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6 Potty Training Methods: Which One is Best?

Feb 14, 2022 Potty-training is an important and essential milestone in a child’s life. But with every milestone there are challenges. When you’re transitioning a child from diapers to the toilet, there’s bound to be a few accidents.

Many parents have two goals when choosing a potty training method for their child:

  1. Fewest tantrums as possible
  2. Potty train him/her as quickly as possible

Although you’re aware accidents and mess come with the business of toilet training a toddler, you might be surprised to discover all the different potty training methods out there. But which method is right for you and your child?

Let’s review six toilet training methods to find the pros and cons of each so you can pick the best potty training method and your child will find potty training success as soon as possible!

The Timer Method

As the name implies, the timer method is all about structuring a potty time routine around a timer.  To properly apply this method, start setting a timer at desired intervals. Some people do 20 minutes, while some do every 45 minutes.  The timed intervals are all dependent on how often your child tolerates the routine.  

The timer method requires parents to allot a lot of time to toilet training.  Days to weeks in fact. It’s considered to be a “potty training boot camp.”  

Tips For Potty Training

One of the key components of this method is to help your child realize he or she has to go. The best way to do this is by asking your child if they need to use the potty each time the timer goes off. You also want to take them to the bathroom each time. The timer method helps children get into the routine of going to the bathroom, plus helping them recognize the “to go” feeling.

For parents with an easy-going, cooperative child, the timer method works wonders! Many parents are singing praises about this method with their children. However, if your child is easily distracted or becomes frustrated with following a timer, you may need to try another potty training method.

The Reward Method

The reward system is all about positive reinforcement. Each time your child successfully uses the potty, they need to be rewarded. This method, however, needs to be combined with one of the other training methods.

Some incentive ideas you can use for a reward system include:

  • Stickers
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • M & M’s
  • Small toy cars
  • Books
  • Small dolls
  • Lollipops

There are multiple ways to conduct the reward method for potty training.  Some parents want to give a reward (usually stickers) for every sit down on the potty. Others prefer to only give rewards if the child goes potty. There’s no right or wrong to rewarding your child for this huge life milestone.  Whatever you feel works for your child is best!

The downfall to this method is that some children tend to expect a reward even if they didn’t go potty or they ask for bigger and better rewards. The positive thing about the reward method is every child deserves positive reinforcement and it can work for any type of child.

I’ve found the reward method of potty training works wonders for my son.  My son is extremely stubborn! Once I started rewarding my son with Reese’s Pieces, he looked forward to going potty and he would actively try to go every time. Even though we went potty multiple times a day, he’s still working hard to focus his attention and realize when he needs to go.

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The Child-led/child-oriented Method

Child-led potty training is the method I use with my son along with the reward method. I found this to be “the one” method for us when all other methods failed. This method is all about support and patience.

The child-led method is all about allowing your child to potty train in their own time. This method follows the philosophy that a child will start potty training on his/her own with no pressure from an adult. So how exactly does a child start potty training without any lead from an adult?

Children learn by imitating. When your potty training toddler begins to understand what you use the potty for, then (theoretically) will begin to use the potty on their own. This method works with even the most stubborn child because the child is allowed to start potty training when they are developmentally ready with no pressure.

The child-led method is perfect for any parent and child as long as you have the patience for it. Unlike other toilet training methods, your child is likely to be in diapers longer. This is a very gradual approach to potty training.  The one con to this method is that your child will likely be in diapers longer resulting in more money spent.

Pull-up Method

Instead of transitioning straight to underwear, many parents choose to switch to pull-ups once their child shows signs of potty training readiness.  Pull-ups are designed for toddlers to easily pull up and down and are available in sizes 2T to 5T. A bonus to some pull-ups is they offer a cooling sensation when a child experiences an accident.  

My son tried pull-ups with a cooling sensation and it didn’t seem to phase him. He still had accidents and didn’t seem to notice he did. For other children, I’m sure the built-in cooling sensation is more noticeable. 

Pull-ups with a cooling sensation help a child recognize when he/she has an accident and will hopefully keep them from having more accidents. Many parents feel pull-ups with a cooling sensation are just expensive diapers that don’t help with potty training. Other parents like the convenience and mess-free approach of pull-ups. But pull-ups do cost more than diapers, therefore you need to be willing to spend a few extra dollars for this potty training method.

Bare Bottom Method

With the bare bottom method, you need to clear your schedule and devote multiple days inside your house. This is a great method for any parent who wants their child potty trained in a certain amount of time. If you feel your child is ready to be toilet trained, the bare bottom method is perfect to do during lockdown or quarantine.  

All you have to do is keep your child naked from the waist down during the day. Your child will have plenty of accidents for (possibly) days. But your child will soon learn how to recognize he or she has to go.  

The bare bottom method of potty training is the messiest of all the methods. It requires plenty of patience and dedication in a short amount of time. Not only is it messy, but your child needs to be monitored constantly to watch for accidents. But this method is for any parent needing their child potty trained before preschool or are simply tired of buying and changing diapers.


Potty training is a dramatic milestone in your child’s life. But no two children are alike. Every child is different in how they learn and how long it takes them to potty train.  

Whether you choose a fast track method of potty training your child in days or prefer to follow your child’s lead, there’s a method for every parent and child! Of course, you and your child may need to try multiple methods to see what the right fit is. If your child becomes overly frustrated or he/she experiences a potty training regression, try another method. Hopefully, these potty training tips help you on your way.

The most important things you can give your child while potty training is love, support, and patience.

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The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not necessarily reflect the views of Blub Blub Inc. All content provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgement, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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