How to Survive the 3 Day Potty Training Method

Most parents love the idea of not having to worry about diapers, but the road to get there is a dreaded task.

When I was pregnant with my second son, it was important to me that my first son was out of diapers before I had a newborn. When he was a little over two years old, I started researching potty training methods.

I fell upon the intense potty training method that assured your child would be using the toilet in three days. This method appealed to me because I didn’t want potty training to be a long drawn out thing. If I was going to do it, I wanted to be all-in with the training.

When we started the potty training, my son had never used the toilet before. After three very long and exhausting days, he was potty trained – just using a pull-up at nap and bedtime.

I was amazed and impressed with how well this method worked. But, it was not easy and took so much patience and perseverance on my part. There’s a ton of information out there about how to potty train, but there isn’t a lot out of information about how to survive potty training as the parent. For the sake of this post, I’m going to reference the parent as the trainer – but it could be a family member or friend also.

I want to be clear that this post is not about how to potty train your child. It’s about how to take care of yourself, as the trainer, while potty training your child.

Potty training tips for parents to survive potty training their child.

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What is the Three Day Potty Training Method?

I am not a professional, but Lora Jensen’s 3 Day Potty Training method is what I recommend to any parent who wants to start the potty training process. You can check out her website for more information, or grab her book here.

Basically, this method encourages that you spend three days focused on potty training your child. There are specific tips and suggestions that Jensen encourages to help your child start using the toilet instead of his/her diaper.

What to Expect as a Parent While Potty Training

When potty training your child, there a few things you can expect as a parent:

  • You will be cleaning up “accidents”. Your child will not be wearing a diaper so inevitably at first, there will be a few accidents.
  • You will spend a lot of time in the bathroom. In the first day or two, you’ll be taking your child to the bathroom every 10-15 minutes.
  • You will feel impatient with the progress. It may seem like your child should be grasping the process of using the toilet faster then they are.
  • The sound of the first tinkling in the toilet will produce an excitement in you that didn’t seem possible.
  • You are going to say the words pee and poop A LOT.
  • At the end of the first day, you will think there is no way you can do it all over again the next day.

After reading all this, you might decide it isn’t worth the hassle right now. But I assure you it’s worth all of the accidents, exhaustion, and excitement over pee and poop, if your child is done with diapers after three days. Read below for some tips on how to survive potty training.

9 Tips to Survive the 3 Day Potty Training Method

Tip 1: Clear Your Calendar

Look at your calendar and find three days when you don’t have any commitments. I recommend doing this on a Saturday to Monday if you can. If you work full-time, you might want to choose a three day weekend, therefore you already have Monday off. If you’re a stay-at-home mom you have more flexibility to do this during the week, but I still recommend the weekend so that your partner can help out.

The object is to stay at home for three days so your child can run around without a diaper on and stay focused on the training.

Calendar to schedule when you will potty trian

Tip 2: Make Plans For Other Children In The House

If you have other children in the house, it’s a good idea to find something to keep them occupied. Your time is going to be focused solely on your potty training child. Removing any distractions will benefit you both.

Schedule a play date for your other child, have your partner or a family member do something with them. Or you could buy a new coloring book and crayons, a puzzle, or toy that will entertain them for a while.

While potty training, have your other child color to stay occupied.

Tip 3: Decide How You Will Keep Your Child On The Potty

Before you get started, think about what you will “bribe” your child with to stay sitting on the potty. At first, your child will be sitting on the potty every 15 minutes for 5 minutes to allow them the opportunity to pee in the toilet. It helps to have something to keep them occupied for that time.

For example, you might read to them while they are sitting there – this worked great with my first son. I also allowed him to have a few toys to play with. With my second son, I told him he could watch Elmo on YouTube if he stayed on the potty.

Another option is to find a few things at the Dollar Store and give them to your child to play with while hanging out on the toilet. Little surprise gifts like this might be a fun way to keep their attention.

Here are some fun “potty training” centered books and toys to get your child excited:

Tip 4: Clean the Bathroom

Yes, your bathroom might just get messed up again. But it’s hard to concentrate on your child when you are noticing areas in the room that could use a cleaning. Once the bathroom is clean, make sure to keep handy cleaning wipes so you can spot clean any accidents.

Tip 5: Call In Help

Your potty training child is going to take up all of your attention. You will be spending A LOT of time in the bathroom with them. As part of the 3 Day Potty Training method, your child might not be wearing anything below the waist. When you’re not in the bathroom with them, you will be following them around for signs that they are ready to use the potty.

With so much time given to your child, it helps to have someone else around as support for you. You could split the training with your partner. If that won’t work, ask someone to help with meals, house chores, watching your other child, and just providing encouragement for you.

Tip 6: Wear Comfy Clothes

This is the time to put on your most comfortable clothes. You are going to be moving around a lot. I spent a lot of time standing up and sitting down on our bathroom floor. This process is going to test your patience as it is. You don’t need the irritation of uncomfortable clothes.

Tip 7: Have Your Timer Handy

Part of the training process is having the child sit on the potty for 5 minutes every 10-15 minutes. I was diligent about this the first day of training. I used my timer on my phone to make sure we were sticking to the time frame. Within the first few hours of training, he peed in the toilet for the first time.

Use your phone timer to help out with potty training.

Tip 8: Plan Out Simple Meals

While potty training, plan to have really simple meals, especially if you don’t have help. This is a time for sandwiches, or ordering out. You won’t want to spend time prepping and cooking meals.

Even if you split the training with someone else, you’ll be pretty tired and won’t feel like spending any energy you have left on meals.

Tip 9: Reach Out To Other Momma’s When You Are About to Give Up

It’s normal to feel frustrated and overwhelmed by potty training. Your child may show no progress the first day or two. You’re cleaning up accidents and spending way too much time in the bathroom. It will feel easier to throw in the towel and try again later.

This is when you reach out to another momma friend for support. Even if your friend hasn’t been through the process, she can commend you on how hard you are working and provide the encouragement to go on.

Pin this post and refer back to it when you need some motivation to keep pushing through the three days. I know you can do it! Just think of how good you’ll feel when diapers are no longer a thing. Your child will be so proud of their accomplishment.

What To Do After the 3 Day’s Are Over

Once you get through the 3 days of intense potty training you can start to integrate back into the real world with your child. Make sure to always have a full set of clothes and underwear with you when you venture out of the house.

It’s normal to have a few “oopsies” over the first few weeks. Have your child use the bathroom before leaving the house and once again before leaving the store/school/friends house – wherever you venture out to.

While at home, remind your child every half hour to an hour to try to use the potty. In the beginning they may get caught up in being a kid and forget. Eventually, you won’t have to remind them as much.

You Can Survive Potty Training!

Instead of spending months with your child back and forth on the potty, you can buckle down and get it over with in three days. It won’t be a breeze, but using the tips provided here will make your job as the potty trainer much easier.

Are you ready to start potty training? Do you have a survival tip for using the 3 Day Potty Training method? I would love to hear from you. Share in the comments below!

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    2 thoughts on “How to Survive the 3 Day Potty Training Method”

    1. My 18 month old is starting to let us know when she goes, but she is terrified of her potty seat. We just read about the 3 day method last week. I am so glad you posted this!

      1. Kmattison

        I’m glad this is helpful Laura! It is definitely a challenging process for the parent as well as the kid. I hope this helps make you feel more at ease so you can focus on your daughter. 🙂

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