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How much play on the potty is too much?


Toys and books can be helpful tools to encourage your kiddo to sit on the potty and stay there… until they become a distraction! Today Nicole breaks down how and when toys can help the process, and what to do when they start to hurt it.


You Will Hear:

  • How to identify whether play is hindering or helping the potty process
  • What to do instead of play
  • Strategies to create a quick and focused potty routine
  • Helpful language to keep older toddlers on track


Links and other resources mentioned today:


Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?) and read the transcript here:

Transcript Download: How much play on the potty is too much.pdf

Watch the Video Version

If you want to watch Nicole record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Resource Recommendation

Go Diaper Free: my popular EC book that simplifies EC, beginning to end

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Do you let your baby play on the potty? How do you keep the time focused?


I look forward to discussing with you in the comments, below!

xx Andrea

Disclosure Note: As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from purchases made through the links on this page.

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar R on January 17, 2023 at 11:29 am

    I have one dedicated bathroom book (Brown Bear, Brown Bear) and three shower toys that sit on the window sill in my daughter’s bathroom (23m)
    I only bring them down to read or play when she gestures for them. I recite the book if she fusses and this gets her to stay on the potty and we commit to finishing the book. Then I walk away to “get lotion” and if she needs to go, this is when she does it.
    We’ve been in daytime undies for a week. She has already had two accident free days.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on January 19, 2023 at 3:36 pm

      Yay!!! You are doing great!!!

  2. Avatar April on January 20, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    We do potty parties and sometimes I’ll let my mobile 9 month old bring a small toy. We have a mirror at his level and he loves playing the potty like a drum. He mostly wants to play with things in the bathroom (toilet paper, toilet brush). My main issue is that he’ll want to wander in the bathroom and play with the things there. Sometimes he goes in when he has to go. I wonder how much I should let him play with the potty itself (of course I have an antibacterial wipes that I use on it after #2). Making the potty area a “boring” place is not an option with a baby who wants to play with everything!
    However, I must say that we’ve had a string of “dry mornings” (I’m doing EC part-time) and he sits down and goes when he has to.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on January 24, 2023 at 3:45 pm

      Hi April! That’s amazing, he is making that mind body connection and learning to listen to his body and go on the potty. You are doing great!

  3. Avatar Natalie on January 27, 2023 at 11:05 am

    I’m doing the hybrid plan right now, as my son’s walking independently has been delayed. My 26 month old gets stuck in practicing sitting, going potty, dumping the potty and flushing. While he’s sitting and (sometimes) going potty, I read him a select set of books. He will do one cycle and then want to sit and do it all again even if he doesn’t have to go. He gets really mad and fussy when I tell him he’s all done. Not sure how to let him practice but also know that we don’t have to keep doing it. This is also before bed and after a bath, so he may also be trying to delay bedtime. Any advice?

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on January 30, 2023 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Natalie! First of all you are doing great! Trust your instincts, if his behavior is habitually around bed time or bath time in preparation for bed then chances are you have hit it right on. Many young toddlers want more independence and will want to delay bed time since bed tends to mean play time is done for the day. Encouraging time on the potty even if for practice is great, perhaps redirecting with a toy to have the toy “go potty” and go through the steps with the toy could be a great segway into helping practice with out having him insisting to be on the potty.

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