Potty Train in 3 days: Is It Possible?

I'm sure you have come across potty training methods that promise to potty train your child in 3 days. But you wonder if such methods are just gimmicks. Same here! When I started potty training my daughter, she was such a hard case. I started looking into all of these methods, programs, and books. I was so desperate and wanted a quick fix. "Only 3 days!" I thought... that's awesome! 

But which program or book do I choose? There are so many out there that promise different things. They all differ in how they approach potty training. My daughter was so scared of the potty, and stubborn at the same time. So I had to find a program that was going to consider her temperament and fears. So I decided to do what any good blogger would do. I decided to review some of these popular programs. For myself, and my readers...you're welcome!

First let's answer the question, "Can I potty train my child in 3 days?"

Well that depends on how you define potty train. If you mean that your child will be completely accident free after 3 days, then the answer is NO. And any program that promises you that, you should definitely stay away from. Your child will have accidents and that is completely normal. 

If you think that your child will be diaper free at nighttime after only 3 days, then the answer is also a resounding NO!  Being able to hold urine in during the night is a developmental thing. Your child's bladder has to signal the brain and wake her up. That is something that happens with age. This is not something you can train or control. Sure a few lucky parents will take away diapers during the day, and their child will stay dry at night too. But those are a lucky few, and usually the ones that start potty training late, meaning the child has already achieved that physiological development. 

Now if you define potty training as your child being able to control pee or poop and let it go in potty or toilet. You expect a few accidents here and there, and you don't think night-time control is a prerequisite. Then YES, it is possible to potty train in 3 days. 

Now let's talk about the different methods and programs out there.

Keep in mind that they all have pretty much the same concept. Which is that you get rid of diapers, devote yourself to at least 3 days of stay at home potty training, and not use pull-ups to sabotage the process. So I will discuss the main differences between them.

3 day Potty Training by, Lora Jensen. A program that quickly gained popularity (I'm guesing it has something to do with title). The gist of this program is that you take away all diapers, put on underwear, and don't ever revert back to diapers. You offer liquids and high fiber foods. And you praise and reward your child for using the potty. It's a pretty simple program, straight forward and easy to follow. There are a few things I didn't like. First Lora has you refer to accidents as "yucky" or "pew". Now my little girl had a very bad fear of "letting it go". (you can read about that HERE) Amongst all my research, I learned that kids with these fears usually view their "duty" as part of themselves and their body. In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is call "a part of your child's body", "yucky". That's a horrible idea, and will only make your child feel ashamed. The other thing that was a deal breaker was that Lora has you take away diapers, even at night-time. I agree taking them away during the day, but as I mentioned before night-time training is a developmental milestone, that matures with age. Lora says that if your child is at least 22 months old, they should be waking up dry and gives you a few different options of "nighttime training". I tried her method and it just didn't work. There is no way my 22 month old was going to stay dry at night. That is not something you can "train". She wet the bed over and over. When she woke up, the diaper had cold pee, and she had no idea she had done it. Meaning she did at some point during the night while she was asleep. Waking my daughter up from her sleep to take her potty just wasn't an option for us. And you can't really change things up either, Lora says you have to "follow the program to the T" for it to be successful.This program may work for others, but it didn't work for us.  

No-Sweat Potty Training, by Dana Obleman- This is another popular potty training program. And as most of the other programs, you ditch the diapers, offer tremendous praise and rewards for success. The main difference with this program is that your child is allowed to wear diapers at night. Dana considers daytime and nighttime training as two separate entities. Dana says "you should also understand (and let your child know) that he’ll still be using diapers at nighttime, and that nighttime diapers are OK — even for big kids! (The fact is that bladder control at night takes longer to master.)" This alone is a huge plus in my book. I need a program that's going to offer a realistic method and approach, not a quick gimmick. What I also like about Dana Obleman is that you can get lots of freebies right from her site. Useful information that may answer your questions, before you even decide to purchase the program. For example, right now you can get a free PDF where Dana talks about potty training myths, and gives you tips on how to potty train. Here it is.

Start Potty Training Program, by Carol Cline - The best part of this program is that it is created by a mother of 4 and daycare owner who has tons of experience with potty training toddlers. In this program, Carol teaches you an easy to follow method of potty training, with no pressure to nighttime train. What I love is that she covers a variety of topics. She talks about differences between training boys and girls. She has special sections in the program for special needs children (autism, down syndrome etc). There is a section especially for twins/multiples, and older children who may be more difficult to train. The best is the "bumps in the road" section, which every potty training parent will face during potty training. In this section she addresses fear of pooping, wetting the bed, tantrums, regression and so much more. She also teaches you how to handle outings to places like the mall, fairs, pools, and even airplane travels. I also love the fact that you can ask her questions when they come up during the training process (and trust me, your always going to have questions). Carol offers a "lifeline" where you can reach her directly, with any unique questions you may have. The personal consultations is what had me sold. 
 This program goes way beyond a quick 3 day potty training method, Carol Cline literally helps you through EVERYTHING. There isn't a topic that she doesn't cover. You are truly getting your money's worth. That is why I recommend this program above any other. Here are some features of the program.

So there you have it! A quick guide to the most popular potty training programs that promise to potty train your child in a few days. If there are any you would like me to review that I haven't mentioned please leave me a comment below, and I will try my best to get a copy for review. 

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5 Most Common Potty Training Mistakes

Let's face it, potty training is probably one of the hardest things you are going to face with your toddler or preschooler. If you found this page, you have most likely been googling this potty training topic for a while, and weren't as lucky as the mom at playgroup who claims "he just potty trained himself". There are a million tips out there on how to potty train your child, and all the information is pretty much the same. So instead, let's talk about the possible mistakes you could be making during potty training. Because in my opinion when it comes to potty training, there is a lot more you can be doing wrong, than doing right, that may be the cause of unsuccessful potty training. Here are the most common mistakes parents make when beginning potty training.
1. Potty Training when your child is not ready.
If you want potty training to be successful, then your child has to be ready. Potty training a 15 month old and wondering why he or she is not getting it, is frustrating for both you and your child. I have seen 15 month month olds potty trained, but it's not very common. Most children are ready at 22 months of age, so trying before then may be a challenge. 
2. Allowing diapers to be worn "sometimes".
This is a huge no no. If you have made the commitment to potty train your child, then you have to make a promise not to revert back to diapers. No matter what! What kind of message are you sending your child if you expect him to use the potty, but slap on a diaper when you have to go to out? There are plenty of options for outings during training, if you absolutely have to go out. You can get a travel seats that fold in your purse  and even piddle pads for carseats (pictured below)

3. Going out during training.
If you don't have to go out, then don't. Make a commitment to stay home. Potty training is no joke! and treating it as such will lead to failure. If you are serious about this, then you have to commit to a long weekend or do it during a time that you can stay home. The first couple of days you are going to have major accidents, so it is best to be home. It's easier for you and it's less stressful for your little one.
4. Not trying long enough
A lot of parents get frustrated after a day or 2 of messy floors, constipation, accidents, etc. I know, because I was one of those parents. Some children may need a little more time. It took my daughter 5 days to be pee trained, and 7 to be poop trained. If I gave up after a the first EXTREMELY horrible 3 days, she wouldn't be potty trained right now. Give your child at least a week. It usually doesn't take any longer than that.
5. Not getting help, when it's not working.
This is a biggie. Many parents just keep trying over and over, and potty training continues to be a massive fail. Some kids are more stubborn than others. Some are defiant or just really afraid of the potty. With these kids, the traditional potty training tips are just not going to work. Bare bottom methods, or forcing your child to potty train may be traumatic for a child that has such fears. Knowing how to respond to these types of situations, will be crucial to your success. If you have tried potty training on your own and have been unsuccessful then I would recommend a good book or guide. There is nothing wrong with getting a book with tips, a program, guide etc. There is a reason these things are available, because not all children are easy to train, and sometimes without help or guidance you will just keep facing the same road blocks. I suggest getting something that is going to give you a step by step process. My favorite is the "Start Potty Training" program. Here is my review of it, as well as other popular books/programs.  http://totsandkids101.blogspot.com/2013/07/potty-train-in-3-days-is-it-possible.