It doesn’t feel like that long ago I potty trained Ruthie (probably because it wasn’t). I wrote a post on it here. It was a long and arduous process. I made many rookie mistakes, including going on a week long vacation a few weeks after beginning her training. Before that vacation, we spent weeks never leaving the house. It was . . . . . a bit traumatic. For both of us. I finally just resigned myself to reminding her to go to the bathroom every 2-3 hours for months on end, because she would only tell me when she had to go #2, but never #1. Now, nine months later, she finally is fully day trained and will tell me if she has to go pee pee. And I am starting the process all over again with Rose.
If it were up to me, I would have waited about another ten years before starting this all over again, but Scott let me know in a very subtle way that he was tired of changing toddler-sized dirty diapers. He decided to train her himself one Saturday. In his spare time since he had some work to do as well. In about two days since obviously he had to go to work on Monday. I know any of you who have potty trained children are maniacally laughing right now, but things related to parenting have come so effortlessly to Scott up to this point, I decided to sit back and watch this play out. He made some headway in getting her to pee on the potty, but the whole thing had the conclusion that most of us would expect. She was still having accidents, and he was getting frustrated. I had some appointments and things I had to do the next week, so we just put her back in diapers.
Well, I had run out of excuses for not training her, so I decided to spend this past week potty training Rosie. Because I love my husband and these are the things we do to show our love. I started scouring the internet again to reread all of the potty training advice blogs to refresh my memory. I, of course, found all of the miraculous three day method blog posts after being taken in by that dang lady who promises to teach you her failsafe method in a video that turns out to be an 8 minute advertisement for her potty training book. (She draws me in every time!) Now, maybe I am just terrible at implementing the three day method, but it has never been the rainbows and unicorns method it is touted to be. I’ll tell you why.
The title of the whole thing. Potty train your child in a weekend! Be done with diapers in three days! Puh-lease. I don’t know what kind of clockwork plumbing your children have, but I don’t even have a guarantee that we will have more than 2-3 poops in three days, and the poop was the main reason we wanted to potty train! And a child being able to never have any #2 accidents after two tries is quite impressive. I don’t think I could completely acquire a new skill after only two tries. Furthermore, maybe my expectation that the child will be able to tell you when she needs to go pee without constant reminding was an unreasonable one, but all of the rosy blog posts about it sure made it seem like that would be the case.
Using a little potty. This is just a personal preference, but I just cannot deal with cleaning out those little potties. Gross. The whole potty training process involves close contact with too much raw sewage already.
Bare butt. This is all well and good if you have boys, but having a little girl going around all day long without anything on her little bottom is a big no-no. That is a surefire way to give her a urinary tract infection. I don’t know, maybe everyone’s houses are much more bacteria-free than mine (I mean, we do wear our shoes in the house) but there is no way I can spend the day catching accidents AND making sure she never sits down on the floor. So, we use regular underwear from day one.
Never using pull-ups. I can totally understand this from a training point of view. If what they are wearing feels like a diaper, they are less likely to realize a drastic change in the status quo. They can’t feel when they are wet and need to run to the potty. However, I am not a big fan of going out of the house and risking a lot of public embarrassment for the child and unsanitary clean up for the establishment. So, we have no shame in using a pull-up if it is going to be a long car ride (sometimes they pee in their sleep) or an outing in which we are unsure of the proximity of the restrooms. I have a travel stand alone potty, but have never used it because, well, see my above explanation for my aversion to the little potties. Again, this might be the reason why Ruth took so long to figure out how to tell me that she needed to pee instead of my constantly reminding her, so I’ll chalk this one up to personal preference as well.
The magical window of opportunity that snaps shut if you miss it. This one bothers me the most about the three day method posts. It leads moms to agonize over spotting all of these telltale “signs” that the child is ready to be potty trained that come for a magical few months after the child has learned to walk and that window slams shut for another year or so if you miss it. Now, I do think children are either ready to be potty trained or they are not, and each child is going to be ready in her own time, but there is no need to try and read the tea leaves about it. If you are ready, and feel like they might be ready (you know your child best), then give it a try one week. If it is proving unduly frustrating for both of you, put them back in diapers and try again later. No typical child is going to high school still in diapers. So don’t fret about it. It will happen in its own time.
All of that being said, I am happy to announce that Rosie is fully potty trained after . . . . . drumroll please . . . . five days. And I am pretty pleased with myself. I did use the three day method (with the above modifications) and it worked very well, but certainly not with rave results after three days. We still remind her to go potty every hour or so, but when she goes she still has dry undies. We went to the park and out to lunch today with Rosie in her big girl underwear, and we arrived back home with dry undies. I consider that a success. She has been waking up from her naps with a dry diaper, and if she keeps that up consistently, I might even switch her to underwear for that too.
What have been your experiences with the three day method? Was it the foolproof method for you that it is advertised to be? Hey, I am totally willing to allow for the possibility that I just fail miserably at implementing it. Potty trained in five days is way better than nine months, though, so perhaps I am improving and I can shave off those extra two days like an expert with Wren.