Last Update September 9th, 2017
The 3 day potty training method should be thought of as your child’s transition from peeing and pooping in diapers to peeing and pooping in the potty. Using a quick toilet training method doesn’t mean that your toddler will be fully potty trained in three days.
(click on the image above for a more step by step approach)
There should be no doubt in your mind that accidents will still happen, even after the initial 3 days. What’s important now is to follow through consistently and encourage your child to stick with the routines he or she has learned so far until one day using the potty will become accident free.
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How to prepare yourself for the 3 days?
Being relaxed, allows you to have a less rigid approach to the three day method. But in order to get to this state of mind there are a couple of things that your should consider upfront:
- let go of expectations
- know what problems and complications might appear
- know how your child’s mind and body work
- decide on a clear schedule – when and how?
- don’t try to compare your child with other children who have already been trained, even your own
This teaching routine works best when the parent that’s most involved in the child’s learning activities does the training. Also familiarizing your child with the potty before the training is started helps set the stage for an enjoyable and stress-free toilet training process.
If you want to avoid accidents like pooping or peeing on the floor while teaching your child how to use the potty, it’s important that you recognize how your toddler signals that he or she needs to pee or poo, like a change in facial expression, squirming, squatting or holding the genital area.
Preparing your child for the 3-day toilet training process
What I’m going to tell you next needs to be done before any attempt at teaching your child how to use the potty.
Unless you want this to be a stressful and frustrating teaching experience make sure you do not set any deadlines. Yes it’s called the three day method but that does not mean you’re going to be off the hook after that. Success with this requires you to consistently follow through and maintain the routines your child picked up during these first couple of days.
So… if you want to set your toddler up for success there some activities you can and should do.
There are a couple of different aspects when preparing your child.
First of all if you want a positive outcome, and I’m sure you do, it’s important that you teach your toddler potty-training words. “Pee”, “Poo” or “I need to go” are some of the words your child should start to associate with the potty.
Familiarizing your child with the bathroom while at the same introducing him or her to the potty chair should be done early on so once the actual three day training process starts, the child will already know what the potty is for. Some parents have reported that dumping the contents of a dirty diaper into the bowl to show its purpose can work very well.
→Read more: 9 Tips to Ensure Success
Setting the Stage for Success
Once you feel confident that both you and your child are fully prepared all that’s left to do, is schedule 3 days in a row when the teaching process will take place.
I believe I’ve already mentioned how bad timing can screw up all your efforts, but I’m going to say it again: make absolutely sure that this does not interfere with any transitions in regular family routines. The key to making this work is consistency that’s why you want to give yourself a chance at being able to maintain the routines during the whole three-day period and after that.
Once you’ve got the days marked down on your calendar, think of a bunch of activities you and your toddler can do together. I know that keeping your child happy and busy for more than a day takes a lot of creativity but it’s a key aspect of all that you’re doing.
Having the Right Equipment Matters
Buying everything you need to get started with the training is probably a great opportunity to get your child involved and excited to be part of this new experience for him. The trick here is to let him or her choose which potty chair they want, take them to the store, sit them on different potties and pick the one they like best.
You can do the same thing when choosing “big kid underwear”. Let them pick which ever they want, most of the times it will be something that has their favorite hero or cartoon character imprinted on them. This works in your favor since your toddler will be less likely to have accidents because he will want to keep his new underpants clean.
Avoid any hard to get out of clothes at this stage, try to dress your child in simple pants which he can pull down easily.
Let’s see… we talked about the potty chair, real underwear…. ok. Food is also an important part of the process. High-fiber foods help control constipation by keeping fluids in the stools, keeping them soft and easily passable.
Cereals, yogurts with added fiber, high-fiber wheat bread, high fiber vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, high-fiber fruits such as apples, pears, and prunes, all of these should be included in your childs diet right before and during toilet training.
Ohh… and don’t forget about rewards. Make sure that you come up with a reward system that matches your parenting style, and doesn’t conflict with what your child is expecting from you.
The day by day approach
The first day is probably the hardest, but don’t worry, it gets easier once you get the hang of it. You will have to watch your child constantly for signs the she needs to go. At first it’s likely that you won’t pick up on their need to go until they’re already going. It’s no problem, just place them on the potty where they can and will finish going.
During the day, ask your child if his or her underwear is dry and offer praise and positive reinforcement everytime. Keep instructing your toddler to let you know when he needs to use the potty, repetition is necessary as children have short attention spans, but only gentle reminders so that your child does not feel pressured in any way.
⇒ More reading: How to potty train twins in 3 days
When it comes to naptime, it really helps to pee before naps, and shortly after waking. There may be a few accidents at the beginning, but soon they learn to stay dry during naptime, and at nighttime will learn to either wake you up when they need to go, or surprise you by going to the potty themselves.
Avoid giving your child drinks 2-3 hours before bedtime. Take him to the potty at least twice before tucking him into bed, but if nothing happens do not keep him on it.
Day 2 and 3 will be much easier with the wisdom learned from watching your child’s signals and behavior patterns during the first day.
Maintain a positive, relaxed attitude and whatever you do, don’t try to rush things. Cutting corners never works, more than that this always leads to accidends and ultimately frustration on your part.
If you want more information and sound advice on how to successfully train your toddler, there are many books out there that will help you do just that. However upon reviewing most of them, I found that Carol Cline’s 3 Day Potty Training eBook is the most accurate and most helpful. You can check it out here. It’s a PDF ebook which gives you everything you need to teach your child how to use the potty in three days.