3-Day Potty Training | Should You Try It?

woman and child

In a world of fast food and instant gratification, the prospect of potty training your child in just three days is appealing to many parents. But is it something you should subject your child to?

Is 3-day potty training abusive?

Although it may be all the rage these days, 3-day potty training, however you do it, is going to be a high pressure, high stress, situation for both parent and child. It is in essence three solid days of non-stop potty training, where you are taking your child to the potty every 15 minutes of their waking day, and several times at night too.

While the process may work for some children, this, personally, from my perspective, borders on abuse. But you be the judge.

The 3-day potty training process.

While there may be slight variations between different 3-day potty training programs, they all follow the same basic procedures.

Step 1. Make sure that your child is ready for potty training.

The signs you look for are the same you would be looking for regardless of what potty training method you decide to use.

First of all, is the child old enough? Parents who try to rush the process and begin too early will only be making extra work for themselves. Trying to potty train a child too early can backfire and prolong the time required to potty train the child. Some children may be ready as early as 18 months, but most will not be ready for potty training until they are 2 to 3 years old.

Advocates of the three-day method suggest that you will have the greatest chance at success if you potty them between the age of 18 to 30 months. It is thought that waiting longer will make it more difficult to use the three-day method on your child. But for some children even 30 months may be too early to begin potty training.

Step 2. Schedule a time when you have three full uninterrupted days to do the potty training.

A long holiday weekend is generally thought to be the ideal time to do the three-day potty training. Remember, this will be an all day, everyday process. You will have no time for anything else. Not for cooking, not for washing, not for running of errands, no time for texting or talking of the phone, no time for visitors, no time for anything that is not potty training. For the next three days you will live, eat, breath potty training.

You will be home and you will stay home with your child for the whole three days. For those three days potty training will be your life, so choose the time you are going to do this carefully.

If it sounds like I am trying to discourage you from using the 3-day method, I am.

Step 3. Get everything you are going to need ready.

For three days potty training is going to be your life, so prepare everything else in advance.

You are not going to have time to cook meals, so prepare your meals beforehand. For some that may mean making sure you have a working can opener and microwave oven. Quick and easy is what you want. Forget about pretty.

You are not going to have time to do laundry. Especially if you do not own a washer/dryer. So, make sure you are caught up on your laundry for the next three days. For your child this may mean having dozens of extra pairs of underwear available. Have way more on hand than you think you would ever need.

Clear your calendar for those 3 days. You will not have time to go anywhere or do anything except potty train your child. No doctors appointments, no ball games, no grocery shopping, nothing. For those three days you will be very strictly a stay at home parent.

Stock up on drinks. Know what they like and get lots of it. Make drinking fun by using colorful and fun shaped straws. You want them to drink a lot so that they will have to pee often. That is part of the 3-day potty training process. Drink, drink, drink, pee, pee, pee all day long and into the night. Just keep in mind that nighttime potty training will take a lot longer than 3 days. There is no such thing as a 3-day nighttime potty training program.

Stock up on potty training rewards. This may take the form of a sticker chart, candy, a special toy, etc. The reward is anything that may motivate your child to successfully use the potty. The reward, whatever it is, should be used strictly for potty training success. The child should not learn that they can receive it any other way.

Often simple praise works just as good if not better than other kinds of rewards. Just letting them know you are proud of them is a reward in itself.

Step 4. Prepare your child for the ordeal they are about to face.

Allow the child to see and play with the potty they will be using. Let them get used to it. Teach them what it is for. Explain to them in simple language what you will be expecting of them.

Do not spring all this on them as a big surprise. Try to make it something desirable in their minds. Tell them that they are a big boy or girl now. Boost their self-esteem. In other words, try to de-stress the 3-day potty training process for your child as much as possible before you begin.

Step 5. Start the 3-day potty training party.

It is all up to you. You will need to get up, dressed and ready in the morning before the child does. Some 3-day advocates say to use underwear, others to dress the child with only a shirt, leaving the bottom bare. Just be aware, whether you use underwear or the bottomless method, accidents will happen, and you will need to be prepared to deal with the mess.

And you will have to be quick. You will have to feed and cloth yourself, feed your family and still get the child to the potty at least once every 15 minutes. Some advocate taking the child to the potty once very 5 minutes initially, and gradually working up to 10 then 15 then 20 minute intervals.

Chances are good that both you and your child’s nerves are going to be frazzled by days end. But you as the parent must stay cool and calm throughout.

Does the 3-day method actually work?

Yes, it does work for some parents, but at a price of high stress and frazzled nerves. And there is no guarantee it will work with your child. It may prove to be all for nothing. The 3-day method is not backed by science. It is not backed by the medical community.

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