Potty Training Incentives And DIY Rewards

Jan 18, 2023 | 3.5 Minutes Read

Have you ever rewarded yourself for a job well done? Maybe you bought your coffee instead of making it. Or you enjoyed a half-hour in the bathtub with no interruptions. Children need rewards too, especially during their potty training journey, and a little reward can go a long way to make them feel special. These fun potty training ideas are a great place to start.

Child playing with toys with his father
Whatever your reward, it made you feel good, right? And it probably made you want to do more of the good job you’d done to earn it. That’s exactly how a rewards system works for potty trainees. Imagine you’re a toddler and you’re being asked to try an entirely new process — one that seems much harder than just peeing and pooping in your diaper like you’ve done for the past few years. The idea of potty training might feel overwhelming, tiring and even scary. So, a little reward or two can go a long way in making potty training more fun and make them want to be successful. Try these ideas for potty training prizes as you’re planning your approach:

  • Stickers – When potty training your child, try giving them stickers that can be affixed to their shirt like little decorated generals. Wearing a reward can make kids feel proud of their achievements and encourage them to share the good news with friends and family members who see their sticker. Or, download one of these sticker charts to hang in the bathroom that they see each time they try!
  • Snacks – Some parents have found success rewarding potty activity with little snacks such as mini marshmallows or small chocolate candies — one for number one and two for number two, of course. Planning to use this technique for more than a few weeks? You may want to consider a non-sugary option such as raisins, crackers or pretzels. It all depends on your family’s approach to sweets and what your child finds most motivating.
  • FaceTiming their favorite Disney character – When they’ve reached a big milestone or could use a little extra encouragement, arrange a call from your child’s favorite Disney character. Would talking to Rapunzel motivate them? Or maybe Buzz Lightyear, Mickey or Lightning McQueen?
  • Silly story time – Keep a pile of books by the potty so your child can “read” while doing their business. If they’d like company, make this time a story time where you read aloud with your child and help them pass the time and not be anxious about going. Make this a bonding moment for both of you!

DIY Potty Training Rewards

You don’t have to buy an expensive reward chart or packaged kit. Instead, create incentives that fit your child’s personality and preferences, and be sure to include them in the process so they are excited to reach their potty training goals every day. Here are some ideas to create rewards that will help make your potty training journey successful and fun for both you and your child.

  • Treasure chest – Make the bathroom a fun place for your child during potty training by creating a treasure chest for your girl or your boy. Together you can decorate a small box such as an empty shoe box and fill it with little toys. A small plastic container works well too. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money filling it. Pick up musical instruments like kazoos, some inexpensive coloring books, finger puppets or bubbles, and use them to keep your toddler entertained while they wait for the magic to happen.
  • Sticker chart – Does your child have a favorite television character, an animal they love or an obsession with things like cars, trucks and trains? Whatever your child’s passion is, there is probably a sticker for it! Draw a sticker chart grid on a big piece of paper or poster board and allow your child to decorate it. Maybe even decorate it together with whatever your child’s current interests are, like planets and stars or nature and animals. Let your child place a sticker on the chart every time they have a bathroom success.
  • Counting jar – Another great way to show success build up over time can be a self-decorated jar with marbles. As the jar fills up, you can see together how much progress your child has made. You can model counting skills with them too! And maybe once they reach a certain level in the jar, they get an even better prize. Just be sure to keep the jar up on a counter or shelf your child can’t reach as the little pieces can be a choking hazard.
  • Piggy bank – You may not want to pay your child to go to the potty, but you can reward them with a penny each time. For a young child, putting a penny into their very own piggy bank or a small, decorated mason jar can be thrilling all on its own. Once they get to five pennies you can give them a nickel, and so on. Count it with them at the end of each week and celebrate their achievement.
  • Popsicle® stick basket – Take a bunch of Popsicle sticks and write a special activity reward on each one. You can pick activities such as remembering to go potty, putting on their Pull-Ups® training pants by themselves, going potty in a new bathroom – all these successes are worth celebrating. Place the sticks in a basket and let your child pick a stick after they successfully perform that activity.
  • Bathroom science – Going to the potty can also be a fun science experiment. Let your child put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet water after they pee and watch the color change. They can try a different color each time and see how the result differs depending on the color. It’s simply magic.
  • Make your own potty book – There’s something special about creating your own story, and your toddler will love that they are the star of the show! Check out our customizable My Potty Book instructions to get started.
With so many fun options out there, there’s sure to be one that fits your child’s potty training personality. The key is to figure out what works and change it up if the reward stops working as an incentive. For instance, offer a different sheet of stickers every few days.

Some parents have skipped the treats altogether and used different methods like singing and dancing, calling Grandma or simply offering up an enthusiastic high-five. Whatever you choose, just be sure to stay positive — and share that positivity with your potty training toddler each and every day. With small steps and constant reinforcement, your child will soon be on their way to potty training success.


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