Even the words and the thoughts can be stressful just thinking about it. Honestly I had to psyche myself up to the challenge. But once you get past the idea of more work in your day (your schedule and life will change for a few months because you will have to stop what you’re doing and take kids to the potty) BUT it’s worth it.
We used the 3 day potty method by Lora Jensen. The pdf costs $27 and it’s worth it. She’s available for advice etc. when you go through it. However I did a few things differently because I didn’t realize I had two types of personalities for potty training.
Buy and read the 3 day manual. It’s a very quick read and it’s very straight forward. In addition have your kid’s watch Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty / Daniel Goes to the Potty [HD]
It’s a great Potty Video and the theme song – “When you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and on your way.” helps you with reinforcement.
Step 2: Decide when you’re going to do it. If you’re kids show some signs it’s best to start at that moment instead of waiting. Ms. Jensen suggests an early age i.e. 15 months however most of my friends and I started the training just after our kids turned 2. I chose 2 years and one month. I also chose to do it in the winter – January instead of the summer because we had to be inside anyways due to the rain and I just planned it as an ‘indoor activity’. You will need to block the time off in your calendar as vacation (but it’s no vacation) i.e. don’t plan anything. Your days will be filled with potty training. It takes 3 full days, so you need to schedule 3 days of nothing, and have all the supplies you need including groceries and meals. I chose to start the 3 day potty method on a Wednesday and I hired someone to help. I trained both girls at the same time. The reason why I chose Wednesday and not a Friday was this: I figured the hard parts would be on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and that would leave Saturday and Sunday for reinforcements and trials of activities outside of the house with my husband. The reason I had help – all your activities i.e. laundry, cooking, etc. doesn’t get done because you have to be with your child/children all the time. So I had someone keeping the house schedule going and watching the other when I was taking the first one to the potty. Just note: when one is pottying in the bathroom the other is peeing on the carpet. (Some people do roll up all their carpets before they start the training!)
Step 3: Be sure to read the part in the manual– If YOU want it too much and your child doesn’t, you may have a power struggle. One of my daughters, had one accident on the Wednesday and that was it. She was trained to go right away. (M&M’s for peeing in the potty and lollypops for poop). Her sister, fought it until Saturday. I hadn’t realized that we were having a power struggle. Once I recognized it, her start date was that Saturday night. It took her until Sunday night to be potty trained.
Step 4: Night time – we tried the night time steps but it didn’t work for us – the reason, our girls were underweight and drank milk before bed. So we used pull ups. One, is still in pull ups because she is quite small and drinks quite a bit of milk before bed. The other, chose underwear at night at 3.5yrs and keeps it dry as long as we take her to potty before we go to bed. She did get a toy as a congratulations of this success. *A trick to save you stress at night when changing sheets – The ONION (I thank my SIL and friend AC for this invention) buy two waterproof bed covers Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector
and two fitted sheets. Put one waterproof protector down, then one fitted sheet, then the second waterproof protector and then the fitted sheet. When they wet their bed at night, you just have to remove one set and not struggle at 3 am to put on new sheets!
Step 5: Venturing out of the house to activities
Our routine in the first 3 months after potty training:
-Wake up, go potty (even if their pull up was wet). If it was dry they received 1 M&M after breakfast.
-Before we left for an activity – everyone would go potty. I reinforced with M&M for pee, Lollypop for poop. If the activity was close they’d just go and play, but if I had to drive for 20-30 mins the girls had to go to the potty when we arrived at the destination. Before leaving the activity – everyone would go potty. I carried M&M’s and lollipops in my diaper bag. I carried my Potette Plus in the bag as well. I have two Potette Plus in my car ready to be used (because my girls go potty at the same time – not my choice but they seem to be on the same schedule). In the beginning when the girls would say they had to go, I’d pull off the road, open my trunk (I drive a 4Runner) and have them go. I have wipes beside the potties. The Potette Plus uses a plastic bag so I would just tie it up similar to a poop bag for dogs and be able to throw it out at the nearest garbage bin. It is also worth your investment to purchase peepads that fit your car seats –for the times they can’t hold it. If I wasn’t in a spot where I could pull over or if it was taking me a little longer to get to a restroom or set up the potty I’d have my girls count to 10 so it took their minds off going potty. I will never forget the time we were at Kelsey Creek Farm attending the farm class out in the field with the cows, and my girls had to go potty. Right in the field with the cows I set up the Potette Plus and put the girls on it. Tied up the bag, wiped the girls hands and mine and continued on with feeding the cows. Farmer Jayne laughed and said that was a first in 20 years!
I now carry the Potette Plus and Clorox wipes in my purse. So when we’re out I wipe down the public toilet with the Clorox wipes, lay the potty out so the kids don’t sit on the toilet seat and have them hold onto the purple sides instead of the toilet. When I go to a park, a hike or a game the Potette plus is in a backpack. When it’s not in use it sits in my car with extra underwear, bottoms, and tops.
The first few months you’re very preoccupied with going potty. You will hear parents of 2-4 year olds continue to talk potty talk over dinner conversations or at gatherings because it can be very time-consuming. I continue to reinforce even at 3.10 years old (every once in a while I’ll still give the girls lollipops and M&M’s). I do continue to reinforce night-time dryness.
A few things that I have learned:
There is sometimes regression and it comes in different forms – this is why I still reinforce.
Sometimes girls get infections because they don’t wipe properly and they just potty.
Jumping on a trampoline, entering a bath or swimming pool without pottying first is a no-no. (Putting feet in water triggers the idea of going if they need to go.)
When going swimming with potty trained kids, who wear life jackets or puddle jumpers – be sure to put girls in a bikini so you just have to remove the bottoms and not the whole outfit.
Sometimes if kids hold their pee too long it can cause problems of just peeing without knowing. So be sure to encourage going potty.
Sometimes one of your independent children need to have something to control so eliminate you in the equation i.e. I’ll give you some privacy and you let me know when you’re ready.
Be sure to see the best potty ever Potette Plus blog