Potty training can be a real struggle! I used this 3 day method for all of my children; they were 2&1/2, just over 2 &1/2 and my youngest just went through “Potty Training Boot Camp” two weeks ago; she will be 2 at the end of the month. Here are my tips for a successful Potty Training 3 day Boot Camp! Here are some of my tips to help your child become diaper free!
First, be sure your child is ready! Here is a link to help you determine if they are ready to lose the diaper and use the potty for good! http://www.babycenter.com/0_potty-training-readiness-checklist_4384.bc
- Clear your calendar– You will want at least 3-4 days of obligation free time to focus on your potty training mission. Going out to grocery shop, to visit friends/family, doctors appointments….leaving home to do anything will be an issue. For my second I planned during Spring Break vacation when my older one was off from school. If you are a working parent you may need/want to take a day or two off before or after a weekend, or plan with your childcare provider on handling the final days.
- Set the date and do a “countdown”– Buy some big kid under pants and do a countdown the week before. In the morning say, “5 more days and you will be wearing your new Frozen or Cars underwear like a big boy/girl!” This gets them thinking about it and excited for the change.
- Commit FULLY! You need to be prepared to stick with it 100%! If you put them in underpants for a day or two then go back to diapers it will get harder and harder to get them to want to wear underpants all the time. This can be HARD! With my son (my second to be potty trained) the first night he needed to go #2 and he kept trying to stand up. They aren’t used to sitting all the time when they go #2, and I kept helping him sit. This turned into him getting hysterical, crying for a diaper, not understanding, and me questioning myself and crying along with him. I gently pushed him to sit as he finally went! I had worried I may have scarred him for life not giving in, but when he saw that he had gone, he clapped and cheered that he was a “big boy and went poo on the potty!” Stay strong but be calm and comforting.
- Be prepared for the mess!
- The first day they are likely going to pee all over themselves. They are learning to control their bladder; they will not have any idea how to stop at first. That is what you will be helping them learn over the next several days.
- Have a mop, bucket and disinfecting floor cleaner. I typically put in scolding hot water with cleaner and left it in the first floor bathroom tub for a few hours at a time, then replaced as needed.
- If you have carpet, I recommend borrowing or renting a carpet cleaner, if you don’t own one. (On a side note, owning a carpet cleaner has been a must have with 3 kids and animals). If you have areas that are only tile or hardwood, try to use only those spaces as much as possible to avoid the carpet mess.
- Be present and aware– You can’t be emailing, distracted by TV, in another room and so on. You NEED to be with your little one learning their queues and helping them to understand when to get to the potty. Timing is everything! My youngest just went through this training and she didn’t say much when she had to go. She would take a quick breath, raise her eye brows and look for me. If I wasn’t right there, she would have kept having accidents. These are the teachable moments. When she gave this queue I said, “Potty! Run, run, run!” And we would run together and I would congratulate her on a good job.
- Most Importantly, ONLY give praise and acknowledge for positive and do not scold them for accident for at least 3-4 days. This is so, SOOOO important!! They are not going to understand at first and how you react will make a huge difference in how they take to the training. For example; on day one when your little one starts crying or gets upset because they went to the bathroom all over themselves, tell them, “It’s ok. Next time run to the potty when it starts coming out.” You may need to mop a trail to the bathroom the next time, but they will start to know to get to the bathroom.
Ok! It’s time to do this! (Make sure you talked a lot the night before about the excitement of wearing underpants the next day on the Eve of training. Get them pumped about it!
- In the AM remind them that they will be a big boy/girl from now on and will be going on the potty. Show them again where it is and have them sit down to get comfortable as soon as they get up. From there I set a timer for every 20 minutes and they needed to sit and “try.” The first day they might not go at all during those times, but it is setting a routine.
- If they have an accident, encourage them to run to the bathroom and sit and then continue to set the timer again. Often times if they have an “accident,” they will start stopping the flow of urine and may need to go more. Having them sit right away will help them learn to control their bladder and empty it fully when they sit.
- **I recommend having them wear just a t-shirt and underpants the first 3 days.**
- Repeat day one. At this point they should be learning that they have to go. Keep an eye out for the queues that they need to and encourage them sit on the potty.
- Recognize all new accomplishments!! For all my kids once they started actually going on the potty we would cheer, give a high five and I would have them flush and say, “Goodbye tinkle!” All three of them thought it was the greatest and got excited to use the potty and then flush and wash hands like a big kid.
- Try to stop using the timer if you still are. They should know now when they have to go. Ask them instead. This way they have to think about it and answer instead of automatically just trying.
- On day 3 I typically found they were able to get to the bathroom and sit, but they often times had a little bit of an accident on the way, but not totally soaked themselves. Keep MANY pairs of clean underpants handy!! And remember to only use words of encouragement. Around this day I would say, “Great job! You’re being such a big boy/girl. Next time try to get to the potty a little sooner and your underpants won’t get any mess.”
Day Four and on:
- I took their lead based on body language/queues from this point on. All 3 of my kids were pretty much accident free (minus a few early releases that required just a change of underpants, but pants were clean) from around days 6 an on. Yes, they still had them sometimes but it wasn’t frequent.
- Keep encouraging all progress and be patient. The first day I took my youngest to the grocery store (Day 9) she needed to go to the bathroom twice. Fun times!
You can totally do this! They can totally do this! Now plan, execute and have a good supply of wine available to help you through! 😉
Until next time……Thea 🙂
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