Three-Day Potty Training: What to Expect + 9 Essential Tips
So…what is three-day potty training actually like?
The process for three-day potty training is truly simple.
The execution, though?
Well, if I’m being totally honest…it’s a bit intense.
You can work a little ahead of time to make three-day potty training easier! Click now to learn How to Prep So It Actually Works.
By “intense,” I mean that it takes your full focus for at least three full days – and that’s part of the reason why both Mom and Dad should work the program.
You’ll each need a break while the other is “on the clock” during those three days.
But remember, three-day potty training is only for a handful of days.
And while it’s definitely a challenge, it’s beyond worth it.
Just think of how much money you’ll save on diapers.
Think about how much easier road trips will be when you don’t have to worry about the unexpected blow-out!
Think about the lower amount of clutter around the house. No more diapers, diaper-changing stations, wipes, creams, and so on…
By now you’re probably sold on the not-using-diapers-anymore outlook, but you’re no doubt a little weary of what I meant when I called the process “intense.”
The single best advice I can give is to invest in Potty Training in 3 Days: The Step-by-Step Plan for a Clean Break from Dirty Diapers by Brandi Brucks. It’s a short, super-fast read and outlines the entire process in simple, easy-to-follow steps. It’s affordable, too — and worth every penny!
To get an idea of what to expect during your own journey, here’s a run-down of our own three-day potty training experience with our little lady.
She was just 23 months old at the time that we potty-trained her!
By the end of Day 1: Friday
Last thought before falling asleep: “OMG. This plan totally isn’t going to work. AT ALL.”
Scarlett went through 14 (yes, 14) pairs of panties that first day. That’s 14 accidents. That’s a lot of pee and poop, people. We were exhausted and felt totally defeated. She didn’t seem to even care or notice that we were trying to potty train her! What was the point?!
By the end of Day 2: Saturday
Last thought before falling asleep: “Okay. Maybe it’s working…”
She went through 8 pairs of panties the second day. She was also starting to notice when she’d make a mess – and that it was yucky. So, on we trudged through the muck and mire into the third day with a little more hope than the day before!
By the end of Day 3: Sunday
Last thought before falling asleep: “It’s working! It’s actually working! I can’t wait to watch TV again.”
She only went through 3 pairs of panties on the third day. WOO! We were stoked. (And I couldn’t wait to watch TV again because screens are a no-no on the program. That is, unless one of you goes into the other room away from baby to watch while the other parent takes point.)
By the end of Day 4: Monday
Last thought before falling asleep: “This wasn’t all in vain. It’s worked!”
I was home alone with Scarlett because, Monday. I added in a few more things to our day, like light (boring) talk TV that she wasn’t tempted to watch. We also took a quick trip outside to get some fresh air and sunshine after such a stuffy weekend. She only had 1 accident that day – hallelujah!
By Day 5 and on:
No more accidents, and she was even staying dry throughout the night.
It was a miracle!
Or, rather…the hard work had indeed paid off.
Although she wasn’t wetting herself at night anymore, we didn’t stop putting her in Pull-Ups until one month after starting the training.
Afterwards, she had a total of three “regressions” over the next four months that lasted for just a day or two at a time. But otherwise…no accidents! Even on long road trips, days at the theme park, and cozy nights of sleep.
Again, it was hard work. But it was totally worth it!
So what are the 9 most important things to remember about three-day potty training before, during, and after the training?
Here are the most important tips I can give you regarding the training process.
First, you need to confirm that your kid is mentally and developmentally ready for training.
The book by Brucks goes over this in depth. But essentially, as long as your kid is old enough to walk and understand basic commands (around the age of 2), he or she likely can be potty trained without referring to it as “elimination communication” – which is a whole other topic altogether.
Not sure if your kid’s ready? I always recommend checking in with a pediatrician before making any decisions based on baby’s health and development.
As a note: Our pediatrician said we didn’t need to even worry about potty-training until she was closer to three. But, with her blessing to try, we went on with the program because we knew Scarlett was ready. And…she was! So trust your instincts as a parent, too.
I’ll say it again: it’s a lot of work up front.
But, it’s worth it. Just commit to it already. Get it done. You won’t be sorry!
Also, it’s sooo boring.
You’ve been warned. On the three-day potty training plan, there’s no TV, no outings, no phones, and no outside play (until later in the plan). We listened to the radio really lightly at least, so that was nice! You’re just working on getting your toddler potty trained during those three intense days. That’s it!
And that’s also why I mentioned earlier to tag-team every hour with your spouse on who’s running “point” so you don’t lose your mind from the effort. Ha!
Everyone has to be on board with the same phrases, process, and attitude.
If your mom has her own very strong opinions on how kids should be potty trained, that’s fine and well, but she shouldn’t be one of the people watching your baby if that’s the case, because…
Consistency is the key to success.
No joke. If you’re not consistent, even months after your kid is “trained,” a regression will surely follow. In other words, if the kid’s caregiver isn’t consistent – exactly like you are – a regression will follow. Catch the pattern here? Every caregiver has to be on board with the same exact plan and follow through consistently! I can’t stress that enough.
Constantly remind your potty-trained kid to go potty in the potty.
Especially when out in town or around a busy, distracting area, you need to say, “Keep your underwear dry. Tell me when you need to go potty.” That phrase has rolled off my tongue thousands of times since we trained her! It only takes a few seconds and keeps those regressions at bay.
Always be celebrating.
We still celebrate Scarlett going in the potty, and she’s three now. She doesn’t require praise, but it sure makes her feel proud of herself, which only makes her more and more excited to be a “big girl” and keep going potty in the potty.
But what if your kid has an accident or just randomly starts peeing in the middle of the day, especially after three-day potty training went “successfully?” It’ll happen if you forget to be consistent! And sometimes it’ll happen just because the kid gets really distracted. Or, it’ll happen for no apparent reason at all.
But here’s the kicker: negative reinforcement does not work with potty training.
Being fussed at or feeling sad leads to anxiety in small kids, which causes more accidents.
So instead of fussing or punishing, simply tell them that peeing or pooping in their underwear was a bad choice, and sit them on the potty, where you explain yet again that the potty is the only place to go pee or poop.
In summary, fussing or punishing the kid, or anything that looks like it, will literally only make the regression worse. Trust me.
Instead, focus on the positive. Keep reminding.
If they have an accident and then pee more when you get them on a potty, you celebrate that pee in the potty like you just won the lottery. It works!
Always be celebrating. Never scold or punish.
During and after training, make going potty part of your nap and bedtime routines.
For us, we give Scarlett an opportunity to go right before her afternoon nap and twice during her bedtime routine (beginning and end). We always take her to the potty right after she wakes up, too – even when she says she doesn’t need to go! It’s routine, so she rarely resists.
If your kid wakes at night needing to go to the bathroom, immediately respond.
Keep the lights dim and the activity levels low, and celebrate lightly after a successful “go,” then return him or her to bed quietly so he or she knows it’s still time for sleep. This helps the training not interfere too much with the sleep schedule! (No one wants a sleep regression and a potty-training regression at the same time.)
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We were thrilled with the results of three-day potty training with Scarlett.
Many people rolled their eyes and laughed that it wouldn’t work. But, it did! Using Potty Training in 3 Days by Brandi Brucks helped us train our little girl when she was just 23 months old, along with the tips above. I’ve shared this with many friends who’ve successfully potty-trained their kids in just days, too – both boys and girls – so I know it works!
You can help your little one kick those diapers to the curb too in just three days.
Cheers to your own potty-training journey.
Other posts you may fancy…
Are you ready for three-day potty training? Make sure you have these 12 must-haves to help ensure permanent potty-training success!
The key to making sure three-day potty training really works for your toddler is all in the prep work ahead of time! Here’s a starting game plan.
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