Potty Training in 3 Days…Sort of



Tired of the relentless battle of the britches? Maybe it’s time to start potty training! Independence is a huge aspect of early development in children. Although, seemingly similar, your boy or girl are usually ready to start on the road to independence at different stages.

Studies show that girls generally start potty training as early as 2- 2 1/2 years old, while the little fellas are a little slower, generally showing signs of readiness around the age of three. Although all children are different, some not even developing a readiness until the age of four, those numbers are bang on in my personal experience.

My son started a week before his third birthday, and my daughter only a week ago at just over the 2 1/2-year mark. Whether early or late, your child will let you know when they are ready (trust me). Here are some tips and signs to help you out.

Readiness Signs

  • Has “pee free” moments while sleeping, showing that his or her little bladder is strong enough to hold urine. (Once in a while)

  • Will sit down in the same position for at least two or three minutes.

  • Can yank their under pants up or down all by themselves.

  • Shows discomfort when wearing a wet or soiled diaper.

  • Shows curiosity in other family members using the washroom. (Asks to watch. Which can be weird, but just go with it.)

  • Gives some sort of sign when having going number two, such as grunts, poppin’ a squat, or in my experience…reaching on in there. Oh yeah, that’s right. Straight to the source.

  • Shows a strong need for independence.

  • They tell you when you have to go potty!

  • If your child displays any number of these signs, chances are…it’s time, Dad! Don’t be scared. Chances are, your wife or partner are equally as nervous, so work together to encourage the little buggers.

Preparing for Kick Off

So, it’s time. Make sure you can take off a solid 3 days of your life to devote solely to your little one(s). It’s crucial that they are your primary focus during this time. Take a deep breath, because it’s going to be tough.

Step one:

You’re going to want to yell, scream, hopefully not cry, and beg to tap out many times before it’s over…okay maybe it’s not that bad, but make sure you have lots of safe disinfectant spray and clean-up towels. It can get real…REAL fast. (personal experience…you may want to keep the dog outside)

Step Two:

Now throw away your better judgement, and have them say goodbye to their last diaper and make sure to give them the satisfaction of throwing it away forever. Also, take them shopping to pick out that new special mini john. It’s important for them to feel like it’s their decision to start on the road to independence.

Now with that all out of the way and your child free as a bird your free to start (remember the cleaning materials) because my Dear Sir…  it’s commando for 3 days. This helps them realize that there is no safety net and keeps them from forgetting, as pants or underwear can give them the false impression they’re wearing their diaper. Don’t worry, after the three days are up they should know when they have to go. By the second day, in my experience, they start asking…especially if there is a reward.

Step Three:

This is a tricky step… because we sometimes get distracted and, honestly, I forgot all the time. Set a timer for 10-15 min (I used the microwave timer) and whenever it goes off, take them to go use the potty. I found that asking them after the first dozen times if they can do it themselves, or if they can show me how to use the potty, helped a lot!

Step Four:

Ignore the bad, reward the good. I found that giving them that extra push of a reward for doing a good job was well worth it. I used a Smartie for each number one and chocolate milk for the big number two as rewards and it worked great. But any treat (hopefully healthier than mine) will work great.

So the other side of the equation is that they’re going to have accidents, remember that it’s a learning experience, so don’t over react or make them feel bad. Just get them right to the bathroom to get cleaned up and try again, keeping up the excitement of a job well done.

Step Five:

Don’t give up. This one is tough…because they like to throw you curve balls. For the entire morning my daughter would not miss a beat… then, all of a sudden she’d get distracted and have a couple accidents in a row, even tell me that, no, she didn’t want to go at times.

This is a situation when Dad has to step in and take them to the washroom. You may have to get creative, get them to show their teddy how they do it, or switch up the reward with something new and exciting. I’m not gonna lie either, it’s tough on us dads. There is only so much cheering we can do without having to fake the excitement. But, hey, if you find yourself in this situation, faking it works just the same.

So, to sum up:

  • Step one: Have lots of cleaning materials on hand.

  • Step two: Lose the pants, underwear, and go get a little john

  • Step three: Set a timer for every 10-15 min.

  • Step four: Ignore the bad, reward the good.

  • Step Five: don’t give up.


Also, remember that potty training girls and potty training boys are two totally different experiences. If you’ve done one, don’t assume the other will be the same or as easy/hard. The 3-day rule really applies more to how long it takes for them to get the concept. But you can expect the full course of training to take a few weeks, for sure.

Hopefully these tips helped you out! I wish I had known them when I started out with my son, things may have gone a little smoother. Feel free to comment and share, we love hearing success (or disaster) stories!

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