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Using Music to Motivate your Child to Use the Toilet

  • 2 minute read

Songs are a wonderful way to reduce power struggles and increase the fun in situations where you need a young child to cooperate. Having a potty or handwashing song that you are able to sing or play at toilet time can be a refreshing change from constant reminders.

Why do songs work so well?

A different part of the brain is responsible for hearing and interpreting music compared to spoken language. Some children are better able to focus on and interpret instructions when they are accompanied by a melody.

Music can also activate parts of the brain responsible for pleasure, turning toileting into a fun and enjoyable experience rather than a battle of wills or something to be afraid of. Listening to music or singing a song can help your child move from their 'downstairs brain' where they are operating from fight, flight or freeze (i.e. tantrums and battles of will) and into their 'upstairs brain' where they are able to think and act rationally  (for more on this see The Whole Brain Child by  Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D).

Here are our top 3 toileting songs that help increase a child's cooperation and confidence with the steps of going potty.

The Toilet Song by The Wiggles is great for children who struggle to sit on the toilet long enough for anything to happen. It's a great song to show children who are just starting out on their potty training journey.

They set a challenge for children to sit on the potty for the whole length of the song. Having a challenge can help make toileting fun and interesting. The animated kids in the video don't have anything happen on their first try which helps take the pressure off.

I Gotta Go by The Learning Station is a great way to help teach children all the steps of going to the toilet. It's great for kids who know how to use the toilet but sometimes struggle to remember to flush or wash their hands.

It can take some time for children to master all the steps of going potty and to get the order of the steps right. A catchy and repetitive song (you've been warned!) like this can help children solidify all the different steps of going to the toilet.

The song talks about using public restrooms which so is perfect if you are ready to brave toilet training outside of the house or if your child is also training at day-care.

This song from Daniel Tiger is great for children who are just learning to listen to their body and go to the toilet when they need to wee.

The song teaches children to pause their play when they need to go toilet "If you have to go potty, stop and go right away". It  helps solidify the routine of flushing and washing hands with its catchy lyrics "flush and wash and be on your way". And it helps children identify the signs their body might show when they need to go "I know when it's potty time cause I'm wiggling from side to side".