I thought lack of sleep was the most difficult thing to experience as a mother. Then the day hit when we decided to potty train. Never, never, NEVER in my wildest imagination did I think a small two-year-old could send me into a place of gritting my teeth and wanting to pull out my hair. Potty training. There is nothing like it.
It definitely had it’s ups and downs. The downs are pretty obvious. It is messy, frustrating, and seems like it will never end. Yet, it was the first time that my husband, daughter, and I were a team. We were in this thing together. There was no going back. I felt so much pride for my daughter when I saw her squeal with joy that she could go pee in the potty! We laughed, a lot, and I had to learn how to take a lot of deep breathes and just be patient. The look on her face each time she accomplished going pee-pee in the potty was priceless. Let me share with you our journey of 3-day potty training.
I knew my daughter was ready to potty train. She woke every morning with a dry diaper. She was excited about the prospect of new undies. She spent most of her day taking her diaper off and running around naked. It was time.
She was, oh, about two and a couple months. While I was in no rush to potty train her, I also did not want to miss our “golden opportunity.” So, I bit the bullet. I had read a book about 3-day potty training, written decades ago. As much as I hated to go off of something so dated, I decided to give it a shot. It sounded efficient. Yes, there are plenty of different ways to potty train and I’ve heard this method can hurt a little psyche, but for us, it drew us closer together. My daughter felt SO proud of herself and her accomplishment and she potty trained in about a week! So, I consider it a success.
Off I went to buy the recommended potty seat, salty snacks, fun fluids, prizes, and princess underwear. Grab a doll to “teach” how to potty and a bottle of water (I added yellow food coloring) so it looks like the doll is going pee into the potty seat. Also, make sure to have plenty of baby wipes, toilet paper, and sanitizing spray ready! Consider buying “prizes” like small, cheap toys, packs of fruit gummies, stickers, or stamps for rewards! I also bought a “potty watch” to put on her wrist that could set a timer every 15-minutes.
GROUND RULES: Once you decide to potty train, stick with it. NO pull-ups allowed! Ever. Not even at night. They only confuse. If you decide to cancel potty training, just go back to diapers. (Of course, there are exceptions. You are Mom, so you know best. This is just what worked for us and it’s what the 3-day method recommended.)
Here is the basic process:
- Don’t leave the main area you are potty training in for about six hours (ours was the kitchen).
- Hang out there, play, and every five minutes the first hour, put her on the potty seat. Then every fifteen. Then every 30 minutes.
- Reward, praise, reward!
- Teach a doll how to “potty” and let your kiddo watch.
- Do this for about three days, expanding the size of the area you train in, as well as the amount of time between putting your child on the seat.
It was BORING. It was exhausting. But, by day 1, my daughter knew how to walk to the potty, pull down her undies, sit, and pee. It took about a full week to finally get her to also go number 2 in the potty, and by the time that happened, she was pretty much fully potty trained.
Tip: Download as many “potty” learning apps as possible and get some fun books to read. These are invaluable while you are stuck in the potty zone.
We finally had to leave our house. By this time, our daughter knew to pee in the potty. We took the potty seat with us everywhere. Every time we made it to our destination we had her sit on it to try and potty. We would go back to the car every 30 minutes and have her sit on it again. It was a total pain in the butt. I always brought at least 2-3 changes of clothes and sometimes our plans were scratched and we just had to go home. It was all worth it.
After about a solid week, she was totally potty trained. Yes, she still had accidents here and there, but overall, the worst was over. She hated feeling wet undies and that was punishment enough.
If you think the 3-day method could work for your kiddo, I suggest searching the internet for resources and read as much as you can! For us, the three-day method worked.