When you're in the challenging season of transitioning out of diapers, potty training rewards might encourage your little one in more than one way. Helping them stay on the potty, rewarding them for a deposit, and even teaching them how to signal they need to go are just a few ways little rewards might help your journey.
Some types of rewards work best for different toddlers and these ideas will give you plenty to choose from and try.
If your potty training journey is just starting, a simple reward like a sticker might be all you need to encourage your little one. For sitting on the potty or successfully signaling the need to go, a sticker reward can be a fun way to celebrate a little progress in potty training.
- Stickers are affordable and easy to buy in bulk.
- Your little one can build a collection to visually see their progress over time.
- Stickers are easy to show off to family and friends to communicate pride and excitement.
- Stickers might lose their appeal after time.
It's normal to see one reward work for only a short amount of time. As the potty training journey progresses to bigger and more challenging milestones, you might have to adjust the rewards accordingly.
2. Activity Jar
This reward idea can be affordable and give your child something to look forward to each day as they approach potty training. List out some of their favorite activities in and outside of the house and add them all to a jar on strips of paper. After each successful potty experience, let them choose an activity from the jar.
- You can choose free activities to add.
- You get to decide what activities to include or leave out.
- The reward is mostly in the excitement of the activity rather than in a material item.
- The whole family can be included.
- You must follow through with any promised activity.
- Rain or unexpected scheduling issues could cause disappointment.
- This requires adding more tasks to your schedule.
- Going out for long stretches can be stressful during the potty training phase.
This particular reward can be a great option toward the end of potty training as a way to celebrate a full day of going potty like a big kid.
3. Tiny Toys
Sometimes just the excitement of a shiny new toy, no matter how small or simple, can give little ones the push they need to go potty. Tiny toy collections purchased in bulk give you plenty of items to work with and offer to your child after they successfully make a deposit or go the whole day without an accident.
- You can find tiny toys in bulk.
- Seeing the toys can entice your child to try more with going potty.
- You'll have to find a place to store all the new items.
- There is some cost involved.
- Toys that are similar may lose appeal over time.
4. Small Cookies or Candies
Many of us are motivated by the thought of a treat even as adults and the concept can work for little ones. For big successes, like the first pee in the potty or the first time successfully signaling the need to go, a small cookie can give your child the motivation to keep going on this potty training journey.
- A sweet treat is highly likely to excite your child.
- Not all children become hyperfocused on treats.
- Your little one might expect something sweet every time they go potty.
- A sudden sugar rush can be hard for you and your little one.
- This could make meal times a bit more stressful if they are hyperfocused on the cookies.
Though some child and parenting experts warn about giving food as a reward, this was the method that worked best when potty training my daughter. We used a small cookie for the first few times she peed in the potty and then progressed to other milestones with time. She never expects cookies now and I haven't noticed any negative impacts on her relationship with food.
5. Reward Tracking Chart
Seeing a visual of their progression over time might help your child stay excited about learning the ins and outs of using the potty. Any chart, whether full of stickers or pencil marks, can help your little one see how each successful trip to the potty is leading them closer to an exciting reward at the end. This might be a trip to the pool at the end of the week or the chance to choose a toy at the department store.
- Tracking can help your little one see what it means to work toward something over time.
- This adds an extra layer of fun to the potty training experience.
- The fun of tracking progress is a small reward in itself, leading up to a larger reward over time.
- This may be a difficult concept to explain to very young toddlers.
- Without a visual of the reward they are working toward they may lose interest over time.
6. Screen Time
If screen time is considered quite the treat in your home, it could be a fun way to celebrate potty training milestones. You might even use each successful potty trip to add a few minutes to their allotted screen time during the week.
- Screen time can be an exciting and motivating reward for some children.
- This is a reward that can be immediate or given over time.
- You may exceed your preferred screen time limits for your child.
- Other children may also receive extra screen time during your child's reward.
7. New Undies
You're going to have to get undies for them at some point, so you may as well use them to your advantage now. With each day of successful potty trips or overcoming obstacles in the process, give them a brand new pair of undies with their favorite characters or colors.
- This is an investment you'll need to make anyway.
- You can personalize the undies to your child's favorite things.
- The excitement of new underwear can also encourage your child to stay dry so as not to ruin them.
- They may insist on wearing the new underwear right away.
- They could lose interest as the reward starts to appear the same each time.
- You might need to do more laundry if they are wearing underwear during the potty training process.
8. Blow Bubbles
If you just need a simple way to celebrate when your little one goes on the potty, bubbles are fun for everyone. You can have a celebratory potty dance with bubbles all around to show your little one how excited you are about their effort and success.
- This is an affordable way to reward your child.
- Bubbles can add whimsy to the potty training experience.
- This reward can be a way to encourage your child to stay on the potty as you blow bubbles for them.
- Blowing bubbles indoors can be messy.
- Your child may be less impressed with the bubbles as time goes on.
9. Art Supplies (Crayons & Coloring Books)
If you want to avoid edible rewards when potty training your little one and also want to avoid an accumulation of tiny toys, turn to art supplies instead. Small packs of crayons, coloring books, and tiny art projects from the dollar store can inspire your child to keep trying as they build upon their art supply collection and lean into creativity.
- This is a food-free way to reward your child.
- It encourages creativity and quiet play.
- Art supplies can be affordable.
- Art supplies may be something you plan to purchase anyway.
- For some children, this may be less exciting than a toy or treat.
- Your little one may tire of coloring or drawing over time.
Display the rewards somewhere in the bathroom, on a shelf, or in a basket, to help motivate your little one when it's time to go.
10. Simple Praise
As with adults, children respond to love languages differently. If gifts and treats don't seem to communicate the excitement needed for potty training successes, try simple but enthusiastic praise.
When they pee in the potty or remember to wash their hands, celebrate loud and proud. Jump up and down, shout, and clamp your hands with sincere excitement to let them know you're proud of their accomplishment.
- This is an easy way to reward your child without any financial investment.
- Everyone in the family can join in on praising them.
- You might grow tired of the mini-celebrations.
- Your child might start to expect bigger and louder celebrations each time.
Potty Train Your Way
The rewards that work for one child may not work for another. It could take time to discover the method that gives your little one the encouragement and support they need to potty train. Try as many methods as you like and keep what works best for you and your toddler.