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Make Potty Training "Fun"

If you are anything like me as a first time parent, you may feel overwhelmed by the undertaking of potty training. I'm not sure why, but for some reason this process felt extremely daunting and HUGE, which made me push it off month after month. I made up excuses about just having twins, he's not ready, I don't think he'll understand, etc. I can promise I thought of them all, but truth be told I just didn't know where to begin. There are so many books, so many methods, so many OPINIONS... just too much. I was feeling insecure and unsure how to start and it stopped me in my tracks.

One day my sister mentioned that the family she babysat for used some method where it suggested being "potty trained in three days" and I thought.. well I guess I can try three days! After their weekend of "bootcamp" the family generously passed on the book that I will talk about here. Everyone will use the right method for them, but I can tell you that THIS book was WONDERFUL and it didn't feel like too much or judgmental.. it was just HELPFUL. Do yourself a favor and jump on Amazon to purchase the book, Potty Training in 3 Days: The Step-by-Step Plan for a Clean Break from Dirty Diapers by Brandi Brucks. I will outline some of the important ideas here, but I promise reading her words will put your mind at ease.

The overall idea is that you spend THREE SOLID days with your child, giving them your undivided attention throughout the process. It sounds silly, but that means no work, no phones, not even looking away from your child for more than a moment. You may think that sounds extreme, but I took a phone call for 2 minutes and in that time my child had his first accident right into a bin of picture books (ha!) Needless to say, we had to recycle quite a few.. The author goes into detail why this is important and how to proceed, so check out her book. Your child will gather all the diapers around the house on day 1 and never look back! They jump right into underwear and get going! (Side note: your child will not wear pants all three days, just underwear so you can watch closely for accidents).

**My biggest tip before beginning the journey: install a toilet seat that has a built in pull-down potty seat! The one we have from Amazon has been LIFE CHANGING (see pics below)! No fumbling with a removable training seat or storing a massive training ladder. This is small and sleek, but EFFECTIVE. It can also be removed later on when your children grow**

Some of her bigger tips for the journey:

  • Sticker Chart/Reward Chart - You can purchase the ones I created and customize them yourself, or get the INSTANT download reward charts that can be printed immediately.

  • Stickers AND rewards (m&m, skittle, something SMALL) every time your child pees or poops (1 sticker and treat for pee, 2 of each for #2)

  • Reward jars, Stickers, and Charts ready in all bathrooms

  • Wipes (in case of accidents), towels or pee pads (we got a huge thing of them from Costco) around the house for mess, extra underwear in bathrooms

  • Do NOT use potty seats around the house - ONLY use the real toilet (read more about this in the book - it really helps keep the process seamless)

  • Stay inside during the three days and hunker down.

  • "Sleeping Underwear" (aka Pull Ups) only used for NAPS and BEDTIME - immediately removed right after waking, and regular underwear always worn over top

  • "TELL me when you need to go potty." - Don't ask questions like "Do you need to go?" You only give child REMINDERS.

  • Always redirect during accidents - never wait until after

  • No iPad/TV for the three "bootcamp" days (she explains why in her book)

  • Prep meals ahead (you won't have time to cook or look away) or order takeout!

  • Get lots of fun drinks and salty snacks to keep them drinking!

  • Prep "ready to grab" snacks

  • Push through tantrums! It's not easy, but it will pay off! Do not use anger or frustration - try to remain calm.

When do I put my kiddo on the potty?

  • When you arrive at a public place

  • When you drop your child off (at school, daycare, grandma's house, etc)

  • Before and after mealtimes

  • Before bath time

  • Before going to sleep (30 mins before AND right before getting in bed again)

  • Before leaving the house

  • Upon waking

Adding "FUN" to the process:

  • I found that creating a PERSONALIZED sticker chart for my son sparking his interests in trains and cars really made him excited to add stickers to it.

  • I also bought vehicle and star stickers on Amazon which he LOVED applying (much to my surprise!)

  • We purchased a few new games, toys, and books on Amazon to keep him (and us) busy throughout the three bootcamp days. This helped IMMENSELY because without any screen time, it can get tough. He was very excited about engaging and playing throughout the day.

  • Drink races! Have fun with your kiddos and specials drinks to encourage fluid intake.

  • Try to find childcare for other kiddos so that your child is with you EXCLUSIVELY. My son is a big brother to twin siblings, so he often shares his time with mom & dad. I didn't realize how much he would LOVE his time with us alone. It made it a really fun and special experience. I was so surprised how ENJOYABLE and EXCITING it all was!

Things to keep in mind...

  • This is a process - your child may not be perfect after the three days, but they will be very far along in the journey if you stick to her method! (My son even had the flu one of the three days and we STILL got there!)

  • I'll be honest... I was fully expecting there to be pee all over my house that weekend and my son not understanding what to do, but I was shocked how quickly he picked up on the idea of going pee on the potty because we showed such excitement every time. We barely had any accidents the entire weekend and beyond.

  • MAKE IT A BIG DEAL and your child will feel like it's a HUGE accomplishment (because it is!)

You got this! Remember that one day you will look back on this and not even remember the chaos! It'll all be worth it in the end to make this journey a special one for you and your child!

Let's BringTheParty to potty training!

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