I’m going to be completely and unabashedly honest here. This is my potty training experience on the rocks, no chaser. I consider myself a fairly brave woman. We will welcome our third child into this world later this summer — that will bring us to three children under the age of four. That takes balls, my friends. But potty training? That was one parenting task I was not looking forward to experiencing.
If you ask me, the whole ordeal seems terrifying and a bit unnatural. I grew up in a relatively modest home; the “p” word (and by that, I mean potty) kind of freaked me out! So I did what I do best in these situations. (Did I mention I’m a tad passive-aggressive?) I just avoided the “p” word entirely as long as possible. It wasn’t until we moved back to Texas this past summer that I finally became serious. I mean, I couldn’t start training in the middle of a big cross-country move.
My trepidation wasn’t the result of a lack of research. I read books and articles about potty training until I was blue in the face. I knew the signs of readiness by memory, and I knew that most doctors and researchers suggested waiting until the child in question reaches the age of three (or relatively close to the age of three) — to ensure greater potty training success and perhaps curtail accidents and regression.
SO. My oldest daughter’s third birthday came and went. Still, I waited, justifying my behavior with every excuse in the book. By this time, it had become clear that my almost preschooler wasn’t going to magically learn to use the “big girl potty” all on her own. Sadly, it took me finding out that no way, no how was she getting accepted into a pre-pre school program at Church without being fully potty trained for me to bite the bullet finally. I begged my neighborhood girlfriends over wine and dessert for their best potty training advice. I was desperate. One friend suggested I try the “Three Day Potty Training Boot Camp.” And do you know what? I am so glad she did!
I won’t give everything away here (check out the link above or Google search “Potty Training Boot Camp” for a complete description of how the method works), but here is the gist. For three days, you will do nothing but potty train. If you have other children, you might want some extra help. For this to work, you need to devote yourself to the child that is training entirely.
Here’s How Potty Training Works
“Throw away” all the diapers she used to wear when she was a baby, explaining that now she is a big girl and big girls use the big girl potty. Have her help you with this task. (You don’t have to actually throw the diapers away. Just make sure she thinks you are throwing them away.)
Present her with new, big girl underwear and a blank potty chart. You will want to have some small and large potty prizes on hand (think candy, stickers, and small toys). Explain to her that she needs to tell mommy or daddy when she needs to go to the potty. The phrasing is precise here.
Next, you are going to pump her full of liquid. Let her drink as much as she wants. This creates the necessary trips (over and over) to the big girl potty. Mostly, you will spend the next three days running her to the bathroom every time she tells you she needs to go potty. Eventually, it will stick. But there will be some accidents along the way, so be prepared for this. And that’s it! Don’t stress too much about potty training overnight at first — this is something that can take some kiddos years to master. There’s no shame in wearing a pull-up to bed until that day comes unless you want to change sheets in the middle of the night continually!
Here’s the crazy part: my three-year-old was fully potty trained after our first trip to the big girl potty. She was ready the whole time; I was the one holding her back! But every kiddo is different. Don’t be afraid to talk to your pediatrician about any concerns you might have in the potty training (or other parenting) department. They are the real experts. At any rate, your kiddo will love having your undivided attention for three days. (Mine sure did!) And try not to stress — eventually, you too will have little Johnny potty trained. No one has ever made it to kindergarten in diapers, as far as I know. Good luck, Mommy Chicks! And don’t be afraid to reward yourself along the way…but maybe skip the sticker chart and head straight for the Moscato! That’s what I did. xoxo
Another Method: learn the Montessori approach to potty training