The most important part of this exercise is being prepared upfront. It doesn’t matter if you are potty training a boy or potty training a girl, the preparations are the same. The more you prepare upfront, the more smoothly the whole process will go. This makes it a pleasant experience for you and your child.
Knowing that you are properly prepared allows you to be more relaxed overall and this is imperative. Each child will react in their own way to the training so be prepared for this.
Some of the other things that you might like to consider include:
- What your expectations are and how to let go of them
- What problems you might encounter
- Your child, how they think and how their body works
- What schedule do you want to put in place and how will you proceed with the potty training?
- Forget about how quickly your first child or best friend’s child was potty trained – each child is different.
Start off by getting your child accustomed to the potty – the more they know about it upfront, the less stressful the toilet training process will be. For the three-day potty training method, it is best that one parent is responsible for the training. This should preferably be the parent that has spent the most time with the child when it comes to learning activities.
The next biggest mistake, aside from a lack of preparation, is getting the timing wrong. For the 3-day potty training program to work as it should, it is essential that one parent is there full-time. Many parents make the mistake of rushing into this and then find that they do not have the time to devote to it during the three days. The process won’t work if you are not able to watch your child all day.
You know your child – you know the faces they make, how they squirm, etc. when they want to go to the toilet. During the process, take especial notice of these signs so that you can avoid messy accidents.
Getting Your Child Ready for the 3-Day Toilet Training Process
This is probably the most vital step and something that you need to be clear on before you start to teach your child how to use the potty.
There are no deadlines.
I know that the guide is called the three day potty training method but you should be a little more fluid with the deadline. Your toddler may take a little longer to master potty training. Even if they do get it right in the three days, you will still need to do some following up with them going forward to ensure that the routines they learned become engrained.
Preparing your child for potty training is actually quite simple.
The first thing to do is to teach your child potty-training lingo so that both of you are on the same page. These are words that the child needs to strongly associate with the potty. Make it simple – “I need to go potty”, “Poop” or “Pee” are all good choices. Make sure that anyone else who deals with the child also uses the same terms.
Next up comes the explanation of what the potty chair is. Explain fully what to do in the bathroom. Perhaps even let them sit on the potty chair for a little. You can visually demonstrate what the potty is for by emptying a dirty diaper into it.
→Read more: 9 Tips to Ensure Potty Training Success
Setting the Stage for Success
When you really and truly feel that you have fully prepared yourself and your child, it is time to get started. I am going to reiterate here – getting the timing wrong is going to slow your progress down.
Check your calendar and mark off three days where there are no dance recitals, soccer practices, etc. Alternatively, choose three days where you can make alternative arrangements. Your toddler will need your full attention in order for this to work well.
Now that you know when you will start the training, start planning out ways to keep your toddler entertained while you are with them. The last thing that you need is a cranky, bored toddler during this training process.
Use the Right Tools
If you approach this correctly, you can get your child excited about the training before you even begin. Make a list of everything you need to get started with the training and let your child be a part of the process when it comes to choosing the items. If you let them try out each potty chair and choose the one they want, they are a lot more likely to enjoy using it.
The same goes for new underwear – if your child has new underwear that they like, they are more likely to try to avoid accidents.
During the training, your child will need to have clothes that are easy to get out of if they need to go potty. Avoid shorts/ pants with complicated buttons or zippers.
The potty chair and underwear are pretty much something everyone thinks of. Now onto a subject that most people never even consider when it comes to the potty training process – food.
You are going to want the training to be as painless as possible and this means ensuring that your child’s stools are soft enough to pass easily. The only way to do this is by feeding them the right foods and keeping them properly hydrated. You want to include foods high in fiber to facilitate this.
Including a range of foods high in natural fiber will help keep things moving. Foods to look at include fresh fruits and vegetables and fiber-enriched yogurts and cereals. Start introducing these a couple of weeks before toilet training starts so that their systems have time to adjust to the increased fiber levels. Continue throughout the toilet training process.
Stock up on rewards ahead of time. These should be things that the child really does enjoy. It does not necessarily mean giving them sweets either – they could be given stars on a board, get to spend time doing an activity they enjoy, etc. – be creative here.
The 3 Days of Training
I’m not going to lie – Day 1 is not likely to go too smoothly and your child is bound to have an accident or two. In fact, you are probably not going to know that they need to go until it is too late. If you can, get them to the potty as quickly as possible and let them finish their business. It is no big deal and should not be treated as such. If you berate them for having an accident, you are going to make things a lot harder.
As the day progresses, find out from your child if they have kept their underwear dry. Make sure to praise them every time they say “Yes”. Tell them at the same time gently that they should let you know if they need to go to the potty. By repeating this often, it becomes an engrained response for your child to tell you when they need to go.
Naptimes are no big deal – get your child to use the potty before they nap and just after they wake up. Eventually, they will have the routine down and will have no more accidents during nap time. Nighttime routines are very similar except that they are bound to need to get up during the night. They either need to fetch you when this happens or learn to go by themselves.
You can help your child to stay dry by not giving them anything to drink for at least 2-3 hours before they go to bed. During this time, and just before they climb into bed, take them to sit on the potty. If they do use it, be sure to praise them. If they do not, simply take them to bed and don’t make a big deal out of it.
The next two days will be a lot easier for both of you as you both will have learned from the preceding day.
The main takeaway here is that you need to use positive reinforcement always, manage your expectations and never try to rush your child. You might be tempted to skip some steps but that will only result in the training taking longer than it should.
Should you want to learn more about how to potty train your child, my recommendation is that you check out Carol Cline’s 3 Day Potty Training eBook. Though there are plenty of books on the topic, Carol’s is definitely the most thorough and practical – I would know, I’ve read a lot of them. This is the original training for teaching your child to use the potty in three days and you can check it out here.