Potty training. We all had to go through it at one point in our lives! And let’s be real— you don’t know a grown person who still wears diapers because they couldn’t figure out how to be potty trained, right?
So I’m here to tell you that scrubbing pee out of the carpet and throwing away poopy underwear WILL come to an end. (And surprisingly, you’ll probably miss it one day).
But in the meantime, this is hard work you’re doing right now mama! Helping your little one get to the potty on time and EVERY time is a difficult task you’re up against. I know! I’ve been there with multiple kids.
But who said that potty training had to be frustrating and tiring? What if I told you it could be fun, rewarding, and a bonding experience for you and your child?
Reward systems are a big deal and can work wonders for kids! It may or may not sound similar to bribery to you, but I like to call it “positive reinforcement”.
Training kids to use the toilet is not for the faint of heart! If you’re looking for ideas on the “how to” side, check out these tips for potty training.
I’ve heard that potty training boys can be a bit of a power struggle and typically takes a little longer than girls. I can’t speak from experience, but I’ll let you know once I accomplish potty training for my little boy. Fingers crossed it isn’t too bad!
Different ages can also come with pros and cons. If you are planning to start when they are younger, then head over to teaching 2 year olds to see what things to be aware of.
The good news is that once kids get a little older, potty training becomes a little easier because they understand the concept a bit more. Look at this post on teaching 3 year olds for all the ins and outs of potty training fun at this age.
A big indicator of successful potty training is the brain development of a child. Some kids just aren’t quite ready for it, while others are asking for it before they are even 2! Make sure you know your child before beginning.
Whenever you decide to start will be a great time for your child! You know them best, so watch for their cues.
Once you are ready to go, I want to set you up for success with some of the best potty training reward ideas that will help make this transition a little smoother for all parties involved!
Potty Training Reward System
An important distinction to make is that kids aren’t getting punished for not going on the potty. They don’t come knowing when they need to pee or poop. Remember, you are their teacher.
If you get mad at them and punish them for having an accident, it’s most likely going to cause more in the future along with regressions. Be positive and encouraging through this process. It’s a BIG DEAL for these little kids.
Rewards can help encourage children on this journey. You will be rewarding them for every successful potty trip and for their consistent efforts.
However, if your son or daughter has an accident, try not to focus on it too much. Instead of getting upset, try saying “That’s ok! Accidents happen. You’re still learning. Let’s try again next time”.
Potty Training Rewards And Incentives
Kids LOVE stickers! For my daughter, we made her a princess paper that she could fill up with stickers. Every time she got to a “gold star” on the paper, she could have a princess fruit snack! It was the perfect way for her to be potty trained because she LOVES princesses!
Maybe you don’t have time to come up with a full reward system or maybe you don’t believe in “gifting” your child something every time they have “potty time”.
This is a great idea for you! Praise goes a long way with some kids. Each time they pee or poop on the toilet, make it a HUGE DEAL! Cheer for them, do a happy dance, clap, smile, pick them up and hug them.
This will encourage them to want to do it again next time!
Side note: Keep in mind not to shame or punish your child though if they don’t quite make it to the potty. Then they will have a negative association with the toilet and think they only get mommy or daddy’s love if they do exactly what they want them to and not when they make mistakes (especially accident mistakes).
3. A Special Potty Song
This is a good idea if you’re child is having a hard time making it to the potty, forgetting to flush, or forgetting to wash their hands. Daniel Tiger is our go to song for this one!
“When you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush, then wash, then be on your way”. You can learn the song here.
4. Small Toys
Head over to your local dollar store and pick out some inexpensive but fun toys for your little one. It can be play dough, a potty training doll, puzzle, coloring book, etc. Then create a “prize box” where they can choose a toy each time they accomplish the desired behavior.
5. Reward Chart
Create a chart with a certain amount of boxes on it. Try not to overdo it on the boxes. If there are too many, your child might lose interest in it and think they are never going to get their reward.
On the other hand, if there are too few boxes, you’ll be breaking the bank handing out prizes left and right!
Every time they have a successful bathroom trip you help them fill in a box on their chart (with a check mark, X, color it in, special sticker, etc).
Once the whole chart is filled up with a certain number of stickers, they get a special reward! It’s as simple as that and works WONDERS.
While external rewards can be great fun, try to think of some “experience-based” rewards. Otherwise, they might turn 10 and think that after they poop on they get a candy!
(This actually happened with my daughter. We rewarded her with chocolate every time she pooped when she was a potty training toddler. Then once she turned 5, she was still asking for candy after every time she did “number 2”.)
Some experienced-based rewards might be:
1. a special date with a parent
2. a trip to a favorite museum
3. picking out a new audio book at the library
4. going out for ice cream
5. a visit to his/her favorite park
Try to think of your child’s favorite activities and incorporate those into the reward system.
6. Hand Stamp
Stamps are the best! Even for adults. Whenever I go to a museum or theme park, I love getting a stamp on my hand. I guess you just feel special or something!
7. One Lego Or Block To Add To A Tower
Have a picture of what you are trying to build and keep it in a safe spot. Each time they successfully make it to the bathroom, they get to add another lego to their creation!
This can be some great bonding time for you and your child because you will sit down with each other to create something special.
8. A Special Potty Dance
Create a dance that you both do after every “flush” of the potty! Laugh together and take a video so you’ll remember this special time when your baby turned into a real toddler!
9. A Visit From The Diaper Fairy
We love fairies in our house! Have the “diaper fairy” come to take the diapers away from under their bed and replace it with something special. It could be a toy, lovey, blanket, etc.
10. Reading A Book Of Their Choice
Try letting them read the book on the toilet with you if they are having a hard time with poop. This might help them focus on something else causing their body to relax enough to get it out.
11. Small Cup Of Juice
We never have drinks in our house other than water (and sometimes Fairlife protein chocolate milk). So juice would be a very special occasion for my kids! Give them a small cup of it every time they “make it”.
Bonus: this can also help soften a child’s poop making it easier for it to come out later.
12. Let Your Child Dump Their Pee In The Big Potty
If you have a separate toilet for your child, you can let them dump their own pee into the big potty and then flush it away. For some this might be scary, but for others it might just do the trick!
13. Getting To Hold A Helium Balloon While On The Potty
Balloons!!! What child doesn’t love balloons? Helium balloons are even more fun because they float! Let them hang on to it while they sit on the potty and they’ll be wanting to try to go every 5 minutes!
14. Get To Wash Their Hands And Splash/Play In The Water
Kids also enjoy water. It’s such a simple thing that we take for granted as adults, but running water is pretty neat! Let them take a few extra minutes playing in the water with some bath toys and maybe even add some bubbles.
15. Getting To Flush The Toilet
Flushing the toilet is only for grown-ups right? Kids think they are so big when they get to be the one to “push the flusher”.
So let them have their big moment with a grin on their face as they flush the potty after a successful trip to the bathroom.
16. A Round Of Applause From Everyone In The House
If this isn’t your first child, have everyone give the potty training child a round of applause every time they leave the bathroom. This can be very encouraging helping them want to go again!
17. Bubbles In The Bathroom
Keep a container of bubbles in the bathroom cabinet and after flushing and washing their hands, start blowing bubbles for the two of you to pop together!
18. Fruit Snacks
Fruit snacks are a big hit at our house! Like I said before, my daughter loved her princess chart with her princess fruit snacks. They make fruit snacks for almost every show now!
So go find some fruit snacks that match what your child loves and you will just make his or her day!
Each time they poop give them one m&m. Not too much sugar, but just enough for it to be encouraging for the next time.
20. A Hershey Kiss
When you give them they kiss to eat, make sure you also kiss them on the cheek 🙂
I wish you luck on your potty training journey! I sincerely hope it goes well for you. You’ve got this! And when your kids have kids of their own one day, they’ll be thanking you for all the work you did with toilet training!