Potty training can seem daunting. Is my child ready? Am I ready? Where do I even start? So many questions and the vast internet that is full of different methods, ideas, and tips. When my toddler started telling me her diaper was dirty, I knew it was time, but I had no idea where to begin. I did some research and combined a few different styles and tips to get to the 3 day potty training method that worked for us.
The most important thing to remember is that potty training is a process, young kids don’t always recognize when their bodies need to go; therefore, you should expect accidents to happen.
Are They Ready?
Wondering if your little one is ready for a crash course with this 3 day potty training method? Before deciding to start potty training look for signs of readiness:
- Your child tells you they have a dirty diaper
- Your child seeks privacy to pee or poop in their diaper (going into another room, a corner, or behind the couch)
- You child tells you they need to go
- You ask and they are excited to learn to use the potty
Walk Through the 3 Day Potty Training Method
Prior to Day 1
Before you start your 3 day potty training marathon, there are a few things to think about. First off, pick a long weekend where you can be at home with your child every day. You must have 3 days in a row for this method to work so parents who work will want to take Friday or Monday off or shoot for a holiday weekend.
If you are somehow currently going alone to the potty, tell me your secret! But also, start taking your toddler with you so they know exactly what happens on the potty.
Once you’ve decided to potty train them and you’ve picked a weekend, take your child to the store to pick out underwear. This is a great way to get them excited to potty train. They can pick out their favorite characters or colors.
While at the store, pick up a small potty or a potty seat (the kind that sits on the regular toilet) and a step stool. Your child will probably be too small to fit on the toilet, you’ll need a seat for them to feel comfortable on in order to learn to go.
Rookie Mom Tip: Purchase some pull-ups or pee pads for bedtime, young kids often have trouble making it through the night, especially if they are still drinking milk before bed.
Lastly, make sure all adults in the house are onboard. This is only going to work if everyone does their part. Everyone should be supportive and not negative or angry if the child has an accident. Got relatives who think you’re trying too young? Don’t invite them over this weekend. Best friend thinks you’re being overly ambiguous and can’t wait to see this train wreck? Sorry, not invited over to see it.
Rookie Mom Tip: You and your partner can take shifts or both be involved all day but it’s important that your child learns to go with either parent and not just one specific one.
Day 1 of the 3 Day Potty Training Method
When your child wakes up, immediately change them out of their diaper and in to their new underwear. Some people like to let their toddler run free (no diaper, no underwear) but if it’s a cold month, or your child is like mine and doesn’t like not having something on, go ahead and put their new undies on them.
Give your child water, juice, or milk frequently throughout the day, I’m talking every time you notice their cup is empty, fill it up. Every time they have a drink, set a timer for 20 minutes. When it goes off, take them to the bathroom and let them try to pee. As the day progresses, your child will start to recognize the feeling of needing to use the potty.
If your child has an accident, do not scold them. Simply tell them in a neutral voice, “You didn’t make it to the potty so now you have to help me clean up this pee.” Make sure you have them help so they realize the consequences of not making it to the potty.
When you start your bedtime routine (and you plan to let your toddler sleep in underwear), do not give them anything else to drink and have them try to go right before bed.
Rookie Mom Tip: If your child responds well to praise and rewards, have a potty chart. Every time they use the potty they get a sticker to mark their chart and get to eat three M&Ms.
Day 2 of the 3 Day Potty Training Method
The second day of the 3 day potty training method is pretty much a repeat of Day 1. You should repeat the steps, make sure you are giving your toddler drinks all day and asking them to go to potty every 20 minutes. Remember, if your child has any accidents they must help clean them up. If your child has wet the bed, have them help you remove the sheets and put them in the wash.
Rookie Mom Tip: Some people want to go out and do activities, this is fine but remember you need to encourage your toddler to use the potty every 20 minutes and some toddlers may not like using a public restroom. Expect accidents and be prepared with extra underwear and clothes.
Day 3 of the 3 Day Potty Training Method
Once you make it to the third day of 3 day potty training, go back to giving your toddler drinks as they would normally have them. Remember to ask your toddler to try to potty 20 minutes after they have a drink of any kind. Don’t get discouraged if they still have an accident on this day. Toddlers are still learning what sensations feel like and potty training isn’t easy. Just remember to be neutral if they do have an accident and make sure they help clean it up.
Bedtime: Pull-ups or Underwear
Whether you decide to put your toddler in pull-ups or underwear is a personal decision. Some people want to potty train for everything right off the bat while others go in stages. We decided to go in stages because it was best for our daughter. We were still trying to wean her off a cup of milk before bed when we potty trained her and knew she wouldn’t make it through the night. It wasn’t until almost 6 months later when we finally got her off the bedtime milk that she started sleeping in underwear.
If you are unsure which to pick, ask your toddler how they feel.
Potty Training Tips Past Day 3
3 Day Potty Training will help your child master the basics, but there will still be things you need to work on.
- Make sure you have your toddler try to use the potty every time you leave the house
- Always bring multiple changes of clothes and underwear, including changes of clothes for yourself. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten pee on my pants and just had to sit there while my toddler gets clean clothes.
- Remember that negative reactions to accidents will deter your child not encourage them.
- Believe in your toddler. I can’t stress this one enough. If you give them good reinforcement and remain calm with accidents, you will be surprised how quickly your toddler succeeds.
Good luck in this next step of your toddler’s independence! It’s bittersweet, as they get older you miss things but honestly, I have yet to miss changing a nasty diaper.
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