Toddler Potty Training in 3 Days
We started potty training our son a couple of weeks ago but the thought of potty training has been lingering in my mind for a very long time. Ever since I heard the trick of tickling the anus to make an infant poop, I have been dreading the day when we have to start potty training. We never did try the tickling even if it was almost a mystery when my son would poop because of ever changing diet and circumstances.
I noticed some weeks back that my son’s diaper wasn’t wet after a few hours, so I got curious and I googled how to potty train. If you do this, there is a chance of information overload because there are a lot tips and articles about this on the internet, I would suggest asking around your social circle for some tips first because nothing beats first hand experience. But if you don’t want the tips that you get, you can always try a different method.
I decided to use the 3-day potty training method because it seemed simple enough but I didn’t really follow it to the letter. The following tips may not work for you but do keep an open mind. (Links at the end of the post)
Is your child ready for potty training?
Before you start, make sure your toddler is ready for potty training. I think the main signs are:
- diaper is dry for a couple of hours or more
- know what is pee and poop
- tells or shows visible signs when peeing or pooping
- can understand and follow basic instructions
Additional signs that may help in successful potty training:
- poops regularly
- can pull up and pull down pants
- uncomfortable with wet or filled diaper
- interested in using the potty
You should watch out for these signs if you intend to start potty training because age is not a guarantee of success, a child will be ready when he is ready.
Preparation for Potty Training
I think preparing for a few weeks in advance would set the stage for a successful potty training, we didn’t get to prepare really but the stage was already set since we bought a potty chair a few months back.
- Talk about pee and poop while changing diapers even as a baby so that your child understands these words by the time of potty training.
- Let your child see someone sitting on the toilet. I think a toddler should see someone sitting on the toilet with pants down so that he/she can associate that everyone has to go potty and to see how it is done, even if it’s just a demo.
- Get a potty chair several weeks before potty training and let your toddler sit on it with clothes on even if the cover is down. Make sure your toddler is familiar with the potty chair and not scared of it. I bought a toilet seat inset for potty training a few months back, but my son got really scared when I tried to sit him on the big potty. Getting a potty chair and letting your child sit on it inside the house will make him/her more receptive to potty training when the time comes.
- Shop for underwear with your toddler if possible, but getting underwear with a favorite character design will make your child more agreeable in wearing them.
- Talk about potty training several days or weeks before you start. Tell your child what the underwear is for and the benefits of not wearing diapers. e.g. “Boys/girls wear underwear, -child’s name- will wear underwear soon and become a Boy/girl” or “Soon you will pee/poop in your potty and wear your -character- underwear.” It is important that you don’t talk about it only once because you are preparing your child for a major change in life.
- Make sure there are NO major events happening in your toddler’s life. It is best to postpone potty training when there are other major life events, like a new sibling, moving to a new house, weaning, starting preschool, or going on a vacation soon especially when you can’t follow-up after potty training. Check that your toddler is settled in on the new changes before you start potty training.
- Prepare the rags. I wasn’t ready with this one and I had to use my shirt for wiping off the floor so be ready and prepare several on hand.
- Prepare toys and activities to do indoors during potty training.
- Clear your schedule for 3 days. Before you read on, please understand that your toddler will not master potty training in 3 days but you will be confident that he will have less “accidents” and not wear diapers all-day long.
Set your expectations that your child will have “accidents” and you will have to wipe pee off the floor. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to it.
When your toddler wakes up, tell your activities for the day and that he will not be wearing diapers but will be using the potty instead. As mentioned previously, you should have also talked about it the day before potty training. Ask for his/her help in pulling down pajamas and diapers, and sit on the potty. Spend your whole day inside and near the potty. Drink lots of water today to encourage peeing.
Try to make your toddler sit on the potty every 30 minutes and ask if he/she is going to pee. What I did is I said,”Peeing, sshshshshshhhsh.” Entertain your child with games or toys so that he/she sits on the potty for about 10 minutes. When there is no pee, just try again later and don’t let your child sit to long because it hurts sitting on the toilet for a long time.
If your child is able to pee in the potty, show that you are really happy and tell your toddler what a “good job” he/she did. Some would even say to give a reward, like stickers and the like. We didn’t need to give our son any,just some silly dancing and fist bumps. But I think he didn’t know what to do in the potty in the first place so…
You should welcome peeing accidents because this might be the first time your toddler feels wet after peeing. It is the perfect time to teach your child that he/she peed, pee is wet, and to remember that next time, “pee on the potty, not on the floor.” Sometimes there will be a warning like an,”Uh oh!”, other times they will just continue doing business like when they were using diapers, which is why some recommend not using underwear at all.
After celebrating your toddler’s pee in the potty (even if it’s just a tiny bit), ask him/her to accompany you in the toilet to flush it. We even said goodbye to my son’s pee. Unfortunately, there was no poop on the first day (which is more fun to say goodbye to).
During nap time, we still used a diaper to be safe and also during night time sleeping. Be sure to make your child try to potty before sleeping and after waking up.
Don’t forget to teach your toddler to wipe after peeing and even to wash hands especially after pooping. You will probably need to redo it but it’s the habit we are trying to form.
For the second day, just repeat what you have done on the first day but you can go for an hour of outside playtime without diapers in the morning. Remember the average time between your toddler’s peeing yesterday and time your play time between them. If your child had some success in peeing on the potty, you can increase the time between sitting to about an hour.
For the third day, watch out for signs of peeing and make your toddler sit on the potty. Stay near the potty and do your activities inside but this time, just ask your child if he/she wants to pee/poop every 30 minutes. If your toddler says no, but looks like about to pee (holds genitals, a little pee came out etc), make him/her sit on the potty and let her know you think he/she is about to pee. If your child says yes, then let your child sit on the potty.
You can go play without diapers outside for an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon. Continue with the praises for successfully using the potty and reminders when having accidents.
Congratulations! Your toddler is now potty trained but remember that mastery is gained through practice, and there will be accidents even for a few years more. But your toddler now knows:
- what it feels like when you are about to pee/poop
- to tell you when he/she needs to pee/poop
- to pee/poop on the potty not on the floor
We are still using diapers for night time sleeping which is usually dry the next morning but we have ditched the diaper during nap times. We are also using diapers when going out because I haven’t figured out what to do about it when going to the mall, minus lugging a potty on my back. It is also good to have another potty handy when going to another house, like going to the grandparents, or just leave one there.
I hope this post will be helpful to some parents who are thinking of potty training. If your child is not yet ready, try again in a few months or maybe a different method will work for both of you. Check out the links at the end of the post for other potty training articles.
For those who have several potty training belts, what tips can you give to young parents for potty training toddlers?