Wow, I’ve seriously been trying to write this post for over a month now and can never seem to finish! Ha! #momlife. I’ve had some friends ask about how the 3-day method went, so I didn’t want to give up on sharing my thoughts.
Before actually getting started, you really must read the entire method created by Lora Jenson. There are so many things I heard about potty training and was doing *mostly* right. Rowan was even interested in it and used the potty at 18 months old! Had I not known this FULL method though, I don’t know if I could’ve sealed the deal for him to be fully trained before he turned 2 1/2… maybe not even by three! He's a strong-willed one.
Here are the 5 things that surprised me the most…
1 - Not telling them to go or setting timers
It seems counter-intuitive that you shouldn’t remind a child to try to potty when they otherwise would just be content peeing their pants 15 times a day. SO this method does allow for some tricky psychology with your language, because you can still remind them that they need to TELL YOU when they need to go.
“Are you dry? YAY! You’re so big! Remember to tell Mama when you need to potty!”
Those pop quizzes of checking to see if he was still dry every 5 minutes is basically the only way I could keep Ro remembering about it while immersed in play. When he was first interested in potty training almost a year ago at 18 months, he loved “playing” it like a game. He would have a few successes but then be over it the rest of the day. When he was done with the potty “game”, it was over.
This is the whole point… they are in charge. You are their potty counselor (or like the little angel that pops up on someone’s shoulder and reminds them about making good decisions). Now did I feel like I was going crazy saying the same sentences over 100 times in a day? Why yes, yes I did. But it worked, so -- worth it.
2 - Absolutely NO diapers
Obviously this makes sense for the daytime, but I was definitely still using a pull-up for nap and night sleeping before this method. Lora says this is a big no-no, because it’s a psychological milestone to know they are DONE with diapers. I conveniently bought just enough diapers for our trip to New Orleans and then planned to start once we ran out that first week back home. That ended up working really great, and he definitely understood that the diaper days were OVER.
We still have sleeping accidents here and there, so be sure to have 3-4 mattress protectors on hand before you start! (Scroll down to see our potty essentials.) Also, I know some kids are bed wetters and NEED pull-ups… but I’m just giving it a few months before resorting to that and other bed-wetting solutions.
3 - Not using the reward as a bribe
This one is just as hard as not telling them when they should try to potty… if not harder! I had definitely been using the promise of a treat or sticker to convince him to go at first. Jenson even says to phase out the rewards, but that’s been pretty hard to do with a toddler with a steel-trap-memory. When I don’t give him one, he will still remember hours later and remind me. Ha! We’ve been phasing them out slightly, but he’s like a dang elephant who won’t ever forget!
4 - Not forcing them to wait on the potty
I had definitely not heard this one, but she doesn’t recommend letting them to wait on the potty for something to happen while playing on the iPad or reading a book for long periods of time. It’s all about GETTING to the potty, which is the hardest part about training. So it makes sense when you really think about it. They have to be in their undies and practice like it’s the real deal — every time. No one sits on a toilet playing iPad all day as part of their real life… hopefully.
5 - Focus on running to the potty as a success
To go hand in hand with that last one, I found the smallest, most helpful element to be praising them for running to the potty (even when they were having an accident). Rewarding and praising this effort was so much easier than waiting for a full success… which doesn’t really happen until towards the end usually.
Another thing I recommend is the Potty Personality Test that Pull-Ups came up with last year or whenever that was. It really helps you to wrap your head around what may be getting in YOUR kid’s way the most.
For example: Mine is half-Owl and half-Bear, and he loved learning the potty process like an Owl and being “big.". He also got SO excited about the Summer Infant potty that looked exactly like ours. On the other hand as a Bear, he is ALL about play. If he’s playing, he didn’t give a care if he had an accident. It was almost just entertaining to him! He even loves using the spray bottle to clean up messes! Also as I mentioned above, using the potty was just a game to him at first that we would play and then be done.
Finally, I'd like to add that being stuck in the house (or near the house) for that first week was SO DRAINING for me. I've concluded that extroverted moms need to form lock-in groups to do this method all together, so we don't go crazy in our solitude. haha! Check back in with me when I'm doing this again in two years if you're into the idea.
These were our potty training essentials:
1 - Child's toilet seat
2 - Wooden step stool
3 - Little potty
4 - Thieves cleaner
5 - Undies (12 or more)
6 - Stickers
7 - Low sugar mini cookies
8 - Juice cup
9 - Mattress pad covers (3 or more)
10 - Bac-Out spray
Is there anything I've left out that was helpful to you, Mamas and Dads?
Cheers to being diaper free!