How to Get Started Potty Training Your High-Energy Child

Jan 18, 2023 | 2 Minutes Read

Your high-energy child doesn’t have the patience to sit and listen to the details of the potty process, so don’t bore them with too much instruction and talk. (You can put your chart and pointer away.) Toddlers with high energy aren’t likely to be listening — or still in the room — after more than a few minutes anyway. Instead, keep them moving, and allow them to make choices so that they’ll feel in control. 

Mom playing chase with daughter to make potty training a fun game
Start by introducing your energetic child to the potty with the “Time to Go Potty Race.” This game is designed to teach fast-moving kids how to use the potty and also give them a cue phrase for when they really need to go. Should you use a toddler-size potty chair or the regular toilet with a kid-friendly seat insert? It’s up to you and what works best for your active toddler, but you may find that high-energy children prefer potties because they can pop on and off of them more quickly (and get back to playing sooner). If you’re using the toilet, you can still play the Time to Go Potty race, but you’ll just race to the bathroom.

Learn how to play the Time to Go Potty Race >

  • Place the potty chair in the middle of the room. Say, “Here’s the potty. When I say, ‘Time to go potty!’ you and I race to the potty and see who can sit down on the potty first. Whoever sits on the potty first wins.”
  • Once they get the hang of the game with the potty in the middle of the room, try moving it to other spots in the room or elsewhere in the house.
  • Make the game more sporting by having your high-energy child gallop or hop to the potty, or hide the potty in another room and have them go and find it.
  • Time them to see how fast they can find the potty chair and encourage them to keep beating their last time. “Wow, 25 seconds! You’re fast like a cheetah!”
  • Have your child practice pulling their Pull-Ups® training pants down before they sit on the potty. Once they’ve mastered pulling their Pull-Ups down, add some loose pants with an elastic waistband.
  • Introduce actually going pee or poop into the potty as a part of the game, saying something like “New silly rules! This time, to win the game, try going to the potty, pulling down your Pull-Ups and putting some pee pee into the potty. When you do that, you win.”
  • Sing a potty jingle for your child when they are successful.
  • Keep a Sticker Chart in the bathroom and have your energetic toddler add to it for each potty success.
The minute high-energy children have peed or pooped, they’re going to want to zoom out of the bathroom, so it will take a little savvy to teach them to flush and to wash their hands. Try turning the flushing into a “superpower,” or a magic act (“I shall now make this poop disappear!”). Hand washing is more fun with foamy soap, or bubble blowing contests.

If your high-energy child wants to check out the poop or pee, welcome their interest and talk about attributes such as color, size, volume and smell. This will help your high-energy toddler learn that pee and poop are natural aspects of being a person, instead of something to hide.

Kids also learn from watching grown-ups use the toilet, so don’t be shy about giving a demo. If you’re a dad, uncle, grandfather or other male caregiver working with a little boy, it’s best to do the play-by-play while sitting down. Standing to pee is an advanced skill best left for later in the potty training process.

The Bottom Line (Pardon the Potty Pun)

Your high-energy child needs to keep moving. By keeping your child engaged and focused, you’ll help them slow down long enough to get the hang of this potty training thing. Your child will feel in control, which is super important for a sense of accomplishment and pride.


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