How to Toilet Train in 3 days
How to potty train in 3 days.
I’m not a toilet training “expert”. However after successfully potty training all 4 of my kids in 3 days, I’d like to share with you the exact strategies I applied and what actually works.
The 3 Day Potty Training Method
While there are many potty-training strategies out there, I chose the 3 Day Method. And let me tell you, it WORKS.
As a parent, what I love about this method is that it’s quick. In 3 days flat you’re done. Yes there will continue to be accidents here and there but by and large you’re done.
What To Do Before You Start
These are the things you need to do before you start off. Once you’ve got these things check listed, you’ll find the process of potty training SO much easier.
1- When is a toddler ready to potty train?
There are certain readiness signs which can indicate your child is ready to start toilet training. These signs include:
- being able to walk to the toilet and sit on it
- being able to pull their pants up and down
- being able to communicate with you when they need to go
- ability to understand and follow basic instructions
- taking their wet diaper off themselves because they feel uncomfortable
- showing an interest in using the toilet
- telling you when their diaper is dirty
- having bowel movements at regular times
- having a dry diaper for about 2 hours in the day time
2. You have to be mentally prepared
It’s not enough for your child to be ready. YOU need to be mentally ready too. 3 day potty training is totally doable but it’s not for the faint hearted. It’s tiring and messy. It requires energy, 3 days of being very focused on the task at hand and most of all being present with your child while having a positive attitude. If you’re travelling/ have a lot going on in your life then it’s best to wait a while.
3. Pick a weekend or ideally 3 days
You need to pick a weekend or ideally 3 days where you are absolutely free. Like ABSOLUTELY. You can’t have any other commitments. No grocery shopping, running errands or even long conversations on the phone. Your whole focus for 3 days days has to be this.
Prepare for this weekend at least a week in advance. Do the groceries, cook batches of food and run your important errands so you’re free for those 2-3 days.
Instead of thinking of it as a chore “Oh crap I can’t do anything productive for 3 days” try to rephrase it in your brain to something like “My kid and I get to hang out in our pjs all day, eat yummy snacks and play games together while we train. This is going to be fun”
It sounds silly or unbelievable to think that anyone could have fun while doing something so UN FUN. But the power of thought is a real thing. I tried to think of it in my head as 3 days of chilling rather than 3 days of freaking out and it made such a HUGE difference in my ability to stay calm throughout those 3 days.
4. Get your supplies ready
Okay so your child is ready to train and so are you. Great! Now you need to put together the stuff you’ll need to actually start training.
Now there are a ton of supplies out there being marketed as ” potty training must haves” but a lot of it is extras which you can do without especially if you’re on a tight budget.
- Potty Chair OR Potty Seat
Single or Double Step Stool
Saf Organics Waterproof Underwear
Supplies to clean up accidents
Something for reward
With my kids I found that small treats worked the best for a reward. Some ideas include: Gems, chocolate.
Small treats are another way to motivate a child. And nope there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with using treats as a reward! In fact, if your toddler is fond of sweet treats then this can be one of the most effective ways to motivate them to use the potty.
“Positive reinforcement in the form of treats can be an effective part of toilet training…but you only want to use them for short periods of time. Using rewards like this should only last for a month at most.”
Paediatrician Amy Sniderman, MD
6. Tools to get your child super excited about training
Getting your child into a positive mindset in which they are actually eager to start training is the fundamental secret to successful potty training. Unfortunately so many parents miss out on this absolute essential!
7. Sheet protectors
Sheet protectors are going to be your new best friend for the coming months (possibly even years!) They are absolutely crucial during night training but also essential during day time training if your toddler still takes naps during the day. Trying to scrub out pee stains from a mattress is about the most horrible punishment a parent can be subjected to. I use the Midnight Gang sheet protectors.
8. Explain potty training to your child
Your child has pooped and peed in their nappy since the day they were born. So it’s no wonder that they have absolutely NO idea what it means to even start potty training.
It is crucial to explain the whole process to your little one in a simple way that is easy to understand and is also FUN and gets them excited about starting training.
You can do this in several ways:
- Read books about toilet training with your child. There are some wonderful toilet training books out there. I read several books with my toddler which she really enjoyed.
- Watch some toilet training youtube videos and sing alongs. While reading books is a great way to explain potty training to your child, visualising it during some screen time and being able to connect is also a great way.
- Let your toddler observe how you use the toilet. Explain what’s going on. Make a big show of how you press the flush button and then wash your hands clean.
- Use a potty training doll. Many parents have had tons of success by using a doll to help their kids understand potty training. This can be very effective to not only explain potty training to your toddler but to also get them super excited and involved in the whole training.
9. Offer your toddler lots of fluids
Now that the training has begun, you need to try to make your toddler pee as much as possible. Offer your little one lots of fluids.
I’d advise you to stay away from giving too much store bought juice which can cause a tummy ache. Instead, give plain water, milk or other home made drinks like lemonade or a fruit smoothie. Alternatively, you could give her snacks which make you feel thirsty like crackers or pretzels.
10. Use timer to keep putting your child on the potty
Your toddler is out of diapers and drinking lots of fluids, so now the real training starts ie putting her on the potty. How frequently should you put her?
In the beginning of the first day, start off by putting her on the potty every 10-15 minutes. Set a timer and keep putting her on it again and again. Slowly start increasing the time to around 20-30 minutes.
Once you take off the diaper, set a timer and plan to take your child to the bathroom every 20 or 30 minutes. One of the main causes of potty training accidents is because the child is having too much fun or is too engrossed in play to listen to their body and make it to the bathroom in time.
At this stage, don’t ask her if she wants to go or not (that’s because she can’t recognize her body’s need to go since she has just started training). Instead, let the timer ring and say in an excited voice, “Yayyy, time to go potty!”.
What you absolutely DON’T want is to be forcing your child to be sitting on the potty. If they’re being resistant and refusing to go sit then the worst thing you can do is get mad and force them to go. If that’s happening you need to STOP what you’re doing. Go back to the earlier steps where you’re mentally preparing your toddler for the training and getting them excited to try it out.
If your child refuses to go, forcing them to go and sit on the potty will likely create a negatively charged atmosphere and can ultimately lead to more resistance.
11. Reward Reward Reward
So you’re offering your child lots of liquids and putting them on the potty every 15 minutes. They are bound to have some successes! Make sure that every time your little one pees on the potty you make a BIG DEAL out of it.
You need to act like your child has won the Nobel Peace Prize. You need to squel with joy, dance, high five and act like they’ve done the most incredible thing ever (I did all of those things and more!).
Then once they’ve washed their hands, give them their reward (a sticker on the chart or a piece of candy or both). Keep reiterating how proud you are and how you can’t wait for her to do it again.
It’s important to make sure that you give them the reward immediately after they’ve had a successful trip. This is so that they can connect peeing on the potty with the reward they just received which will positively reinforce them.
12. Be prepared for accidents
Your toddler will have some successes but also some accidents. You need to be physically and mentally prepared to handle this.
Every time your toddler has an accident, say something like “Oops, Let’s do it on the potty next time so we can get our reward”.
Don’t use an angry tone when addressing their accident. At the same time, don’t sound casual and say “oh it’s not a big deal you peed on the carpet” because that will make it seem like it’s okay.
Also, if they have an accident DON’T give them a reward (even if they whine and beg) because that will completely defeat the whole point of the rewarrd system.
Few things are worse for a child than letting her parents down. So don’t add more tension to potty training by showing disapproval when your daughter doesn’t get it right away; doing so can only make potty training harder.
I found this immensely helpful. Every time my toddler peed or pooped (on the potty or on the floor), I wrote it down, the exact time it happened and then made a tick mark or a cross depending on where it happened.
At the end of day 1, I was able to look back at the tracker sheet and see that my toddler needed to go every 20-30 minutes. I was also able to look at the number of successes/accidents we had and keep a track of the progress each day.
The biggest help this gives you is the ability to see your child’s frequency of needing to go to the potty. This in turn helps you adjust your timer accordingly and hence cut down on the number of accidents significantly.
13. Night time training
Some parents opt to do day time potty training and night time training together while others prefer to focus only on day time training.
In my opinion, trying to do both together is way too exhausting for a parent to handle. However it’s up to you to decide which approach to take.
If youre doing night time training then you’ll:
- Stop giving any liquids 1 hour before bedtime
- Make sure your child pees on the potty before getting into bed
- Cover the bed with a mattress protector (to prevent pee getting on the mattress or sheets)
- Put 2 alarms for the middle of the night and wake your child up to put them on the potty
If youre skipping night time training during these 3 days then you can just put your little one in some diapers or training pants before they get into bed.
Okay so you’ve done all the prep work. Great job! Now that you and your toddler are both ready and you have everything you need, it’s time to start.
Remember to remind yourself: breathe in, breathe out. You’ve got this!
Day 2 & 3: Potty train a stubborn toddler girl in 3 days
Day 2 and Day 3 will be very similar to Day 1 with just a few changes. One of the things I stopped doing on day 2 and 3 was giving tons of liquids. I wanted her to eat and drink how much she’d normally have on a regular day and then observe how frequently she needed to use the potty.
I observed her cycle, wrote it down and saw she needed to use it every 40 minutes. But if she drank water or milk then she needed to go about 20 minutes afterwards. So I adjusted my timer accordingly.
Before ending the post, I’d like to answer some of the most common questions parents have regarding potty training. Answers are based on personal experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Potty Train A Stubborn Toddler Girl in 3 Days
Why won’t my toddler sit on the potty?
Feeling fearful or overwhelmed are the two biggest reasons your toddler is resisting sitting on the potty. There could be fear of releasing pee or poop in a potty rather than the snug diaper. Your child could also be feeling overwhelmed by your constant reminders to sit on the potty.
How to get toddler to sit on potty longer?
There are several tactics you can use to get your toddler to sit on the potty longer. You can read them books, blow bubbles or sing songs together. Do things that help them relax and feel comfortable on the potty seat.
How long should a 2 year old sit on the potty?
If your child sits on the potty too briefly then it may not be long enough for them to do anything. But if you make them sit for too long it could make them avoid sitting on the potty. 3-5 minutes is enough to make them relieve themselves and also not get very bored.
What do you do when your child refuses to sit on the potty?
The best thing you can do if your toddler is refusing to sit on the potty is to back off. Take a break from potty training for a few weeks. Focus your energy on preparing your child to get excited about potty training and then re start in a few weeks.
Should I force my toddler to sit on the potty?
You should never force your toddler to sit on the potty. That’s because toddlers react with resistance when they feel pressured. This will perpetuate a negative cycle that will only hinder your child’s potty training.
How often should I sit my toddler on the potty?
Use a journal to keep a track of approximately how frequently your toddler needs to go to the potty. Then set a timer accordingly. Usually toddlers that are potty training need to be put on the potty every 20-30 minutes.
Is it OK to take a break from potty training?
It is definitely alright to take a break from potty training. In fact, experts recommend that if your toddler is showing resistance to potty training then it’s best to stop and re start in a few weeks or months.
When should I stop potty training and try later?
If you find that your toddler hates potty training, is resisting sitting on the potty or refuses to keep sitting on the potty then it’s a sign for you to stop. This is particularly true if potty training has become into a struggle between you and your toddler.
When should you call it quits with potty training?
You don’t need to call it quits with potty training. Rather, you need to stop training, wait a few weeks or months and wait till your toddler is ready.
Is the second day of potty training worse than first?
For some parents, the second day of potty training is actually worse than the first because the excitement of rewards and praise has worn off. Your toddler starts having more accidents than on Day 1 which leaves you feeling demotivated.
How do you get toddler to tell you they have to potty?
Use rewards and a lot of praise to encourage your toddler to tell you they have to potty. Sound really enthusiastic when they say they need to go and keep reminding them of how they’ll be rewarded when they go to the potty.
When should I stop giving my toddler potty treats?
If you’re using treats to reward your toddler during potty training, then continue giving them for at least the first week. Once your toddler is consistently peeing on the potty and having infrequent accidents you can gradually stop giving the treats.