20 Creative Ways to Get Your Toddler to use the Potty

When your toddler refuses to use the potty, what’s a mama to do?

You’ve tried bribing and everything else you could think of but your toddler has dug in her heels and is just not interested.

Here are 20 of our best tips to get your toddler to ditch the diapers and use the potty.

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Use a potty chart

Potty charts have proven to be great motivators for toddlers when it comes to potty time. The excitement of watching the chart fill up with stickers and reaching the reward is enough to get most kids excited.

Our potty charts come in lots of different characters and themes like princess, dinosaurs, space, under the sea and more, making it easy to find one that your toddler will be excited about.

Just print them and hand them near the potty in your house to motivate your toddler to go!

Use Magic Potty Stickers

These stickers are special because they have a fun picture of an animal on them that can only be revealed when your child pees on the sticker.

Stick them in the bottom of the potty chair and the magic happens when your toddler pees in the potty and the animal design magically appears!

What a great incentive to encourage peeing in the potty!

Read potty books

Sometimes it helps to hear stories of others who have accomplished what you’re trying to do (even as adults).

Let your toddler pick out a few books on potty training and take some time to read them together.

Answer her questions and discuss potty time to her heart’s content.

Potty with mom or dad

Just like it can be helpful to hear potty training stories, it can also be help a lot for your toddler to see mom or dad use the potty.

Kids learn by watching and mimicking behavior, so if your goal is to get your son or daughter to use the potty, show them how it’s done.

Play “potty” with dolls

Using dolls to help your toddler understand using the potty is a great way to get them excited about it.

You can buy a doll specially made for potty time, but you don’t have to. Just grab a doll or stuffed animal from their room and sit it on a doll-sized potty to show your toddler how to use the bathroom.

To kick up the excitement even more, before you sit the doll on the potty, sneak a prune or a little apple juice in there and show lots of excitement as you discover that the doll has gone potty!

Offer treats

Yep, a good old fashioned bribe may just do the trick here. Grab your toddler’s favorite treat like candy, cookies—even apples or oranges if that’s what they like—and offer it as an incentive for trying to potty.

Sing Songs

Sing a fun tune that reminds her to go at different times throughout the day like when she wakes up and before bed.

Make it a game

  • Race to the bathroom to see who can make it to the potty first.
  • Play a game of Simon Says use the potty

Use a timer

Using a timer can help your toddler know when to go. If he can’t quite pull himself away from his favorite toys and make it to the bathroom on time, a timer can give him the reminder he needs.

Skip the training pants

There’s nothing like feeling wetness on their bottom to motivate a child to start using the potty.

Skip the training pants and let your toddler wear big kid undies so they can feel it when they have an accident.

Tip: If they have an accident, help them get cleaned up right away so they don’t develop a rash.

Girl sitting on a pink potty chair.

Wait until your toddler is older

How is this motivating?

Waiting until later can make her understand and enjoy the process a lot better as opposed to feeling forced to go when she isn’t ready.

Watch a potty training video

Potty training videos can be really motivating.

They demonstrate to kids how to use the potty and wash their hands in a fun way.

Popular choices include Elmo’s Potty time and Daniel Tiger.

Get the family involved

When the whole family is there to cheer you on, it can be really motivating.

Have your big kids encourage your toddler by bringing him books on the potty, applauding when he makes it on time and talking about how using the potty makes him a big kid.

Here are even more ideas for getting the entire family involved in potty training.

Make it a routine

Just like eating, napping and playing are a part of the daily routine, make sitting on the potty a part of your routine each day.

She doesn’t have to actually pee or poop (yet), but set a routine of sitting on the toilet at certain times of the day like after waking up, after each meal, etc.

She’s bound to actually go in the potty after having a routine.

Use books

Have you ever read a book while on the toilet?

You may not want to admit it, but it can be relaxing.

The same holds true for toddlers. Give your toddler a book to look through and distract himself with while sitting on the toilet.

Or, sit next to him and read a story to him.

He’ll then be able to focus on the book and relax himself enough to let it flow.

Go shopping for big kid underwear

Does the thought of being a big kid get your toddler excited?

Then this may be just the trick they need.

Take her on a special shopping trip to pick out big kid undies that she likes and explain to her that these are for kids who are learning to use to the potty.

Keep the potty close

You never know when the potty feeling will strike so be prepared and keep the potty close by.

Wherever your toddler hangs out the most, put a potty chair in that room to:

  • Minimize accidents
  • Keep potty training on his mind

Go commando

This method is effective because it eliminates the need to get undressed before having to sit on the toilet.

Get rid of as many barriers as you can to make potty training a success.

Use a special urinal for boys

Make it fun to potty train your son and use a fun urinal designed especially for his size.

These urinals attach to the wall and are the perfect height to train a boy. Most include a special device for target practice.

Use sign language

Ready to potty train but find your toddler’s lack of understanding to be a problem?

No worries, try using sign language to help communicate with your child.

Have fun together

Nothings beats having fun together.

Be silly, dance, sing, make faces, laugh and make potty time enjoyable to encourage cooperation in a hesitant toddler. It could be just the thing they need to get motivated to use the potty!

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