Because every child is different, there are no hard and fast rules regarding potty training. It’s unreasonable to expect a child of less than 18 months old to start, and waiting past age three can interfere with school readiness, but apart from that, there’s no magical age for it. Exerting pressure on your child to potty train before he’s ready is likely to be counterproductive.
However, allowing your child to take the lead entirely doesn’t always work either. Some children express interest in using the toilet, but others just don’t see the point. Nevertheless, even disinterested children will eventually exhibit signs that the time is right:
- Ability to follow directions
- Communication skills
- Capability to walk to the toilet and sit down
- Capacity to stay dry for up to two hours
A long, drawn-out potty training process can cause stress and frustration for the
Preparing for 3-Day Potty Training
While the method can be effective, it requires planning and preparation beforehand. Clear three days from your schedule and eliminate any distractions in order to focus entirely on the task at hand. It has to be three days in a row, or it won’t work. Take the following steps to prepare beforehand:
- Take time off work on a Friday or Monday so you can devote the long weekend to potty training.
- Do all your chores and run all your errands during the week before.
- Arrange to send older kids to spend the weekend with grandparents or friends.
- Prepare meals ahead of time.
- Purchase treats with which to reward your child when she does it right.
- Plan fun activities to do with your child.
The last part is important. Three-day potty training is intense, but that doesn’t mean it should be unpleasant for your child. Positivity is one of the keys to success.
3 Day Potty Training Steps
The steps of the process are the same regardless of whether you are training a boy or a girl. Remember that potty training is a learning process, and accidents will happen. Don’t react negatively when they do; just clean up and encourage your child to do better next time.
1. Remove the Diaper for Good
Remove it first thing when your child wakes up in the morning, let him help you dispose of it, and encourage him to say “bye-bye.”
When you dress your child, put him in a long t-shirt or nonabsorbent undies for modesty’s sake but no pants. Explain that he’ll have to put his poop or pee in the potty because there’s no diaper to catch it from now on.
2. Administer Fluids
You want your child to understand how it feels when she has to go, and the best way is to induce that urgency is with extra fluids. Give her an extra beverage at breakfast and provide juice boxes throughout the day. Choose healthy options with little to no sugar.
3. Schedule Regular Potty Breaks
Take your child to the potty right after breakfast, and schedule potty breaks at regular intervals thereafter, about every 15 minutes to half an hour. At the same time, encourage your child to tell you when he has to go, and respond accordingly when he does.
4. Don’t Leave the House
Plan activities that your child enjoys and stay in the house for three days, focusing on training. Keep gently reminding your child that she needs to tell you when she needs to go, but at the same time, which for warning signs like squatting or fidgeting.
5. Train for Day and Night
After dinner, refrain from giving your child any more snacks or liquids. Before bedtime, take your child to the potty one more time. Set an alarm so that you can wake him up halfway through the night for a pee-pee break.
6. Reward, Don’t Punish
Like any skill, potty training takes practice. Your child will make mistakes, but she’s not doing it on purpose, so don’t get upset or punish her. Rather, praise her when she does it right and give her a special treat (e.g. stickers or crayons) as a reward.
Potty training is a non-negotiable part of growing up, and delaying it or drawing out the process can cause problems. If you totally commit to