5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Potty Training

If you have a toddler, then you’ve probably entered that good ol’ potty training stage.  That hallelujah moment of not spending another dime on diapers.  For potty training advice, we read all the books and ask every friend, but there are a few things that aren’t discussed enough.  Here are the top 5 things they don’t tell you about potty training:

potty training tips from 2groovymoms.com

1. Stickers, Shmickers

The books say to add a sticker to a chart each time your child uses the restroom.  Chile puhleeze.   I just didn’t have the time or the memory to do that sticker stuff.  We started out okay, but she quickly began ignoring them and I quickly began forgetting them.

2. Panty Party

You’ve heard of the Potty Party, but don’t forget the Panty Party.  Not only did we celebrate each time she used the restroom, but we also made a big deal of going to the store to buy underwear.  We let her pick them out (try the Cars or Doc McStuffins brand) and we even told the cashier (now that might’ve been taking it too far).  When we got home, she ripped open the package like it was Christmas, rushed to model a pair, smiling, “I don’t want diapers. I want underwear!”  It was the cutest “I’m a big kid now” moment. 

3. The Public Restroom Tool Kit

I’ve always hated public restrooms, but when you have to take a child in there, you start seeing them as real cesspools of hell.  In fact, public restrooms were probably the number 1 reason I backslid during potty training.  We were fine using the restroom at home, but the thought of taking her in public turned my stomach, so we didn’t wear underwear outside for a while.  Once I started packing these 5 items, it became easier: (These are affiliate links)

  • Extra outfit and underwear for accidents, which will inevitably happen in the beginning.  No need to freak out when they pee on themselves; just clean up, throw on this outfit, and keep it moving.
  • Wipes for the butt and the toilet seat.
  • Toilet seat covers. Make sure to get the big ones that cover the front and sides to protect your little one’s hands and legs from germy toilets.
  • Hand sanitizer.  You can bet your last good penny that the public restroom won’t have soap. So, rinse with water and add sanitizer.
  • My Carry Potty is great for avoiding public restrooms altogether. It’s a portable potty that’s easy to carry and it snaps shut tightly. We usually use it in our car’s back seat.

4. Teach Them How to Really Wipe

Hmmm, how do I say this without getting too disgusting?  If you don’t practice and demonstrate how to wipe well, you’re going to have little fingers with poop on them and/or little underwear with poop in them.  It’s difficult for their little hands to wipe well from front to back, so don’t skip this practice and don’t just do it for them.

5. Make Sure Everyone Else Is On the Same Page

What about the daycare, nanny, husband, grandparents?  These are people who will have to help in potty training, but they may all have their own opinions and procedures that may not be the same as yours.  So, to avoid confusing your child and prolonging the training, be sure to talk with them and agree on how you want to potty train.  Should your child be asked every hour?  Should they get a treat each time they go? Should they be spanked when they have accidents? (Ahhh, please don’t!)  Everyone who takes care of your child needs to know these answers.


Here’s a bonus tip that would apply to everything you do as a mother: Just chill out.  I mean, seriously, I know we all want to keep up with the Joneses, but when Sarah Sue tells you that her kid was potty trained at 8 months, just chalk her up as either a liar or a lunatic.  Your child will eventually get it and will not go to high school in diapers, so don’t let this stage be too stressful.


  1. Jhanis says:

    We used to make a big fuss when we go to the restroom just to show the little ones where one needs to go if you need to pee or poop. We also tried the commando style. We tried lots of techniques. Messy business.

  2. Bev says:

    Oh, fund times ahead in my future! It’s hard enough changing a diaper in public, I can only imagine what it’s like when you are in the midst of potty training. :-)

  3. Stephanie says:

    I am damn near terrified of potty training our little guy. I still have some time to do my research and mentally prepare. All I can say is I’m not sure how to pee standing up or with all that extra equipment.

  4. aimee fauci says:

    AMEN!!! I just roll my eyes at those mamas that say their kid was potty trained before the age of 3 and then I meet the kid (cause I am a child caregiver) and I am like.. Oh geez.. she was not lying!!!!! None of my kids.. but I can say .. not to sweat it.. they won’t be walking down the aisle for their wedding in a diaper.

  5. Shayla Epps says:

    You are absolutely right about the fear of using a public restroom with a potty training toddler! I knew they were nasty, but now that I have to take our daughter in there to potty, I feel like I suddenly develop OCD and want to wipe everything down 10 times. I have even considered scrubbing the bottom of her shoes after she’s been in one of those things! We still haven’t gotten brave enough to do away with the Easy Ups in public :-/.

  6. Lizzie-Beth says:

    Love this article. I have a toddler and can totally relate to thinking of public restrooms as cesspools of hell! Lol and the public bathroom kit is a brilliant idea!! Keep up the good work! :-)

  7. LeSha Brewer (The Lovely Photog) says:

    Visiting from SGBG #tribedare! I’m loving this post because I have a 2 year old that is potty training and she has started to go but she isn’t consistent! These tips will really help us :) Thank you for posting and looking forward to more of your posts :)

  8. Prototype Mama says:

    What a great post! My little M is four and I have to say, ‘those stickers are a joke’. She didn’t pay any attention. My SIL was just laughing at me the other day when I pulled out my daughter’s seat covers while we were at Target– I’m so glad I’m not the only one :)

    BTW: I’m Chene, founder of SGBC and editor of Prototype Mama– I’m stopping by for our #tribedare. I look forward to connecting :)

  9. Becka says:

    This is great advice. We have been through the training twice and about to be mid way a third time. It’s two steps forward three back this time it seems. Public restrooms scare me. :)

    Visiting from #tribaldare! :) Nice to meet you.

  10. Z.G.M. says:

    What do you think about the potties that have all of the bells & whistles, like flushing sounds and a celebration of applause?

We Love to Hear From You!