How I Successfully Potty Trained My Toddler Within 3 Days

My daughter has now reached the age of potty training and I knew that it was time for me to start training her soon. 

Previously, I’ve been holding it off for a while because I’m at a loss of how to start.

As a first-time mom, I’ve never potty trained before nor was I prepared in going through the process.

When I think of wet pants, puddles, and perhaps soaked bed sheets, the thought just sounds horrifying. But when I think of saving money on diapers? I have to admit I was a little more motivated. 

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According to the Mayo Clinic, kids usually show signs of readiness between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. There is no distinct age of when a child should be trained but more of paying attention to signs of when a child should be trained.

A child is usually considered ready when he or she:

  • Understands and follows directions
  • Shows that he or she can communicate clearly
  • Have had less wet diapers lately
  • Shows interest in the toilet or imitates others using the potty
  • Wakes up from a nap with a dry diaper

Thankfully, my daughter’s been showing signs of readiness such as understanding directions and being comfortable with using the toilet here and there (partly due to when she had constipation at a younger age). 

My daughter will be turning three in October of this year and I vowed to make sure that she would be ready before then.

Since we have been under quarantine due to COVID-19, I had no other excuse to delay the training other than to dive in and do it. Therefore, I decided to use this past weekend as my training period.

Prior to training, I’ve been gearing up my potty training knowledge through various resources online.

I’ve read tips from Lucie’s List, listened to a podcast from Parent Savers, and even took notes from family and friends on how they potty trained their children.

Everything was a little overwhelming but after a while, I decided to go with the 3-day potty training method.

What’s the 3-day potty training method?

The 3-day potty training method uses the practice of no diapers during the 3-day period.

That means, as little barrier between the butt and the potty.

Without the diaper, your child will soon learn that when he or she needs to pee or poo, then it’s time to go to the potty. 

You can use rewards, activities, songs, and snacks during this time to encourage the idea of using the potty. I personally used a few chocolate mints as a reward in my training but did not use the others that were mentioned.

This method also requires your full, undivided attention.

In other words, for the next 3 days, you need to spend most of your time keeping track of when it’s time to take your child to the potty.

Some parents use the 15-min. rule (taking your child every 15-minutes) or you can stretch it out to 20 minutes, 25 minutes, or whenever you feel it is time. 

In addition, this method encourages you to give as much liquids to your child as possible. It can be water, juices, or other types of liquids.

The idea is that the more you give your child liquids, the more he or she will need to use the potty. Practice makes perfect, right?

You also need to make sure you are well-prepared with items you need for the training.

What kind of supplies do you need?

For my training, I made sure I had the following supplies:

  • Toilet training seat
  • Toddler underwear 2T-3T 
  • My watch
  • Protective bed underpads
  • Juice, water, or liquids
  • Shirts and pants (multiple pants for changing)

The toilet training seat was my ideal choice for potty training. Some parents opt to use an a mini potty training toilet for their kids but I find that it defeats the purpose of training them to go to the bathroom. I wanted my child to understand that when it is time to use the potty, she would need to go to the bathroom to do her business rather than using the potty anywhere. 

Toddler underwear is essential to making sure your child understands the difference between a diaper and an underwear. Since my daughter would be wearing underwear going forward, I wanted her to feel that with an underwear, it won’t catch her pee or poo the same way a diaper would.

My watch usually kept me on track during this time. I set my timer to remind me every 15 minutes to take my daughter to the bathroom. After a few times, I learned that 15 minutes was too soon so I changed it up to every 25 minutes (and sometimes every hour).

A protective bed underpad is an alternative to a mattress protector sheet that is used to make sure my daughter didn’t wet the bed overnight. I used it for the last night of training. 

Juice, water, or any other liquids is important to the training method so he or she can use the potty more often. Juice pouches can be a good option since it’s convenient and better for your child to take anywhere in the house. 

Without a doubt, my daughter was not going to go around the house naked so I made sure she wore shirts and pants (without the diaper) throughout the day.

The 3-day method recommends your child to go without any pants but I opted for the pants because I have not yet received the underwears I ordered for my daughter nor does my daughter have many dresses in her wardrobe. The order was expected to be delivered on a Saturday and I started potty training on a Friday.

The most important thing is to make sure you have multiple pants prepared because you’ll be in for some accidents!

My 3-Day Training Experience

Friday – Day 1

Friday marked the first day of training and I was super excited because I was about done with buying diapers. Woo-hoo!

We started the day with saying “goodbye” to the remaining, unused diapers and hid it away so that we never see it again. This way, my daughter can go around diaper-less. No diapers, only pants. 

I also made sure I remember to start my timer on my watch so that I was reminded every 15 minutes to take her to the bathroom. 

After a little explanation to my daughter about how we would no longer be using diapers and that if she needed to pee or poo, she would need to use the potty, we then went about our day doing our normal thing. 

I encouraged her to drink more liquids during the day and made sure the toilet training seat was always ready to use.

One of my struggles I soon learned about the, “3-day potty training method,” was that my daughter hates going to the bathroom every 15 minutes.

Every time I asked her to go “pee-pee”, she would run away, cry, or throw a tantrum. 

She was so stubborn that I eventually gave in a little (I know, not a good idea) and let her continue to play with 30- to 40-minute increments, which unfortunately led us to our first accident at noon. 

The good thing about this accident though was that my daughter hated the wet feeling and she knew that it was “eww”. Because she felt yucky in her wet pants, she was more willing to change into fresh, new pants that I prepared today.

As the day went on, my daughter proceeded with a few more accidents but later had a successful “sit-in” session with the toilet (mainly because I bribed her with chocolate mints).

When nighttime came around, I had my daughter use the bathroom before bedtime and wear an overnight diaper since my other two items were not here yet (toddler underwears and underpad protector sheets were to be delivered the following day).

Saturday – Day 2

Day 2 started out similar to Day 1 except that I implemented a new morning routine of using the bathroom as soon as my daughter wakes up. 

Just like how adults use the bathroom as soon as we wake up, toddlers can also adopt the same habit during potty training.

With my watch on, I made sure to remind my daughter to use the potty every 20-30 minutes. Everything was going well up until her afternoon nap, which she had an accident while napping. 

Late in the afternoon, I then received my Target orders I have been waiting on and prepared them as soon as they came through the door. Toddler underwears went to the washer and dryer (before I use them) and underpad protector sheets went straight to the mattress. 

For the rest of the day, my daughter has had less accidents and was now slowly starting to understand the new process. 

She would give me signs of when she needed to use the potty and I would run as fast as I can whenever she gave me the cues. I was really starting to like the way we were bonding over this.

When nighttime came around again, I repeated the same steps I did previously minus the overnight diapers since I had the toddler underwear now.

With the underpad protector sheet on the mattress, I was less stressed about what could go wrong during the night.

The following morning, I soon learned that my daughter had no accident throughout the night and have kept the underpad protector sheet dry – which was a big accomplishment!

Sunday – Day 3

Today was the finale and there were a few things I have come to understand more about my toddler. 

She is now understanding the signs her body is giving her, such as knowing when she needs to use the potty, and is now aware that she needs to notify me by telling me she needs to “pee-pee”. 

By 2 p.m., my daughter has had no accidents so far and even better, I have not had to change any pants for the day! This was truly amazing.

I was still using my watch to remind me every 20-30 minutes to take my daughter to the potty but most of the time, I was going with the flow. 

Even after her daily nap, she didn’t have any accidents so I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Before bedtime came around, I made sure we went over our new nighttime routine of using the potty before sleeping and my daughter happily complied – yay!

Follow Up

As I am writing this post (Day 9), I couldn’t have been more proud of my toddler for graduating out of her diapers.

I have to admit that I did question whether this method was effective or not (because the timing was so short) but after my experience, I attest to this method’s effectiveness.

The beginning of this training was more challenging than I anticipated but when I see how helpful it was to prepare for accidents, I was definitely less stressed and worried about the whole thing.

I continue to use an underpad protector sheet overnight even though we have had no accidents so far, and my daughter and I have both come to love our new morning and nighttime routine. 

The most important thing I learned about the, “3-day potty training method,” was that when you are consistent and committed, no matter how intimidating an idea sounds, the results are always rewarding.

If you are a first-time parent who’s getting ready to potty train your child or if you are a parent who haven’t potty trained in a while but is preparing to do so, I hope this post finds you well. 

For any additional ideas or information you have, don’t forget to comment below and share with us as we are all parents working through parenthood!

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