How to Create a Personalized Potty Training Program that Celebrates your Child’s Unique Personality


This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups® Training Pants. All opinions are my own.

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Let me tell you a little story about a mom, a son and a mission to get him potty trained before he started school. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. This mom thought potty training would be a cinch. She read all the right books, watched all the right videos, bought the top-rated potty and came up with the perfect plan. She even had stickers! Who doesn’t love stickers, right?

When it came time to put her plan into action, her son wanted nothing to do with it. She coaxed and cajoled. She danced and sang songs about the potty. She covered every conceivable surface with stickers! Still, her son shook his head and said “nope, no potty.” Where, oh where, had this beautiful princess mom gone wrong?

I’ll tell you where; she forgot one very important detail when coming up with that perfect plan: her child. She tailored a program based on what she thought potty training should be about and not on her child’s unique personality.

Create a personalized potty training program based on your child’s personality

In case you haven’t guessed, that mom was me. Okay, so I embellished a bit on the fairy-tale princess part, but everything else is true. When I started potty training my son, I thought I was being so smart. I followed what I thought was the “best” plan, not taking into account that potty training is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Once I realized that I needed a plan based on my son’s personality rather than mine, things went so much better. Here’s how to make it work for you.

Determine your toddler’s potty training personality

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First things first, you need to actually know what type of potty training personality your child has! The Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership makes this easy. Just take their quick quiz answering a few questions about your child and they’ll give you your results (in fun animal form) along with an explanation about their potty personality – an Owl, Puppy, Bear Cub, Turtle, or Squirrel.

Develop your plan based on that personality

Once you have a general idea of your child’s potty training personality, read through the Pull-Ups Potty Partnership resources for that personality. For example, my son is primarily Squirrel. As a toddler, he was all about action, adventure and exploring. Squirrels are always on-the-go, and their never-ending energy can make your life quite the adventure!

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Learning this taught me that my very structured approach to potty training wasn’t right for him.  Instead, he needed something with a faster and more exciting pace that also let him feel like HE was in control, not me. If you have a Squirrel, the key is keeping them focused, but allowing them to make choices can help them stay engaged throughout potty training.

Get them involved in the process

Don’t just go to the store and buy a potty and a package of Pull-Ups® Training Pants. Let your child be part of the journey. My niece is showing signs of potty training readiness, so she’s beginning her potty training journey this summer. My brother and sister-in-law have been laying the ground work by letting Abbie pick out picture books about using the potty featuring her favorite characters. When the time comes to make the next step, they’ll let her pick out Pull-Ups with her favorite characters too.

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I know Abbie will be excited to see Princess Sofia on the Pull-Ups® Training Pants! Since they look and fit more like regular underwear, they’ll be a big help in making her feel like a big girl. Pull-Ups Learning Designs have designs that fade when wet so kids can actually see the difference between wet and dry.

Be flexible with your plan

My son’s main potty personality is a Squirrel, but sometimes he can be more like Turtle: a little shy and slow to adapt to change, with a will of steel. Your child may have traits of more than one personality too. The results show your child’s highest-ranking potty personality style, but most kids do have secondary traits of others. Focus on your child’s top-scoring personality as you plan your potty training journey, but read up on the tips for the secondary personality too!

Pull-Ups Training Pants make consistency a breeze with three different types tailored to your child’s needs and personality. Choose between 3 variants of Pull-Ups that are all designed specifically to teach potty training skills.

It’s also important to be flexible, even when your child is experiencing some setbacks during potty training. Some children can just be a little more stubborn than others! If you relate to these setbacks, Pull-Ups partner and child development expert Dr. Heather Wittenberg can provide tips on how to stay patient during your child’s potty training journey.

Make it fun (and maybe a little silly!)

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Potty training needs to be fun. We know that. Otherwise we wouldn’t stock up on so many stickers! The thing is, “fun” is a totally objective concept. Just like every other part of the plan, your potty training games should be based on what your child loves. Again, I recommend turning to Pull-Ups® Potty Partnership for easy-to-use games and learning tools to help add fun to the potty training journey.

Take their fun games even further by bringing them out into your child’s world. For example, they have a clever Find the Potty game that you can download and print out. After playing the printed game with your child, print (or draw, if you’re an artist) a few potty images and place them around the house, then go on a hunt for them. Or play the game when you’re out and about! Point out potties at grandma’s house, the store, and so on.

Above all else, be patient with your child. This goes for all personalities. If you get frustrated, don’t let your child see it. Vent to your partner or another mom if you need to, but keep it positive when you’re with your child. I think it’s helpful to remember what a big change this is in their lives – it really is the signature developmental milestone for toddlers and it takes time and patience!

For those of you wondering how the fairy tale ended, let me reassure you that my son did in fact master the potty well before he started school. One day I was still in panic mode and the next it just clicked. Pull-Ups Training Pants were a big part of that success.

Visit Pull-Ups.com to get more great tools and advice to help you tailor a potty training program based on your child’s unique personality.

What is your child’s potty training personality? Take the quiz and tell us in the comments!

21 thoughts on “How to Create a Personalized Potty Training Program that Celebrates your Child’s Unique Personality”

  1. Potty training is always going to have lots of fun & this is such a wonderful idea to have a personalized program that could make it easy for moms around. Going to share with my cousin who is a new mom!

  2. I love this idea! Everyone has a different learning curve and when teaching a person, we should always adjust to that. It’s what will help them learn the most. The same goes for potty training, of course. This is definitely more effective than any other potty training program you can think of.

  3. Potty training is a serious task and its one where parents have to be consistent. I think this is cute for a personalize potty training program and hopefully it makes it easier for toddlers!

  4. This is interesting. I start my kids potty training at 17 – 18 months and just do a routine of potty time and giving them a drink, etc and encouraging them. Of course they got reward for going. My older 2 are now 7 and 8 but were done by 2 and 2 1/2. It made life a lot easier. My youngest is 13 1/2 months and I plan to do the same w/ him.

  5. Thankfully all of my kids are beyond this stage now, but boy were they all different. One was easy, one was extremely difficult, the other somewhere in the middle. This information would have been great to have during the potty training years though. For the first two, pull-ups weren’t even an option yet…

  6. Getting your child involved in their process is so important. Making them feel like they are in control will make the potty training experience easier and less like a chore.

  7. Ann Bacciaglia

    A personalized plan is a great way to help your child potty train. I will have to share this with my friend. She is trying to train her little ones right now.

  8. We used Pull-Ups to and I loved them. My first three were a cinch to potty train, so I thought the last one would be too. He wasn’t. He did finally get it, but like you said, I had to adapt the training to his personality, and let it be in his timing.

  9. Wow, what amazing tools they have now to help in potty training. I think it makes perfect sense to base it on the child’s personality. My guess is it is much more successful that way!

  10. That’s so cute and love the idea of a reward system. I am all done with the potty training stage, but will pass this along for an idea to moms I know who are struggling with this stage!

  11. Personalized potty training is a fantastic idea! I would have loved this when my girls were little. However, I did find they were both motivated by stickers each time they went on the potty lol

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