Toddlerhood is such a joyous, but tricky time. 

Your adorable toddler is starting to talk, become more independent, and explore the world on a whole new level. 

But with that comes a whole lot of messes, tantrums, and stress. 

Luckily, there are several hacks out there to help us parents out! 

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11 Sanity-Saving Hacks for Toddler Parents

Listed below are 11 toddler hacks to help make life easier for mom, dad, and your littles. 

1. Tie up Your Art Utensils

We didn’t have to worry about crayons or markers on the wall with our first child. But with our second child, it’s been a whole new ball game. 

I’ve finally learned to just tie our markers and crayons to our art easel and set it a safe distance from the walls.

So, grab some string and tie those utensils up, just like you would to a clip board. 

2. Make a Car Seat Poncho

The winter cold can be brutal. But, our toddlers can’t wear those puffy coats in their car seats

So, instead of having to put your toddler’s coat on and off every time you get in and out of the car, use a car seat poncho instead! 

It doesn’t interfere with the car seat, saves you time, and keeps your toddler warm. 

Learn how to make your own car seat poncho over at Reality Daydream

Photo provided by Reality Daydream

3. Put a Step Stool in the Bathtub

For some reason, it’s super entertaining for toddlers to pour cups of water along the side of the tub.  

Avoid water damage to your floors by placing a step stool in the middle of the bath. Your toddler will still be able to get their pouring on, and you won’t have to clean up so much water. 

4. Keep a Potty in the Car

Having a potty in the back of the car is perfect for potty training. It’s also nice to have when the public restrooms are icky or when there aren’t any restrooms around

Pick up a simple potty like this one, and line it with a disposable diaper or chair liners for easy clean up. 

5. Line Your Car Seat

Sometimes, no matter what you do, accidents happen in the car seat. Minimize clean up and avoid having to wait until your car seat is clean by using a Piddle Pad.

You can also use prefolds or doggy training pads to protect your car seat from potty accidents

6. Set a Timer

Toddlers don’t do well with sudden change. It helps to give them a warning ahead of time. 

Set a countdown timer to let your toddler know and be able to visualize how much time she has left to play, until it’s time to get dressed, until it’s time to wash up for dinner, how long she has to brush her teeth for, etc. 

It really helps minimize the tantrums and saves you time and stress. 

7. Minimize and Rotate the Toys

Keep your toddlers engaged by minimizing and rotating their toys. They’ll be more likely to play independently when they’re not overwhelmed by their toy choices. Plus, old toys will be more intriguing when they haven’t seen them for awhile. 

Try to stick with open-ended toys that your child can use for a number of things. Keep their toys out on open shelving, instead of them having to dig through a bunch of baskets. 

8. Have Busy Bins

Busy bins are great for travel, restaurants, or when you just need to get some things done. They also really come in handy when you’re busy nursing your newborn or need some peace and quiet for a bit. 

The trick to making these work is to only have them out at the designated times and then putting them away right after. 

Fill a tin lunchbox with magnets, stickers, and some Duplo Legos to take on-the-go. Have a special basket at home with Water Wows, reusable stickers, special snacks, and lift-the-flap books. 

9. Place a Pool Noodle

Make your very own DIY guard rail with a pool noodle. This simple trick will help prevent your toddler from rolling off the bed at night. 

Get the lowdown on the pool noodle bed rail hack over at the Pink Oatmeal

You can also place a pool noodle in front of the bottom of your couch to prevent your toddler (and pets) from throwing their snacks and toys under there

Photo provided by Pink Oatmeal

10. Use a Weather Clothing Chart

Does your toddler fight putting on pants in the winter or wants to wear his favorite sweater in the summer? 

I feel you! My toddler would wear fleece jammies all year long if I let her. 

It can be a big struggle to get your toddler to wear weather-appropriate clothing sometimes

But, having a weather clothing chart can help. Set a large thermometer outside your toddler’s window with little drawing of clothing items next to the different temperatures. 

There’s also these super cute weather printables where your toddler can “dress” the teddy bear

11. Make it a Game

One of the best tricks I’ve learned to help tame toddler tantrums is to make a game out of tasks

“Can you hop all the way to the potty?” “Can you make it to your car seat in 10 seconds? Ready, go!” 

If your toddler has a sibling you could have them race to see who can get dressed the fastest or get the most toys put away. 

Adding a little bit of competition makes tasks more exciting for young children and really saves you a whole lot of hassle. 


Toddlerhood can be such a fun, but tricky time in parenthood. Luckily, there are lots of tips and tricks to help get us by. 

Use these 9 handy hacks to help minimize mess and stress  in life with a toddler. 

What About You?

What are some of your favorite mom wins? Share your best toddler hacks in the comments below and be sure to share this post with other toddler moms and dads. 

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