Potty Training Charts: Everything Parents Need to Know

A toddler’s transition to the toilet is one of the most stressful moments of parenting. Here's how a potty training charts can help move things along.

Most children aren't ready for potty training until they're at least 2 or 3 years old, and they often need a little motivation to transition from diapers to the toilet. A potty training chart, which is a reward system that monitors your little one's success, can help the process go smoothly. Here's what you need to know about this time-honored technique.

Two Girls Sitting Potty Training

What's a Potty Training Chart?

Just as its name suggests, a potty chart is a calendar that tracks your child's trends, progress, and success throughout potty training. Potty charts often help motivate children, giving them a sense of self-awareness when ditching the diapers. They're also incredibly helpful for the caregiver, and they can serve as a guide when updating your child's pediatrician.

Potty charts come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. While there are plenty of free printable potty charts available online, some caregivers prefer to make their own with posters, stickers, and markers.

How to Use Potty Training Charts

Every family uses potty training charts differently; some give their children stickers after each successful trip to the bathroom, while others dole them out for accident-free days. If your child earns a certain number of stickers, you might give them a small prize. This can be anything you deem sensible, but parenting experts warn against anything too "special," to soften the blow on the days when your child does have an accident. Collectible items—like toy cars and small dolls—usually work well.

Each week you start over again and, once your child has mastered staying dry, you can move towards a new goal (for example, moving to big kid underwear). You can also give your child stickers for individual tasks—for example, going to the bathroom, wiping, flushing, and washing their hands.

For a potty training chart to be successful, follow these tips and guidelines.

  • Explain the potty chart to your child in easy-to-understand language. It should make them excited about potty training!
  • Hang the chart where your child can see, which will remind them to use the toilet whenever they need to go. You should also bring it up often ("Remember to use the potty when you need to pee or poop"!)
  • If you choose to DIY your potty training chart, you can personalize it to your child's interests, whether it's balloons, flowers, puppies, or your child's favorite superhero. Either draw these characters and symbols yourself or purchase stickers to use as decorations.

Free Printable Potty Training Charts

You don't need to spend money on potty chart printables. These free options will help your little one transition to the toilet easily.

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Potty Training Alligator Chart

Alligator Potty Training Chart

This chart contains circles that connect a baby alligator to its mother. Every time your child uses the potty, color in a circle or fill it with a sticker.

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Potty Training Grid Chart

Potty Training Grid Chart

This chart tracks five different milestones throughout the week.

  1. I said that I needed to use the potty.
  2. I pulled down my pants by myself.
  3. I sat on the potty.
  4. I used the potty.
  5. I stayed dry all day.
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Potty Training Rewards Chart

Potty Training Rewards Chart

This potty chart has 72 boxes, split into nine rows and eight columns. Fill one box with a sticker or check mark whenever your child uses the bathroom. When they fill all 72 boxes (or when they complete an entire row of stickers), they get a prize!

Updated by
Nicole Harris
Nicole Harris, SEO Editor
Nicole Harris is the Editor at Parents. She joined the team in 2018 as a Staff Writer and was promoted to SEO Editor in 2021. She now covers everything from children's health to parenting trends. Nicole's writing has appeared in Martha Stewart Weddings, Good Housekeeping, The Knot, BobVila.com, and other publications. A graduate of Syracuse University, Nicole currently lives in New Jersey with her husband.
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