Friday, April 17, 2015

Potty Training Your Toddler in 3 Days

Happy Friday! A few days ago, I posted some tips and tricks to potty training your toddler. I wanted to also share with you some detailed information on what I specifically did to potty train my daughter at 18 months. If you look on pinterest, you will find numerous bloggers who state potty training can be done in three days. Just 3 whole days! That's amazing and I found it to be true (for the most part).

Understand that while I did potty train my child in three days it hasn't come without some periods of regression (I speak more to that here in my post from a few days ago). Keep in mind that after you extensively potty train your child, you may still have the occasional accident or two (or a whole week of accidents) at some point later on.

I took three whole days to focus on potty training. During this time, I really only had time for potty training. So, make sure you pick a time period where you have nothing else going on and no major life transitions (new baby, switching child from crib to toddler bed, moving, etc.) I would also suggest you be sure you and your child are both ready to potty train. If you aren't 100% sure both of you are ready, wait until you are certain.

Here are my tips for structuring your three days of potty training:

1. Stick Around Your House
Plan to be home during this time. It would be especially challenging to be in public when an accident occurs or you have trouble finding access to a public restroom the moment your child needs it.

2. Toddler Goes Bottomless 
At least initially, it may be easiest to let your child run around without any bottoms on. This makes it easier for you to see when your child starts going potty. For at least the first day, you will have several accidents as you "catch your child in the act" and redirect them to their potty chair. 

If you are able to spend the day potty training outside, I would suggest going that route as you would have less mess to clean up. We potty trained during the middle of winter so that wasn't an option.

I have seen some bloggers who have mentioned having a child sit on the potty for long periods of time (like while watching a tv show and eating) so that when they do pee, it's in the potty. I would not recommend this. Catching the child in the act of going potty while they are completing their daily routine will be much more likely to help them better learn their own signs of needing to use the potty chair. Additionally, I did have my toddler sit on the chair and try to potty every 30 minutes during the 3 days of potty training.

3. Buy a Potty Chair
This was a must for us. Our child is extremely petite and still has issues with the size of standard toilets. I picked up a potty chair at a garage sale last year for $2 and it's still being used today. 

The best part about having a potty chair during potty training is that it can go with you. Because accidents occur so frequently as you train, if you bring the potty chair into the room you are in you will be able to get your child to the potty much faster. I know, gross, but it is only for a few days.

4. Use Rewards
Find an incentive that will motivate your child. I put together a prize basket for every time my child successfully used the potty. These were inexpensive items like toys, stickers, crayons, coloring sheets, etc. She seemed to be solely drawn to the stickers, so we kept those stocked!

5. Make it Fun
Make learning about potty training as fun as possible. We talked frequently about how exciting it is for our child to become a big girl. We also encouraged lots of sitting on the potty and just trying to go. 

While your child is sitting on the potty, find things to help them enjoy this time. We used books, sang songs, looked at pictures, and told stories.

6. Put the Phone and All Other Distractions Away
This can be not only a trying time for your child but will be for you as well. Shut off all distractions and put away the phone for a few days. Believe me, you will have enough on your plate just potty training.

7. Bring on the Fluids
You want to give your child plenty of opportunities to learn about going potty in the potty chair. Try to get them to drink as much as possible during this time. Soon after drinking fluids, you should have a new opportunity to teach your child about where to go potty. 

Additionally, I also have plenty of food. I kept extra snacks on hand so we got to eat a bit more than we normally do. The more opportunities presented when your child goes potty, the faster you can work with them to help them learn what potty training means.

8. Celebrate like Crazy to All Successes
This may be my last tip but it's probably the most important. Every single time your child goes potty in the toilet you must celebrate as if your life depended on it! This will help your child understand that what they are doing is what is expected of them. We typically clapped, yelled "hooray," and called a family member (grandma or daddy) to tell them our news. Whatever you choose to do, go big!

I hope this helps you as you begin your journey into potty training. What extra tips do you have?

This post was linked up with Mommy Moments at the Life of Faith blog.


  1. I have a few! We started off usign elimination communication with my oldest. She was doing great until around 18 months, when we moved. She then changed daycare situations twice, so I figured we were just seeing situated-related regressions. We tried to be super consistent, started bribery, and tried to do the 3 day training. Nothing worked. Turns out she was excessively constipated. She ended up on a several-month course of Miralax and when that started to take effect - no more accidents. The thing is, she didn't look constipated to us. She was so backed up, that normal looking poo was leaking around the solidifed stuff. The solidified stuff was pushing on her bladder, causing her to lose the sensation of when she needed to go. So sometimes it's good to have a little medical work-up in the event that potty training doesn't seem to be going quite right.

    1. That's a great tip that I definitely missed! Medical issues can definitely play a role in the effectiveness of potty training. Thanks for mentioning that!

  2. Very helpful tips! I will be needing these to potty train our toddler VERY soon!
    Amy @


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