Hopping the Potty Train | 3 Day Method

Well.  We did it.  We are officially sending our sweet (tiny) little girls to the big girl potty to do their business. Coming off of Day 3 of the “Three Day Method”, I am one confident momma.  Seriously.  When Jordan and I talked about potty training Parker and Jolie a few months back {HERE} I was self-admitedly in denial of any success we could or would have.  They just seem(ed) so young and not able to actually comprehend what we would be trying to teach them.

Fast forward several weeks, and my kids are complaining at me about their diapers.  Okay, we should find time to make this work.  Their readiness seems to be on point, and therefore us (the adults) should be ready, too. We chose this weekend for a variety of reasons.. not even recalling that it was Labor Day weekend and we would technically be getting Monday off, a fourth day into the mix.

Do we need a fourth day?  You shall find out:)
Jordan and I strategically planned this weekend so that we would both be home for the ‘hardest’ of times during this entire potty training process – the first two days.  The third day is supposed to be the ‘magic day’, and this was the day Jordan would be at the fire station and I would be solo with these two potty training machines.  
The Method  

The 3 Day Method.  What exactly does this mean? I had a ton of questions surrounding my instagram posts (@masseya) about this method and what it actually entails.  I was clueless, too.  Technically it is based on Julie Fellom’s Diaper Free Toddler’s program.  I have read a plethora of blogs, articles..and even got my hands on a borrowed book, and sort of came up with a hybrid version of my own 3-Day Method.  When raising two littles, as with many things, I had to alter my approach, and it was definitely a learn-as-you-go kinda thing.  Like the program recommends, We DID talk about the potty, and going potty, and where we do it for about a month preceding this weekend, but nothing formal.

I did not practice the ‘naked weekend‘.  We opted for panties only, and a fitted tank or tee for the entirety of the weekend.  I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the ‘naked weekend’ for a couple reasons.. 1.) we were having visitors/workers at our house over the weekend.  I preferred their little hiney’s covered.  2.) I felt better knowing that there would be some sort of barrier between my floors and the number 2.  Just saying.

The Supplies    

BEFORE Day 1, set yourself up for success.  Grab a few entertainment factors to keep the babes busy while sitting on the potty (we chose books), as well as come up with a reward for after there is a potty success.  Candy, treats, stickers.. its totally up to you.  One thing about the books, I bought these specifically for potty-going.  Meaning, they don’t come out of the bathroom and the girls only get to ‘read’ them while sitting on the potty.

Hold the Potty Po- yes, I rewarded my girls with candy.  This is 100% a treat for them and they responded really, really well to this reward.  I went back to what my mom told me years ago when she talked about training her 18 month old (me).

I peed for a single m&m.  

Panties. Several pairs.  We started with just 12 pair (really? really.), and ended up going back to get more after doing two loads of 12 pairs of undies.  24 pairs of underwear is where we are at, and where we stayed.

A timer.  Some potty’s come with a watch or something similar, but ours did not. We used the timer on the iPhone.  Rather than watching and waiting for ‘cues’ that Parker and Jolie would offer before they go to the bathroom, we decided to take them every 15 minutes to the potty.  
Lets be real for a second- even with two of us home and around, watching two toddlers for these sort of cues would have been virtually impossible to capture them before they went.  
This worked well in that it offered regularity to the idea of going to the potty and I feel like it helped them to understand and recognize the ‘feeling’ or sensation of needing to go.
Fluids.  Offer lots and lots to drink.  They are more inclined to go potty every time you take them if they are drinking and eating heavy water based foods. The more they potty, the better recognition of the sensation to pee.  We did lots of water (A LOT), diluted juice, and offered plenty of fruit to snack on.  We went through nearly a pound of grapes by the end of Day 2.  Frozen grapes are the way to my children’s hearts at the moment.
..and of course- a potty.  We stuck with just one single potty rather than getting two.
Day 1.
On the morning of Day 1, we started after breakfast (full bellies helped to offset the cranky and unsure experience they would be starting on this day). We dropped the diapers, and pulled on the ‘big-girl’ panties.  They had about 3 minutes of confusion, and forgot all together about ‘being free’.   Aside from not leaving the house at all, we kept as much normalcy to our day as we could.  
Lots of playtime.
 Helping mom prep lunch (and dinner)..

 ..potty breaks every 15 minutes in between

 Feeding the dogs..

 Our FAVorite activity of all time.

They didn’t even seem phased about the panties.. until they wet them.  They DID NOT like the wet panties.  Although we were taking them every 15 minutes without delay, they weren’t going every time, and often would result in an accident almost immediately after coming out of the bathroom.  The only thing I would tell them is that it is not ‘okay’ to ‘tinkle in your panties‘.  I would discuss the necessity of ‘letting momma know, and going tinkle in the potty and not your panties.‘  Never scolding, but repeating the importance of going to the bathroom in the potty.  We both stayed calm and encouraging, and even if they went just a little we high-five’d and did a little dance, as well as provided a reward.  I never wanted to get to a point of having one or both of them regress because going to the potty became a negative experience.

Around mid-day Jolie started getting uptight about walking into the bathroom.  Parker happily sat down to read her books every time, but Jolie didn’t like it so much.  This is when Jordan and I broke off and put our focus on one child per adult.  I sat closely with Jolie- forgoing the timer method, and watched and talked about the potty non-stop.  I think making her stop playing every 15 minutes was frustrating her, and therefore going to the potty wasn’t ‘fun’ anymore.  After about an hour of one on one time with Jolie, we moved forward and past her frustration.  She went to the potty successfully three times in that hour. Once she saw how excited we all were for her, and loving the attention, she welcomed going to sit on the potty chair.  

By the end of Day 1 we were going in the potty more often than in our panties, and Jordan and I were WIPED.  I had a close friend send me words of encouragement throughout the day, and her first text mentioned how exhausting it is (she has a 4 year old toddler and a set of twins a few months younger than Parker and Jolie).  I took the word (exhausting) and sort of shrugged it off- how bad could this be?  Let me express to you all – Jordan asked me at one point during bath time, again at dinner, and lastly while I was brushing my teeth “Are you about to fall asleep?

Yes.  Yes, I am.  I was indeed exhausted.  Over and over and over.  I was hearing the iPhone timer in my sleep.

Day 2.  A new day. Honestly, it felt like we were starting all over again – from square one.  After such a successful end to Day 1, the start of Day 2 was rough.  Accident after accident.  We did another load of panties in the wash, and I headed out to grab some groceries – and more panties.  After nap we decided to go for longer in between potty breaks, bumping it to 30 minutes rather than 15.

I feel like this is when it all clicked.  
Parker and Jolie started to understand when they needed to go, and although there were still accidents here and there, they would stop themselves, come to me or Jordan and then finish their business in the potty.  
We were all SO proud when we went potty! The grins and claps from these two girls.. and at one point Parker patted Jolie on the back after she stood up from the potty chair.  Talk about parental pride, you guys.  I was so proud of my girls, not only for being rockstars at this potty training shenanigans, but for encouraging each other along.
headband c/o sweet t shoppe

As much as I didn’t want to, it was Day 2 that I started making it a point to take the girls to the potty separately.  I loved having them both together for comfort, but once they really understood what we were in the bathroom for, they became distracted by the other being in the room.  Something I didn’t realize would be an issue in the beginning, but proved to be much less of a game when one went alone.

Day 3.  The magic Day number 3. Another successful end of the day with Day 2, and with as much confidence as I wanted to have that this would be as miraculous as it’s claim to fame, I was still skeptical.  My girls were doing GREAT – I was pleasantly surprised at the success of Day 2, but considering that they can’t even say ‘potty’ (Parker will say ‘tee-tee’), for it all to come together in this last day, I wasn’t so sure.
We started the morning off with a trip to the potty- Parker did the deed, and Jolie did not. 

A short 20 minutes later, Jolie had an accident all over the kitchen floor.


Off to the potty we went.. where she finished up, and we all danced and sang.

For the rest of the day these kids were DRY. Dry as a bone.  I was over the moon, and nearly overwhelmed with pride.  Again, there is that word, but I can’t explain it any other way. Jordan was at the fire station for 24 hours, so we sent him ‘potty success’ selfies with each time we went.

You would think that taking them one by one while I was solo would be tough, but it was nearly as easy as it was she Jordan was around.  After nap, Jolie was dry, we we went straight to the potty – and you guessed it.. another potty success.

The remainder of the afternoon I found creative ways to get them to drink plenty of water, encouraging them to make trips to the bathroom – and without even realizing it, I had forgone using the time all together.  These babies were dragging me to the potty when they had to go.

It clicked.

At one point Parker was sitting in my lap and she hustled down, handed me her sippy cup and trotted off towards the bathroom, only stopping to turn to me with her hand over her crotch as if to say ‘lets go, mom.’

Well, alrighty then.

Three Days down and my kids are telling me before they go, sitting right down on the chair, and immediately going to the bathroom.  No playing, no bribery, and minimal accidents.  I went into this weekend with pretty low expectations, and came out overly impressed.  One thing I will say is that using this ‘quick-training’ method does not mean that Parker and Jolie are 100% potty-trained.  We still (for the time being) do diapers at nap time and bed time, but stick with the panties for the remainder of the day.  To me, success over this weekend means that my kids have figured out what it means to need to go potty, and where to go, and how to do it.  I know there will still be accidents, but I’m okay with that.  We are in this together.  Exhausted, but doing it together. I know that this ‘method’ has not worked for everyone, but bottom line, follow your child’s lead.  Every child is different and especially with two, one may be ready, while the other is not.  They may display their readiness to train differently.  As a mom, dad, parent, you will know when the time is right. Thats the one thing I came to respect of the comments on my social media posts over this weekend.  Mom’s encouraging me in every which way, and also expressing knowledge that their kids (kid) aren’t ready.  Thats the key.  Be in-tune to your child’s readiness.  

As for today?
Well.. Minnie is now going potty, too.

AND, we are still in our panties and tank tops and will be until we gain enough confidence to leave the house diaper-free.  I read in the official Three Day Method that it is recommended to stay ‘naked’ for 3 months following this weekend.  What that means for us is that when we are at home, we will be running around in our panties.  Thankfully, this first week after, Jordan and I will be home the majority of the time- therefore lots and lots of reinforcement can take place so that when we do leave the house we are prepared

..and will probably take the potty with us.


September 1, 2014

  1. Meg says:

    Your Jolie reminds me so much of my Eliza! When is your girls birthday? Eliza is March 7. I just started following you on Istagram and love seeing your cutie-pa-tutie pictures! I hadn't even considered potty training yet. My older 2 (now 2.5 and 4) were so different in that department, one really hard and one really easy. Maybe my least favorite thing about parenting, ha! I might have to give the 3 day method a try 🙂

  2. Charity says:

    My Mom tells me that when my brother and I were little, she would bring the potty with us everywhere we went. Shopping? potty in car. Said it was much easier to have it with, so when we had to GO we could, without having to rush and find a restroom.

  3. Sheena says:

    Yay girls!! We potty trained this weekend too! We tried once when our girls were 21 months old and we made progress but not enough in 3 days that I could continue on my own while taking care of a 3 month old while Anthony went to work. But this weekend was almost too easy! Such a relief, no? Oh and the potette plus is amazing for traveling!