The three day potty training method can work for children under the age of three who are ready to learn to use the potty and whose parents can set aside 3 days to focus on this 100%. The idea is that your child could get comfortable using the potty in a few days. Of course, accidents can still happen so please keep that in mind.
Some parents can manage potty training in three days, although it is more likely to be at least seven days. In a recent survey of UK parents, the average was between 2 and 3 weeks. If you are happy that your child is ready, and you are happy to devote 100% of your energy to this, then it can work…
As soon as your child wakes, take them to the potty. Most children need to go as soon as they wake up, so use this as an opportunity to get started.
You will also need to make hand-washing part of the process, and yes, this might mean washing hands many, many times a day. However, it is important to get your child into the habit of washing their hands.
You might choose to do the three-day method in warmer weather. The fewer clothes there are, the easier it is to get onto the potty in time. Make the most of routine so that it becomes automatic for your child. You can help this further by using the same expression each time you are about to take your child to the potty.
Give your child the chance to sit on the potty at least once an hour and:
- Watch out for the signs they need to go (dancing on the spot etc.)
- Try about 20 minutes after a drink
- Try before any naps, and straight after waking from any naps
- You will need to remind your child constantly, it is easy for them to get distracted when doing something fun.
Make visiting the potty rather than what happens on the potty the real success. This means that your child isn’t under pressure to go every time. Reward with praise, clapping, or a high five every time your child sits on the potty.
If they do manage to go then you can give an additional reward, like a sticker. And if he or she doesn’t go, just say “never mind, we’ll try again soon”. You may need to bring the next visit to the potty sooner, rather than waiting for a full hour.
You may take your child to the potty many times without result, but try to be patient. This is all so new to your child. If your child insists on visiting the potty on numerous occasions without performing try not to lose your patience.
At the end of the first day, which is likely to be very intense you and your child will probably both be exhausted. As you are tucking your child into bed talk about the day, and how it went, highlighting any successes.
The second your child wakes up, bring them to the potty, and then follow the same routine as day one. Then take them to sit on the potty:
- Around 20 minutes after a drink
- Before and after nap time
- Any time he or she starts fidgeting
By half-way through the second day, things should have significantly improved. Again accidents can happen, so be prepared for that with lots of dry clothes to hand.
Follow the same pattern as days one and two:
- Dress your child in underwear that is easy to remove
- Stick to the routine – have your child sit on the potty or toilet when they first wake up, after meals, before getting in the car and before bed
- If your child looks like they need to go, then don’t hang around, say “let’s go to the potty”.
- Your child must feel relaxed to go, maybe keep a set of books in the bathroom.
- Make hand-washing part of the routine, you could buy some fun, child-friendly soap.
- Praise then when they go.
Day three is sometimes when the routine slips and there could even be a slight regression. If so, don’t give up – just stick with it.
Keep in mind the following points:
- Heap praise on your child, which will help keep their confidence high.
- Keep up with the stickers and the reward charts, until potty training has been mastered.
- Go easy on yourself, this can be a trying time. Give yourself time to relax and unwind at the end of the day, watch your favourite movie or run a warm bath.
There is no guaranteed way to potty train your child, and no “right” amount of time that it should take. Just go with whatever feels right for you and your toddler.