Tampons, Q-tips and co-peeing: Strategies to keep a baby of any age on the potty

Whether she’s six months old or three years, keeping a wriggly baby on the potty can be a challenge. Here are some strategies I use with our incredibly active one year old son who, after the big change of moving to Bermuda from Canada and being a month without daddy, is back to signing his need to potty to me and going often during the day (OR his other less obvious signs which include a particular silence / grunting /  screaming at me / nipping me / getting up onto furniture without a diaper to go / not giving me any sign–but that is a different post LOL).

Whether your baby is sitting on the big potty with an insert or a little one of his own, potty toys need to be one of two things:

1) Flushable or;

2) Too big to fall in the potty.

Here is a list of Bodhi’s favorite potty toys:

  • Books (we often make this routine for a morning potty sit);
  • Q-tips (flushable paper kind only);
  • Flushable tampons with cardboard applicators (leave the wrapper on as it takes an extra 5 minutes or so to get that off–probably an expensive toy, but perfectly hygienic and he loves it!);
  • Cotton balls;
  • Make-up remover pads;
  • A few toilet paper squares or the end of the roll;
  • Larger toys that would have to be pushed through the space between his legs to fall in (I can catch them before this happens);
  • Thread without the spool;
  • Bandaids.

Now that he is a bit older and will hang onto things relatively predictably, I give him some other favorites to play with only on his little potty as they are not flushable and must be thrown in the garbage or cleaned if they fall in.

  • One-use dental floss (watch the sharp tip) or a length of dental floss
  • A plastic dropper
  • A cup of water (gives a double bonus of encouraging him to urinate)

The favorite toys by far at the moment is an unused Tylenol dropper and a cup of water as well as the tampons. Oh the joy this brings! I have also found great success facing his little potty towards mine and going with him everytime. He loves this, and it seems to have normalized the experience and he will sit for a long time until I take his toy away and take him off, often with tears as a result.

KEY: The toys are only used on the potty and under supervision as they are all choking hazards and will lose their novelty if played with off the potty (other than the books and a larger toy we might be using). Use common sense and clean all his toys and hands as needed. I use strict consequences here: tears or no, if the toy goes in the potty (that space between the legs is so tempting to drop stuff in) then it is taken due to the fact it is dirty. I grant another replacement Q-tip or whatever, otherwise he gets something else until it can be cleaned.


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