Potty training. Side effects can include crying, glaring, bartering, rewarding oneself with snacks.

And that’s just the parents.

Every parent goes through it and survives it, even if it doesn’t feel like you will while in the thick of it. So if you’re currently trying out reward systems, no diaper zones or waiting for a magic signal from your toddler, we just want to say: Don’t worry, you’ve got this!

We asked parents who have gone through it or who are currently in the trenches about their favorite tips and tricks. Keep reading to see how 11 parents ditched the diapers and built big kid bathroom habits. And don’t forget to check out the Daniel Tiger Stop and Go Potty app to help kids learn about important bathroom routines!

  1. Chart when you find yourself changing them. Then take [them] to the potty 20 [minutes] before that. Talk about it, verbalize in a way they understand. And BE CONSISTENT with reinforcement for good sitting, waiting, trying, wiping, asking, etc. Make them feel every step earns them something… until they’ll do it. Then fade out those rewards and praise. Look at it this way, you’re building a habit and that takes time. Don’t give up, they’ll get there,” says Megan R.
  2. The only thing that worked for my 4-year-old girl was telling her that a stranger was going to wipe her butt at preschool if she didn’t start using the potty. So she started using the potty [on] her own!” says Stormie F.
  3. She showed interest, we tried, she changed her mind, waited a few months, tried again and she did it.” says Rachel D.
  4. M&Ms. They got one for pee and two for poop. Took three days and they were dry and  clean day and night. [I] kept a big jar on top of the fridge. Worked miracles!” says Cindy L.
  5. Huge verbal praise! I was a potty time cheerleader! ‘Wooooohooo!!! Yay!! Great job! I’m so proud of you!’ Followed with high fives, hugs, etc.” says Mary Jo L.
  6. Salt. Plain table salt. Pour it on thick over the pee puddle, let it dry and vacuum up the caked salt. Works. Signed, another parent in the same boat,” says Shannon M.
  7. “I had to keep at it until she finally had her ‘ah ha’ moment and it was smooth sailing from there. They need to be ready,” says Kimberly F.
  8. Stickers… lots and lots of stickers,” says Jameka S.
  9. “I let my boy run around naked too! It works well. He actually does better naked. I’m now teaching him he has to pull down his pants to go bathroom,” says Al R.
  10. We bought a DVD with two Daniel Tiger, a Peg + Cat and a Dinosaur Train [episodes] on it about potty training. About two weeks later all was good,” says Rachel F.
  11. My child says ‘I don’t wanna stop playing and flush and wash and be on my way’ little stinker! He’s getting there though,” says Erin R.

What potty training tips would you add to this list? Share them to help out another PBS Parent!


PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers children ages 2-8 the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital media and community-based programs. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including their teachers, parents and community.

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