Potty Training in Three Days or Less – Day 1

by Heligirl on July 25, 2010

in Daily Ramblings,Parenting Tidbits,Potty Training

Sweetness is two months shy of her third birthday and the potty training issue has been driving us insane. For the past eight months she’s shown complete interest in sitting on the potty that lead to her using it once, then none, then interest again including the “big girl potty,” then complete lack of interest again. We’ve been following her lead, trying not to push her, but at the same time trying to gently keep the subject current incase she decides to make the leap.

Then recently I learned that three of her male buddies her age and younger were now either only wearing diapers at night or were completely potty trained. Boys are generally supposed to take longer to potty train. I began to worry that by being so careful to not push, perhaps we hadn’t provided her with the opportunities she needed to begin learning. So we decided to give a new method a try this week and see how it goes from there.

I reviewed the potty training readiness guidelines found in several books and websites. She had them all: dry diapers for more than two hours at a time, the ability to pull her pants on and off, an awareness of when she was about to and after she went in her diaper, and a willingness to sit on the potty.

I spoke to the moms of the boys who were potty trained to learn what worked for them. Each did a similar thing – removed the diaper and stayed close for several days. One recommended the three day potty training method to get started. With this weekend being really nice weather and my schedule as it is, between us and the nanny I had five days in a row to really give it a shot. We’d not be overly pushy about it. If she wasn’t getting the hang of it by then, we’d just wait and try again later.

While there is an eBook on the topic you can pay for, I simply went to BabyCenter’s potty training page. They have a lot of valuable information compiled from several sources, which I’ve found most valuable when it comes to seeing all the possibilities and making an educated decision for myself.

The basics of this program are simple: Plan to go NOWHERE for three days straight, leave your child without anything on below the waist that entire time, watch your child closely at all times to identify opportunities to use the potty, give lots of fluids, have a couple of potties available around the house, and provide encouragement.

Day 1, Saturday, July 24, 2010:

7:00 a.m. Got Sweetness up and reminded her of the discussion we had before going to bed the night before – today we’re going to go all day without diapers and use the potty. She asked for her underwear. In my attempts to ease her into it and reduce early power struggles, I told her she could wear underwear, as long as she remembered she needed to use the potty. I knew this would probably not work. I was right.

7:30 a.m. She announces “uh, oh. Look! Go potty.” And starts waddling toward the kiddie potty I put in the living room, undies dripping. I tossed her undies into the wash and now she wore only a shirt. However, after about 30 minutes of her running around putting her butt on everything I couldn’t take it anymore. She’s a girl already. She can wear dresses. I changed her into a sun dress and nothing else.

That morning she peed in her brother’s room, on her bed and in the living room. Each time we took her straight to the potty, reminded her that she needed to go in the potty, then cleaned up. Cornstarch is perfect for absorbing human (not pet) waste and odor, by the way.

I absolutely had to go grocery shopping, so I threw a diaper on her and ran to the store with her. Unfortunately for the potty training, but not for Safeway, she used the diaper. I was annoyed with myself for taking her, thinking I’d messed up our training.

Then I lathered her up with suntan lotion and took her into our private, fenced backyard to play in the pool and with the water table wearing only her swim top (which is a full SPF 50 shirt). It was odd to put suntan lotion in her little butt, I tell you what.

The potty joined us outside and she sat on it every 15 minutes or so. Then suddenly, after playing a bit, she got up, went to the potty, sat down, looked down at herself, then announced, “look, it’s pee!”

We did the potty dance, hugged then I showed her how to wipe and she got to carry the potty to the toilet, dump it out and flush.

Now, there are a lot of arguments both ways about rewards. It’s actually something really frowned upon in positive discipline. However, after going back and forth, talking to other moms of potty trained kids, I decided to do it. I guess I convinced myself that using it as a part of our encouragement in the first couple of weeks could only help. Many of my pals did similar things and had no issue removing the reward once they were trained. So we decided she gets a little gummy candy each time she uses the potty. She got to pick one out.

Our excitement and success was short lived. She peed next to her chalk scribbles on the back patio about an hour later, then in the house two more times before bed. No poo to be seen – which typically takes a child much longer to do on the potty.

Yet she did have one more surprise for us before the day was out. As I was washing Mr. Man, she came into the bathroom with hubby, climbed up on the toilet step, put down the kiddy seat that is built into our toilet seat, sat down and promptly peed. We all clapped for her, Mr. Man included, and she beamed. She got to wipe, flush and pick out a candy.

Thus ended day one. We went from accidentally using the potty only once in her life to using it twice on her own accord. I’d call that progress and if this first day is any indication, it’s going to be slow going. At least I can say we only used one diaper – a big step when a box is $50!

Here’s some helpful reading if you’re about to make the potty training leap. There is so much information out there it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I found these three trusted sources to be of help. I’ve used a little from each to do our little three-day experiment. If it fails, I’ll know Sweetness just needs more time.

Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline Blog post on Toilet Training

Dr. Sears’ Toilet Training Basics

WebMD’s Potty Training Tips

Check out Day 2.


Wenmei July 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

I’m looking forward to hearing about the next 2 days as well! Thanks for sharing your experience with us — it’s a huge help to me. I need to do something similar with my son (same age as Sweetness), but I’ve been putting it off because I can’t fathom how to keep a constant eye on him while taking care of my Little Miss (same age as Mr. Man) at the same time. I’m eagerly waiting your next two installments!
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Heligirl July 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thanks Wenmei. It’s been very, very messy and I’m doing all I can to not get discouraged. I promised to keep this up five days. We’ll see…

Wenmei July 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I hope that it gets easier and Sweetness figures things out quickly. Both you and Sweetness have a lot of us out here pulling for you!
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Katie July 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Good job, Sweetness – you can do it! Hang in there, mom. Sounds like you already met with quick success, and hopefully the next two days will bring an end to diapers.

Good Luck!
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Heligirl July 26, 2010 at 9:05 am

Thanks Katie. It’s going to be a long road.

Alexandra July 25, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I loved this! it was like a where’s waldo for the pink potty…adorable, and good luck!
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Heligirl July 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

Ha, ha. Hadn’t thought of it that way! 🙂 Thanks.

Tiffany July 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm

oh, good luck with this. my daughter turned 3 in May and was potty trained far later than i thought she would have been. we were using pull-ups and one day (after an accident free three weeks then suddenly reverting to peeing in the pull up again) i decided to just say no to the pull-up and she’s been doing great ever since. oy. it’s quite the task…
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Heligirl July 26, 2010 at 9:07 am

Thanks. I’ve heard lots of mixed reviews about pull-ups and really want to stay away from them, but my daycare just started a new rule that you have to use them for 30 days accident free before you can send your child in underwear. What if using the pull ups those two days a week causes regression? Argggg!

Carol Ann July 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

Awesome! It’s steps in the right direction for sure. For us, the Hubs had to get involved. Our daughter was more responsive to him asking her to go on the potty than she was to me. So, I had a business trip and was gone for 3 days, when I came home she was even pooing on the potty! Sweet!

I can’t wait to read how the next few days turn out!

Heligirl July 26, 2010 at 9:08 am

I’m so jealous. I’m just trying to keep the faith that it will click with her. I’m trying to see the bright side – she’s open to sitting on and using the potty. At least she’s not refusing to do that. And one out of four times she actually uses it.

Booyah's Momma July 26, 2010 at 7:31 am

I’m also looking forward to hearing reports about the next 2 days. We took the long, painfully drawn out approach with our first, and I’m thinking for the 2nd, we just need to hunker down and get it over with! Wishing you luck!
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Heligirl July 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

Thanks. It’s not going as well as I’d hoped, but now that we’re doing it, I’m committed to riding it out. I have everything crossed she’ll get it soon!

Colleen July 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I read both day 1 and 2 I wish I had some good advice for you. Even through I’ve been through it three times it is not the easiest thing to deal with.

My oldest son refused to potty train until he was 3 1/2 years old. One day he decided to wear underwear and had no accidents from that day forward including nights.

My daughter is 4 1/2 and I still can not get her trained at night. She still has accidents occasionally because she gets to busy and refuses to stop to pee. We have to constantly reminder her to pee when we see her start wiggling.

I hope sweetness gets the hang of it soon. It will be so nice for you and her once sGood Luck
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