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The best potty training tips for toddlers

These helpful potty training tips for toddlers are sure to help the whole family through a trying time—just trust us!

Photograph: Shutterstock

Need potty training tips? We’ve got you covered. If you have a toddler, you’re hopefully nearing a time where you can say goodbye to diapers forever (and we’re sure that time can’t come fast enough…nobody has space for that designated diaper trash can). These potty training tips will help you help your kids to become more—er—independent. Try these tips at home to help get the ball rolling! 

During potty training years, laughs are even more important. Keep things entertaining by checking out our list of baby name ideas for hipsters, baby names for die-hard New Yorkers and these funny baby names because apparently, Americans will name their babies anything. 

Potty training tips for families

1. Use a potty chair or seat

This may seem obvious, but adult toilets can be intimidating for children (imagine how you'd feel if you had to use a waist-high bowl). A potty seat will reduce the size of the toilet opening so your tyke can sit comfortably. If the height is the scary part, a potty chair will let your child tackle this new skill with their feet placed squarely on the ground. We’d try the other option first, though! 

2. Use the reward system

Pick out books that you'll read together while they sit on the toilet or put some inexpensive goodies in a bag and let them pick a surprise each time they use the potty (and wash their hands) successfully. Stickers, bubbles, sweet treats—there are as many different ways to reward kiddos as there are kiddos, so get creative and find the best incentive for yours. 

3. Don't be shy

You’re already probably used to your kids tailing you on your way to the powder room. Well, it doesn’t hurt to set an example by reminding the kids that moms and dads go too.

4. Watch for signs

You know the face. When your kiddo shows those telltale signs, spring into action and help your kiddo become familiar with the sensation of having to go—and what to do. 

5. Be consistent

Have a free afternoon? At intervals, have your child sit on the toilet. If they go, great. If they don't, great. Over time, you'll find that eventually your kiddo won't need the buzzer to tell them nature is calling (and they’ll know where to go, too!)

6. Wardrobe is key

Clothing that's easy to remove is essential during this inevitably trying time. Opt for pants, skirts or dresses that your child can remove (or you can quickly remove) when it’s time to go. If they’re ready to try undies, have your kid pick out some with a favorite cartoon character on them. Then tell your tyke not to get the character wet. It's a lesson in both bladder control and kindness.

7. Dump the dump

When you change your child's diaper, allow them to watch you empty the icky contents into the toilet. It may be totally gross, but being able to explain where things are supposed to go when the big kids use the restroom can really help. A little understanding goes a long way.

8. Use verbal praise

Celebrate every victory your child has, even partial ones. Did they sit on the toilet successfully? Did they tell you they had to go? Did they wipe? Rome wasn't built in a day: Encourage your little one every step of the way.

9. Sh*t happens. Don’t sweat it.

Kids learn to use the toilet at different times. If your child has accidents or is resistant, just remember to keep your cool and try again in a few days or weeks. Trust us, no kid is going on their first date in diapers.