Family Sunday: Adventures in Potty Training

How do you get a 2 year old girl to use a potty seat?? Put Dora stickers on it!

A few weeks ago I decided I’d had enough of Lucy in diapers.  So I banished Russell and Hazel to Grandma Susan’s and Aunt Becca’s care for 3 days.  It was just Lucy, me, big girl underwear, and the potty.  We did the 3 Day Potty Training method.  There’s nothing really magical about it, just common sense and complete devotion to making sure the underwear stay dry.

After delivering Russell and Hazel, Lucy and I went to Wal Mart and stocked up on Elmo underwear, an Elmo potty seat, kool-aid, apple juice, fruit snacks, and other rewards.  Then we went home and went to bed.

This is what it takes to motivate Lucy... Elmo.

The next morning when Lucy got up, I told her she is a big girl now and wears big girl underwear.  We put on her Elmo undies and made a big deal about it.  Then we “threw away” all the diapers in the house.  (Not really, those things are expensive! We just put them in an unused garbage bag and I hid them while Hazel was gone.)  Then I was basically attached to Lucy’s side for the rest of the day… sounding like a broken record: “Are your underwear dry?  Yay! Such a big girl! Let me know when you need to go potty!  Uh oh, they’re wet, let’s go to the potty! Hurry!”

Then, at the end of the day she finally went on the potty!  We celebrated hard core.  We called Daddy and bragged her up. We ate fruit snacks and drank purple kool-aid.  We danced and sang songs about big girls going potty.

The second day was somewhat frustrating.  We’d take one step forward and then two steps back.  She would go running to the potty and go, only to wet her undies 20 minutes later.  I wondered if it was really going to work, maybe she just wasn’t ready, didn’t get it.  But I was committed, we were NOT going back to diapers.  So, I kept the faith and stayed positive.

And on the third day, the switch flipped for Lucy.  She went all day without an accident and even pooped in the potty!  Success!  For the most part, anyway.

Lots of "Mommy and Lucy" bonding time was had. I didn't realize how busy three kids can be until I only had one to contend with!

Since the 3 day boot camp, Lucy has been doing pretty good.  The 3 Day Method author claims that children should be completely trained in 3 (maybe 4) days if you follow her method to a T… well, I’m sorry, but that is just a sales tactic.  I followed her advice to the letter, used the exact phrases, and hovered over my child like a gnat just as she recommended, and we still are working on totally getting the hang of it.  Lucy does really good in  the mornings, but then it’s like she gets tired and careless towards the end of the day.

But we’re doing much better than I did with Russell.  I say “we” when it comes to potty training… because I believe the parent is training just as much as the child when it comes to the potty.  I have to watch all the excuses I throw up… “He’s not ready.  I just don’t want to deal with it. She’ll let me know when she’s ready.  I’m too busy.”  Consistency is so important when it comes to potty training (or anything, really).  Russell and I really struggled with all of these excuses, and with Lucy, I learned to recognize them and not give in so much. I waited way too long to get serious about training Russell, and I changed my approach so many times I think we were both confused!

Lucy the Big Girl!

So the household marches on. I know some day I’ll look back and wish that ditching diapers was my biggest parenting dilemma.  But for now, I’ve got my sights set on the day when all of my kids can independently dress themselves, wipe their own butts, and buckle themselves in.  I have a dream…a dream of the day when I can run out of the house and only put on my own shoes…. a dream of the day when the diaper bag no longer exists….yes, I have a dream.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve heard mixed things about the 3 day method, too. I’m still in the “denial” and “excuses” phase with Adam. I’m not ready to do it yet!

    Thanks for the tip on leechblock! I’m going to download it now!

    • I liked the 3 day training method… it’s just that I think it’s a little optimistic to think it will only take 3 days. I’m glad I spent the money on it, because it’s very well written and covers most of the issues you contend with when it comes to training. Don’t worry…I’m sure some day you and I both will be wishing for the days when all we had to contend with were stinky diapers and sippy cups!

  2. Oh man! You are on the right track…your dream will come true! ha! 🙂 I am so scared for the day to come when I have to start training my little one…I have heard nightmare, after nightmare from friend after friend about potty training. One of my girlfriend’s referred to it as potty purgatory! Yikes! Good for you, it gives me hope to hear an encouraging story!

  3. Your story takes me back! Such innocent times. Now, my ‘one and only’ is 13! Now, I have to hover over her, for completely different reasons! 🙂 I always enjoy your stories….great work!

  4. […] who blogs at Life as an Iowa Farm Wife wrote about her own Adventures in Potty Training.  She wrote that some of her reasons for waiting to train her children, like “He’s not […]

  5. I love this! I have two boys who are 18 months apart and the oldest is three. We potty trained him over the Memorial Day weekend and for the most part followed the same principles of the 3 day method as well with a fair amount of success. I too dream of the day where all I have to do is get me ready to get out the door.

    One thing that has helped is that I keep a stocked diaper bag in the car so it’s one less thing to haul with me.

    • Thanks Erin. Good idea with the diaper bag in the car! I have random kid items throughout my vehicle, but nothing put together in a diaper bag, I’m gonna do that!

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