Potty training hacks are for everyone. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you believe in potty training or potty learning. If you are a follower of the 3 day potty training method, believe in starting them from birth or really young with elimination communication, or just wait and let them learn and choose to do it all on their own, it doesn’t matter. These hacks are all for you. They make the transition to the toilet easier and less of a headache for both child and parent.
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12 potty training hacks sure to help ease the transition to the toilet
Make your own port-a-potty.
This is our most life saving of the potty training hacks. We have a potty seat that is car specific… in fact we don’t have a potty seat in our home because we want it to be a special car-only experience. It has been our saving grace on the side of the road, at parks, on quick outings, and on road trips.
We have even gone to parks and playgrounds where we have overheard families say they need to go home because there are no bathrooms where they are. So you don’t have to worry about being that family! Just don’t forget to have some wipes on hand to wipe out the inside of the seat when they are done using it.
Go on a Panty-Palooza or Brief Bash to celebrate this special occasion.
We only had 3 pairs of underwear when we were initially working on using the toilet. This was a very calculated decision because I told her that we would go on Panty-Palooza if she went a full week with no accidents day or night. She could pick out the ones she wanted and it was a big celebration!
Buy a small package of [designated use] flushable wipes.
Let’s be blunt. This is for pooping. Not only is pooping in the toilet new and scary, wiping is no easy task. Having some flushable wipes that your child uses for going number two and #2 only is a huge help in helping them get clean independently.
Help your toddler get underwear on independently with a simple trick.
Make an indicator on their underwear letting them know where to place them every time. Like in my trick for getting underwear on right every time, choose something like our dot on the floor that works for your family that allows them to have confidence and know what to look for every time.
Have some Grapefruit Seed Extract on hand.
UTIs are not altogether uncommon for both boys and girls learning to use the toilet. This is because they are many times holding their urine too long. Having a small bottle of grapefruit seed extract is easy to slip into water, juice, milk, or whatever they’re drinking without them noticing a change in flavor. It can even be added to diaper cream if they have redness or itching.
Keep some kids’ books/toys in the bathroom.
Have some bathroom-specific books ready to go in the bathroom. When they are distracted, offer them some bright, beautiful books or a mesmerizing toy or sensory bottles to get their attention off the bathroom so they can relax.
Carry a timer with you everywhere.
Be preventative about accidents and the problem of holding it too long. Keep a timer that is set to go off at certain intervals. Teach your toddler that when it goes off, they at least need to take a trip into the bathroom even if nothing happens while they sit on the stool.
Model appropriate bathroom “technique” but give them their own space without intervening.
I often let my daughter come into the bathroom with me. I know this is not for everyone, but I wanted to make it something normal for her. I wanted it to be the idea that everyone goes to the bathroom and it’s no big deal. Even if you don’t model it personally, but show them how to take care of themselves in the restroom, show them and then let them be.
Even in the first week of going diaper-less, my daughter was going into the bathroom and going through all of the steps on her own without involving me at all. It gave her confidence knowing she could do things on her own.
Choose stretchy pants… or no pants
Going naked or pant free is a great way for kids to know a little easier when they need to go. Stretchy are quick and easy to get on and off which is key. While snaps, buttons, and zippers seem like no brainers to leave off the potty training hacks list, it bears repeating.
Go on bathroom sight-seeing tours the moment you get somewhere.
It’s not necessarily about using the toilet once you get there, but making sure your child knows where the bathroom is, that they have seen it and are comfortable with it, and that they know there is one. If we didn’t do this with our daughter, she would be sure to say she needed to go, but in reality she didn’t. She just wanted to see it.
Set an alarm for the middle of the night.
To prevent bed-wetting, we gently and peacefully wake our toddler up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. We take her in and help her because we want her to stay half-asleep, but be awake enough to empty her bladder. And it works like a charm!
Buy toddler specific toilet paper.
Maybe look into buy colorful toilet paper in their favorite color or with characters on it, or anything unique. I am not necessarily someone to give treats or rewards for using the toilet, but I am all about making the experience fun and special as if it’s a rite of passage into childhood as a big kid.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!