Stress-free potty training hacks moms need to know to finally say goodbye to diapers!
There are many different methods on how to potty train a toddler. The key is patience.
As we all know, every child is different. What works for one, may not work for the other.
My three kiddos have different personalities and there was no one method of potty training that worked for all three.
In fact, they all potty trained at different ages and with different strategies.
Potty training can be a challenge! For some kids it may come easy, but others may need more motivation.
It can be a stressful time for parents and kids alike. Sometimes we have to use potty training hacks to get the job done!
Potty Training Hacks That Work
Whether you are potty training boys or girls, these potty training hacks will make it as stress-free as possible!
1. Child-Led Potty Training – The number one potty training hack is to start when your child is ready.
I know some moms will tell you they started potty training their children as babies, but babies can’t physically control their bladder. So those moms were probably “potty-training” for a very long time.
Most children don’t even have the capability to “hold it” until 24 – 30 months.
So starting your child before they are ready can lead to a lot of accidents. Starting your child late can lead to problems as well.
So you need to watch for the cues, and then go from there.
Signs of Potty Training Readiness
Rather than toilet training your child based on age, watch for these potty training readiness signs. When your child is “ready” things will be much easier!
- They can pull their pants up and down.
- Their diaper stays dry for longer periods.
- They show interest in the potty.
- They hide when they “go” in their diaper.
- They want their dirty diaper off immediately or they remove themselves.
2. Always Have A Potty Chair Accessible – When you are first starting out, it is absolutely fine to have the potty chair in the most used areas of your home.
Most children aren’t spending their days playing in the bathroom, so having one in sitting in the family room can remind them to go when they feel the need.
Once they get used to using it, then you can designate the potty to stay in the bathroom.
Don’t forget to take the potty with you in the car, this will prevent so many accidents. We used this travel potty for my son: it is compact, opens quickly and comes with mess-free bags for zero clean up!
You know, because it never fails that when you are in the car, your kid needs to poop.
3. Use A Timer – Timing is everything when you are first starting out. Set a timer to take your child to the potty every 30-45 minutes.
We use this timer for many things because it is visual for kids.
Also, you can get your child a potty watch to wear that will play music to let them know it’s time to go sit on their potty chair.
These watches are pretty neat and they are water-proof!
4. Show Them How To Go – Your child probably always follows you to the bathroom anyway, so make sure to tell them what you are doing. You can even let them flush.
If they have an older sibling, then have them go to the bathroom with them. Most little kids want to do everything their big sibling does.
In fact, my second child potty trained early and fast just because she imitated her big sister.
5. Just Say No To Buttons & Snaps – Make sure your child doesn’t wear clothing that is difficult to remove. Yes, overalls are super cute, but they are hard for little hands to take off and put back on.
If possible, let your child run around in their underwear at home to have less accidents.
6. Buy Character Underwear – One potty training hack that sealed the deal with my son was buying spider-man underwear.
We told him to try hard not to pee or poop on spider-man, or he could lose his “spidey-senses” and that WORKED!
Not one accident.
You could also say that you will have to throw away the cool new underwear if they get poop on them.
Many times children just need the mindset, but remember until they are at an age where they can physically hold it, accidents can happen.
Let your child choose their underwear because if it’s a character they love or their favorite color, they will be more inclined to wear them.
7. Read Fun Potty Books – There are so many fun potty-time books to choose from. If you are trying to save money, you don’t have to go out and buy a special book, your local library will have plenty of them.
My oldest daughter loved the story Once Upon A Potty from the library, it even came with a DVD. She loved watching it so much that we bought the complete set from Amazon.
The Once Upon A Potty series is very anatomically correct and has a different version for girls and boys.
It is older and doesn’t have any new cool characters from television but it is straight to the point and it really helps kids to understand how their body works during potty time.
Here is a link to the boy’s version video on YouTube. My kiddos loved watching and singing along to the opening credits.
8. Use A Reward Chart – Using a potty reward chart will help motivate your toddler.
Let them pick out a reward like a new toy or a trip to get ice-cream as an incentive to use the toilet.
These cool charts even remind kids to wash their hands!
Rewarding your child for each potty-training milestone encourages them to keep going!
9. Change The Color – Let your child “magically” change the color of the toilet water by adding food coloring before they go.
Think about the primary color rules: blue + yellow = green and red + yellow = orange.
Add a few drops of either blue or red food coloring and watch your kids do their magic.
10. Be The Potty Cheerleader – Praise and cheer your child every time they show interest in going to the bathroom. Kids respond well to loving encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Do a cheer, sing a song, or even do a happy dance to let your child know how proud you are.
Be sure to brag about their big accomplishment to Dad, Grandma, or even Aunt Sally when your child can hear you.
11. Start A Daily Routine – Make a routine for potty time at some of the most crucial times of the day like first thing in the morning, after meals, after naps, and before bedtime.
12. Use Puppy Pads – An easy and cheap way to help with accidents is using puppy pads.
This little potty hack will take the stress out of cleaning up night-time accidents!
Simply put a fitted sheet on your child’s mattress, then a puppy pad, then another fitted sheet.
If they have an accident, remove the top sheet and the puppy pad.
Then presto, a clean dry bed!
These pads are also great to have under the potty seats to prevent any accidental “sprays”.
13. Let Boys Sit – In the beginning, just let your boys sit on the potty.
I know many of us think boys should stand but when they are little and just learning the concept of using the potty, it helps them to sit.
Trust me, after they get the whole potty concept and they get a little taller, they will start standing to pee.
There is nothing you have to do, it just kind of happens naturally.
14. Multitask – During the days and weeks of potty training, you may feel that you are spending a lot of time in the bathroom with your child.
Use this time to get other things done.
- Clean the bathroom.
- Do some squats.
- Organize your to-do list or grocery list with the free family organizer app Cozi.
- Respond to emails with your phone.
- Read your child a book.
15. Bedtime Potty Time Routine– Having your child go to the potty before bedtime is SO important.
Every night have your child go to the bathroom 30 minutes before bedtime and then again as the very last thing they do before climbing in bed.
This little potty hack gives them two chances to empty their bladders and should prevent night time accidents.
Stress Free Potty Training
You can introduce your child to the potty, give them praise, give them rewards but at the end of the day it’s all up to your child to do the real work.
Remember the number one potty training tip is to wait until your child is READY. It will just make things much easier.
This is just another milestone and it will take time. Have patience and be positive with your child for the best outcome.
Never punish your child if they have an accident, because they are just starting to learn how to control their body.
Don’t stress, this is just another step your child is taking towards growing up and I promise you will be able to say goodbye to diapers very soon!
Check out the Smart Mom Resources page for some of my favorite mom hacks.
For more parenting hacks to make life easier you can sign up for new Mom Hacks to be sent to your inbox monthly.
That’s right just once a month, because we barely have time for anything as is, so spamming your inbox is a guaranteed NO.
Do you have potty training hacks that you use?
PLEASE let me know in the comments 🙂