Today we continue our potty training mini series as part of our ongoing “The First Years” series that is covering the most precious little years! I’m delighted to have Anne from Quick & Easy, Cheap & Healthy guest posting today again! Please pay her blog a visit!
Guest Post by Anne of Quick & Easy, Cheap & Healthy
Training – Three Intensive Days
Once your child begins to show all the signs of potty-training readiness, then you can clear a spot on your calendar for 3 intensive days of real potty training.
And I really mean you need to clear your calendar. Choose three days where you have no obligations, or you can cancel any obligations you do have (for many people, a long weekend is ideal). If you have other children, find babysitters for them if you can, or plan to occupy them with TV for most of the day. Make meals ahead of time for those 3 days or budget money for eating out. It’s time to get serious!
According to what I have heard, the original method requires that you let your child run around the house buck naked. Um, not happening in my house. I dressed mine in a t-shirt and undies so that he could have easy access to do his business. You can do either one of those, but whatever you do, avoid the pull-ups at all costs.
Here’s how the Three Intensive Days pan out:
When your child wakes up, take off their diaper and clean them up. Make a big deal about how that was the last diaper they will have to wear for the next three days (except at night, of course), and instead, they’re going to be wearing big kid undies.
- Explain in simple terms your expectations for the day and how it’s going to work.
- Show your child the bathroom and their own personal potty. Review how it is used, and give them a practice run to start off the day.Make sure it’s very clear that this is the only place where pee-pee and poo-poo happen!
- Prepare yourself. Because pee-pee is definitely going to happen, and it’s probably not going to be in the bathroom for the first day. Arm yourself with all the appropriate cleaning materials and get ready for battle.
- Gather your child’s favorite toys in a location near the bathroom, and let the day proceed as usual. Every 30 minutes, call your child into the bathroom and have them sit there for a little while. Read some books, sing some songs, talk about bodily functions. (Yes. Again.) Remind them that this is the perfect time and place to go potty if they need to, but don’t pressure them.
If they do go potty in the toilet, make a HUGE deal about it. Jump up and down, sing and dance, reward them with candy or stickers. Make sure they understand how awesome it is that they are learning to pee in the right place.
Periodically ask your child if they feel like they need to go. Remind them they can go use the potty any time they think they should.
Stay close so that if your child starts to pee outside of the bathroom, you can catch it right away, and lead them quickly into the potty to finish the process. (Don’t forget to clean up the mess!) Don’t berate them for pee-ing in the wrong place; simply remind them of the proper procedure and give them plenty of opportunity to finish the job. Once again, if anything makes it into the toilet, make a HUGE deal about it!
Keep doing this for 3 days. On the first day, my son peed in the actual potty about 20% of the time. The rest was in the living room. By the third day, this ratio was flipped, and he was peeing in the potty 80% of the time, and catching himself if he started to pee elsewhere.
Cut yourself – and your kid – some slack. Realize that these three days are not the end of the world. Commit to the three days, but only the three days. If your child is just not getting it by the third day, then you’ve lost nothing but three days of your life. Resume diapering, and try again in 3-6 months (but keep up the pre-training!).
If your child seems to be catching on to the whole pee-in-the-potty concept after the three days, then you are ready to move on to Phase 3: Follow Up.
You’ve already accomplished so much! Your baby has now learned to recognize the signals that his body needs to relieve itself, and knows what to do about it. What needs to happen now is consistency. Don’t let baby fall off the wagon!
Continue giving your child opportunities to go potty whenever you have the chance. Every 30 minutes is great, but if you can’t do that, as often as you can. Constantly ask your child if they feel a need to go, and encourage them to use the potty if they think they should.
Now, when your child has an accident, your approach should be a little different than it was during the intensive 3-Day phase. Don’t get angry with them, but do remind them that they know what to do now, and you expect them to follow through.
It’s helpful to establish some sort of reward/consequence system. My son was very partial to gummy bears and looked forward to getting one every time he peed in the potty. If he started out peeing anywhere other than the potty, he lost his gummy bear.
After the 3 days, you’re going to have to bring your child out in public at some point. Make sure you give your child every opportunity to go potty before you leave the house, while you’re out, and when you come home. You probably won’t want to deal with cleaning up messes in the car seat or grocery cart, so consider some underwear with waterproof lining, or cloth potty trainers. One friend of mine would put cloth diapers underneath a pull-up, so that the feeling of the underwear was still there (and so was the uncomfortable-ness in the event of an accident), but the mess was minimal.
For the next month or so after the three days of intensive training, expect accidents to occur on occasion. Depending on the age and maturity (and physical ability) of your child, it might take even longer. But as long as the general trend is one of progress, keep on trucking and continue to be consistent. For most children, accidents are rare after the first week or so of training.
An extension of Follow Up – a fourth phase, if you will – would be night-time or sleep-time training. This usually happens a while after day-time training and totally depends on your child’s readiness. Initially, you’ll want to keep your child in diapers whenever he or she is sleeping. When you notice that those diapers are dry more often than not, for several days or weeks in a row, then give diapers a try.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen as soon as you think it should: boys, in particular, can take years to develop the physical ability to hold their pee in their sleep.
Like I said, I am no expert in this field. What I do know for sure is this: following this method, my son was completely potty-trained within a month of his second birthday, and was completely nighttime-trained within 6 months after that.
We are currently in the Pre-Training phase with my 16-month-old son, and I’m proud to report that he peed in the actual potty for the first time just the other day! He’s not ready for the intensive session yet, but I am confident he will get there, and will be just as successful as his older brother. I highly recommend this method of potty-training to everyone!
*This method is not the same as the 3Day Potty Training Method by Lora Jensen. Please see her site for more information on her method.
Don’t miss a post in this series!
- Potty Training a Child with Food Allergies
- Potty Training Regression
- Potty Training “Failure”
- Grace for Potty Training
- A Cloth Training Pants giveaway from Sew Crafty Baby
- and more!
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