5 Potty Training Tricks That Work for Us

We’re in the middle of potty training our 21-month-old son, Jaxon. We’ve already potty trained our older son, Camden, 3, and what we learned during that process was this is the one time where bribing is totally acceptable in our house! I use whatever I can. So we bribe him with cookies, chocolate, or whatever other treat he wants. It really works! In addition to giving sweet rewards, I’ve found these other things to be incredibly useful when potty training our boys. (No telling yet whether they’ll work for their baby sister, Saylor, though!)

1. Lead by example. When we were potty training Camden, Jay would take him to the bathroom and go in front of him. It definitely got Camden interested in using the potty. But full disclaimer: Camden knew how to pee in a bush or on the grass before he knew how to pee in the toilet! That’s really what Jay taught him how to do. People would be over in the backyard and Camden would just pull his pants down and start peeing in the grass. The only thing I could do was laugh. Baby steps, right?!

2. Get big sibs involved. The other day the boys went downstairs while I was nursing Saylor. It had been quiet for five minutes, so I just knew I was going to walk downstairs to a complete mess or something else crazy. When I got down there, I saw that Camden had Jaxon’s pants and diaper off, and he had him on the potty (we have little potties all over the house). Camden said, “Mommy, Jaxon is pooping!” And I was like, “Oh my god, this is amazing! Nice work buddy, thank you.” So I have Camden basically potty training Jaxon for me, and it’s great.

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3. Bribery really works. Yes, this one is worth repeating. In addition to giving Jaxon treats for going to the potty, we reward Camden when he helps his little brother. So Camden is like, “Listen Jaxon, you’re going to the bathroom!” Cam has my sweet tooth, so he’s very motivated to get Jaxon on his toilet.

4. Little potties made for potty training are key. I think the big toilet can be intimidating for little kids. I noticed a huge difference when I bought little potties and set them up around the house. That way, Jaxon can go whenever he needs to (and wherever he is).

5. Naked time is helpful, too. We potty trained Camden in the summer. Since we have a private backyard, he was able to be naked outside pretty much all the time. If he peed, it wasn’t a big deal since he was outdoors. We’ve been giving Jaxon a little bit of naked time—but inside since it is winter. He’s had a couple of accidents but nothing major. It’s just a little pee here and there. And I feel like having naked time helps them get the hang of things. You know, the second they start peeing you just pick them up and put them on the toilet. Very similar to housebreaking a dog!

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