How to Potty Train in 3 Days

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Two of the most dreaded words in parenting have to be “potty training.” And that’s right where we are at this very moment.

Nearly two weeks ago, I woke up one day and decided I was done with diapers, so I asked my 28-month-old if she wanted to wear underwear. Of course she did! And so, the potty training began. My friend Joanna Azar had just potty trained her two-year-old using a three-day method that she had used on her other two children as well. Inspired by her, I loosely used her same approach, though not quite as rigidly, since I hadn’t really planned ahead and totally devoted three days to it. Even still, the good news is that Addie is doing quite well. She is only in a diaper at nighttime, but is waking up dry most mornings. We are still getting a handle on the poop situation, but we’re getting close. The end of the tunnel is within sight and our diaper days are nearly behind us. Now that’s a phrase every parent likes to hear!

How to Potty Train in 3 Days

As for the three-day approach, Joanna shared her often-requested method for those who would like to give it a try. It has worked for all three of her kids so far, and her sister has had success with all three of her girls, as well. All of the kids successfully trained at age two.

The following is Joanna’s account of potty training her third child, Naji:

The 3-Day Potty Training Method

The key to success of this method is to devote at least two to three solid days of focusing on nothing else except them going to the bathroom. No trips out of the house, probably no visitors (distraction). After these two hardcore days, you can start venturing out.

Items needed:

Underwear
A potty seat that fits on the toilet.
Some form of bribery, such as a small candy/treat, marshmallows or stickers, to use as rewards. Choose something small, but enticing.

Day 1

In the morning when he first woke up, we let him pick out a pair of Sesame Street undies to wear and told him he was going to be a big boy and go on the potty all day. We took him in the bathroom and showed him his treats that he would get if he went on the potty: one treat for pee, two for poop. We proceeded with the day as normal, but had him sit on the potty every 15 minutes. We offered him lots of juice and water, and salty snacks (to make him drink even more). He got a treat each time he successfully went.

Our first day he had two poop accidents and one pee accident. He said, “Uh-oh” and didn’t like how it felt. Our number one reason for NOT using training pants is because the child needs to feel how uncomfortable accidents are. We told him it was okay and that next time he should tell us and we can go on the potty.

Naps and night time we still diapered or used training pants, as this is not considered part of the potty training yet, it could discourage them and mess up their sleep time (which I couldn’t handle right then).

Day 2

Same as the first day, although we asked him a lot to check his undies and see if they were dry, and asked him constantly if he had to go. We didn’t take him quite as often, but asked him all the time. He only had one poop accident the second day, no pee. We still rewarded him with a treat when he went.

Day 3

We continued to pester him about going, but only made him go every hour to hour-and-a-half if he hadn’t gone yet. But, we noticed on the third day that he started telling us when he had to go. Tofiq (our first) still hadn’t pooped on the potty by day three yet, so we brought in reinforcements of a Matchbox car if he pooped on the potty, as we heard a lot of kids are scared to poop on the potty. Amazingly enough, he went poop three times on day three with him telling us he had to go each time. Amazing what motivation the car was!

Day 4+

I had to watch my three nieces, so he was totally distracted! He went all day though without any accidents; we just made sure to remind him a lot. Next day, my husband took him to the market and he had no accidents, and we went to a party with success as well.

We switched to underwear at naps when he woke up dry a week in a row. We did the same at night time, but that took longer.

As for the treats, we give rewards during those first three days. If they ask after that, we might give them one, but they quickly forget and stop asking.

There you have it; the potty training in three days method. It sounds simple enough, but just remember that during those first two days especially, you will be totally potty focused. It can be exhausting and frustrating at times, but the payoff is worth the effort!

So, what do you think? Do three days sound like enough time to ditch the diapers?

{Photo credit @iStock.com/joxxxxjo.}

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