Toddler Life

Potty-Training Hacks and Tips from Child Care Professionals

Potty Training Tips Potty Training Tips Potty Training Tips Potty Training Tips Potty Training Tips Potty Training Tips

Are you potty-training your toddler? Having a potty-trained child can save you a ton of cash and give your family more freedom (plus no more poopy diaper changes), but it’s one of the most tricky things your toddler will have to master. This post will give you the run-down on the best potty-training hacks and tips from professionals who do this for a living (i.e childcare workers). Read-on for potty training tips from the experts!

Potty Training Hacks from the Pros

Potty-Training Hacks and Tips

A kid who can go to the bathroom independently is the dream, right? No more diapers, no more wipes, no more money flying out of your wallet (or in my case, dirty diaper laundry).

But potty-training is easier said than done. Many toddlers struggle with potty-training, facing frustration, loss of confidence or major regressions.

I was lucky enough to finish potty-training Hannah in under a week and we’ve never looked back. I credit my (I mean our) success with A LOT of research and taking the advice of some very smart child care workers, for whom potty-training is part of the job. Some of these ladies have potty-trained over 200 kids! Who better to ask for advice, right? Today I’m going to share their tested and true best potty-training tips with you, in hopes of making your own journey a little easier. Good luck mamas!

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Potty-Training Hacks: Setting up for Potty-Training Success

Look for Readiness Signs

Research readiness signs before starting potty-training (here’s a great post to help you). Without having most of these in place, your child will most likely have difficulty mastering potty-training, which means both of you will be frustrated!

Ignore Pressure

Block out anyone if she is pressuring you to start training early. You know your little one the best and you are uniquely equipped to tell if he or she is ready.

Don’t Compare

Likewise, do not compare your child to an older sibling, our your friends’ children. Every child is unique and will develop at their own pace.

Independence Skills

Teach your child how to pull down his/her pants and underwear by themselves BEFORE starting training. Potty-training is a big skill to achieve and mastering small parts beforehand can help reduce frustration.

Read a Book!

Childcare workers (and teachers) always look for a way to include reading and early literacy skills when broaching any new topic. Reading about the potty is a great way to prepare kids for using it!

Here are a few favorites: 


Cool Underwear

Lots of kids are motivated by helping to pick out big kid underwear. Some moms swear by choosing undies with a favorite character (Girls: Paw Patrol, Doc McStuffinsPrincess Sofia, etc., Boys: Paw Patrol, Thomas the Tank Engine, Justice League, etc.), then telling their child to keep the character dry.

Girls’ Undies


Boys’ Undies


Commit 100%

Choose a few days or a week when you are on vacation and hunker-down at home. No trips, errands or visits. Make potty-training your priority and provide as much consistency as you can. Changing back and forth from diapers to underwear is confusing and progress will be much slower.

Potty-Training Hacks: The Basics

Skip the Pull-Ups

These are glorified diapers and will just slow the process by confusing your child. They need to feel wet immediately after peeing to learn. Note: we did continue to use Pull-Ups at nighttime when working on daytime potty training. Another option, which can be helpful for unavoidable car trips, is using a cloth training pant, which feels like undies (and gets wet like undies), but won’t leak.

Go Commando

This was the tip that worked the best for Hannah. She had lots of accidents in her big girl underwear, but very few if she was running around half-naked.

Use a Timer

Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and remind your child to sit on the potty and try to pee (You would think this would be easy to just remember, but 15 minutes goes by a lot faster than you think!). As potty-training progresses, you can gradually lengthen your time. This visual timer is my favorite, and helps your child understand how much time has passed (I actually use this for a lot of behavior management at home and at school. It works like a charm!).

Boys, Boys, Boys

I’m not an expert on this myself, but the word on the street is that it is much easier to teach boys to go while sitting on the toilet, rather than standing. Later on, boys can stand up and try to aim for something in the potty (make an ‘x’ or throw a couple of Cheerios in).

Potty-Training Hacks: Using the Toilet

Avoid Training Twice

Many childcare workers insist that starting on the real toilet, rather than learning on a little potty, is much easier.

Whiteboard Marker

You can have your child sit backwards on the toilet and draw on it with a whiteboard marker to occupy them while waiting to go.

Using the Potty (If You Choose To)

Location is Everything!

Put the potty in the room you use most in your house. That way it’s convenient and nearby for those close calls. For us, this was the living room and we watched A LOT of Disney movies while Hannah was sitting on the potty.

Early Exposure

We put our potty out in the living room about six months before starting potty-training. We let Hannah explore it and sit on it whenever she wanted (both with and without a diaper on). If she happened to pee or poop while sitting on it, we made a big deal and celebrated, but didn’t really begin official training until she was meeting most/all of the readiness signs.

Potty-Training Hacks: Reinforcement

Expect Accidents

Don’t expect your child to be perfect and whatever you do, don’t show any frustration. Accidents are unavoidable and part of the process. The more frustration you show, the more stressed your child will be. If it really seems like they’re not getting it, take a break from potty-training and try again in a few weeks or a month.

Gentle Reminders

If and when accidents happen, give a gentle reminder that “Pee goes in the potty.” That’s it.

Small Reinforcements

If your child likes external rewards (and really, what toddler doesn’t?), you could give a tiny treat (marshmallows, chocolate chips, sticker) every time pee goes in the potty. Some people give three treats for a poop. Of course, you will be giving A LOT of praise to accompany the treats.

Consistency Between Caregivers

Make sure anyone who will be caring for your child is on the same page with expectations for potty-training. If your daycare has a specific routine, follow it to a tee at home. If grandparents or babysitters are watching your kiddo, make sure they know the drill.

One More Potty-Training Hack…

Buy LOTS of Undies

Like 20 pairs at least. đŸ˜‰


Got some great potty-training hacks to share? Comment below! Good luck, mamas!!


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Potty-Training Hacks


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