We started our potty training journey a few months ago by introducing the concept of using the toilet to our toddler. A few weeks ago we started reading potty related kid books to her at bed time and learning how to sit on the potty. Then, twelve days ago, we started the three day boot camp, as we so lovingly named it. By day three I was pretty sure we failed and broke the kid in the process. Days four and five were hell on earth and I was ready to give up, take a break, and regroup. Thankfully, we didn't give up or take a break but we did take a moment to regroup, change our strategy, and keep going.
Today is day thirteen and I feel like we have made amazing progress, but still have a long way to go.
Our book of choice for potty training was written by Brandi Brucks, a professional potty trainer. You can purchase it on Amazon* for around $10. It's an easy and quick read, a mix of common sense and a few Jedi mind tricks that are applicable for more than just potty training.
I also spent some time researching online what we'll need to be prepared for this past weekend and beyond, created bathroom kits, and stocked the fridge with quick meals so we can keep all of our focus on the kid.
The first two days of potty training went as presented in the book but then something happened on day three. May be it's because we haven't left the house all weekend or the fact that we fell ill, but we experienced a regression that continued for three days. After some soul searching we realized two things: 1) she was stuck between a rock and a hard place, she knew she couldn't get her underwear wet but was not yet comfortable with using the toilet and 2) constantly asking her to use the bathroom when she didn't need to go annoyed her. Thankfully, on day six we saw a positive change in her and the ratio of accidents to non-accidents began to improve.
We're still figuring out public restrooms. She knows they exist, has been in them, but has yet to use a public toilet successfully. Any advice in this area is welcomed!
My number one piece of advice? Don't give up (like we almost did). My second piece of advice? Be overly prepared for whatever your kid throws at you... literally. You know your kid better than anybody else, know when to push and when to let up. Remind yourself that your kid has only ever known a diaper and they will do whatever it takes to regain control of this new situation. Trust your gut.
Here's a breakdown of all the books, tools, and other items that we got to prepare for the Three Day Potty Training Boot Camp and beyond. (Affiliate links below.)
Books for the kid
- Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
- My Big Girl Potty by Joanna Cole
- The Potty Book for Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
- Potty by Leslie Patricelli
- Potty Time with Elmo
- Elmo's Potty Time Play-a-Song Book
The book recommends using a potty seat versus a small toilet for two very important reasons: 1) it's an additional thing you have to clean after every use and 2) you'll have to retrain your kid to use the regular toilet. We used the small toilets to get her used to the idea of using something other than her diaper but we put them up on day one of potty training. It's up to you how many step stools you get (we have one for each bathroom), stick to the kind that does not fold. You'll also want a small chair for you to sit on. You'll be spending a considerable time in the bathroom and sitting on the bathroom floor is not always ideal.
- potty (you can also get one at IKEA for around $10, we had one of each)
- toilet seat (again, you can find one at IKEA for around $8)
- step stools (once again, an $8 find at IKEA)
- small chair for an adult (skip this if you're into squats)
I put together bathroom kits to have a one stop shop for all the things we'll need: clean underwear, wipes, books, etc. Here's what I included in ours:
- basket/organizer (IKEA to the rescue once again with the SKUBB clothes organizers)
- flushable wipes
- underwear (lots and lots of underwear!)
- treats (we started with M&Ms and quickly realized that mini Oreo cookies are all the motivation she needed)
- clear treat container (can also be found at IKEA for under $3)
- pull ups (I find Target's private label easier to tear away at the sides)
- poster board, marker, and stickers (all Dollar Store finds!)
I'm not going to lie, this is the cleanest our bathroom floor has been since we've moved into this house. We've cleaned up a lot of accidents in the first couple of days and having the supplies on hand in the bathroom has been helpful.
Out & About
We've been out a couple of times without any incidents but we're still in the early stages. I'm back to carrying a large bag with all of the supplies listed below as well as a change of clothes for both of us! I'm seriously considering embracing the 90's and getting myself a backpack purse.
- waterproof car seat liner (compatible with most harnessed car seats and strollers)
- disposable potty seat covers (perfect for when you're out and about and the public restrooms are less than clean)
- antibacterial wipes
- mesh bags packed with clean clothes and undies
Each child and situation is different. Charlotte and I both fell ill on day three, making our potty training journey more challenging. The author states that it could take up to ten full days for her methods to work and if they don't, more often than not, it's either a behavior issue with the kid or the parents screwed up.
This experience may break both you and the kid but it's definitely a growth experience for everyone involved.
*This post contains affiliate links.