Good bathroom habits are an important lifelong skill.

How to Teach Bathroom Habits to Toddlers

by Shellie Braeuner

In the midst of potty training, sometimes that diaper-free light at the end of the tunnel is so tempting that parents forget all the little habits that go along with potty training. It’s not just using the potty that’s important; children also need to know how to aim, how to wipe and how to wash their hands. Teaching the right habits, right from the beginning doesn’t take a lot of extra time. But it does take a mom who pays attention to details.

Draw a grid on the poster board. Make four rows and as many columns as space will allow.

Write the four healthy bathroom habits in the first column. These are: "using the potty," "aiming," "wiping" and "washing hands."

Remind your child to use each of the four healthy habits every time she goes to the bathroom.

Put a sticker in the row for each habit every time your little one successfully completes the healthy task.

Set goals for groups of stickers. For example, when your child gets ten stickers, she may earn a special trip to the park or the opportunity to watch her favorite movie, while 30 stickers may earn painted toenails.

Items you will need

  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Stickers


  • Use Cheerios in the toilet to help little boys aim. A little girl who leans back while urinating will spray the seat, floor and anyone standing in front of the toilet. It is important that little girls sit up straight or lean slightly forward when urinating.
  • Teach your child to sing "Happy Birthday" while rubbing the soap on his hands. This song happens to be the proper amount of time needed to kill germs.


  • Keep your rewards small and experiential. Good hygiene is a basic expectation; the rewards are for remembering, not for doing the right thing.

About the Author

Based in Nashville, Shellie Braeuner has been writing articles since 1986 on topics including child rearing, entertainment, politics and home improvement. Her work has appeared in "The Tennessean" and "Borderlines" as well as a book from Simon & Schuster. Braeuner holds a Master of Education in developmental counseling from Vanderbilt University.

Photo Credits

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