Encouraging Toddler Independence

As our son gets older (currently three), and we prepare for brother, I am trying to make more of an effort to increase his independence in multiple areas. I began thinking about his “jobs” or current expectations in our home, and how we have gotten to where we are. Many things have naturally become his routine after mastery, which is great!

I thought I would share 10 ways we have encouraged independence in our own home. I would love to know anything that has worked for your family!

1.Establish Home Routines

When home routines are set, it is easier to acquire independence with specific tasks within that routine. For example, if you have a specific routine for bath time children can start to acquire autonomy with certain aspects of that routine (going potty, undressing, putting clothes in hamper, etc). It is also an area where children have multiple chances to practice and learn!

2.Create Family Responsibilities

Creating family jobs or responsibilities can start early on with children! It can be simple tasks such as cleaning up their toys, going potty, brushing teeth, etc. They quickly learn what the expectation is and how they can contribute.

3.Independent Play

We have independent play time every day. It encourages creativity, imagination, and helps build independence with free play.


Creating certain systems that are on their level will also help encourage independence and allow them to complete tasks. It can be something as simple as keeping a stool in the bathroom to potty and brush teeth independently. We also have small chairs in our son’s room to allow him to turn on his lights and fans by himself.

5.Toy/Clean Up System

Having some type of toy organization or system will help with encouraging to clean up by themselves. It makes it so much easier when they know where everything goes! Once they have learned where their things go, there is no excuse as to why they can’t do it themselves!

Toy Organization

6.Wake Up System

Creating some type of wake up system will also help encourage independence with morning and night time. This can look different for every child and family. We personally use a wake up clock that is red when it is night time and green when it is wake up time. Our home expectation is to stay in bed or the room until it turns green.

7.Easy Tasks They Can Help/Contribute

Allowing children to help with adult “tasks” also encourages independence. For example, our son helps unload the dishwasher by putting away the silverware. He loves helping with “grown up” tasks and it encourages him to help in ways he can.

8.Complete Tasks Together

Allowing your child to join and help with things they are interested in can be a great thing! Anything you can do together is awesome! Examples are making meals, putting on shoes, making the bed, gardening, etc.

9.Have Things On Their Level

Having things on their level or accessible will also encourage independence. One area that is on our son’s level in our home is his snacks, which has been a great thing for him!

10.Character Underwear

If you are in the potty training stage or have potty trained, purchasing underwear with a different back/front will help so much when learning how to put it back on independently! For example we have Toy Story, so my son knows the characters always go on the back.

As always, sending light and love!




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