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Actress Busy Philipps: I Bribed My Potty-Training Daughter With Sugar

Busy Philipps tells us her potty training secrets and why she wants all parents to donate their extra diapers once their kids achieve bathroom success.

Busy Philipps Potty Training Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock
Actress Busy Philipps made her name in teen coming-of-age TV series Freaks and Geeks and Dawson’s Creek but lately, she’s focused on a younger milestone: potty training.

“I have two kids who have two distinct personalities and had two different experiences potty training,” Philipps told us. Her oldest, Birdie, really responded to reward charts and stickers, while her youngest, Cricket, was a little bit more difficult.

“I'm not judgy about other parents and what they do,” the actress said. “But for us, we really had to go with the sugar. We really had to bribe her with sugar.”

Philipps, along with husband Marc Silverstein, knows every child takes a different type of coaxing to get started on the potty training path. For instance, she said Cricket absolutely hated her first training potty. “She just hated it. It was one of the cool designed ones and was really good-looking and I thought was sort of chic and it just wasn't working with her.”

Philipps told us she tried tempting her daughter with M&Ms and jelly beans, but Cricket still wasn’t loving the potty process. “And then, I realized, she wanted to pick out her own potty. So we took a trip to the store and she picked out an Elmo potty that made a flushing noise and Elmo talked to you,” she shared. “That was the one that she wanted and that was the one that worked.”

But even if kids are on the right track in the restroom, there’s still plenty of potential for problems. Philipps said shopping outings can be tricky, especially when stores lack public bathrooms.

“I have held both of my girls up over the gutter so they can pee into the road. That's not the greatest look for a mom,” Philipps confessed. “But you do what you can do! They can't hold it: If they gotta go, they gotta go!”

Philipps isn’t just invested in sharing pro tips from her children’s potty journeys, the mom-of-two is also working to close the diaper gap. She’s partnering with Pull-Ups Training Pants and Los Angeles’ Baby2Baby to get diapers to families in need.

Diapers are an expensive necessity for all families but nearly a third of low-income families struggle to afford diapers for their babies.

“We encourage moms to take their pack of diapers and donate them so that a mom in need doesn't have to choose between food and a clean diaper.” Philipps pointed out that as you near the end of potty training with your own kids, you might have extra diapers on hand.

“Don't throw them out, that's crazy!” she said. Instead, bring them to a diaper bank like Baby2Baby's in LA or others around the country. Even half a pack could make a difference in a family’s life.

“What a package of clean diapers means is that that mom is able to take a child to childcare. That mom is able to go to work. That mom is able to have a job and provide for their family,” Philipps told us. "She can give that kid an opportunity in childcare or preschool so that they get a head start in education and sets them on the right track. So it's not just about diapers, it's about an entire life of setting them up for success as opposed to failure.”