5 Potty Training Tips You Haven’t Heard

Just like birth stories, all moms seem to have such varied and unique tales of their trials and tribulations with potty training. Now that I’ve finally (FINALLY!!!!) made it through our potty training adventure x 2… I’m ready to believe that I won’t jinx it if I relay a few lesser known (eh hmmm… made up) potty training tips and tricks that worked for us!

Kid Psychology

potty trainingI’ve done some very scientific research into what motivates kids. My research involved lots of trial and error, and a fair amount of teeth gnashing and tears. Here’s what I found out (brace yourself)… Kids just want to have fun.  Not sometimes… not most of the time… all of the time… They want to have fun ALL. OF. THE. TIME!!!

Okay, so I know this revelation isn’t exactly earth shattering. But for me, it’s important to constantly remind myself that my kids are not motivated in the same way that I am (my motivation comes in the form of to-do lists, and dust tumbleweeds). So how do I use this kid psychology to my advantage? Any time I really want my kids to do something, including potty training, I try, try, try to inject some fun into the situation. (Then when it’s not working out, and I forget about all of the past “research” I’ve done… I yell a little… get mad at myself for yelling… then I try the fun thing again.)

You Can’t Do It

potty trainingThere is nothing worse than having to use public toilets in the midst of potty training. In fact, I remember a few times in the early stages of potty training my daughter, that I told her to “just pee in your pull-up” so I could avoid dealing with public restrooms. (Wanna’ see my “mom of the year” trophy?)  But eventually, we had to face it! The problem was that “facing it” often meant cramming myself and my daughter into a tiny stall for her to sit… and sit… and sit. Then one day as she was sitting… I said these words (with a silly smile on my face)… “you can’t do it”… tinkle, tinkle, tinkle….  What is it about kids and reverse psychology??

I’ll Beat You There

This is a pretty simple tip that is so easy and worked well for both of my kids. It’s more reverse psychology and more fun. With Evan, my first born, we had a tough time getting him to accept going to sit on the potty. My husband and I started to “race” him there, and it worked like magic. (I don’t think I’ve won a single race yet). With my 2nd born, I had an extra hand with the races. Evan was now my teammate and did a great job of racing Lilla to the potty and letting her win every time. I am still so proud of how he helped with this!potty training

The Poop Tent

Nobody wants company!  (Hold me back from a rant.) Even the kiddos. If you came into my house during our potty training seasons, I could not guarantee that you would not experience foul odors in any given room.(Usually not every room at the same time, just any room… at any time.) The reason for this was that my kids thought it was fun to bring their little potty into “poop tents” (commonly known as “play tents”), under the dining room table, and into closets… so that’s what we did! That little portable potty made its rounds into every nook and cranny of our home!

Matchbox Car Currency

potty trainingWith my son, we tried M&M’s. Really… we did.  It worked okay for pee. Poop was a whole other story. I’ll spare you the details here, but he had (what felt like) major issues with pooping in the potty. I got really desperate, and most people thought I was a nut job for doing it… but I started handing out brand new matchbox cars every time my son pooped in the potty. And it really worked! Phew! (Don’t worry, we eventually weaned him off of this $1/poop habit.)


I showed you mine… so what’s your best potty training trick?

Megan grew up in rural central Florida building forts and feeding cows with her 3 younger sisters. Her youth led Megan to believe in the amazing power of female ingenuity and to put a high value on positive and supportive interaction among ladies and girls. As a graduate of the University of Florida Mechanical Engineering program, Megan moved to Jacksonville to pursue a career with a bio-medical device company and to begin a wonderful life with her amazing husband Patrick. During her years working as an engineer, Megan developed an interest in photography. When she put her career on hold to take on the hardest job a person could love (Mommy to Evan 5 and Lilla 3), she discovered her love of "life" style photography as seen at Megan Johns Photography. Megan carries her camera everywhere and sometimes refers to it as her "third child!"


  1. Literally all five of your tips have been the key to our success potty training our son. Everything from the “I’ll race you” to the match box cars (thank goodness babies r us sells them in bulk for cheap!) to the reverse psychology. The potty part was a breeze compared to getting him to poop on the potty. It’s nice to know that there are other’s that had to try other tactics for success. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We always carried a potty with us in the car. We lined it with plastic bags and carried wipes and toilet paper! My kids and now grandkids never used a public restroom until old enough to keep their hands folded across their chest the entire time. Came in real handy at the park or beach.

  3. Have recently had great luck with potty training our almost three year old boy by simply going cold turkey on pull-ups. He was dependent on them and once there was no proverbial safety net he was able to show us he was ready.

  4. I made my daughter throw away and say bye bye to her diapers. It literally took one accident and she was done.


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