Family Life

5 Tools to Help Your Reluctant Toddler Potty Train

Kay is turning three in a few weeks, and we’ve been flirting with potty training on and off for the past couple of months. I haven’t put much pressure on her, but I am hoping to put our diapers away by the end of the summer.

I know that some lucky parents have kids who virtually potty train themselves in three days at 18 months old. Well, that’s not my kids. Both of mine were reluctant to use the potty, so for those of you having a similar experience, I’m sharing some of the ideas in my potty training toolkit.

5 Tools to Help Your Reluctant Toddler Potty Train

Is Your Toddler Ready for Potty Training?

The first thing to do is to check whether your child is developmentally ready for potty training, both physically and cognitively.

  • Is he or she showing increased bladder control? For example, holding pee for longer periods of time and/or waking up from naps with a dry diaper?
  • Does she have signals or otherwise let you know when she needs to poop?
  • Is she showing a desire to do things on her own?
  • Does he express discomfort/dislike about being in a wet diaper?
  • Can he follow simple instructions and understand “pee”, “poop”, and “potty” (or whatever words you choose).
  • Is she interested in what’s going one when you or other family members are using the toilet?

Once your baby is showing at least some of these signs of readiness, then you can get ready too! I’ve tried both the portable potty and the seat that goes on top of the regular toilet, and I much prefer the portable potty to start with. They’re smaller and lower to the ground which helps toddlers feel more secure. It’s also nice to have the option of moving it to another room or even outside as needed.

Candied Chocolate

Smarties or M&M’s are a tried and true way to encourage your reluctant toddler. They work well because they’re small and come in fun colours, but anything similar is good. (With Tee we used miniature chocolate chips.)

Initially Kay was reluctant to even sit on the potty, so I started by giving her an M&M just for sitting there. Once she was comfortable with that, I switched to giving her one when she produced something. As your little one starts using the potty more regularly, gradually phase out the candy.

Smarties or M&M's are a tried and true potty training tool

Sticker Chart

Or if you prefer to avoid candy rewards, a sticker chart could be the way to go. Sticker charts can be as simple or as complicated as you like. They usually come with a prearranged reward (like a small toy or a fun activity) that your child can trade for in exchange for a certain number of stickers. For Kay though, just getting a sticker to put on her paper is enough of a reward in and of itself!

I’ve got scratch n sniff My Little Pony stickers, so they’re extra cool!

Special Books

Kids can get bored sitting there waiting for something to happen, so we keep a selection of special books nearby. These are only for looking at or reading while using the potty. Right now, our special books are about using the potty, but they don’t need to be. Pick books that you know will interest and motivate your child to spend a little more time sitting on the toilet, whatever they’re about.

Keep special books near the potty for your toddler to look at.

Big Kid Underwear

If your toddler is anything like mine, he or she is most emphatically, “Not a baby!” Kay likes to talk about the cool big kid underwear she’ll get to wear once we put the diapers away, just like her big sister. Her favourite colour is red, and I’ve promised her we’ll go out and buy some when she’s ready to use the potty full-time.

Kid-Friendly Toilet Paper

Like underwear, toilet paper is something only big kids use. We recently discovered a unique toilet paper just for kids from Renova, decorated with fun little cartoon dragons, dinosaurs, penguins, lions, and giraffes. Kay thinks it’s awesome!

Renova kids' toilet paper works great for potty training!

If you haven’t seen it yet, that’s because it’s new here. Renova is originally from Portugal and has only recently expanded into Canada. You can find a local retailer here or shop online.

This is Kay’s special toilet paper and nobody else is allowed to use it (though Renova has a sophisticated version for adults too!). The deal is that she gets to choose which design, but she can only use her toilet paper after going on the potty.

Love these fun designs on Renova's kids' toilet paper!

I hope you find some of these tips and tools helpful in your own potty training adventure!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of RENOVA. The opinions and text are all mine. Restrictions apply.