Potty Training in Three Days

Around my daughter’s first birthday she began to hate having dirty diapers. As soon as she had a dirty diaper she would bring me a new one and say, “biaper.” This window only lasted about three weeks and then she no longer had concern over her dirty diapers. But it got my brain turning. When does a parent begin potty training?

I did  TON of research (albeit mostly on the web) as to the different methods, the averages ages  of: different people groups, decades and countries. This is what I learned in a nutshell:

1.  Many cultures use a method of potty training that requires attachment style parenting and these children learn to hold themselves for short periods of time before 6 months of age. I have met parents who have successfully used this method and it is mostly called infant potty training or elimination communication.  http://pottytrainingearly.com/potty-training-methods

2. The average American girl was potty trained by 2 1/2, the average American boy by 36 months. (this average seems to changed the last year and a half to average 36 months for BOTH boys and girls)

3. The average child (no gender specification) in 1950’s was potty trained by 18 months.

4. Modern advisers suggest waiting until your child speaks in sentences and can play make believe to potty train, or waiting until your child takes the lead.

My thought and decisions on the above:

1. I travel for a living and cannot possible do elimination communication. When I move to Namibia, I will try it if I have more children since I will be using cloth anyway.

2. ALL my 6 siblings were potty trained BEFORE their 2nd birthday so I was not going to let averages guide my decisions.

3. The American people are no less intelligent now then they were 60 years ago so I set my goal to be 18 months.

4. I already decided that modern parenting experts are silly and create stressful household situations, so I decided against their advice.

I found precious few old fashioned advisers online but many older women who would talk and this is my story after following their advice.

Our little family had 10 days we were scheduled to be at home last fall. That was the longest bracket of time we were to be home close to my daughter’s 18 month milestone. I decided to train then. Before the day approached I bought a wonderful travel potty (mycarrypotty.com). When the day came, I rolled up my carpets (and was VERY grateful to have tile floor!), and let my daughter wear dresses sans diaper.

We went NOWHERE. I began on Monday so we could attend church on Sunday and my husband would be at work during the process. When my daughter woke up I took off her diaper and told her she was a big girl now and that she was no longer going to wear a diaper. (I NEVER put another one back on her either). I immediately put her on her seat and she was SO proud to have her own ‘chair.’

No success on the first attempt.

We read, played and just cuddled on the floor near her potty and she held it. And held it. And held it. For like 4 hours. She knew she was naked and when she was unhappy about it I knew it was time to go. I put her on the potty. She did not go. When I stopped looking at her, she crouched in the corner and started peeing. I CALMLY and SLOWLY picked her up and put her on the potty and said, “pee pee on the potty,” with a positive tone of voice.

This happened MANY times the first day with one or two successes. I felt like she did not really mind peeing on the floor and that she would never get it.

The second day was likewise with close to 50% success. I NEVER scolded her, NEVER freaked about the mess. NEVER moved her quickly or roughly. I would have rather her completely miss the potty than to be afraid to go.

On day three she was at about 80% potty trained (on day four she had 2 accidents but 13 full successes)! We began on Monday and I brought a potty trained girl to church nursery on Sunday. The next 7 days we had a lot of accidents while we were out (mostly because she learned to pee on the potty but was not used to having to wait to get to a bathroom), but I was NOT going to put her in a pullup and by the end of 10 days she was over 90% potty trained (one ever other day or so).

And then we drove about 5,000 miles that month. It was not easy traveling with such a child, and she had a few accidents in her carseat (much more inconvenient when far from home btw!) but all the laundry and stops off the Interstate was worth it.
At first she peed ALL the time. This was understandable because she was used to just peeing as soon as it hit her bladder, but after about 2 months she began going less and then not more often than I go.  After the first month accidents were very rare.

Did it take a TON of effort? Yes. Was it inconvenient? Most definitely! Would I do it again? Yes.  It is harder work upfront, but then  instead of changing a wet or dirty diaper, I am sitting a toddler on a potty. After the first month it is no more work to have a potty trained child than it is to change a diaper. In all actuality it may be less work.


2 thoughts on “Potty Training in Three Days

  1. I am a little confused about how you started because you didn’t say if she went to the potty herself when she had to go or if you had to carry her to it. When you said she had 13 successes on day 3, how did those happen? She walked to the potty and went, or she told you? Was she already dry upon waking from naps and bedtime? My daughter was dry from about 18 months onward whereas my son was more like 2 yrs. Your situation is cool that it eventually worked, but when I started with my daughter (right at her 2nd birthday) it was a lot easier than you describe so I wonder if it is actually worth it. Not to say you shouldn’t have, just that it’s not for me. My daughter would tell me when she needed to go even while we were out. I think she had two accidents in her whole PT’ing experience! My son, on the other hand, just could not accept giving up his diapers. It was like an emotional attachment thing or something. I felt like the ease in which my daughter learned was somehow because of me, but then I had another child! Haha I learned then to never be a cocky parent!! Lol Same holds true with schooling. Reading was a breeze for her and then my son took quite a bit longer before getting it. But the end result really is the important part! Sorry to write a novel….;)

    • I guess I should have been a little more clear about the definition of a success. On the first days she really just sat on the potty herself when she had to go, but when we started putting her in panties she would tell me, “Pee pee,” and I would help her.
      You’re right that it is harder with a younger child, and I would never suggest it for a parent who isn’t ‘feeling’ it, but after talking to a TON of parents struggling with potty training (we meet a LOT of people in our profession!) I thought it was best to try and be finished BEFORE terrible twos began.
      My daughter is a VERY fast learner, and I know that is what helped us more than anything! My son is 14 months and I am going to potty train him in December (that’s when we’ll be home long enough) to give him the same opportunity as his sister. He is smart like sissy, but in very different ways and prefers to learn by figuring things out himself. I am excited to see what round 2 will bring us!

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