My friend Mandi wants to share her tips for how to potty train on a budget.
I’m always getting questions from readers who are very interested in learning everything there is to know about how to start potty training. I
How to Potty Train on a Budget
We just decided to start potty training with our daughter and we’re only 5 days into it. I’m slightly concerned that by writing this post she’ll somehow know and begin to have lots of accidents, so please help me keep this a secret 🙂
There are a lot of different ways to potty train, and I’ll preface this article by saying that I think every parent has to decide the right way to start potty training their particular child. I, in no way, feel my way is the right way or the only way. It’s just simply one way.
There are lots of great potty training resources to take advantage of when you decide to start potty training: charts, books, dvds, little prizes, big prizes, the list goes on! But in my experience it’s completely possible to potty train on a budget. It’s even possible to potty train on hardly any budget at all!
Readers: Please leave your ideas for how to potty train on a budget in a comment below!
We were given a relatively inexpensive Fisher Price Stepstool Potty as a baby shower gift. When my first child, now four, started showing signs of potty training readiness, I brought the Stepstool Potty out for him to get familiar with. I had planned on him using the portable potty because I just thought that’s what other mothers did.
I think we tried that thing once and I knew right then and there I had no desire to clean a potty chair after each use and I certainly wasn’t going to carry it around if we went out and about. So I simply stopped using it. We taught our son how to sit (and aim!) on a regular toilet and at the same time we were teaching him how to stand (and aim) too.
Now this next part might sound mean (I promise I’m not a mean person!), but we didn’t reward him with potty training prizes or sticker charts or anything like that. The thing was, since we never started he didn’t expect anything. He got lots of claps, praises, high fives, hugs and kisses, and every now and then maybe a cookie or two in celebration!
We didn’t use Pull-Ups or other disposable training pants either – which saved a lot of money! Instead, I purchased several packs of little boy underwear and I cleaned up accidents.
My son definitely had accidents, but after about day three, we were basically accident free – except a crazy incident here or there.
In the very beginning, if we had to get out of the house, I would always put a diaper over his underwear while we drove. This way, he would feel it if he began to wet himself so that he could tell me, but he also wouldn’t ruin the carseat because his diaper would catch it!
My daughter is now 22 months (the same age that we potty trained our son), we’ve followed the same format with her. She sits on the regular toilet, there are no charts, prizes or pull-ups. Just lots of cheering, cute little girl underwear and high-fives all around!
So, if you don’t feel like spending a lot of money to start potty training at the first signs of potty training readiness… it’s completely possible to spend absolutely nothing (aside from the necessary cost of underwear, of course)!
So far, figuring out how to potty train on a budget has worked for me!
Readers: How do you potty train on a budget?
Read more from the Start Potty Training series:
- How I Potty-Trained My 18-Month-Old Toddler in 1 Week!
- Tried and True Books and Movies to Encourage Potty Training
- Save $20: A Cheap Alternative o the BabyBjorn Toilet Trainer potty seat
About the author (Mandi): From double dates to play dates, business meetings to potty training … Mandi used to be a really good mother before she had kids! Now, she’s trying to eat healthier, exercise more, save more & drop her desire for perfection!
This is how I’ve done it with the 4 boys I’ve potty trained (so far), as well! Pull-ups were no different than diapers for them, so we just go straight to underwear and deal with accidents for a little while. We also follow (loosely) the method described in “Toilet Training in Less than a Day” by Nathan Azrin – we’ve never succeeded in less than a day, but the method is effective for us. Perhaps it can be found at the library!
I just finished up with potty training and was going to blog about it next week because in the middle of it I just wanted to devour any advice I could get a hold of. Like you said I think it’s important that they feel wet. I have even heard that the “coolness feeling” pull ups aren’t effective either. I did the diaper over the undies when my son was in the nursery at church just so the volunteers didn’t have to deal with the accident if it happened.
the only child i ever had to use reward charts for was my son and that was for #2 he jsut wouldn’t go in the potty but once he got a sticker for it he was all for it and eventually he just stopped asking for a sticker…*within a week* Although we do use pull ups on my 4 year at night cause she has problems with nighttime wetting and nothing has worked from waking her up before we go to bed to meds, to alarms etc.. she is such a deep sleeper she just doesn’t wake.. The dr has assured me she will eventually stop and she has been getting better she’s down to 3 times a week now.. so she’s getting there
marybeth @ www.babygoodbuys.com says
Erin, I’m checking to see if my library has that book right now! “Less than a day” sounds pretty extreme, but I’m sure there are tons of helpful tips in there!
Yes, this is a budget friendly way to go, but as you say, not right for everyone. I tried this method with my very bright dd, almost 3, and it turned into a power struggle. She was the one that said she wanted undies instead of Pull Ups, but then was asking for a pull up to go poo in, I said no to that, and therefore she held the poo in her for 4 days, wound up with a stomach ache and was also then peeing on the floor b/c she was trying so hard to hold the poo. This behavior can cause more digestive systems problems long term, so I gave it up and let her choose undies or Pull Ups around the house and Pull Ups for when we are going out for more than a couple hours. Now she is wearing mostly Pull Ups, but hasn’t gone pee in them for about a week (even overnight). So we only use a couple pull ups a day now. For the price of them after coupon-sale match deals, they are the best option for us and I figure that when she is tired of having poo on her, getting diaper rash, and knowing that she can not go to other kid things that potty trained 3 yr. olds can (Bible School, preschool, ballet, etc.), then she will decide to use the potty for #2, hopefully soon!
[email protected] says
Sounds like you definitely made the right decision & did what was best for you and your daughter! Thanks for your comment!
marybeth @ www.babygoodbuys.com says
Ack! If there’s one thing I constantly hear, it’s that potty training is different for every child. We’re just starting to ease into it now, and I think I’ve heard the best of the best AND the worst of the worst stories! It’s definitely a process that needs to be tweaked to work for the parents and the little one!
I’m curious to know what were your kids’ “signs of readiness” ? Thanks!
Marybeth Hamilton says
Andrea, there are a few, so I’ll put it together in a separate post.
oh amanda says
I potty-trained my daughter just after her 2nd birthday b/c I saw how you did with your son, Mandi! I actually did use the little potty b/c I liked that my daughter could run to the potty herself…instead of needing me to put her up on it. I was amazed that by the 2nd day she was accident-free at home! By the next week, she was accident-free everywhere else!
I’ll be starting w/my son next month…can’t believe he’s old enough!
Christine (iDreamofClean) says
Well, I have to say I’ve never heard of anyone not potty training w/o tangible rewards or charts. But, it completely makes sense. That’s how they learn to do everything else. Claps and praise works wonders. I just may try it your way!
Thanks for the tip on the underwear with diapers over. So simple but I’ve never heard it! I had to use rewards with my kids b/c otherwise it was a power struggle, once they realized that’s what I wanted they were not about to do it. I guess I just have stubborn kids!