As my twins were approaching their third birthday, the day care teacher had asked me to start bringing pull-ups for potty training. They would not be able to transition to the next class without being fully potty trained.
Wow had I lost track of time!
My babies would be three in just two months.
Our pediatrician among many moms that have braved potty training before me all told me not to buy pull-ups; yet, here I was heading to Target to do exactly that. I bought a seat for the big potty (and later, a small stand alone potty upon request) and Pull-Ups.
The reports I was getting back from daycare were pretty good. Their daily reports indicated they were going on the potty occasionally each day.
I was so relieved! I was off the hook with this whole potty training business. My kids were just taking to it; I had of heard of this phenomenon and secretly hoped my kids would just potty train themselves.
I was wrong. After a few weeks of these glowing reports, I decided to do away with Pull-Ups one Saturday. That was a mistake. After speaking with teachers at the school, the kids’ reports were based on whether or not they attempted to use the potty and the honor system. Oh boy.
Now I had wasted a month and had one more month before the big three-year birthday. I work best under pressure but I’ve never tackled a challenge like this before. I took to blogs, parent chat boards, Facebook posts, etc. for a plan. The overwhelming response was the 3 Day Potty Training Method by Lora Jensen. Of course I was skeptical but was running out of time and ready for anything.
A Little Background
The 3 Day Potty Training Method e-book is only 38 pages and very much worth the read if you are interested in this method or a version of it. I read it twice and created a little cheat sheet with the main points for my husband, mother and mother-in-law. I am not going to recount the exact details to the method, but it’s fairly simple; you focus all of your attention to your child for three days, basically watching his/her every move to either learn the signs that it’s time to run to the potty or catch them mid-accident to physically place them on the potty to finish. I was so terrible at that second part…really terrible. The keys are patience, consistency, love, and support.
The kids physically threw away all of the diapers and Pull-Ups we had in the house, including my secret stash in my car and multiple diaper bags. This hurt me…all that money! I did not leave any for night time either. This just scared me…all that laundry! They put on their brand new underwear and t-shirts and started the day. My son had two accidents and my daughter had one. Not too bad.
This was tough. I can’t even begin to put lipstick on the pig. First, my husband left town that morning. The accidents were not any more frequent, but my daughter was so emotionally distraught. She would refuse to go on the potty, but she was terrified of having an accident (and I promise I was being calm and supportive). My research indicated that this was a control issue; a power struggle. I can very much identify with these feelings, so I strayed from the book a little here. The book says to only allow the child to sit on the potty for a minute or so. I let my daughter sit on the potty for much longer than that when I knew for certain she needed to empty her bladder. She could control her bladder for hours which I knew was not good for her. By the end of day 2 she had finally emptied her bladder on the potty. I’m not sure who was happier or more relieved!
Thankfully, it was much better. I was still watching them but not nearly as much. We were making multiple trips to the potty, but that was ok. The following week we had a total of five accidents…one at nap, two during outside play, and two overnight. I was so amazed and so incredibly proud!
Going out in public was ok, but I had to be strategic with my park choices. We started with going to places where they were very comfortable and familiar with the surroundings and branched out from there. Now we still take breaks more often than I’d like but it is better than packing a diaper bag and searching for places with a clean changing area!
A few additional quick tips and tricks that worked for us:
- Although we didn’t use diapers or Pull-Ups at night, we did use training pants. The kids were not confused by these at all and simply called them their nighttime underwear. It made me feel better, like I was giving them some confidence or something.
- We started with stickers, stamps, and piggy bank money for rewards. Admittedly, we turned to the leftover Valentine’s candy, which actually worked quite well.
- Subsequent dry weeks were rewarded a trip to the dollar spot at Target or the yogurt shop.
- We were prepared for the poop issue with a “magic” golf ball. The idea in the book is actually a magic stick. You decorate a stick, leave it on the front porch with a note to your child, and have your child find it with the meaning and instructions. In a pinch, my husband grabbed a magic golf ball to give the kids on his way out of town; they would hold it to help them when they felt scared.
This is the method that worked for us with some slight modifications. Obviously every child is different, so good luck in your potty training efforts!