up and down, wipe, flush, and wash like a champion. She's invested in making me look incompetent. Fine. If that's what it takes, I'm down with that."


Taking away the diapers and having him have to help clean his messes.


"Let them do their own thing on their own time."


"Buy undies with their favorite character(s) on them. We have Elsa & Anna panties, Bubble Guppy Panties and Disney Princess Panties. 'I'm not going to peepee on Elsa' is said a lot in our house."