STOP… Potty Time

Three days.
No pants.
Every 20 minutes.
That’s the basic premise of the 3-day potty training method that took over our house last week.

Eager to have K potty trained before baby brother arrives we opted to give the ‘potty training in weekend’ method a shot. I downloaded Rebecca Mansfield’s eBook back in October and after one quick read through I felt confident in the technique and was ready to roll with three hard-core days of frequent potty breaks and a naked Bean. But because it’s me and I can’t seem to do anything in a timely manner these days, I put it off for too long and ended up encroaching on Thanksgiving… followed by Christmas… and the New Year… all of which are surrounded by events that do NOT lend themselves to accommodate days of constant toddler nudity and sprints to the loo. So it got pushed further and further back but I still held onto my initial confidence and was determined to kick things off as soon as the new year hit.
Then the polar vortex hit us, froze our house, and delayed us a little longer. Of course. I know people have been complaining left and right about how cold it’s been but seriously brrrr. Realistically we could have cranked up the heat so she wouldn’t freeze her naked buns off but the idea of watching all of our money fly from our bank account to the electric company was less than appealing.
So, after a little more waiting we finally found the free time and above-freezing temperatures we needed to give us the perfect amount of potty training power and the three-day adventure began! Here’s a ‘wee’ run down of the week. {I realize we are about to get pretty personal here and some people may not like the fact that I’m sharing this much detail on my kid’s potty training experience… she can pick a fight with me about it when she’s a teen… but since potty training can be a daunting experience for a lot of parents I thought I’d share my experience to shed a light on the method we used as well as provide encouragement for other moms and dads who are giving it a go.}

**I will also mention that we opted for the toilet seat covers instead of the individual portable toddler potties. Personally I didn’t want to have to empty the potty every time she went and figured if she’s going to use a regular toilet everywhere else she may as well learn on one. It does mean having a step stool handy and we did have to take the toddler seat portion with us on some of our outings {looking to get an actual portable seat cover but still deciding on one that I like for a good price} but I don’t mind in the least. Beats cleaning out a toilet seat 20 times a day if you ask me!

Day 1

I woke K up a few minutes before she normally gets up –  she normally has time to stand and chat with herself in her crib while filling her diaper with her morning “flush”. We immediately lost the pants and sat on the potty where I repeated my mantra of “pee pee in the potty” over and over again.  Side note: since our house was still a little chilly I opted to put a sweatshirt on her as well, but one that was short enough so I could see below the belt and be able to easily catch her when she had an accident.
Once she was ready to get off the potty we would wash our hands {keep plenty of lotion near by, that many hand washings in a day dried my hands out like crazy, especially in this cold weather} and I’d set my handy-dandy timer for 20 minutes while we carried on with our morning. I had everything planned out so breakfast was upstairs as well as a number of forms of entertainment to keep our quarantined hallway from getting too boring.
Each time she would use the potty I turned into the world’s most obnoxious cheerleader. Clapping, squealing, throwing my hands in the air, cheering, dancing about a bit, you name it! Because we opted not to use rewards {food, stickers, etc} this was our way of praising her. She loved it and would cheer along with me each time. She’d also get sneaky and start clapping for herself before she did anything so I had to make sure I was pretty blank-faced until she actually earned the celebration. With every accident I’d be sure she watched me clean it up while saying things like, “no pee pee on the floor” and “Oh, no. Pee pee on the floor is yucky!”
All in all she did really great! There were 3 1/2 accidents {I say 1/2 because I spooked her when I turned on our Bissell carpet cleaner to pick up an accident that had just happened… leading to a ‘scared pee’ that did nothing but make me laugh} and three successful pees in the potty.
I did put a diaper back on her during nap and bedtime. Better for her to get the hang of things while she’s awake and not also have to worry about having accidents keep her from getting enough rest. We’ll tackle that later.

Day 2

Same ensemble, same wake up call, same set up.
We stuck with trips to the potty every 20 minutes in the morning and since she seemed to be getting the hang of it I extended the time frame to 30/40 minutes later in the afternoon and was able to extend our area slightly. By that time she would tell me she had to go and didn’t really waste time sitting without going. Amazing what that every 20 minute routine on day 1 taught her!
She only had one accident fairly early in the day which I’m 99% sure was prompted by her being horrendously upset that I had put her in time out.
Everything else was successful! She would still only pee in the potty and seemed to be a bit nervous at the thought of pooping.

Day 3

Much more of the same routine for the morning and we now had free reign of upstairs. I also extended our potty time schedule to at least once an hour. Generally she would tell me she had to go before my timer would go off but if it reached an hour and we hadn’t made the trip we’d go just in case. We even had a successful poop that morning which she handled like it was no big deal. Many of the books I read talked about kids being afraid to poop in the potty because they sometimes think it’s a part of their body falling off… I get it, they haven’t taken Anatomy 101 yet… so I was very proud and relieved to see that she handled it like it was any other trip.
After lunch we took another step and added underwear to the mix. I made sure to get lots of colorful, character-filled pairs of toddler undies so she wouldn’t want to mess them up. Elmo is a fan favorite. When she first put them on she strutted around the house like she was showing them off {hopefully not a foreshadow to her future college years} but in the time it took me to answer the door for a delivery, she dropped a load in her pretty Elmo undies. Again… I anticipated this because kids generally associate undies with diapers and ‘settle into them’, as it were. I had her watch me put the poop in the toilet and continued with my displeased face and “Ew, yucky undies” routine as I cleaned them out and got her a new pair.
The rest of the day was successful!

It was an intense, stressful, at-times frustrating {for both of us}, and time-consuming process but I’m so happy with how she handled it all. We’ve had very few accidents since those initial three days and even had some successful potty breaks out in public. Z and I are proud parents and are very happy we decided to give this a go before baby boy arrives. I expect she may regress a little when he gets here but hopefully since we’ve given her a few months of practice she’ll be able to fall right back into her routine if she falls off the wagon. I’m still reminding her to go if more than an hour passes and she hasn’t and obviously watching her after she’s had a lot to drink but for the most part she tells me when she needs to go, and now does an adorable little dance-run to the toilet. She also gets a huge grin across her face and sometimes cheers for herself when she goes. Props to the obnoxious celebration method, right?!

So there you have it… a run down on our potty training experience. Again, I apologize {but not really} for being graphic at times but I figured if our experience can help another little one join the potty club, it’s worth it. I’d be happy to answer any questions if you have any and welcome any additional tips for regression or sleep training. Help each other out moms!

Until next time…

9 thoughts on “STOP… Potty Time

  1. Loved how candid you were with this post. My son is about 2.5 and has zero desire to use the potty. At all. He sits on the little free-standing one (won’t sit on the big one, I think I need to get a seat so he doesn’t think he’s going to fall in) but won’t actually go. Did you have luck with K going occasionally before you did the three-day sprint? Kudos on potty-training! Loved your techniques!

    • Thanks Kristin. K was actually a little afraid of the potty at first… when I initially read about the 3-day method. One of the reasons I wanted to make sure she learned on the big toilet so she wouldn’t be afraid of other people’s toilets when we weren’t at home. She’s been interested in what the hubs and I were doing when we went to the bathroom for a while so we’d take her in with us and kind of talk through what we were doing. Have her listen for pee pee (graphic but she was excited to listen for it), be excited about the whole thing. That helped her not be afraid, long with sitting her on the toddler seat for growing intervals. We’d count to 3 and let her get down, gradually lead up to singing the alphabet song. That was just having her get used to sitting up there, not actually going. I didn’t want there to be any fear when she actually started using it – avoid a struggle. I also didn’t mention that bringing books and the iPad into the bathroom helped when she was a little more reluctant to go or needed more time pooping. Helps take their mind off of what they are doing and just relax.
      Hope that helps!

  2. Sara!

    This is so encouraging. I know Spencer is probably a ways off from potty training, but I’ve seen firsthand how great Keelin has done with it! I’m encouraged that it was only a 3 day journey! YAY!

    Also, I loved K’s enthusiasm when asked if she wanted to flush the toilet. “Yes I do!”

    Such a special, smart, sweet niece I have!

    • Thank you my dear! I’m just happy that the days after the ‘hard core’ training have been more positive and less stressful! She’s definitely excited about her accomplishment!

  3. Pingback: Potty Training Update | Life in these times...

  4. Hey Sara, i know this is a late post, but i’m going to start potty train my 15mo daughter soon so we can say goodbye to the diapers and rash. How old was your daughter when you started this? Actually i’ve tried to train my lo few days ago but i was a bit inconsistent and impatient so i gave up. There was soo many accident and it got me thinking if the training was too soon for her. But then again i realized that i also didn’t prepare enough. So i stumbled upon your post and it gives me stronger will to start over again. Wish me luck!

    • Hey there! K had just turned two when we started. She had some potty fear, actually afraid of the toilet, so we had to get her past that before we started. It definitely takes a lot of patience and the realization that there will probably be plenty of accidents. I’d say try going for two days and if you don’t see any progress just press park use and try again in a month or two. Download the pdf I mentioned too, she gives a lot more detail and great suggestions for dealing with the stress of it all.
      Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

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