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11 Genius Hacks to Make Potty Training Easier on You & Your Toddler

potty trainingPotty training is a parental rite of passage -- a road paved with urine-soaked war stories from parents who've somehow pushed through to the other side. If there's ever a time to heed the advice of parents who've been in the trenches, it's now ... and it turns out that there are plenty of tricks and shortcuts that make this ordeal a whole lot easier.

This list of parents' best potty training hacks will save you a bundle of time, toilet paper, cash for pull-ups, energy on the clean-up front, and more -- plus they'll motivate your child to get with the program in a jiffy. Try one or all of them and your potty training phase may be over before you know it!

potty training hacks

Hack #5 is brilliant -- we wish we'd thought of that! What's your tip for potty training moms?


Images via © iStock.com/deucee_; iStock.com/oksan70

1DIY Training Pants

Since the road from diapers to undies is paved with accidents, many parent buy "training pants" (which are padded to absorb leaks) or disposable pull-ups (which are like diapers but without the tabs, so kids learn how to take them on and off). Problem is, these things can get expensive -- which is why many moms make their own training pants! As this tutorial from Dizzy Design Studio makes clear, it's very easy; all you need is some underwear and old burp cloths.

Image via WithLoVeByKara/Etsy

2Get Some 'Potty Pops'

It's one thing to offer candy as a "reward" for going on the john ... but a whole other thing to place those lollipops in a lineup right by your toilet. Whether you build your own or buy it, this visual aid gives your tot something to shoot for right within arm's reach. $18 @ WithLoVeByKara/Etsy

4Curb Their Toilet Paper Habit

It's a fact: Potty trainees tend to use waaaay too much toilet paper. That's why we love this clever trick by The Virtuous Wife: Post a sign below your T.P. dispenser warning "You shall not pass!" to direct kids on how much toilet paper is fine to use, verses what's overboard. It works way better than hovering or nagging, plus we guarantee guests will laugh when they see it.

Image via mayakova/shutterstock

5Pull Out the Cereal

To improve a boy's aim while he learns to pee standing up, toss a Cheerio in the toilet bowl and coach him to try to pee on that. It turns peeing into a fun game, rather than a messy splatterfest on your bathroom floor.

More from The Stir: Moms' Wildest Potty Training Confessions

Image via Reddit

6Keep Score

Yup, kids love seeing the progress they've made, so it pays to keep a running scorecard of where they've peed, just so you can also assess how thing are going. Feel free to add whatever categories makes sense, like "half in toilet and half on floor" or "the great outdoors" just to keep things interesting.

Image via EM Arts/shutterstock

7Wear Crocs For Easy Clean-up

"We are currently undergoing potty training with our 2-year-old," says mom blogger Jen P. at Fashionably Employed. "One hack I love is he always wear Crocs. That way, when accidents happen,
 there's no heartache over wet, soiled tennis shoes. The Crocs rinse off
 easily so we're not wasting time cleaning canvas or leather shoes, and
 we're right back in business."

Image via WhitneyOwenDesigns/Etsy

8Create a Sticker Chart

Believe it or not, going potty is a fairly complicated process for toddlers -- which is why a potty training chart can help them master each stage. Whether you buy a chart or design your own, you can use a marker or stickers to check off each step as it's finished, from peeing to wiping to washing their hands. $10 @ WhitneyOwenDesigns/Etsy

More from The Stir: How I Potty Trained My 3-Year-Old in 2 Days

Image via Roxana Bashyrova/shutterstock

9Use Panty Liners

If your kid has outgrown training pants but still has the occasional accident, putting a panty liner in their underwear can be a great transitional tool. It offers some protection from leakage, but without the bulkiness of training pants ... and chances are you probably have plenty lying around.


Image via Ingvar Bjork/shutterstock

10Set a Potty Training Timer

It's basic potty science: the longer kids wait, the greater the odds of an accident. That's why a timer can help immensely. Have it go off once an hour (or however frequently seems to work with your schedule) and you're essentially training your kid Pavlovian style to pee when prompted.

11Make a Potty Pail

Potty training is one time when you really want everything you need in arm's reach -- hey, when kids gotta go, they've gotta GO! So create a potty training basket with all your essentials, like: paper towels (since spills happen that toilet paper can't fix), baby wipes (which are easier for kids to use than toilet paper), books and even a bubble blower (to keep them occupied ... trust us, you'll need every trick in the book to make them stay put).

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