23 Potty Training Tips and Tricks!


I received the following question from frugal friend Rebecca…

“I am looking for some tips on potty training. I’ve got a 2 1/2 year old boy, and would love any advice! Got any tips for me??”

I shared this question right here and on The Frugal Girls Facebook Page, and here are just a few of the great ideas that were shared…

When her son was potty trained, Margaret said: “we let him blow out a candle and all sang For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”

Laurie said: “You probably don’t want to hear this… but with my boys I used to let them go outside and ‘water’ my flowers. They were so impressed with their ‘job’ that it worked really well. Except at Grandma’s! After they got the hang of it, we’d pick a dandelion flower and let them aim for it in the toilet.”

Jan said: “We used to live out on a farm. My son was potty trained in a day because he liked peeing on a rock.  Only problem those first couple of weeks was when we would go into town.”

Anne said: “For my son I kept a bowl of Cheerios on the back of the toilet. We made a game out of it. He would throw 3-4 Cheerios in and I sat him on the toilet backwards. He tried “shooting” them and sinking them, and he LOVED it. He would get a couple of pennies for pee pee and a quarter for pooping. He was potty trained within a month and a half. I bought Pull-Ups for night and I would hear him “shooting’ the Cheerios.”

Kristen said: “My little boy is now 5, but when we were potty training, this is what we did. We would put 3 Cheerios in the potty and make a game out of having him aim at the cheerios :) Also, when he did go potty we had a bunch of little toys from the dollar store that we used as a reward. :)”

Mary said: “We also used cheerios, and they worked wonders. We also used blue food coloring and when he peed, it would turn green… magic pee!”

Tina said: “We used the Cheerios method as well! Worked like a charm! Our reward method was “high-5′s”… lol! He seemed more excited to high-5 us, than when he would get a toy.”

Judy said: “With my little guy I had tried almost everything and nothing worked, so one day I said no more diapers.  I put him in underwear and would have him go to the potty every hour.  He HATED to be wet so he learned after a few accidents that its just easier to use the potty :)

Brooke said: “We started Monday with my daughter (2.5 yrs).  She threw away her diapers after we went on an underwear shopping trip. We sat her on the toilet every hour. The first day with no success. Second day she was 50/50. Day three she even pooped in the potty, with only one accident. TIP: Stretch pants… pee runs down legs and makes more uncomfortable AND doesn’t get on carpets!!”

Jenn said: “I went cold turkey with my third child, a boy at 23 months. I told him that it was time to use the potty. PeePee and Poo needed to go in HERE (pointing at the potty). If he used the potty, he would get THESE (raisins, M&M’s, or Skittles)! No more diapers, because mommy got THESE (tighty whiteys, save the cute character ones for AFTER he is trained. Tighty Whiteys are easy to clean and bleach! ;-) And let’s get started! Jax got 3 raisins, M&M’s or Skittles with every peepee and 5 for every poo after washing his hands. He was potty trained within the week. I stopped liquids by 7:30 for a 9pm bedtime. It was great! By far the easiest! If you are nervous about bedtime wetting, I would use the diapers at night, but I will NEVER waste money on Pull-Ups again!

Jamie said: “We used a kitchen timer. We would have our son help us set it for an hour and when the bell went off, it was time to go. He’d jump up from whatever he was doing and run into the bathroom (before he’d fight us the whole way).  After that worked for a few days we started putting him in underwear, emphasizing that he needed to “keep Diego dry!” (He had his favorite character, Diego, on his undies.) We had a few accidents, but in less than a week he was telling us when he needed to go. He’s been basically dry during the day for a couple weeks now.”

Dana said: “For my son I created a poster with columns of the days, and we got a goody bag with cheap items. For each day he did not have an accident, he got something out of the goody bag. If he made it one week with no accidents, we went to Walmart and bought him a toy. It worked VERY well – he was potty trained in about 3 weeks!! We had tried everything else.”

Michele said: “Someone gave me the idea of making a game board (it looked like a homemade version of candy land) on a poster board.  Then I taped it to the side of the kitchen cabinet with a prize at the end. Every time my son used the potty he got a sticker until he filled in all of the squares to get to the prize.  It really didn’t take long and we always said… he won’t go to kindergarten in diapers.”

Jacquelyn said: “Get a potty / potty seat combo, since you never know which he’ll prefer. I rarely gave my son candy, so he knew I meant business when I put a plastic jar of Hershey’s kisses on the bathroom counter. Whenever he produced anything, he got 1 kiss and he immediately understood the connection. We also focused on feeling when his undies were dry or wet to know the difference. As time went on and he got the hang of it, I kept upping the ante for him to get a treat (ie – he had to stay dry; then he had to stay dry and tell me when he had to go, etc.). We eventually worked our way away from treats. Also, little boys generally do not have the coordination to stand & pee at first, so start him sitting down. Good luck!”

Denelle said: “I bought the “cheer for me potty.” From that day forward my son has been so excited when he goes, because it sings to him. I couldn’t be happier. 6 weeks into potty training and we’ve only had two accidents. I also just started him out in undies, and I have not bought any Pull-Ups at all. He is great about telling me when he has to go and I even got him to go at a public place. Good Luck!”

Amy said: “I am potty training my 21 month old. I recently bought the potty watch and I have to say it has really helped. It reminds her (and forgetful mom as well) that we need to try to go. As a reward for going in the potty I gave crackers, raisins, and stickers. Hoping to have her potty trained before the new baby arrives!”

Chaundra said: “I have four children that are all potty trained. I waited until they were interested, and then a reward system worked. After my second child I was much less in a hurry for the “next step.” Some of them liked the little potty that plays music when you go, and some liked the big potty insert. Boys do like peeing on cheerios. I have heard that punishments or forcing it too early can cause potty problems, like bed wetting and/ or constipation.”

Amy said: “Buy the book Toilet Training in Less than A Day. Although the book is from the 70′s, I used it with both my kids. Neither one of them was completely trained in a day, but after day one they were both in undies full time during the day, and out of diapers at night pretty quickly.”

Tracey said: “I also have the Toilet Training in Less than A Day book and am almost finished reading it to teach my son (he’s not old enough yet). I think their method makes complete sense! I was very skeptical when I saw that it was an older method and would teach a child in just one day, but after reading it I find it to be a method that is respectful of the child, and their skills and abilities. It teaches them to do it all themselves so that I’m not having to constantly go and help (after the method has been taught). Isn’t that the point of toilet training–to make them more independent in the matter?! I’m excited to try it out!”

Lynn said: “I loved the book “Diaper-Free Before Three.” I would sit my 18 month old on the potty at certain times of the day: bathtime, after meals, before going out, etc. With my son, we started at 22 months. I made him go anytime I had to, which was a lot with a tiny pregnant bladder! We only used Pull-Ups at night, and thick gerber training pants during the day. We had tile floor, so I mopped some and he learned quickly! My son loved to pee on cereal and in a cup too. Then there was the time he dropped his pants in the shopping center parking lot, but I think all moms can tell those stories! Above all, don’t stress. Not too many 10 year olds wear diapers! : )”

Mary said: “I used to work @ Marian Center in Miami 30 years ago, a school for mentally challenged children. I’ve seen a 1-1/2 year old down syndrome child potty trained in a week, how? Simple, they took the child to the potty every 15 minutes, and the parents had to do the same at home. In a week the child was potty trained. It was a lot of sacrifice, but it worked with no bribes or rewards.”

Maggie said: “After potty training my 4 boys, I have learned the only valuable lesson: RELAX. Let them set the pace, because there will be setbacks. They will not make it to the potty every time… no worries. Take the stress and flush it. Your child WILL go on the potty, but don’t compare your child to your neighbors. Potty training is as different as the personalities the children. Good luck, and praise often!”

Melissa said: “The best general advice I can give is that if you’re having a hard time or they seem to be really struggling with it, go back to diapers and wait a couple of months and then try again.  My niece was almost 4 before she was truly ready, and it wasn’t anywhere near as frustrating as when we tried to train her when she was younger.”

Do you have any Potty Training Tips or Tricks?

Or… what worked to motivate your little ones to get the ol’ job done??

Leave a comment & let us know!

{oh… the memories ~ good times, good times!} ;)

See Also:
Reader Tips: 19 Tips for Making Homemade Baby Wipes
How to Make Foaming Baby Wash

  • Share this article on Twitter
  • Print

4 Responses to 23 Potty Training Tips and Tricks!

  1. Lisa says:

    What about bedwetters? Any ideas? My 4 year old is potty trained, but he wets the bed every night.

    • Malisa says:

      I recently bought my son the WetStop3 bedwetting alarm. It has been working wonders. He sleeps so hard that he just doesn’t wake up but this does the trick and he has been waking up to pee at night.

  2. Sam says:

    My daughter is 19months and we are currently potty training she only has maybe one accidnet a day. Pull-ups are for the birds in my opinion they are expensive! Training pants are more effective in my opinion insted of jumping straight to underware. I put her in a diaper at night she still wakes up dry! I created a poster board full of all her favorite character stickers and columns pee & poopy. Every time she goes she adds a sticker to her board. I personally dont agree with rewarding with food.

  3. yanina says:

    Hi! Mt daughter is 4 yrs old. And she will go to the potty if she is taken, she won’t say she has to go and she will pee on herself whenever she has to go unless again, i am very watchfull and always taking her to the potty. Help! She starts Pre-K in August and has to have no Pull-ups by then! Frustration!!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>