Imagine having one of those days when everything is wrong, your toddler throws herself to the floor screaming in frustration when you ask her if she wants a sandwich. You tell her you are sorry and that she doesn’t have to eat the sandwich, then she starts kicking, hitting and screams even more… When having those moments, potty training in 3 days feels quite far distant.
My name is Thomas and I have potty trained both my children. I didn’t worry much about it before it was time to begin. Then I realized how many things that could go wrong and how long time it could possibly take. I had already done some research on potty training but now I had to know everything! I read so many books and articles on the internet until I felt confident in the way I wanted to potty train my children.
My method is based on the potty training in 3 days method but for me it was much faster. I believe in preparation, the more you prepare the more of the actual work will be done when starting. It’s a bit like painting, the better you prepare with cleaning, grinding and priming, the better the result will be. Or when you go grocery shopping, if you have prepared with a shopping list and know exactly what to get, it’s usually a lot quicker and better than if you shop ad hoc.
In this article I will share how I potty trained my children within 3 days and how you can do the same. I will write about what to expect and what troubles you are likely to encounter. Most important, I will explain how to prepare yourself and your child in the best way possible to make it as easy as it was for me.
Expect the unexpected
If you manage to potty train 2 children at once in just 3 days, are they potty trained in 3 days or 1.5 days then? I can’t answer that question but some parents I know once told me about their potty training experience. They have a son and a younger daughter. When their son was about 2½ years old they decided to potty train him. They were using a bribe technique giving him candy if he sat down on the potty. He wasn’t too interested but their daughter who was about 1 years old wanted the candy badly! So she went straight for the potty, took off her diaper, sat down and pee in the potty.
She got very excited about what she had done and received the candy as promised. Their son saw what her sister did and followed. He was potty trained within a few days after that. Quite often things don’t work out as expected, but in this case it sure was positive!
What to expect in 3 days?
When I first heard about potty training in 3 days an instant image appeared in my mind. There were birds singing and butterflies flying around, it smelled nice and everybody were happy. My daughter was using the toilet on her own just like an adult, there were no such things as accidents and being dry during nighttime wasn’t something that had crossed my mind.
It’s good to have expectations since they form your goal which you will work towards to achieve. However, if your expectations are unrealistic you will be disappointed when you never get there.
I knew that my dream picture most likely was a little bit unrealistic… I also had a less idyllic idea about what to expect in 3 days. After reading about the potty training in 3 days method it turned out that idea was more like what to expect. Most potty training in 3 days methods have similar pictures of what to expect after 3 days. So what can you expect?
You are likely to have a child who will use the potty rather than diapers. There will still be accidents and she is unlikely to be dry during sleep. Your child will know when and where to poo and pee. Your child will be able to pull down her pants and panties and also sit down on the potty by herself. She might also be able to clean herself or at least understand that it’s part of the potty routine.
I achieved my expectations when potty training my children and I did it in less than 3 days. But then I had worked hard on preparations during a long time, so it wasn’t too unexpected.
What’s most important when potty training in 3 days?
There are a lot of things to think about when potty training. When to start, how to start, how to handle accidents, what equipment do I need, can I leave the home etc. These are things that we have to figure out before starting potty training. However, some things are extra essential for a smooth and successful potty training in 3 days.
Preparation, preparation and preparation
I know I keep repeating this a lot, but I really believe being prepared is key for a successful potty training, especially if doing potty training in 3 days. Both for you and your child. The best way to prepare is to read books. Books about potty training for you as a parent and books about the potty, toilets and how to use them for your child. The books you read for your child should be entertaining and you can make them part of your daily book reading when going to sleep.
Other preparations you can do is teach your child how to take off and on her trousers. Every time you are about to change diapers, ask her to pull down her trousers by herself. When you are done you can ask her to pull up the trousers again. When the diapers are off you can let her clean herself to make it a routine as part of going to the toilet. Same goes for washing hands. When you are done you can ask your child to wash her hands. You might need a stool, so she can reach the faucet or at least the sink.
All the above preparations should start long before the actual 3 days potty training. I suggest starting at least a month before. Since this will be part of the daily routine it’s not that much extra work for you.
Potty training in 3 days can be quite stressful and patience testing at times. You will have the best prerequisites if you are well rested, have a positive attitude and lots of patience. Don’t start potty training if you are having a stressful period or if other out of the normal things are affecting your life right now. For instance, new daycare, divorce, moving, new sibling etc.
Make a plan for what to say and do when accidents happen, or when other unexpected things happen. Remember that you are doing this together and that it should be fun. Your child is growing up and part of that is becoming independent. Using the potty by her own is a big step in that direction and you as a parent should be proud when you get there.
Never be pushy
It’s easy to become pushy when your really want something to happen. It could also be that things aren’t going as you’ve expected and you are stressed to make progress. My experience is that if you and your child are well prepared this won’t be a problem. Children are curios and when they recognize something from a book they feel comfortable exploring this new thing.
If things don’t work out the way you planned. If she doesn’t want to investigate the potty on her own or she doesn’t want to go to the bathroom. The worst thing you can do is being pushy. It will almost certainly have a negative effect and make things even harder. If they turn it into a battle of the wills, then the parent is going to lose . In worst case, stop the potty training and wait a few weeks before trying again.
Being consistent is key to make your child feeling secure and interested. Changing method or ways of doing thing while doing potty training in 3 days, will confuse your child. This will make her think you don’t know what you are doing and make her feel insecure. She will also lose interest since she won’t know what’s expected from her.
Stick with a method and repeat the way you do things over and over again. Your child will learn what to do and get better at it while practicing.
Potty training in 3 days
If you did the preparation I wrote about above, the potty training itself will be a piece of cake (in most cases). 😊 You probably won’t need 3 days but it’s always good to be on the safe side. Make sure you stack up with lots of crayons, Lego and other fun things you can do at home. You will be spending a lot of time at home the next coming days. If you are unsure that your child is ready for potty training, you can have a look at my article When to start potty training.
All right, time to start potty training in 3 days! On the day you’ve decided to start potty training, place the potty in the bathroom when she’s a sleep or doesn’t notice. Don’t tell her about the potty. Tell her you must use the toilet and then go to the bathroom. Either she will follow you there or join you after a while when she notices that you’ve been away too long.
Let her notice the potty on her own and act surprised when she tells you what she has found. Let her explore it on her own and carefully assist her if she asks for help. If she seems confused you can remind her about what you’ve read and ask her if she wants to try it. If she says yes and if it’s needed you can ask her if you may help her. It’s very important that you let her try on her own and that you intervene as little as possible. If she’s hesitant it’s better to come back later and let her try again on her own. Never be pushy!
If things go well you can remind her about pulling down her pants, the cleaning part and also wash her hands. Except for the pants, you don’t have to remind her the first time she explores the potty, but perhaps after the first time she did something in it. Chances are she will remember what you have been practicing and do it on her own.
Hopefully this went smooth for you and your child. The next part is a little bit trickier and requires a lot more patience. When you’re about to change diapers in the morning, remove the old diapers and only put on trousers. You can use underwear as well if you want, but it’s not necessary. Underwear can make it harder for your child to pull down her pants, so I recommend not to use any underwear unless you are certain she can handle it. When the diapers are off and trousers back on, tell her that she doesn’t have any diaper now and that she must use the potty when she needs to wee or poo. Else it’s going to get wet and uncomfortable.
Chances are that your child doesn’t know how to control her bladder. In that case it won’t take long before there’s an accident. Once it happens tell her something like “Oups I can see there’s wee in your pants, that must be very uncomfortable. Let’s go and change pants”. Then walk her to the bathroom (avoid carrying her) and when she sees the potty tell her “If you don’t want to get wet again you can use the potty next time, do you want to try?” Hopefully she will want to try.
Ask her to take off her pants and sit down on the potty. Tell her that she can try to pee if she wants. If there’s pee, don’t reward her. Just tell her that you can see there’s pee in the potty and that it must have felt good to pee. If she can clean herself ask her to do so, else give her a hand. Clean her and put on new trousers and repeat the process again until she learns to control the bladder. In case she doesn’t want to sit on the potty or there’s no pee when she sits on it, don’t push her. Just change the pants and repeat the process again.
When your child can control her bladder, depending on age, they usually can last for about 2 hours or more. Keep your eyes open for signals that your child needs to use the toilet but NEVER ask her if she needs to wee or poo (this is important). Just remind her occasionally, to tell you if she needs to wee or poo.
Keep using diapers during nap time and during the night. If the diapers are dry when she wakes up for a few days or weeks (depending on how brave you are), you can stop using diapers when sleeping as well. This can take years and is normal.
Day 2 will be similar to day 1, except for the potty part. You will mostly train your child to control the bladder and make them listen to their bodies signals to avoid getting wet. It’s likely that your child will have learned how it works by now, but there will still be accidents.
Same thing on day 3. It will be pretty much the same as day 2. If things have gone well, you can try to move a bit further away from home. This is not necessary, it’s mainly to get some variation after spending 2 full days at home. Stay close to home and only visit places where your child will recognize herself and feel secure.
And then what?
Hopefully things have gone well and you are done potty training in 3 days. 😊 If not, I recommend trying again at a later time or perhaps try a different method. Please keep in mind that whatever method, or mix of methods, you choose, be consistent and keep to it during the whole potty training time. I also recommend checking out some of my other posts. For instance, my general potty training guide. You will find a lot of useful information there.