7 Quick & Healthy Dinner Recipes (in under 30 minutes)

7 Quick & Healthy Dinner Recipes (in under 30 minutes)

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Quick and Healthy Dinner Recipes Made in Under 30 Minutes

Just an average mom day is insanely busy. So when 5:00 o’clock hits, your kids are hungry and there’s no dinner made, what usually happens? Do you heat up some heavily-processed foods you’ve got lying around or end up in a drive-thru? Skip the processed, unhealthy junk with these 7 awesome quick and healthy dinner recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. These recipes will save you money and time while providing your family with a healthy and delicious meal.

Quick & Heathy Dinner Recipes Under 30 Minutes

1) 20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp (from Sally’s Baking Addiction) 

(image from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Shrimp is healthy, delicious, and cooks up in minutes. I absolutely LOVE shrimp and so does my family. So I buy it in bulk at Costco. This quick Honey Garlic Shrimp is divine and so incredibly easy. Pair with steamed veggies and some rice.

2) Crispy Parmesan Chicken w/ Zucchini (from the Recipe Critic)

(image from The Recipe Critic)

Have you got picky little eaters in your family? Not a problem here. This crispy chicken is not only easy, but it’s a big winner–even with the picky bunch. And while I am a huge fan of zucchini, you can really pair the chicken with any veggie you like.

3) Paleo Skillet Beef Fajitas (from A Healthy Life For Me)

(image from A Healthy Life For Me)

These quick and easy fajitas fit the bill for a lot of healthy eating (paleo, gluten-free, whole30). While this one will involve more chopping and ingredients than the other recipes (lots of veggies) it’s loaded with vitamins, fiber, and nutrients.

Note: if you use jalapenos, be careful. I recently handled jalapenos without gloves, rubbed my nose and eyes without thinking and ended up with a face and fingers on fire. It was not pleasant.

4) Sheet Pan Ginger Soy Glazed Salmon (from Eat Yourself Skinny)

(image from Eat Yourself Skinny)

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s all cooked on one pan. One cooking dish for an entire healthy meal.

5) 30 Minute Roasted Cauliflower Chowder (from Simply Quinoa)

(image from Simply Quinoa)

Oh man, this soup is so good–and it’s got protein! While I love cauliflower on it’s own, this chowder adds some really delicious ingredients like humus and the result is fantastic.

Also, I find that pureed soups are a great way to give kids vegetables since they can’t actually see any vegetables. If they see it, it’s game over in my house. But I can stick all manner of goodness in blended soups! I use this awesome immersion blender to quickly and easily puree my soups.

6) Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken (from Eat Yourself Skinny)

(image from Eat Yourself Skinny)

Yet another sheet pan wonder from Eat Yourself Skinny. Quick, delicious, and easy clean up. 

7) Grilled Chicken Fajita Kebabs (from Fit Foodie Finds)

(image from Fit Foodie Finds)

These flavor packed kebabs can be made on the grill or in the oven. Kebabs cook up SUPER fast!

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If this was helpful, follow my Dinner Under 30 Minutes board on Pinterest! I’m adding to it ALL the time.


With these quick and healthy dinner recipes, you can easily prepare meals that you can feel good about serving your family.

Good luck, mama!

Quick & Heathy Dinner Recipes Under 30 Minutes

Nature Scavenger Hunt: A Simple and Fun Preschool Math Activity

Nature Scavenger Hunt: A Simple and Fun Preschool Math Activity

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Nature Scavenger Hunt: A Simple and Fun Preschool Math Activity

I am always on the lookout for easy, fun, and educational activities that I can do with my 4 little ones. This nature scavenger hunt is a super fun way to explore the outdoors and practice counting. With just a few household items and just a couple minutes prep time, you are ready to go! You can have a fun little learning adventure with your kids where they will be encouraged to think out of the box and use their math skills to add up what they find.

There are so many variations of how you can do this activity! If you want, after your hunt your kids can make a nature collage with what they found during the scavenger hunt. Get creative

Fun & Easy Nature Scavenger Hunt Preschool Math Activity


For Scavenger Hunt

  • List of items to look for on the scavenger hunt
  • Pencil/crayon
  • Basket/bag to collect items

For Nature Collage

  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Option-tray


1) First, write a list of objects to look for on the scavenger hunt.

Your list will depend on the area you live in and the season.  For example, you can write a list as follows: Five rocks of any color, 5 flowers of any color, 10 leaves, 8 small sticks.

Create your list with your child in mind. Since we had a variety of ages on our hunt–6, 4, 2–I was flexible in my expectations for each child. The 4 and 6 year old could easily count to 20 (and well beyond), while my 2 year old can count to about 5 right now. My goal was to just get each child to practice at their level.

For most kids, you’ll definitely want to keep the quantity of objects higher than three, that way there will be more items for your child to count and add.  

2) It’s Adventure Time!

Go for a walk and have your child use the list as the guide of what he needs to find.

You can walk around your backyard or neighborhood. We chose to go to a local reserve because there was simply more nature to explore and plus there were fun things like ducks and bunnies to count!

3) Use Your List

As your child finds the items on the list, have him write down what he has found and the amount. If you think it might be helpful, you can have him tally as he finds the objects on the list. Or you can collect them in your basket/bag and count afterwards. It’s versatile!

By the way, the baskets we used (pictured) are part of some play food sets we have. They just happened to be perfect for this activity. 

Every time your child finds an item from the list, have him add the amount of items he has.  This will give him lots of opportunities to practice adding, but will also help him to keep track of the amount he has.  

4) Add the total.

At the end of the walk, have your little one add the totals from all that he found. So many opportunities for counting!

5) Make a collage

Now for the really fun part! After finding everything on the list and adding it up, your child can make a collage of the items by gluing the items on cardboard or making a display tray. By placing the items on a tray, he can have many opportunities to rearrange his collage in different ways.

Nature + Counting = Simple & Easy Educational Fun!

Educational activities don’t have to take a lot of time or effort. You don’t have to plan some complicated activity that involves a lot of prep time and organization. This scavenger hunt is super easy and super fun for kids. And you can modify it however you need to meet your needs. Really, you’re just out exploring in nature and counting! Plus, you can add a collage project at the end.  

Try this one and let me know how it goes.

Have fun, mama!

Fun & Easy Nature Scavenger Hunt Preschool Math Activity

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide

Breastfeeding is tough. Which is part why 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they want to. While there are many reasons for this, one reason is that breastfeeding becomes too inconvenient and too difficult when life gets busy. If you want to be successful and nurse long term, creating a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe is essential. Cute and versatile breastfeeding clothes will make nursing discreetly quick and easy regardless of where you are.

And the good news is that there are sooooo many amazingly cute breastfeeding clothes out there right now (see below for a comprehensive list). We’re basically in a renaissance for breastfeeding clothes. It’s an exciting time to be alive, ladies!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

It’s worth the investment

Let’s just be honest for a sec–popping the ladies out isn’t exactly convenient in most clothes. You may be able to get away with what you have for the first month or two when you hardly ever leave the house. But once you are back into the normal routine, nursing quickly becomes incredibly inconvenient in most normal clothes. I have seen my fair share of moms who’ve had to pull their entire dress up to nurse their baby. And–let’s face it–I’ve been there too.

But you can completely avoid that hassle. Breastfeeding clothes (and nursing-friendly clothes) make discrete nursing easy and convenient. They also increase your chances of successfully breastfeeding for as long as you choose.  And that means saving literally thousands of dollars on formula. Formula costs on average $1800 for a year’s worth. Yikes! In the end, investing in your breastfeeding success will save you money. For other breastfeeding tips, check out my post 6 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Success.

Been there and done that

But alas, I can be a very slow learner at times. While I am a major breastfeeding clothes advocate now, it took breastfeeding 3 kids to figure out how much easier life is with them. With my first three kids, I looked at nursing clothes online, and while they were cute, I felt like they were a little expensive. I’ll get by on what I have, I thought.

But “getting by” meant many uncomfortable and awkward situations as I strained to get the milk bags out of uncompromising clothes. I’d be sitting in my car nursing a child with a dress or blouse pulled all the way up exposing my tummy. Or awkwardly trying to nurse with a cover while trying to navigate through about 5 articles of clothing, pushing this one that way and that one this way just trying to feed my child.

It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun.

So once I was pregnant with my 4th, I finally decided to splurge and buy actual straight up, honest-to-goodness breastfeeding clothes. And I’ve never looked back.

Welcome to Shang-ri-la, ladies!

It completely changed my breastfeeding experience. It was a whole new and wonderful world. It was awesome. And I pretty much told anyone who would listen that breastfeeding clothes are amazing. 

No more awkwardness and stress while trying to nurse in public. No more fumbling with 6 articles of clothing and intense discomfort as I try to feed my child.

Not only was nursing very convenient, but nursing clothes are designed to make it discrete. Most are designed so that very little of your breast is exposed while you are nursing–and what is exposed is covered by your baby. I found that while in public, I could quickly, easily, and very discreetly nurse my little one (with no cover) without getting any looks whatsoever. Not only was it soooo much easy for me, but it’s like people didn’t even notice.

I’m still nursing my 14 month old and wearing nursing clothes every single day.

So, now that you know you need some breastfeeding clothes, let’s dive right in!

Breastfeeding Clothes: The Basics

Nursing clothes are made to make nursing convenient and discreet. Clothes in your closet may already fit the bill (hello, deep-v’s!), but investing in some great nursing pieces are totally worth it. 

Assuming that you do laundry about once a week, here’s a basic guideline for what you will need.

  • 5 + Nursing Bras (regular & sport)
  • 5-7 Casual tops
  • 1-2 Dressy Tops
  • At least 1 dress
  • Optional: nursing pajamas 

While you don’t need to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, you do want to make sure you have enough clothes to make breastfeeding convenient. If it’s not convenient, you’re probably going to stop nursing before you’d like to.

Also note that, if you are like most women, the first several months after giving birth you might want some more forgiving clothes as you work back to your pre-pregnancy size/shape.

Breast-feeding Clothes You Need:

5 or more nursing bras

These are absolutely essential. If you can’t whip your tatas out of your bra easily, it won’t matter what you are wearing. Breastfeeding is just going to be awkward. So first things first, get some nursing bras! For more guidance on selecting nursing bras, check out the article from The Bump.

5-7 casual nursing-friendly tops

  • Nursing Tops: I recommend getting at least one honest-to-goodness nursing top. This top from Undercover Mama is my favorite. It’s long, comfortable, and it actually clips right onto your nursing bra so it is INSANELY easy and convenient to nurse. It’s long and flattering and makes nursing and running around after kids easy. Undercover Mama is a fantastic and reasonably priced brand to get cute and comfortable nursing clothes.
  • The Deep V: These are perfect casual wear and are not nursing specific, so you may already have them around. I’ve really like these ones (note: you will want to order a size up). Pair with jeans, leggings or a cute skirt and you are golden. Personally, I love this skirt–like LuLaRoe but way cheaper and it comes in a zillion patterns/colors. Downside of the deep-v is that the top of the breast is exposed if you are concerned about being super discreet and like to nurse without a cover.
  • The Button up Top: Not nursing specific, but still super convenient for nursing. 
  • Nursing Tank Tops: Wearing these handy tank tops under your clothes make most tops nursing-friendly. Downside is that you have to lift your top up  and fumble with more articles of clothing. But if you are on a tight budget, these are the way to go.

2 “dressy” nursing-friendly tops

At some point, you are actually going to need to dress up somewhat and get out of the house. If you work, I’d get several tops. Even if baby is not coming with you, chances are you will need to breastfeed at sometime while wearing the outfit. Even though my baby never joins me while I teach evening classes (obviously), I nurse her right before I leave and right when I come back. 

A nursing dress

You may not wear dresses all that much, but when you need to wear one, chances are it’s going to be hard to nurse unless it’s an actual nursing dress. Personally, I love to wear dresses. Plus many styles of dresses are quite forgiving and comfortable to postpartum bodies.

This is probably my very favorite dress and it comes in 4 colors! It’s also Undercover Mama so it clips right into your bra for super convenient and discreet nursing. While it’s a maxi dress, it can be cut with sharp scissors to any length you want.  For me, I like my dresses mid-length. So I just cut off the bottom and the fabric just curled up nicely with no need to hem! I

I also REALLY love the dresses at Milk and Baby. I have bought several and while some were kinda pricey IMO, the convenience of nursing clothes seriously makes it worth the price.

Optional: Nursing Pajamas

Nursing pajamas are nice for hanging around the house during the postpartum healing period. During that time I’m not up to get “dressed” yet, but it’s nice to have something comfortable to wear when answering the door and for when people stop by to see the new bundle of joy. 

Recap: My Favorite Items



List of Great Breastfeeding Clothes Websites

  • Milk & Baby: Great selection and super cute clothes. I have a few dresses from here and I always get compliments when I wear them. People are so shocked when I tell them they are nursing dresses! 
  • Milk Nursingwear: This retailer also has a massive selection of great clothes.
  • Latched Mama: While the clothes are pretty simple, they are affordable and well made. My 3/4 sleeve dress has held up really well.
  • Amazon: Amazon has an impressive array of breastfeeding clothes available including many of the above brands plus some very inexpensive options (just be aware of quality and fit issues with cheaper selections).

Clothing Retailers with Nursing Clothes Selection

Welcome to the world of convenient & discrete nursing!

My friend, learn from my errors and make sure that you have a breastfeeding-friendly wardrobe to set you up for breastfeeding success. Clothes make all the difference in making nursing both convenient, easy, and discrete. Nursing is hard enough without clothing choices making it inconvenient. By investing a a few items, you can change your whole experience.

Good luck, mama!

The Ultimate Breastfeeding Clothes Resource Guide #breastfeeding #nursingclothes

To the Mama Who is Stressing Over Your Kid’s Birthday Party

To the Mama Who is Stressing Over Your Kid’s Birthday Party

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Dear Mama Who is Stressing over your kid’s birthday party,

Oh darlin’. I get it. You want so badly to make your child’s birthday party magical and perfect. And you are stressed out about it. You want everyone there to be blissfully happy. And you want some amazing pictures for your instagram and to grace the pages of a Shutterfly album (which is also on your endless to-do list).

But oh, sweetheart. You. Are. Tired.

Your eyes are glazed over from scouring Pinterest looking for the perfect themes, decorations, and designer treats. Maybe you’ve already put in a ton of time into planning and ordering and have had it. Or, perhaps you are simply realizing all the hours (and $$$$) it’s going to take to put on this dream party.

I seriously know how you feel. I’ve been there and felt the exact same way. 

And my friend, I have some great news for you. Unless putting on an amazing party brings you immense joy, you can stop all this planning. You don’t have to sacrifice your life at the alter of children’s birthday parties. And you can still be a rockstar mama. In fact, I would argue that NOT stressing yourself out will actually ultimately bring your child more happiness and will help you be an even better mom than you already are.

And yes, you ARE good mom, already.

But simply put, your child does not need this party. Your child can experience the joy and magic of turning one year older without giving you gray hairs and forcing you into sleep deprivation. Crazy stress is not the only vehicle for a fun and exciting party.

To the Mama Who is Majorly Stressed Over Your Kid's Birthday PartyBut I get you.

It was 2:30am and I was furiously hand sewing ballet tutus for toy dinosaurs when I suddenly questioned every step in my life that led me to that moment. What on earth was I doing staying up at all hours sewing a tutu for a TOY dinosaur?!?! Despite a headache and serious sleep deprivation, I had been determined to have a picture perfect Ballerina Dinosaur Party for my 4-year-old. Like jerking awake from a deep sleep, suddenly I was looking at the pile of tiny tutus I had spent hour making FOR A DECORATION (*eyeroll*) and I was like “This is ridiculous.”

And it was.

But like so many moms, I got caught up in wanting a picture perfect Pinterest/Instagram-worthy birthday party. 

So, some real talk here. I’ve got a question for you to ponder: Who exactly is the fancy birthday party for?

It is for your child? Other moms? Social media? For yourself? A combination?  

If I was answering in that moment with the tutus, I would have had to admit it was for all those reasons. While creating a magic experience for my daughter was my primary motivation, if it was my only motivation, I’m 100% certain I would have gone about things differently.

As you well know, kids find joy in the simplest things. A cardboard box or simple kitchen utensils can keep kids busy for hours while the mountains of expensive toys gather dust. I’m telling ya’ mama, your child does not need a fancy party to have fun and feel special.

A better way

Just days after my stressful and exhausting dinosaur party, I went to a birthday party for one of my daughter’s friends. I tell ya, this mom had it figured out. We met at her in-law’s house who had fun playground equipment and they had rented a bouncy castle. As it was morning, they got a few boxes of donuts for the treat. Also, the in-laws had a pony so the birthday girl’s dad guided kids around on little rides while the mom chatted completely stress-free with the other moms and the children joyfully played. No gift bags, organized games, decorations. or photo props. Just a bunch of deliriously happy kids and relaxed parents.

Frankly, this mom was a birthday party ninja.

Okay, I know what you’re about to say. I get that we don’t all have in-laws with playgrounds and horses. Or even funds for a bouncy house rental, for that matter. But, I’m telling you, my friend had birthday parties figured out.

She used the resources that were already easily at her disposal and she kept it super simple. While I ran around my kid’s party, exhausted and frantically trying to go through each activity, my friend sat relaxed and happy, visiting with all the moms. She actually appeared to be enjoying herself. The difference couldn’t have been more stark.

The 3 F’s of a Rockin’ Birthday Party

Can I let you in on a little secret? I’ve come to realize that a successful kid’s birthday party really only needs 3 things: frosting, fun, and friends.

That’s it. Really.

At the end of the day…

Remember, mama: at the end of the day, what your kids need most is a happy, healthy mama who takes care of herself. Feeling loved by you and connected is what will shape their future–not a party.

So go hug your kid(s) and get some sleep, my friend. You’ve got this. 

To the Mama Who is Majorly Stressed Over Your Kid's Birthday Party



Potty Training Tips & Tricks: A Survival Guide

Potty Training Tips & Tricks: A Survival Guide

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Potty Training Tips & Tricks: A Survival Guide

I’m not going to sugar-coat here: potty training can be a complete nightmare. But we willingly trudge through this purgatory with the promise of a diaper-free paradise on the other side. To get through potty training, we want every tool possible at our disposal. This post is all about the best tips and tricks to work through the bumps of potty training and live the diaper-free life. 

Every child is different

It goes without saying that there is no one size fits all approach to potty-training. One of the most important things a parent can understand is that every child and every situation is different and we, as parents, get to forge the path that is best for our child and our family (for more on that, check out my post here). Nowhere is this more true than with potty training where you are teaching a child to fundamentally change their behavior. There are a lot of skills to learn in potty training!

In potty training my 3 oldest kids, I saw first hand how even kids close in age and raised the same all responded differently. They simply have different personalities! The best thing we can do to prepare for potty training is learn as much as we can. We want to get as many tools in our parentin toolbox so that we have options when it comes to picking a potty training strategy.

Potty Training Tips & Tricks (free printable chart)

Potty Training Eternal Truths

Though every child is different, there are some guiding truths that will be helpful in every single potty training scenario.

1) You child has to be ready

I cannot overstate this enough. You wanting it more than anything in the world does not count. As awful as diapers can be, they’re easier and less traumatizing than cleaning up epic poop and pee messes from around your house. It can get ugly very quickly. Trust me on this one. Wait until your child is ready. Also, if your child seems ready but then resists once you begin potty training, stop and try again later. If things get too frustrating and negative, it could make potty training a near impossible task. 

2) Keep it positive and upbeat

In my experience, kids respond soooo much better to our positive reinforcement and encouragement rather than getting upset and pointing out what they are doing wrong. If the potty-training process turns negative, things will devolve into “The Potty Training Nightmare Scenario” where literally no one is happy with their life. Remember, diapers are easier than disgusting messes, heaps of laundry, and lots of tears.  You can always try again a bit later. Diapers are not forever. I promise. 

3) Be Patient

Think about all the things a child has to learn to be fully potty trained:

    1. recognizing they need to use the restroom
    2. pulling pants up and down
    3. Actually going pee and poop in a toilet
    4. If using a tiny potty, then dumping contents into the toilet
    5. Wiping 
    6. Flushing
    7. washing hands

These are A LOT of skills for a little person to master. It’s going to take time and lots and lots of practice. Are we perfect parents? Nope. We mess up all the time. And no one jumps out and yells at us for our mistakes. We need to be patient with our little friends as they learn all these new skills.

7 Signs They Are Ready to Potty Train

Your child should be showing at least a few of these signs before you venture into potty training.

  1. Pulling at or taking off a wet or poopy diaper
  2. Hiding to pee or poop
  3. Going long stretches with a dry diaper (shows bladder control)
  4. Wakes up from naps or in the morning with a dry diaper
  5. Interest in others’ use of the potty
  6. Telling you before, during, or after they’ve gone in their diaper.
  7. Child follows directions (this is extremely important)

2 Skills to Practice BEFORE You Start Potty Training

To make the potty-training process easier, here are a few skills to practice BEFORE you begin potty training that will help the process go more smoothly. Again, our little sweeties have to learn sooo many skills when learning to potty train. Teaching some early will pay off when the real fun begins.

  • Washing hands together after changing a diaper: You’re already washing your hands after every diaper change so start doing it together. Explain and show your child that after you pee or poop, you wash your hands. Talk about the importance of washing  and get your toddler used to washing hands after they go.
  • Pulling pants up and down: Since the goal of potty training is helping your child gain toileting independence, being able to pull pants up and down is a completely necessary skill. But let me tell ya, it is a hard for those little hands to pull underpants up over those cute little bums. Before you even start potty training, you can practice pulling pants up and down by helping your child with hand placement. Help your child place one hand on the back waistband and another on the front to work on pulling pants up.

Your Potty Training Toolkit: 10 Tips & Tricks

1) Start with a kick-off session

How do you even start potty training anyways? I’ve found that beginning with a super upbeat, fun “potty training kick-off party” is really helpful for introducing underpants and the potty training routine, all while getting the child excited about the process. Some things you may want to try:

  • Eliminate all distractions: Turn your phone off. If you have other kids, get someone to care for them. Keep it focused and your attention 100% on your little one.
  • Give lots of water, juice, salty snacks: Salty snacks promote thirst, which mean drinking, and later lots of pee. This create opportunities for lots of peeing practice.
  • Small rewards: Have small incentives for when your child follows directions, sits on the potty, practices the new skills, and of course, when they go in the potty. Stickers (see the bottom of the post for a free potty training chart) or small treats work great.
  • Use a doll that can “pee”: This can help model the behavior and you can help your child to teach the doll to go pee in the potty. In my experience, it can be hit or miss mostly due to the difficulty of finding a quality doll that pees.
  • Watch potty training shows and clips to reinforce routine and get the child excited. Here are some of my favorites:
    • Daniel Tiger Goes Potty: Episode 1 of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (a cartoon picking up where Mr. Rogers left off) is my favorite. Teaches the process and even has a catchy song that is awesome for getting kids to remember all the steps. If you have Amazon Prime, the episode is available for free!
    • Sesame Street’s Potty Time w/ Elmo

2) Talk about what you are doing in the restroom

Let’s be honest, mama, you’re probably not going to the bathroom alone very often. Make use of your company by explaining what you are doing and the routine (wipe, flush, wash etc). Your child will be familiar with the process and excited to be like mama/daddy!

3) Read Potty Training Children’s Books

This is awesome for getting kids excited and reinforcing the learning principles. My 3rd kid basically potty trained herself after I read her a potty book. Before you get jealous of my little unicorn, just note that she discovered the transcendant joy of fecal smearing shortly thereafter. So I paid the price, rest assured. Here are our favorite Potty Training Children’s Books:

4) Use Incentives

Incentives can be very powerful in motivating kids to learn these new skills. Just make sure your incentives align with your values. For example, if you don’t like the idea of sugary incentives–which work for many parents–don’t do it if doesn’t fit with your style and values. There is no one right incentive for everyone. 

Treats worked really well for my kids (since they are rare in our house) so I’ve used M&Ms, Skittles, and mini marshmallows for reinforcing good behavior in the beginning. Things like sitting on the potty and waiting, pulling pants up and down, and going in the potty can all earn treats as they master the skills. I also like to give incentives for reaching big milestones.  We’ll get a $10 toy they want and display it (so it is a constant reminder) until they go like 3 days without accidents or something. 

Feeling successful is often very motivating for kids (and adults too!).

5) Naked time

Sometimes losing the diaper and training pants altogether works really well for some kids. Feeling nothing between their little behind and their environment makes them more motivated to use the potty. This has worked really well with a couple of my kids (while another would purposely go on the carpet *sigh*).

6) Cold Turkey

Ditching diapers 100% can be a useful strategy for some while others may take a more gradual approach. This approach definitely takes a lot of pateince and positivity. Many parents who take the cold turkey approach will spend the first couple of days cleaning up repeated messes. But a few days into it, often the child catches on and starts to do really well.

7) Keep potty handy

I love these little potty chairs.  They’re easy to move around your house so the potty is always handy! Keep the potty in whatever room you are in. 

8) Role models

While you can be an effective model for your children, me and many other parents have found that other children are even more effective potty training role models. If there are potty-trained cousins, friends, or siblings that can model peeing on the potty, use them!

9) Routine

Children’s brains crave routine and patterns. Creating a potty routine that you do over and over and over can be very effective in teaching these principles. If you want to sing a song as you do it, sing a song. Just be consistent.

10) For Boys: Create Target Practice

Potty training boys is a little different (something I’ve admittedly never done). But I have heard over and over that putting Cheerios in the toilet for “target practice” is an easy and effective way to teach boys to aim properly. It may also be a good idea to first teach boys to pee sitting down.

Recommended Potty Training Resources

Remember, there is no one right way to potty train. Depending on your situation, different resources will be more helpful than others. Moral of the story is find what works for you and your child. These are all resources that I have found extremely helpful:

  • Potty Training Chair: A small potty chair with removable bowl is awesome for helping little ones learn to potty train. First off, you can move it to any room you are in for easy access. Also, kids can easily learn to get on and off (which is more of a struggle on the full-sized toilet). I know some parents who teach straight on the big toilet and that works for them, but I couldn’t live without the potty chairs. I have a 2-story house and so when training, there is always at least one on each floor.
  • Toilet seat cover: Some parents opt to skip the chair, but use the seat cover to make the big toilet more manageable. We’ve used it as a bridge between the training potty chair and just using the big toilet.
  • 8-10 Training Pants (at least): You will, most likely have a lot of accidents in the beginning of potty training, so it’s important to have a nice stock of good training pants. Consider buying some a bit on the large side so it’s easier for your little one to pull on and off. Some of my favorite training pants:
      • The classic Gerber training pants: We’ve probably bought dozens of these over the course of potty training 3 kids. They’re a solid (and absorbent) choice. The leg holes are bit looser on my kids which has been FABULOUS  when teaching them to pull underpants up and down. It makes it easier 
      • Unisex training pants: These have a plastic interior lining and tighter leg holes which I have found to be really great for containing accidents. Plus, my little ones love the animals on the bums. Con: Not as loose as others so I have to help pull on and off.
  • Step stool for toilet: Whether you start on the toilet or with a chair, once your child is on the regular toilet, a step stool will be necessary for your child to get on and off the toilet on their own. We own a few of these.
  • Step stool for sink: Since the ultimate goal is getting them to do it all on their own, they’ll need a stool to reach the sink. I love this one–looks nice, sturdy, and it was really easy to put together.
  • Toilet Training in Less Than a Day: A friend of mine recommended the book after finding success with her son. It’s intense, I won’t lie. There’s a lot in the book. And I don’t know that it really can work for every kid. However, it is a treasure trove of really awesome info and has completely shaped how I potty trained my kids. It’s full of really awesome strategies and can really help you wrap your head around every single step involved in potty training. 
  • Potty Training Children’s books: These can be so helpful in not only teaching and reinforcing potty training routine, but also getting kids excited about it.

Bottom Line: Stay Strong

All kids are different. Be patient. Be enthusiastic and positive. And don’t be afraid to ditch an approach that doesn’t seem to work and try something else.

Download my free potty training chart and let me know in the comments or at erin (at) theincrementalmama.com how potty training is going for you! Let me know how I can help you and simply be your cheerleader.

Hang in there!

Potty Training Tips & Tricks (free printable chart)