3 Day Potty Training

A few years ago my boss told me about potty training his first kid and they used a “3 Day Method”. I thought he was crazy, how could a kid potty train in just 3 days. Fast forward many years and here I am pregnant and with a toddler and thinking to myself “hmm, I think we should try to potty train before this new baby comes.”

So, as I often do, I went to my trusty Pinterest and started checking out potty training options. It seemed to be there were two camps – the quick and the drawn out. Everyone had an opinion on which worked best and I’m certain that for different kids and parents different ways worked best for them. In my time as a parent I’ve learned many things but especially that all parents and kids are different so what works for one set may not work for another.

Either way I figured I wanted to try this 3 day method. If it didn’t work I could easily go with the longer method. So here is our story of potty training in 3 days.

Preparing for Potty Training:

  • Get the kiddo excited about the potty, about wearing big kid undies, etc. Have them help you pick out the potty and undies and talk about what you’re going to be doing
  • Your kid is going to be NAKED, they will love it 😉
  • Make sure you have an easy to use timer, you’ll be using it a lot. Make sure your kiddo understands that when the timer goes off we go sit on the potty
  • Get some potty books to read
  • Be prepared with towels and cleaning supplies to clean up any accidents
  • I recommend a tile or hardwood floor area of your house that you can keep your kiddo contained in (we used our playroom with baby gates up). If that isn’t possible I’ve heard many parents say they do this during the summer when they can spend most of their days outside
  • Remember that accidents WILL happen so be prepared to react appropriately with something like “ugh-oh we don’t go potty on the floor, we go in the potty” and then try on the potty even if they just peed a lake on your floor
  • You will need to watch them like a hawk so no Facebooking, laundry, etc. You need to have 3 days where you can sit and be with them at ALL times
  • Prepare a potty chart and some sort of reward. We did stickers for every successful potty and then a small piece of chocolate after 4 potties or a poop

Day 1:

  • We set up the potty in our playroom and basically just fed water to the kid ALL day long
  • Set the timer for 20 minutes and have them sit on the potty every single time
  • If they go praise them a ton and make a big deal out of it and how proud you are of them
  • If they don’t go just tell them good job and we’ll try again soon
  • Pay close attention to their cues, they may need to go potty between the timer and it’s your job to recognize those things and help them learn to recognize those cues
  • Make sure to talk about what it feels like when you have to go potty
  • Read potty books!
  • Expect a few accidents today, they are learning
  • Don’t sit longer than a couple minutes, there is no use making them literally sit on the potty all day

Day 2:

  • Hopefully Day 1 wasn’t too awful, you got this!!
  • Change your timer to every 30-45 minutes depending on how successful Day 1 was
  • Continue to praise a lot and watch them closely for the potty cues
  • Go with the same process as Day 1

Day 3:

  • Ideally you’ve seen some progression among the days here!
  • Set your timer for every 60 minutes today but remember to keep watching for cues
  • If the first half of the day goes well put on some undies for the second half to get them used to wearing them
  • If they are wearing undies give even bigger praise when they go potty
  • Ideally you’ll see no more than 1 accident on this day

And that was mostly it! By the end of day 3 we had gone on the potty enough times for her to know what it was and not be scared and she had begun to understand her own bodies cues. That doesn’t mean the work stops though! For the first few weeks a timer may still be a good idea, we stuck with every 60 minutes. It was actually a good reminder for myself too. And be sure to always remind them “make sure to tell me if you have to go potty”.

What NOT to expect:

  • Your kid will likely still need help getting their pants off and on
  • They’ll need help wiping
  • Sometimes it takes longer for kids to be ok with pooping in the potty
  • They may want to continue to use the little potty for a while but begin transitioning them to the big potty as soon as you can
  • Many kids are afraid of public restrooms for a while, there are lots of things to help (potty seats for your car or those that go on top of a public seat)

Give it a shot, really nothing to lose right? Well maybe except your sanity for those three days 😉 We are about 4 months in and at this point R has finally learned to truly recognize her own cues and let me know when she needs to go. I still take her before we head out of the house but when we are out she’s pretty great at letting me know if she has to go.

Have you tried this method? Did it work? Did you try something else? What worked for you?

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