Potty Training Boot Camp!

Well, I have successfully finished potty training child #3...what a relief! I thought I would jot down my notes before I forget. I very LOSELY used the The 3 Day Potty Training Method, (HERE is the book) although (of course) I modified it to not be SO hard core..and it has worked for me every time. I might say that there isn't much of that method that I really stick to- I just want to give them credit for the shell of my plan!
Here is what I did:
NOTE: Of course, every child is different- this is what worked for 3 of my very opposite girls. I will say, none of them were "ready" when I potty trained them!

1. Download a fun potty App- we used "Potty Time with Elmo" and Milly loved it. There are also a lot of fun YouTube videos for potty training- Milly is obsessed with the Pull Ups Potty Dance.
2. Get lots of drinks and snacks- Fiber rich foods or foods that make them need to poop are really helpful (raisins, natural fruit snacks, I added flax to a lot of smoothies, apple juice, fun juices in fun boxes that they usually don't get, probiotic smoothie drinks, chocolate milk, donuts, etc..) The point is that they need to have lots of opportunities to use the potty. Have one extra special treat for when they putty successfully- candy, fruit loops, etc..
3. Buy some new exciting underwear
4. Purchase one box of Pull Ups 
5. Purchase Moist Flushable Wipes - this is not required, just helpful (especially with girls)
6. A little stool at the potty is helpful- I do not use potty seats, just train on the toilet you want them to use- I don't really understand why we would train on the little potty seat and then train again on the big potty- just do the big one and be done. (you will not find the potty seat in public- so just go big! That being said-it is nice to have a potty seat in the back of the car for girls in emergencies (from what I understand, boys can find a tree) just grab a used one or one from a friend in case of emergencies. You might use this for a week- so don't spend a lot of $$ on it.
7. Block out your schedule- I am serious, do not leave the house for 3 days. It is nice to have someone else with you- or at least to send your other kids out and about so you can focus.
8. Have beach towels and clean up rags ready. (if you use Clorox wipes, have some on hand- I used Norwex cloths)
9. Finally, have a bottle of wine on hand- if you like wine! It is a LONG 3 days!

1. The night before set it up- tell the child- "Tomorrow is Potty day!!!" Yea!! Get other people to be excited for them also- call grandma or an aunt or friends- let them hype it up!
2. Have all of the above ready when they wake up in the morning.
3. When they wake up- have them throw away their diaper. Tell them that they will no longer need a baby diaper. (the 3 day method says to have them throw away all of the diapers, I think this is a little extreme, just bag them up and give them to a friend who needs them) It is helpful to get the diapers out of the house- that way you don't give up in a moment of weakness.
4. Let the child pick out the underwear they want to wear and make a big deal of it.
5. Take them to the designated area for the "potty party" (preferably this location would not have carpet or material- wood or tile floors and plastic chairs are best for clean up). I set up a few towels with a plastic kid chair in our kitchen with my computer for movies and picnic style activities (painting nails, coloring, iPad, snacks, movies..anything to get them to stay put)
6. Pump them full of drinks and snacks so they will need to potty a lot- ask them "do you need to go potty" and "are your panties dry" a lot- just so they are aware that you want them to be dry.
7. The 3 Day Potty Training method says to wait until they start to potty to run them to the potty. I have them sit on the potty every 20 minutes or so- that way they will have early successes. Chances are you will do a little of both the first few days. They will have an accident and you will run them to the potty and tell them "this is where we potty- good job!!"  The real key is to STAY HOME and continue to run them to the potty.
8. My #2 and #3 did not have a successful toilet potty until day 3- DAY 3!! I thought it was hopeless, but then it clicked and they never looked back. One week after starting to potty train Milly she was sleeping in panties and out and about with little to no accidents.
9. Pooping takes a little longer, it just doesn't happen as often. It takes time for them to get it, just be patient and continue to encourage them to try on the potty. This is where the App comes in handy, they can sit and try with a game and not notice that they are trying.
10. Napping and sleeping- the 3 Day Potty Training Method says no pull ups- I say have them wear "nighttime panties" to nap and bed. I am not trying to change sheets every day. I had my #1 & #2 wear panties and put the pull up over them. This way they could still feel the nasty wet panties, but no mess. I also had them wear a pull up when we went out for an extended period of time. They understood we still needed to use the potty. I told them "I want these panties to be dry also, it is not a baby diaper". Milly on the other hand (child #3) refused to wear pull ups, she put panties on and never looked back (after 4 long days of training). She sleeps and naps in big girl panties and does great.
11. I remember thinking with all three of them- "are they ever going to poop?" This process just takes longer in my experience. Eventually they get it- be patient.
12. I find it easiest with the child just wearing panties, no need for clothes on these days- if anything a t-shirt, but try to make it easy for them to run, pull down the panties and go!
13. Finally, when you put them to bed at night, take a deep breath, have a glass of wine, unwind and know that tomorrow is a new day. Do not be discouraged by lack of success on the potty- just remember it is 3-4 days of your life and they will get it- don't lose hope! Stay positive, stay calm..don't freak when they have accidents- they will get it!

1. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE, will tell you "maybe he/she's not ready" several times. You will begin to doubt yourself and the timing. You will want to quit. DO NOT. Once you start, do not stop. You have to do this at some point, if mom is ready...do it. The 3 Day Potty Training Method says you can do it any time after 22-months and I agree. It might take 1 day, it might take 5 but they will get it. Like I said, not one of my girls was "ready" based on the articles you read about potty training readiness.
2. Try to have some fun, your child will feel it if you are stressed- just clean up the mess and move on- they will get it- THEY WILL GET IT!
3. Stay home, stay home, stay home. At least for 3 days- seriously, do not run around town with a potty training child- it does not set them up for success.
4. Finally, if you have a friend or relative who is potty training here are some things to do for them that will bless their socks off: 1) encourage them- no negative talk!! 2) encourage the child- celebrate when they potty, call them on the phone to check on their success 3) take them wine and food 4) take their other kids 5) take a 1 hour potty training shift- let them have an hour to let off steam while you run the kid to and from the potty. I bet the child will love the new helper also.

That is it, I am not going to lie, potty training is BRUTAL. Seriously, one of my least favorite milestones, but it has to be done and it is over before you know it! Go Mom!!!


  1. We are on Wk 3 and we have had some regression (especially with #2). But gotta keep trying. We pretty much did everything you did and it was a tough week. Glad it was over.Thanks for this post!

  2. What age do you recommend starting potty training?

  3. When I was pregnant and researching diapering, I wanted to try all the different kinds out. I bought one or two of nearly everything: different brands and all sorts of All-In-Ones, diapers with pockets etc!

  4. Oh I needed to read this today! Not sure how big of 2 yr old Milly is but we're at 25 months and I can tell you, she is ready, I am not!!


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