Last week it began: Our second attempt at potty training our 24 month old daughter. The first attempt, at 22 months, ended after five long hours when I realized neither of us were quite ready. This time, I was determined to give potty training a full three days.
I’d already read up on our chosen method, 3-Day Potty Training, in posts like How the 3-Day Potty Training Method Works and Potty Training in 3 Days or Less. Once we began and things got real I realized I still had lots of questions.
What did other parents do when they hit setbacks? If we went with the bare bottom for 3-days approach, what happened once day three was over and the pants were back on? Would we ever be able to go out in public again without a potty disaster?
My favorite real life examples:
When seeking answers to my lingering questions, I came across two real-life examples of parents walking through the potty training process with their toddler. I found their posts so helpful that they inspired me to share our experience with potty training too. If you’re a parent who’s curious about what the 3-day approach looks like in real life, read on! This post gives a detailed account of day 1. See days 2 and 3 here.
Here are the real-life examples that inspired this post:
- 3-Day Potty Training For Kids: Does It Work? (A dad’s humorous account.)
- 3 Day Potty Training With Lora Jensen: Day 1 (Heather of mommypotamus.com shares her experience with potty training. This is the first post in a series. You can find the link to the follow up posts at the bottom of her Day 1 post.)
A Few Notes About Our Method:
- G was 24 months old, just 2 weeks past her second birthday, when we started.
- We chose to do the bare bottom approach instead of having G pick out special underwear. During our first attempt at potty training, two months earlier, she’d mistaken the underwear for a diaper. So, this time, I decided not to go there.
- We did not tackle nap time or night time potty training. My goal was daytime training. Once she consistently stays dry for naps, we’ll tackle those and then nights. Right now, she gets a pull-up for both.
- Just a few hours into day 1, we began using chocolate chips as a reward. I usually don’t use food as a reward, and I’ll admit, I was concerned we’d be doling out chocolate for weeks. However, by day two, the chocolate chips were no longer needed!
- We kept G supplied with watered down juice to encourage her to pee. She usually only gets a cup of watered down juice once a day, so this was a treat for her.
- I didn’t buy any potty training books or programs. Our attempt is based completely on information found for free online, so our form of 3-day Potty Training may vary from those who are following a specific program or book.
3-Day Potty Training, Day 1
7:30 Wake up time. We say goodbye to diapers and get G dressed in a long shirt. I show her the potty chair, which she’s familiar with. We bring it with us to the kitchen for breakfast, and then to the living room for play time.
8:30 One hour in. Still no poop or pee, despite sitting on the big potty three times, and the potty chair at least ten times. We watch the episode of Daniel Tiger about going potty (Season 2, Episode 1) while playing in the living room.
8:55 G starts to pee, but after a few drops on the floor and a quick reminder, she dashes to her potty chair and finishes in the potty! High-fives and cheers all around.
9:05 A bigger puddle on the floor. This time I whisk G to the potty chair. She puts up a small protest, but finishes in the potty. More high fives (and hand washing).
9:20 Another small accident, but this time G will not finish going on the potty and puts up more of a protest about being placed on it. The long shirt is now wet, so short shirt it is!
9:25 Bigger puddle on the floor, followed by a bigger protest and refusal to finish on potty.
9:35 A few drops of pee on the floor lead to a major protest over sitting on the potty, including arching her back and refusing to pee once there. Trying to walk the line between being firm and scaring her away from the potty all together. I buy the Daniel Tiger Potty App in desperation. Maybe she’ll stay on the potty if she can play this? (She never gets to play games on our phones.)
9:39 More pee on the floor, tears and protest continue.
9:53 After five minutes on the potty with no success, we ended up with another accident on the floor and refusal to sit on the potty.
10:00 Decorating the potty with stickers results in trying to peel every sticker back off. Right now G is on the floor trying to refuse being put on the potty (including arching her back as I attempt to put her on it). I am starting to wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into.
10:03 Another small tantrum over attempts to get her to use both the small and big potty.
10:15 Finally! She sits on her potty chair playing Daniel Tiger while I sit on the lid of the grown up potty across from her and she pees in the potty! We cheer and reward her with a chocolate chip. Yes, it has come to this.
10:25 Success! More pee in the potty. Cheers, hand washing, and a chocolate chip follow, along with more play on the Daniel Tiger App.
10:45 G asks for a chocolate chip when in the bathroom. I tell her not until she uses the potty. One minute later, she uses the potty. (Walking the line between rewarding and bribery now.) Lots of cheers and another chocolate chip.
11:10 G sits on the potty playing Daniel Tiger for 15 minutes to no avail.
11:30 G gets up in the middle of lunch to pee in the potty chair nearby without a reminder!
12:15 While playing on the couch, G stops, get down, and goes pee in her potty chair!
2:25 After waking up from her nap with a wet pull-up, G eats a snack, says hi to baby H, then runs to the potty to go pee.
3:30 After being asked for the 100th time if she needed to pee, G uses the potty on her own.
4:00 G gets distracted and has a small accident on the floor. She is able to stop herself and finish on the potty.
5:00 Successfully used the potty after a reminder.
5:45 G is unusually cranky and seems very tired, even after a long nap this afternoon. We start getting ready for bed.
6:05 G is in bed, with a pull-up on, an hour and a half earlier than usual. She seems happy to be relaxing in bed.
Thoughts on Day 1
I ended the day realizing there was no going back. G had shown that she was ready to use the potty. I was excited about the success we had, though a bit concerned that we’d be doling out chocolate chips for weeks to come. I also slipped up and bribed, instead of rewarding, G to use the potty around 5:00 by reminding her she would get a chocolate chip if she did. This made me determined to try to cut out the chocolate chips as soon as possible. Overall, I ended the day tired, but excited for day two!
Products we used:
In addition to these, we had two step stools (one for each bathroom). The microfiber cloths were great for cleaning up accidents, and we already had them on hand to use with our Swiffer. G preferred the potty chair to the “grown up” potty, but we purchased potty seats to try to encourage her to use both.