May 03

Potty Training Tips (2)

As promised, here are some more potty training tips that you may find useful.


Setting the Stage

Start watching potty-related DVDs or using potty Apps (Elmo and others) to help generate interest well before you start asking your child to “try” the potty.

  • My children didn’t really like the Elmo DVD but a lot of kids love it! There are lots of others too, so try a few until you find one that your child really enjoys.
    •  “Look… Elmo uses the potty. Good job, Elmo!”
  • Our favorite with my youngest was “Potty Time” by the folks who make Baby Signing Time. It’s really well done with engaging songs and characters that have great messages (listen to your body, your body is amazing, celebrate successes, help clean up messes, stop what you’re doing and RUN to the potty when you need to go, etc).

Reward System

Figure out what motivates your child and build a reward system. Be ready to change it up regularly though, because once training starts, tweaking the plan ensures that you will keep making progress.Potty Chart

  • There are hundreds of free printable sticker charts online to choose from, buy a good one online (Amazon has lots), or make your own.  Use motivating characters that your child loves. Note that some children just aren’t interested in sticker charts (even if they were an avid-lover of stickers yesterday) and you may need a back-up plan.
  • Some other reward ideas include treats (doesn’t have to be sweets), small new toys (or bowl/basket they can choose from), TV time, playing with phone/tablet while sitting on the potty, a trip to the park after staying dry all morning, special phone calls to grandma after pooping on the potty, etc.
  • You may have to be ready to reward different behaviors on different days. Here is what I mean:
    • Once you reward peeing on the potty, for example, some kids start to give you tiny tinkles in exchange for an M&M. You don’t want your child peeing every 5 minutes for a treat. You need to encourage them to have a full release at each potty visit, so change it up and make sure you’re not being manipulated.
    • Most sticker charts have spots to put stickers for peeing and pooping on the potty. If your child does those things with no issues, but can’t stay dry in between potty visits, you need to adjust your reward system. Set the expectation that the child needs to stay dry between potty visits, and reward dryness after random “dry checks”.
    • In the early potting training days, any little tinkle on the potty should be rewarded, even if 90% of the release went into underwear or onto your floor. Reward the fact that they finished on the potty. This wouldn’t be called an “accident” on day one, you should consider it a success. But after a couple of weeks of an active potty training plan, where a child regularly uses the potty but sometimes still has accidents, this would definitely be considered an accident and should not be rewarded.

Modeling Desired Behaviors

Some potty training books and plans recommend the purchase of special peeing doll to help a child understand bodily functions and how the potty is supposed to be used. The functionality is good and modeling the desired behaviors works great for some children. Go this route if you want, though my advice would be to to skip the expensive doll, but still utilize the “modeling” concept.  Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or doll?  Why not involve them in the training plan?Use a doll to model potty training

  • Make or buy a small pair of underwear for the doll or stuffed animal. I spent 20 minutes and $2 sewing stuffed bear underwear from fabric that my son picked out at the store. When your child gets their underwear, so does their doll or stuffed animal! It’s a very exciting day for everyone!
  • On day one of potty training, have the stuffed animal or doll pee and poop on the potty. Pee can be a drugstore syringe of water or apple juice. Poop can be prunes. A little “sleight of hand” and your child will think their favorite stuffy or doll just used the potty! Have them give hugs and high 5’s, and help flush and clean up. Now it’s their turn to give the potty a try! Be forewarned – some kids want to have their whole collection of stuffed animals use the potty. Having your child “teach” them to use the potty is absolutely valuable, so encourage it on a regular basis.
    • “I think dolly needs to pee! Let’s go!”use a teddy bear to model potty training
  • When my children were pee trained but still not 100% consistent with poop, the favorite stuffed animal would make reappearance and use the potty to generate some interest and excitement. It formed a good reminder, without me being a nag.
  • If your child uses the potty but doesn’t initiate, again, use the doll or stuffed animal.
    • “What’s that bear? You need to pee? Okay let’s go! Thank you for listening to your body and telling me you have to pee!”

Well, there you have it… another collection of tried-and-true detailed potty training tips. I hope you found this blog useful. Let me know what you think!




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