STAGE 1: MENTAL PREPARATION (for you and toddler).
Psychologically preparing your toddler to become a "Big Girl/Big Boy." Build up the excitement of Potty Training with all the exciting new things that come with potty training: a potty seat, underwear, potty books, chart, stickers, etc.
The most important part of “training” takes place the 2 weeks BEFORE the training begins. This includes:
- Telling your child that they will be getting rid of all their diapers and going shopping for underwear;
- Making a big deal out of their new underwear (whatever theme they are into). My daughter loves Paw Patrol, so everything related to training was Paw Patrol themed;
- Make sure that you plan ahead to keep your toddler home for 3 straight days (with no interruption). If you plan to do it over a holiday weekend, try to get any siblings out of the house so you can focus.
- Limit guests visiting during those 3 days, so you can focus on your "big boy" or "big girl".
- Prepare meals ahead of time or have someone come help with cooking. My mom was able to come for a week and it helped significantly.
- Get a journal to log the potty events of the 3-5 days (or print the log sheets at the very bottom of this post).
STAGE 2: Potty Chart & Stickers
I swear this chart is a huge part of what motivated both my kids to potty train in 3 days:
- Create a 7 day chart with a THEME.
- I did a Thomas the Train themed chart for my son and Paw Patrol for my daughter.
- Make sure you get stickers to match your theme and designate how you will mark “POO” – I gave two stickers and outlined them and wrote “POO POO!!”
- Yes, she went 2 days without a "POO POO," which I was worried about, so we loaded up on more fibrous foods on Friday and she had a huge poo on Saturday.
STAGE 3: Three-Day Potty Training Method
We used the 3 Day Potty Training Method, we did a few things different:
- Instead of waiting for her to tell me she needs to go, I would put her on the potty every 30 minutes (unless she told me she needed to go before the next 30 minute mark)
- We used the padded training underwear (not regular underwear) the first day. The 3 day potty method encourages you to use regular underwear so they don’t feel “protected” anymore.
- We did move her to regular underwear by Day 3 because she saw the Paw Patrol underwear and wanted to wear it.
- I noticed she was not ready to go Poo in the potty because she seemed like she wanted to but would hold it in. I made her a "magic poo poo wand". Yes, that is a poo emoji with flies buzzing around it...
- TIPS: when she went poo in the potty for the first time, we FaceTimed grandma to tell her the exciting news. Grandma was prepared for the news and celebrated excessively.
STAGE 4: REGRESSION
- We had a few accidents the week after, but I think it was because we stopped praising her efforts and just assumed she was "trained". Once we started up with the "great job!" and a few more stickers here and there, she eventually grew out of needing the praise and hasn't really had any accidents since.
- I recommend sticking to the reading of Potty Books and reinforcing that she is a Big Girl now, and telling people in your lives that she is a big girl and doesn't wear diapers anymore.