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The two words that are nearly every mom’s nightmare. Potty training. For the simple reason that teaching your child to use the potty seat or toilet seat for the first time is no child’s play, seriously! Even harder is getting them to use it every day, each time they want to go. Phew! That is some task, all moms would agree.
However daunting the task may seem, it is completely unavoidable. You can’t and don’t even want to keep your child on the diaper all the time! Not to mention, when you do avoid using the diaper at home, there’s a whole pile of messy clothes that keep adding up by the hour! How you wish that child would use the potty seat you so fondly bought for them.
Alas! they wouldn’t even touch it and continue to go in their pants/shorts/leggings, or worse, some kids would actually ask for the diaper to be put each time they need to poop! They just wouldn’t go without the diaper on! Well, we all have seen this phase or some of us are seeing it now with their toddlers and we just don’t know what to do.
This is why I thought of sharing my experience with potty training my child which, to my pleasant surprise, yielded results in just 3 days! Relieved as I was, I was more shocked at the fact that this could actually work. And a quick research online set all my doubts right - yes, you can actually potty train your toddler in just 3 days, even less, sometimes!
It’s a tried and proven technique followed by most moms. I happened to try it by fluke (without having researched it earlier, but it worked for me) and here I am sharing it with other moms facing the everyday dilemma. If you’re one of them, welcome to what I call the “3-Day Toddler Potty Training Boot Camp!”
P.S. This is based on my personal experience. Yours may vary but still there’s no harm trying!
Eligibility For Joining The Boot Camp: Check If Your Toddler’s Ready
This is the only prerequisite for starting training of your child. Remember, every child’s different. Just as they reach all of their other milestones at their own time, they’d achieve this one too when “their” right time comes. Again, there’s no specific “standard” age when or by which the child “has to be” toilet trained. It’s just a milestone, an achievement that would make both the child and you happier and relax things a bit.
Here are a few telling signs to help you understand when (or not) your child’s ready for potty training:
1. They have some bladder control now
This means that they can comfortably stay without peeing for at least 2 hours after they last went. Most important, when you notice that your child’s able to stay dry during day naps, it’s a good time to consider getting them toilet-trained. Take them to the bathroom and encourage them to pee there after they waken up.
2. They let you know or make strange faces when they need to go
This is the most important tell-tale sign to watch out for whenever you think it’s time to move your child out of the diaper and into the potty seat. Every child’s different so yours would have their own signs when they need to go. But, more often than not, almost all kids do something ‘different’ at the time, which tells you they’re about to go in their diaper or pants.
Some kids make strange faces or expressions, some crouch on the floor, indicating that they’re getting into the position for the ‘big task!’ Some release gas and some may even start getting restless around the time. As a mother, you’d know best what your child does (after keen observation over a period of time). Watch out for those signs so that you can use them to introduce potty training to them.
3. They strongly dislike a wet pant or dirty diaper
When they’ve gone in the diaper, pant or anything else they’re wearing at the time, some kids may start hating the very feeling of being wet or dirty. That’s a good sign and you can use it to your advantage!
4. They listen to you and follow simple directions
The child must be able to understand that you’re asking them to pee or poop at a specific place. Again, each kid may take their own time to get to this stage so see when yours is ready to take on from there.
Yay! Time to potty train! I love potty training! - Said no mother, ever
What You’d Need Before The Boot Camp
A potty seat (if you so wish for your child), preferably which you know your child would be excited to try and use. It could be in their favorite color or cartoon character (you’d find plenty of options on Amazon).
Underpants for your child, in plenty, now that they’re going to be off diaper, at least at home. Again, you can buy them in your child’s favorite color and design. You can even go shopping with your child and allow them to choose the ones they like. Remember, involving your child in buying all of these items would actually help facilitate the potty training process.
Potty Training Boot Camp Day 1: Orientation
Just like any other training session would kick start with an introduction, more formally called orientation, so does this one. Aside from the humor though, you’re dealing with a child here, so obviously it’s very important to keep things relaxed.
Introduce - On day 1 of your training, start with introducing the child to the very idea of where they must pee or poop. Obviously, this would entail explaining to them that the diaper or pant is not where they should be doing it anymore and that the correct place where all pee or poop must go is either a potty seat or the toilet seat in the bathroom.
Don’t confuse - It’s also important for you to not confuse your child as to where you want them to go for peeing or pooping. If you think your child would be more comfortable using a separate potty seat of their own the first time, then stick to that. Don’t shuttle between the potty seat and the toilet seat in the bathroom.
From convenience point of view, most parents feel that getting the child used to the normal toilet seat is a better idea so that they can get the child to sit whenever they’re outside home (at someone else’s place). Again, this is a decision you’d need to make, taking into consideration your child’s comfort level. Whatever it is, just remember to stick to the one option when you start out.
Start with #1 first - It’s usually much more easier to get the child to start peeing in the potty seat; you’re likely to achieve success faster! Of course, it’d require some effort on your part, like you’d need to take the child to the bathroom within regular time intervals, say every 20-30 minutes. This also means offering water or other liquids more often in the day to get them to pee often.
Don’t expect immediate success the first time around, although, you might get lucky too! But if you don’t, it’s fine. You’d need to stay patient and perseverant all this while, again because it’s a toddler you’re dealing with here. And the best part: your patience and persistence would actually pay off!
Don’t forget to acknowledge and praise - If your child’s peed in the seat the very first time (though may be rare), don’t forget to congratulate them, perhaps even offer goodies as a reward. This would help ease out the process for you as the child may feel motivated to return to the process the next time they want to go.
The same holds true for whenever they actually feel comfortable peeing in the seat (if it isn’t the first time). Make sure you clap for them, praise, encourage, and offer a small reward. It’s also possible that no matter how many times you keep trying during the day, your child just wouldn’t oblige to using the seat at all! No worries, it’s still important for you to keep trying, nevertheless.
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Day 2 Of Potty Training Boot Camp: Practice, Practice
It’s the second day of training your cutie pie and you’re likely to be either halfway through (if you’d been successful at least once or even a few times the previous day) or still at square one (with no success at all). Whatever the case may have been, it’s important to follow the golden rule of “Practice, practice until you succeed.”
Continue the regime from day 1 - Keep taking the child to pee every 20-30 minutes, with a small addition of trying something different today. To ensure greater success in your endeavor, I recommend leaving your child bare-bottomed through the day, at least for most part of it.
This might help you a great deal, especially if you have a stubborn child who just wouldn’t listen or oblige to your demand of going only in the bathroom or the potty seat. Such kids are only comfortable going either in the pants or diapers. By removing the pants altogether (not to forget, no diapers at all, strictly), they’d be left helpless with the only option remaining to go in the specific place instructed by you.
Again, remember to keep asking them regularly if they need to go. Leaving the child bare-bottomed may also increase the frequency of peeing sometimes in which case you’d need to re-adjust the timer. Also, the child may find it easy to go anywhere in the house, now that they’re free. In some cases, even if they do intend to use the potty, there might be accidents wherein they went before they could reach the seat.
Comfort the child but stay firm - In all of the above cases, remember to politely comfort the child with “It’s ok, it happens sometimes.” However, make sure you stress enough at the same time that it isn’t ok to pee anywhere else except the potty seat or the bathroom. The former’s important so that the child doesn’t feel scared at the instance of not being able to follow instructions perfectly; the latter’s equally necessary so that they don’t get confused or tend to take the matter lightly.
Day 3 Of Potty Training Boot Camp: Addressing #2!
This is usually the toughest part of any potty training session. I can say so because mine just wouldn’t poop for days together once I decided to not allow going in the diaper or pant at all.
Tough as it may be, it needs to be addressed, nonetheless, and so things may start getting intense today. Some moms may find it easy to train the child on pee and poop in parallel, while some may be more comfortable in dealing with the pee routine first before getting on to the difficult part.
I personally followed the latter wherein I addressed dealing with #2 on the 3rd day of the training session. This means that I allowed my child to get comfortable using the potty seat to only pee at first, letting them poop in the pant the first two days. The reason: I didn’t want to scare my kid away, fearing that they may stop using the seat altogether, even for peeing.
Slow and steady does win the race - Going by the tortoise story of “slow and steady wins the race”, I decided to take it one day at a time. And on the 3rd day of me training my child, I decided I’d take the plunge and at least try to get them to poop in the seat. Of course, as mentioned earlier, I was prepared to face failure, knowing well that my chances at success are bleak. But again, I knew I had to be patient and persistent both.
Success, at last! - So I followed the same principle from day 2 of leaving the child bare-bottomed all-day-long, this time with a keen intent to get them to poop only in the potty seat. It was a tough day for me, I’d be honest. Each time I looked out for signs that my child needed to go, I’d hurriedly bring the potty seat, but there it was, consistently unwilling to go in the seat at all.
The first few times I did start feeling bad, not knowing what to do. But I didn’t want to give in that easy this time around as I’d been doing in the past because my child had gotten to a point that it just wouldn’t go without the diaper or pant on! I knew it was high time to get them off this habit, for which I’d have to be firm and unforgiving - something very difficult for any mother but the end result was totally worth it all.
I kept trying all day, unwilling to put back the pant on until my child went. And there it was, finally! After multiple desperate and failed attempts, my kid finally gave in and just when they couldn’t hold the pressure any longer, went in the potty seat! And I have to share, what a relief it was, not just to me but to my child too. I could see it on their face, the resulting joy written all over.
I was prompt in congratulating my child, showering praises and encouragement aplenty. Besides that, I kept my promise of gifting my child’s favorite goodie treats as a reward for their accomplishment.
I’d like to note here that what I was able to achieve in 3 days, you may be able to in a slightly longer (or even shorter) time. Don’t be surprised because there are moms who’ve been able to taste success sooner. It all depends on your patience level, persistence ability, and most important, your child. But, I can say that the 3-day rule does work in most cases.
Sometimes you may not even be able to reach or cross the advanced level of getting your child to poop in the seat. No problem. Even if they start peeing in it, you’ve won half the battle. You can always continue the effort beyond 3 days, sticking to the regime explained above, and sooner or slightly later, you’d get there.
Oh, you’d like me to use the potty today? Let me think about that and get back to you.” - Toddler to Mom
Before you go, here’s a quick recap of what your Potty Training Boot Camp would entail:
Check if and when your child’s ready to be trained using the potty seat.
Talk to your child beforehand. It doesn’t matter how small or big they are; your child can understand your language right from the time they’re born. Let them know what they’re in for and that it’s important for them because now they’re a big boy/girl.
Don’t freak out when accidents happen. Remember it’s a work-in-progress and your child may be trying equally hard to get there and make you happy. Try not to be too harsh on them either as it may result in rebellion.
Keep the whole process fun, playful and interactive. Avoid making it sound like a task or chore.
Avoid confusing the child at all times - whether it’s the bathroom or the potty seat you want them to go in or consoling them after an accident. Saying “it isn’t a big deal” may actually confuse the child over the whole purpose of the training exercise.
Always acknowledge the effort with a reward or treat at the end. It doesn’t always necessarily have to be only after they’ve been successful; you may have to treat them each time they show willingness to oblige to your demand of sitting on and trying the potty. Kids are smart, but this time, it’s okay to have them their way as long as they show interest in trying things out.
A Word From Stay At Home Mummy
Potty training is a significant milestone in every child’s life. But you don’t have to hasten the process if your child isn’t ready yet nor do you have to lose your sleep over it just because other kids around the same age are already there. Just let your child be; however, do make effort in the right direction, helping them grow into happier and mess-free kids.
What are your thoughts on potty training? How has your experience been like with your child? Do share it all with me either in the comments below or drop me a mail. If you found the post helpful, do share it on your social media handles to help other moms with the process. For more such posts, follow me on various SM platforms or subscribe to my blog.