What Is the 3-Day Potty Training Method?

For parents, few things strike as much fear and anxiety as those two dreaded words: “potty training.” And if you’re seeing signs that your kid is ready to be potty trained—don’t panic. It’s possible to get your tiny tot going to the toilet in just a long weekend. Sounds too good to be true, but the three-day potty training method (popularized by “Potty Training Queen” and mom of six Lora Jensen) promises to deliver exactly that. Here’s what you need to know.

So, how does it work?

This is potty training by fire. You basically toss out the diapers and set aside a three-day period where you focus exclusively on teaching your kid how to use the toilet. To do this effectively, you’ll need to quarantine yourself in your home so that you’re always close to the potty. (What a great way to spend the weekend, right?)

That sounds awful. Why would anyone do that? 

We know it sounds like a lot, but after three days, you should (in theory) have a potty trained kid. Which is basically the equivalent of winning the toddler lottery.

Sold. So what do I need?

Firstly, plan ahead. That means getting all your shopping and other errands done beforehand (see note above about being quarantined). You may want to arrange playdates or sleepovers for your other (potty-trained) children. Second, get a couple of oversize T-shirts for your kid to wear that will cover up his private area—get more than you think you’ll need. Your tot can wear underwear or go commando but no diapers or pants—the idea is that you want your child to see what happens when he has an accident. (And there will be accidents.)

Alright, got it. Now what?

On day one, wake up and have your kid throw her diaper away and say bye-bye to it. (Yes, this will feel ridiculous.) Put her in one of the T-shirts and explain that because there’s no more diaper to catch the pee-pee or poo-poo, she’ll have to put it in the potty instead. Serve up an ample amount of liquids for breakfast and then lead her to the potty afterward. If she goes, great! If she has an accident, don't freak out—just clean it up and move on. Some parents suggest giving your tot a treat when they actually go in the potty, but definitely don’t punish for accidents—they’re learning, remember? For the next three days, you’ll walk your kid to the potty at regular intervals (yep, just like you would when house-training a puppy). Some pros recommend doing this every 15 minutes while others say every hour—just make sure you do it frequently and keep an eye out for clues that your kid has to go. And that’s basically it.

Anything else?

Know that even when the three-day potty training method works (and many parents swear by it), don’t expect your kid to suddenly go about their business, flushing, pulling up their pants and washing their hands like it’s no biggie. Accidents might still happen and most kids still end up using diapers at night for a while even after being potty trained. But three days of potty training sure beats three six months, right? Definitely worth a shot. Good luck.

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