As a pre-school owner and teacher of 40+ years I still see “Potty Training” as a term that often strikes fear and apprehension in the hearts of parents!

It’s hard, unpredictable, tiring, frustrating, and most of all – messy.

But don’t forget –

It’s also rewarding…


…cost effective…

– and when done correctly – strengthens the bond between you and your child!

This may sound crazy, but the #1 secret to potty training is to get into the right frame of mind and making it a “fun” experience for your child.

Don’t look at it as a chore…

…or something horrible you have to do…

–Your child will pick up on this – even if just unconsciously.

This is an opportunity!

This will be an adventure!

…Race to find each bathroom in each new store while doing errands…who can find it first?

Speaking of finding the potty – my daughter was potty training (many moons ago) while we were at Walt Disney World.

She loved to find the next potty – and you gotta love Disney for placing a potty every 20 feet.

She would point out the characters in each potty, the different smells and noises (yes, even the bad ones), the color of the soap dispensers, all different kinds of details…

The point is, we encouraged the fun and she certainly rolled with it.

But the other point you may have picked up on – is that we went to Disney even though my daughter was potty training – and she continued through it successfully while we were there…


And no, it wasn’t because I’m some big expert. It was just from following some simple principles and continuing to have the right attitude and frame of mind.

And in case you were wondering – there were accidents – but we didn’t let those spoil the fun. No way.

So try your best to treasure these moments no matter how frustrating they can be…

–you’ll laugh about them a year from now…

Ok enough of me rambling – onto the good stuff:


Potty training planning and preparation

Potty Training Planning and Preparation

Make sure your child is ready. But also make sure YOU are ready.

In other words, don’t start potty training on a whim.

–No spur of the moment, Saturday morning ideas of grandeur!

Potty training takes serious planning and preparation.

Key to Success:

Potty training is only successful when your child is fully ready. As a parent you must be on the look out.

Signs that your child is ready for potty training include:

  • Dry diapers for long spans of time (2+ hours).
  • Waking up from daily naps with a dry diaper.
  • Your child telling you when they are going.
  • Your child showing interest in the potty.
  • Your child can physically walk to the potty and sit down.
  • Your child can follow simple directions and pull clothes down and up for pottying.
  • Children must be capable of holding their bodily functions before they are able to be potty trained.
  • Your child is 18-24 months or older.

Attempting to potty train your child before they are displaying the physiological signs they are ready, could culminate in your child becoming frustrated, having feelings of shame, and an increase in the time it takes to potty train your child. The Mayo Clinic has some good info as well.

Potty Training Prep Before Starting

Bring your child into the bathroom with you while you are using the toilet. Use this time to answer your child’s questions, let them flush the toilet and quell any possible potty training fears they may have. Place a child sized potty in your bathroom long before you plan to potty train your child.

Allow your child to sit on the potty while you are going. Place books or toys (washable) next the potty. Let your child sit on the potty while using the toys so that they get used to relaxing on the potty and avoid rushing. If by chance your child urinates while sitting on the potty you will know that it is time to start potty training for real!

Incorporate books about potty training into your night time routine. Great books to read are:

“Everyone Poops” by Taro Gomi
“Super Pooper” by Monika Sloan and Mike Motz
“Once Upon A Potty” by Alana Frankel.

Visit public restrooms regularly. This will help your child become and remain acclimated with unfamiliar potties. Public toilets can be loud and sometimes flush automatically. These things can scare a child. Prepare them through discussion of these possibilities beforehand to avoid any potty fears.

Before leaving the house have your child try to go potty, then again as soon as you arrive at your destination, and again right before you head home.

Pack for pottying on the go. Pack a potty bag that stays with your child throughout the potty training process. This bag should go everywhere with your child.

Whether at their school, a play date, Grandma’s house, the grocery store, soccer practice, it should always be close by and full of extra clothes and a container of wipes.

In addition, store extra clothes and wipes anywhere your child frequents such as the car, a relative’s house, or school.

Potty proof hard to clean surfaces such as mattresses and couches.

Be sure to stock up on enzyme based cleaners and laundry detergent.

Dress for success and let them choose. Let your child gain and exhibit a little independence (the more they taste independence the better) by letting them pick out their own underwear at the store.

Say no to overalls, pajamas with feet, onesies, and other clothes that are difficult for your child to put on or take off independently during the potty training process.

Have your child sit and try to go potty before every diaper change. Once your child consistently goes on the potty and is most often dry, it is time for potty training to begin.

*It is important to remember that diapers for nap time and bed time will still be required.

Give It A Go – The Nuts & Bolts of Potty Training

Prepare the home, car, and diaper bag- Place a child sized potty in every bathroom and in the car.

Buy underwear in bulk (choose underwear your child will want to keep dry such as character or theme – have them pick).

Stock the diaper bag with multiple changes of clothes.

Ideally start potty training during a time when you can spend a substantial amount of time home and plan on staying in. A couple of days works great.

Get rid of all of the daytime diapers so that you are not tempted to go back to them. (You can even have your child help you with this!)

Put your child in underwear (remember there is no going back).

Have your child “try” on the potty every fifteen minutes, if not more often. Using a timer, such as an egg timer – this will train your child when they have to go in fairly short order. Set it for the desired number of minutes (gradually increasing) and when it goes off it’s potty time!

This timer is great and as a visual timer it has the added benefit of helping kids with time management, which helps in the years ahead.


Your child will learn that it’s not a choice when the timer goes off – it’s simply potty time. Switch your child to a regular toilet as soon as they are big enough to safely get on and off the potty themselves.

Remember there will most likely be many accidents, some may even be catastrophic. Do not let these setbacks discourage you or make you stray from your potty training game plan. All meaningful learning takes time, so give your child all the time they need to master this new skill.

Again, it is important to remember that this is a new skill that will take time to learn and master. Give them all the time that they need, stay positive, and stick to the game plan.

There will be multiple accidents, many loads of laundry, and loss of sleep before success.

Do not let your child or yourself become discouraged.

Potty training comes down to consistency, routine, a positive attitude, and putting in the work.

Stay consistent, stick with the game plan, never go backwards. Make pottying part of your daily routine.

Always put in the work, even when you are tired, pressed for time, discouraged or…

…on vacation,

…in the car…

…or when it is just plain inconvenient…

Stay positive and make it fun! And speaking of fun – that’s what the next section is all about!

Making potty training fun

Making Potty Training Fun

Positive reinforcement and praise come in many forms. Games, songs, sticker charts, and silly made up sayings can help potty training be fun.

Feel free to get silly when potty training your child!

This helps to make potty training a happy, stress free, fun experience.

Games like “shoot the loop” can make pottying fun for boys. Say silly sayings, sing silly songs about going potty, and make sticker charts for successful pottying.

Say things like, “You like to swim, let your poopies swim in the potty!”, sing “Let It Go” to help your child “let the poops and pees go”.

Put a magazine rack next to the potty filled with potty books and kids’ magazines so that your child can read while they are going poop.

Use this time to bond with your child through discussion. Give them your undivided attention, ask them questions, and really listen. Get a glimpse into their “world” and how he/she interprets events.


Bond through sharing experiences. Be their storyteller. Tell them about the day they were born, their first day home, their best and funniest baby stories, etc.

Prepare a basket of toys and/or books that your child only gets to use when on the potty (works best for #2). That’ll improve their enthusiasm for going.

Many times kids don’t want to stop playing to do the boring potty chore…A special basket of toys will build their enthusiasm for going to the potty.

Listen to the Mrs. Potty songs and sing with them – the sooner in age you do this the better. (I know I’m biased but I’ve been doing this a very long time and it really helps.)

Singing with them while they’re on the potty is especially important.

Of course sing with them in other places too – the car, tubby time, any time really…

Other Tricks To Potty Time More Fun:

potty training whiteboard

One awesome way is to sit your child backwards on the potty facing the lid, bring in some whiteboard markers, and play tic-tac-toe on the potty! It’s really fun – try and you’ll see!

Be sure to test on a small spot the first time to be sure it will come off – and erase with a magic eraser.


Other Songs to Sing

This is one of my favorite tactics! It works so well in building


enthusiasm, my staff and I had our potty songs collection produced into an album.



“I Use the Potty!”

(To the tune of “Frère Jacques”)

I use the potty

I use the potty

Yes I do

Yes I do

I’m a really big kid

I’m a really big kid


Going pee & poo

Going pee & poo


The Potty Dance

(To the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”)

Fun happy kids jump up and down

up and down

up and down


Fun happy kids jump up and down

Before they use the potty


When you’re finished going pee cheer Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

When you’re finished going pee cheer Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Now you’re done going potty

After you flush wave bye, bye, bye

bye, bye, bye

bye, bye, bye

After you flush wave bye, bye, bye

You’re all done with the potty

When you’re done washing up you clap, clap, clap

clap, clap, clap

clap, clap, clap

When you’re done washing up you clap, clap, clap

You’re doing great with the potty

Listen to a sample of our Terrific Training Tunes album:

Mrs. Potty’s Terrific Training Tunes – Potty Training Song album is available to stream from all your favorite music providers or purchase a physical album on Amazon:

Apple Music




Potty training consistency is key

Consistency Is Key

You have to be consistent. The reason that parents often have a difficult time with potty training is that they inadvertently sabotage their children by not being consistent.

Everyone in the child’s life has to be on the same team and follow the same potty training routine. Whether they are in the care of relatives, friends, or daycare providers, everybody in the child’s life needs to work as a one cohesive unit.

That means when your child goes overnight to the grandparent’s house – the grandparents need explicit instructions so they can follow the same routines –

–Same songs, Same language, Same Timer —


If the grandparents or whomever is watching your child can’t follow your rules then don’t send your child – make other arrangements. I know that can be decidedly inconvenient. Successful potty training often is.

Potty training is not easy, it’s hard work. Once you decide to begin potty training you have to be dedicated. This means taking your child to the potty multiple times an hour, cleaning up accidents, doing massive amounts of laundry, and constantly being at the beck and call of your child’s bladder/digestive system.

For young children, potty training is where they get their first taste of autonomy. Children yearn for independence, control, and freedom, and are rewarded with luxuries when potty training.

Children gain independence when they realize they can do it all by themselves. When potty training, it is important to point out how proud you are that your child is “so big” and “can do it all by themselves”. Control is also key when potty training. A mistake parents often make is to give all the power to their child, therefore giving your child all of the control.

Parents do this by not sticking to the game plan. When a parent decides to take away the day time diapers there is no turning back.

That child should never wear diapers during the day again!

If you try it and then go back to diapers, you are telling your child that if they have accidents they will get their nice, familiar, easy, safe, diapers back.

Now the child knows that they have the control!

This is a sure fire way to prolong and negate potty training. It also leads to all sorts of potty training problems, like children who won’t go on a potty outside of the house, children that will pee on the potty but not poop on it, or even children who will go on the potty at school but not at home.

Whether it takes days or weeks NEVER put a daytime diaper on your child again. Children get to experience freedom once they have succeeded in potty training.


Potty training rewards

Potty Training Rewards

Give your child lots of praise and enthusiasm when they do go to the potty even if they just try.

Calling a loved one to tell them the great news is a good reward – especially if it’s someone they normally don’t get to talk to during the day like mom or dad at work.

Make sticker charts for successful potty trips with tangible rewards (pencils, books, matchbox cars etc.).

Download our Mrs. Potty Sticker Chart Template for free – you can also personalize your own chart and then download for free here.

potty sticker chart instructions


Sticker Chart Basics

Discuss with your child how the chart works, the tangible rewards or quality time rewards they will receive when they are accident free, and the goal of their sticker chart. *See suggested list of tangible and time-based rewards.
Determine and explain to your child the length of time it will take for them to receive a reward. Use Mrs. Potty’s Suggested Reward Schedule to help determine the time intervals.

Discuss the first reward your child will receive and when they will receive it. Write that reward on the sticker chart so that your child will know what their first goal is.

Try to focus only on the next goal, not the one after that.
A great time to start the sticker chart is on your child’s first day of wearing underwear.

The amount of time before a child has an accident free day will vary. Be patient, they will get there!

Do not take away rewards as a punishment.

Wait until your child has had a full accident free day to inform them that they have earned their reward!
Let your child put a sticker on the sticker chart for each successful, accident free day.

Start with smaller rewards that get gradually larger. Continue use of sticker chart until accidents are rare or non-existent. Adjust the reward schedule based on your child’s progress.

Keep rewards small until your child has reached the end of the sticker chart. Overly rewarding or overly praising children can lead to “good” behavior only for reward or praise. When rewards or praise are not received the child may act out.

Remember to have a positive, happy attitude, and demeanor. Every child is different. Give them the time they need to conquer this major developmental milestone. A positive potty training experience not only does wonders for a child’s self-esteem, ego, and confidence, but also builds resiliency.

Make the most out of this experience together!

Suggested Quality Time Rewards

  • Family walk after dinner
  • Make a craft together
  • Have a family paint night
  • Extend bedtime 15 minutes
  • Extra book before bedtime
  • Play family American idol
  • Put on a play together
  • Build a fort together
  • Have a picnic lunch in the back yard
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Make a how to video together
  • Play a board/card game
  • Go to the playground
  • Play hide-and- seek, tag, baggo, red light green light, Simon says, animal charades, etc.
  • Water play: Put a towel down or go outside. Fill a large bucket or kitchen pot with water. Use any waterproof toy such as, toy dishes, action figures, Barbie’s, figurines, toy animals, measuring cups, big spoons, and small funnels, etc.

Suggested Final Quality Time Rewards

  • Go to the library to get their own library card because, “they are a big kid now!”
  • Go miniature golfing
  • Camp out in the back yard
  • See a play at the theater
  • Go to a sporting event or concert
  • Spend a night in a hotel
  • Go to the movie theater
  • Have a sleepover with a friend or family member
  • Get professional manicures/pedicures
  • Zoo, Amusement Park, Indoor/Outdoor Water Park or Pool, Indoor Playground, Trampoline Park, Spa, Local
  • Historical site, Museum, etc.
    *Tailor the quality time rewards to your child’s interests and likes. Give them your undivided attention and make the most of this time together!

Suggested Tangible Rewards

  • Reading/picture books
  • Board or card games
  • Small action figures
  • Water color paints
  • Stickers to decorate their little potty
  • Glow sticks/bracelets/wands/etc.
  • Any dollar bin or dollar store toy/book/craft
    *Remember to follow the age restrictions on these and all items as they often have small pieces

Suggested Final Rewards

  • Let them pick out a toy at their favorite toy store
  • Let them pick out an outfit at the store of their choice
  • Let them pick out a game (video/board/sports) at the store of their
  • Let them pick out an instrument at their favorite music store
  • Let them pick out books at their favorite book store

Potty training BE the BOSS


BE the BOSS!

I wasn’t going to write this section, but I think it’s fair to say that there’s a lack of the use of discipline in today’s young parents. With that said, if you’re child is in charge of the potty training process, ie whether or not wear a diaper, when to try on the potty, etc. – you are in for a stressful, nightmare of an experience.

Here’s an example of bad parenting:

I once witnessed a 6-year-old get stung by yellow jackets multiple times after he and a friend stumbled upon and disturbed a hive.

Fortunately, the two boys weren’t harmed too badly. Shook up – but ok medically.

One of the mom’s, after determining her son was out of immediate threat medically, tried to decide what to do next.

So she asked her son, “Do you think you should take some Benadryl?”

Yes – you read that right. A mom asked her six-year-old for parenting advice.

At first, I didn’t think I heard her right. But she repeated it to her young son who was clearly confused by the question.

Because I’ve witnessed situations similar to this many many times. I’ve included this section just as a little reminder:

YOU ARE THE BOSS – Make sure your child knows it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you need to resort to physical punishment in order for your child to know you are the boss. Nothing of the sort.

There are numerous strategies to use to ensure your child behaves and listens to you that don’t involve physical punishments.

Speak The Language

When potty training, it is important to use the right type of language and manner of speaking. You need to speak to your child in a positive upbeat manner while still maintaining control of the situation.

Refrain from using phrases like these, especially in the form of a question:

“Do you want to go sit on the potty?”
“Don’t you want to go in the potty?

Instead makes declarative statements:

“Time to go to the potty.”
“Potty time! Let’s go!”

By speaking in this manner you are asserting your control of the situation. This shows your child this new skill is expected of them, as opposed to giving them a choice.

But be supportive and encouraging. Avoid saying something along these lines:

“Why did you have an accident?”

“You should have gone on the potty. “

“You were just on the potty, why didn’t you go then?”

Instead say this:

“That’s OK, accidents happen.”

“Did you feel like you had to go before you had an accident? What did that feel like?”

“Next time you feel like that what are you going to do?”

“Do your clothes feel gross, icky and uncomfortable now? Let’s get you all cleaned up. We will “try” on the potty more often so that you don’t have to feel like that as much.”

Lose The ‘Tude

As the boss, it’s important never to shame or have a negative reaction to any accidents. Children feed off of your energy, so you should appear stress free and positive.

If a child is shamed or feels like they are failing it can cause them to regress.

In lieu of shaming or using negative reinforcement make sure to use positive reinforcement and praise.

Be your child’s biggest cheerleader!

Again, avoid any negative consequences for accidents or potty mishaps!

Remember, having the right, positive frame of mind will make a big difference.

Potty training frequently asked questions

Potty training frequently asked questions (FAQ)

I wasn’t going to include this section, but I figured it’d be OK to over-deliver. Yes?


Here’s a question I get in one form or another all the time – so I thought I’d answer it:


“My biggest issue with Potty training is my 2 yr old doesn’t always want to go. I’ve tried rewards, going in with her and sending my oldest daughter and niece with her. It’s like the minute she gets off of the potty she’ll play for a few seconds and has an “accident” in her big girl panties. What should I do?”


Excellent job teaching her the steps to using the potty!

Now she just needs a reminder that we “go” when we sit on the potty. Start out by having a discussion with her about successful pottying.

Explain to her that we are not done going on the potty until we “go” and that she has to push it out. Let her know that it takes time to go and that you will spend that time with her.

Begin at the start of a weekend or when you know you will have lots of time at home to devote to pottying. As soon as she wakes up have her sit and try on the potty for a prolonged period of time that you have determined beforehand.

If she does not go after your designated length of time try again 5-15 minutes later. Make sure to sit with her the entire time, with your attention focused on her so that she knows that you are going spend this time together.

While she is sitting on the potty regularly encourage her to push and explain how. Continue this process until she succeeds.

Modify as needed to fit your schedule, but do everything in your power to stick to your pottying routine. When leaving the house have her try before leaving home, as well as when you arrive, before you leave your destination, and once you arrive home.

It takes time to master a new skill. Give her the time she needs while also being her pottying guide/partner.

Potty activities will help to encourage her to stay on the potty and help to take her focus off of wiping and flushing. Make the time spent on the potty fun!

Try blowing bubbles, reading books, pretending to be a reporter and doing an interview with your daughter, drawing or playing Pictionary on a dry erase board, playing with easily washable toys like action figures/ small dolls, being her storyteller and telling her the story of the day she was born/their first day home/her best and funniest baby stories, or listening to and singing Mrs. Potty’s Terrific Training Tunes.

Remember to always stay positive and calm.

Negativity while potty training impedes and can prolong the potty training process. Every moment spent on the potty is a chance for success! Keep at it!

Ok – we’ve come to the end. Hopefully now you have a much more succinct idea of how to go about potty training your child in half the time.

Good luck and let me know how you do!

Do you have other ideas to make potty training fun? Add a comment below!