10 Potty Training Tips from Real ABQ Moms


Motherhood is all about seasons, but potty training season is my least favorite. I have successfully toilet-trained one child and we’re in the thick of it with the second. When friends ask for my potty training advice, I look at them like a deer in headlights. What worked for my first child didn’t seem to work with the other, but maybe it’s also memory loss. Yeah, that must be it. My brain surely wiped away the memories of this season from either exhaustion, shock, or sheer terror. So, I enlisted my tribe of moms that have been in your shoes to compile tips and tricks to ditch those diapers!

“Yay! Time to potty train! I love potty training!” –Said no mother, ever.

1. Hit the Books

Get on the “Oh Crap! Potty Training” book train! So many moms swear by the book. One local mom said that it’s funny, insightful, and full of helpful information and step-by-step guides. It is recommended on every potty training social media thread and Google search, and it must be for good reason! Keep in mind that many of the other recommendations listed below may go against the “Oh Crap!” method, so just go with what feels right for you and your family.

2. Say “Bye-Bye”

We all love familiarity, safety, and comfort. That’s what diapers and pull-ups provide for our children. One method for the potty training journey is saying “bye-bye” to those diapers and pull-ups. Throw them away and don’t even keep them in the house. As busy (and maybe slightly defeated) parents, we can resist the urge to reach for the easy choice if we eliminate it altogether. One local mom calls this the “quick but miserable” approach!

3. Make It a Celebration

I am not above bribery and rewards. There, I said it! I know it’s not for everyone, but I truly believe you have to assess each child individually to determine what is motivating. My son is extremely motivated by prizes and treats, so that’s what we used. One local mom celebrated the first day her son pooped in the potty with a surprise toy and cupcakes!

Potty Training
Nothing more exciting than poop emoji cupcakes to celebrate the occasion!

4. Hunker Down for the Weekend

Pick a weekend and plan to stay home and focus solely on toilet training. None of us wants to dedicate an entire weekend to this, but it must be done and you’ll be helping everyone in the long run. There will be lots of accidents and messes to clean, but they will quickly learn that it doesn’t feel good to relieve themselves in their underwear. My family removed all rugs and stayed in the hardwood spaces for easier cleaning. During this process, you need to be extremely attentive to catch them before the action happens (so no scrolling mindlessly on Tik Tok)!

5. Watch Out World!

Once you’ve mastered the weekend, it’s time to brave trips out into the world. Bring lots of extra clothes and towels! Accidents will happen. Once you’re at your destination, go to the bathroom as soon as you arrive and right before you leave. This has saved many families from accidents in the car or having to stop in the middle of a shopping trip to go potty. You also have more control over this situation. I am already getting anxiety and hives thinking about getting stuck in traffic on Paseo del Norte with a child in the back seat that has to go “NOW”! With that being said, we would follow this potty hack, and we were not above pulling over to let the little one go.

» » » » » » » » »  RELATED READ: The Potty Training Hack That Kept Us On Track  « « « « « « « « «

10 Potty Training Tips From Real ABQ Mom
Goodbye, rugs! Hello, easy-to-clean surfaces!

6. Try the Gizmos & Gadgets

As if you needed another excuse to add items to your Amazon Shopping Cart. There are so many gizmos and gadgets out there to help you on your journey. You can get pre-made potty charts, toilet target stickers, mini urinals, and the “Gotta Go Turdle” (if you haven’t seen this, go ahead . . . click the link)! At this stage in motherhood, we already know that money goes down the drain, so we can try all the things only to find that the last product we thought of was the winner.

7. Prepare Them for the Journey

Read lots of children’s books about potty training leading up to the big event. Help your child understand what will happen and the expectations. Talk about it! My kids love the book “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli. It was passed onto us from another family that made it through the trenches. There are so many book options out there . . . find what motivates your child most.

8. What They Wear Matters

I personally never thought about this, but it makes so much sense. When my friends shared these tips, it was like a lightbulb went off in my brain. Duh! Boy’s underwear is easier to take on and off. I have a son and daughter, and yes, it’s true! My daughter has these tiny little undies that are so hard to “push down” and “pull up.” Boy’s briefs are the way to go! Also, make sure they are wearing bottoms (pants and shorts) that are easier to manipulate themselves. Frustration will slow down the progress. Kids tend to get excited about picking their own underwear too, so take them shopping.

9. Be Prepared for Regressions

Any big life changes might cause regressions in your child’s progress. It makes sense. When we lose a sense of control in our lives, that’s when things go haywire. One local mom had a new family member move into their household . . . BAM! Accidents. Weening from breastfeeding? Accidents! Just try to have patience through it. Another local mom says to not assume regressions require more potty training to fix. It is more likely a response to a stressor or other variable that has to be identified and addressed.

10 Potty Training Tips From Real ABQ Moms

10. Every Child Is Different

Last but not least, remember that every child is different. We live in a culture where we feel pressure to toilet train the fastest or earliest. Don’t let it deter you if you see your neighbor potty train their 18-month-old in three days and you’re near tears with your soon-to-be 4-year-old. Work within the timeline of your child and their personal signs of readiness so that you and your family can be successful and hopefully without bumps and bruises from the ride.

“Don’t force it. It will happen. Big hug!”

There are other moms who have been in your shoes. Many of us are sending you lots of hugs because this is a tough season. And if anyone can make you feel better about this journey, it’s our own ABQ Mom, Vanessa Bush. She has no advice because she was so bad at potty training. But here she is about to send one child to college, and low and behold he’s potty trained!


The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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Dena was born in California but has called Albuquerque her home for the better part of her life. She married her college sweetheart, a native New Mexican, who introduced her to the beautiful Sandia Mountain views and the magic of luminarias during the holidays. Dena is an Educational Audiologist by day and a Super Mom by night. She has two young children that fill her days with equal parts love, laughter, and insanity. She enjoys losing herself in a good book, carving out time to spend with her girlfriends, taking deep breaths in the outdoors, and cozying up on cabin vacations.


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