With the Kids

Going Potty for Pennies

We’ve tried lots of things to help my 3 year old daughter stay motivated to go potty on the toilet. She’s been trained for a while now, but was having accidents at least once a day, getting distracted by playing or just plain stubbornness! Well, I came up with this “Going Potty for Pennies” jar and she’s been dry for 2 weeks in a row, Whahoo! We’re using Pull-ups at night, but most times those are dry too.

Supplies for Potty Penny Jar:

  • empty glass jar – not too big as it will never get filled all the way, and I like using a glass jar as it makes a nice “clank” sound for her to hear when she’s successful
  • pennies
  • printed paper saying “going potty for pennies” or markers/crayons to write it
  • glue – glue stick, white glue or Mod Podge & brush
  • stickers or other decorations (optional)

Cut a piece of paper to fit the outside of the jar as a label (you could use a white sticker label here as well). With the marker, write or print the words “Going Potty for Pennies” on it. Using your glue, fasten the label to the glass jar. Decorate your jar with any embellishments like stickers, foam stickers work great.

Now fill your jar with pennies when your child has success. Then after washing hands, do the Potty Dance – shake around in a circle singing “Potty Dance, Potty Dance”.


  1. I am doing something similar for my 4 1/2 year old. He gets a penny for good behavior (whether at home, mammaws, pre-school) and when he gets to 10 pennies…he gets to choose a reward. So far he had baked cupcakes with the first 10 and baked ice cream cone cakes with the second 10. I have seen a HUGE change in his behavior!

  2. I used this idea while training our little guy. He also got a quarter for pooping. Once he was trained, I explained to him that I would no longer be paying him, but that Daddy and I would take him to the store to buy a new toy for being potty trained. He was so excited! Unfortunately, we’ve been facing the problem of him being distracted and not making it to the bathroom in time. He’s having several accidents a day!

  3. That’s cute. My daughter isn’t quite 2 and she has been “potty training” for months. She started showing interest at 18 months and has used it a few times. But just recently, she went to her potty (her diaper was already off), opened the seat and sat on it to pee! We were pretty thrilled. I sat her on the “big potty” today and she pee’d there too – must have been brilliant timing :)

    She is pretty happy with us clapping and saying “good job,” but I will keep this in mind if we need it!

  4. Great idea! We have used stickers and charts as well as M&M’s. I like the M&M idea because I can grab a few for myself too. The great thing about pennies is they don’t know that the other coins are worth more. (At least at first. Yes, we do teach them that.)

  5. My kids are teenagers now. This is what we did.

    Take her to the store to pick out “big girl panties”. Wear them under her diaper. Then she will know what wet feels like. Diapers absorb so much that kids never feel the wet.

    Worked for us…fast.

  6. How funny that I got back online tonight and checked in on your blog…my daughter had 3 accidents today, all poopy!!! She was mortified every time but on the same note she is terrified of pooping on the potty! I am going to try this tomorrow! I can not do more days like today!

  7. Hi Marie!
    Great idea! I’ll have to remember that for the next time around! I’m hoping baby boy #2 is easier then Brendan…we still struggle with going #2 on the potty “in time”. Uggh!
    I posted this idea a while back on “Works for Me Wednesday.” Just thought I’d share it…it may work for some too! I really worked for Brendan. We still use it for behavior now and then. Thanks (as always) for your great and inspiring ideas!!


  8. What a great idea! I have a 3 yo DD who has been potty trained for a while, but will not do #2 in the potty. We have tried EVERYTHING…except pennies! Maybe that is the trick!
    She just holds it in. We have been the doctor, taken meds, etc. and it just isn’t clicking with her. I will definitely be making a potty jar tonight! Thanks for all of your wonderful suggestions! :)

  9. Hey! Im a nanny for two kids (a girl and boy) and I have had to potty train them both. I would have to say the boy was more difficult. We tried everything from candy to money to a new toy. None of that really worked for us. My mom heard about the potty watch so we tried it out and it actually motivated him to go potty! The watch goes off by playing music every 30, 60, and 90 minutes. I totally recommend the potty watch for those of you trying to potty train!

  10. I’m going to try that today. My 3yo will pee in the potty most of the time now but has told me several times that she doesn’t want to poo there (though she has twice). Computer time worked for her big sis, but so far nothing has been a motivator for this one. Hopefully this will work! Thanks

  11. Shelly – I’m not sure yet what we’ll do with the pennies. For now she just likes getting them. But I think we’ll have to do what you said and go to the Dollar Store for something fun.

  12. Oh, that’s GREAT! I think I’ll try it. We still haven’t moved out of pull-ups because I don’t want to have to have my carpet or couch cleaned right now. Lol.

  13. Thanks for the great idea! We are struggling with a three year old sweetie who has NO desire to use the potty. Why would she when she is so happy in her Dora pull ups – GRRR! Maybe the pennies are just the trick for us! BTW, I have been enjoying lots of your fun ideas for about a month now. Thanks!

  14. A zillion years ago when I had two little ones to potty train, I did a similar project, but rather than pennies, used little “prizes” wrapped up in gift wrap paper and placed in a basket on the back of the potty. I simply bought little toys and party favors from the discount stores, plus a few candies. Every time either child used the potty, they got to choose a “prize”. It worked like a charm. We used to called it bribery, but now it’s called “rewarding good behavior”… LOL!

  15. I must confess that chocolate was the winner in our house. I wasn’t thrilled w/ the idea of my son having so much chocolate but I figured it was short enough time in his life! We had to have seperate motivation for pooping on the potty, though. So that was rewarded with little toys–Thomas, James, and Percy trains and a couple of small dinosaurs.

    I think I might keep the money in mind for positively reinforcing other behaviors/habits. He certainly likes having money to put in his piggy bank! Thanks for the great ideas, Marie. I always love checking out your blog.

  16. this is a good idea, I’ve tried the treat thing with my daughter and so far it hasn’t worked once. maybe money will work, she loves getting little coins

  17. That’s a great idea. Most people I’ve talked to recommend m&m candies or Skittles candies, but I never liked the idea of bribing with food, especially sugar.
    My oldest was a little older than your dd when I told her that only big girls get to have purses, so I’d make her a purse if she stayed dry at night for 2 weeks straight. She’s 19 now, but she still fondly remembers that purse.

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