This article will give you a step-by-step guide on how my daughter mastered potty training in one weekend.
How would you feel if your child was completely potty trained 3 days from today?
Savannah was a few weeks shy of 2.5 years old when I decided we should officially introduce potty training.
I say officially because around her 2nd birthday we bought a potty and flirted with the idea and excitement of having a potty trained child.
We randomly put her on it with no real direction or consistency, and asked “Do you have to pee-pee?”, hoping she would sit and pee on cue, to our surprise she never did.
Time went on and you know what?
I was tired of changing the diaper of a child who was intelligent enough to recite her ABCs, tell me she didn’t want to go to bed and who had enough sense to leave the room and go find privacy to poop in her diaper.
These were all signs she was ready, right?
I assumed so. Plus with my experience as a former Montessori teacher I remembered a nice handful of kids fully potty trained by their 3rd birthday.
So I figured in order for Savannah to be in that fully potty trained 3 year old camp, we would need to get serious, ASAP.
“We randomly put her on [the potty] with no real direction or consistency”
I casually mentioned my intentions whenever I would talk to one of my mom-friends and they ALL suggested I read a book, Oh Crap! Potty Training.
They all said it would get her potty trained in just mere days. They all gave their testimonials of taking an extended weekend off to execute the methods of the book, each having incredible success.
I was intrigued by the reviews and the book’s title made me chuckle so I purchased it and started reading immediately.
I was pleasantly surprised that my instincts were correct, Savannah was ready.
In fact the book’s author Jamie Clowacki reframes the question of whether your child is ready and asks you to answer “Is my child capable of being potty trained?” And me for that was a resounding yes.
The book even gave clear measurements, one of them being “being able to recite ABCs” as to whether or not your child is capable of being potty trained.
We started right away on what the book calls Block 1.
Potty Training in 3 Days: Block 1
The book breaks each stage into “blocks” not days. Depending on the child some will be on block one for 3-4 days while others will zip right through in one day.
Savannah mastered block 1 in one day but I believe it had a lot to do with her nearing the 30 month mark, I knew if I had tried this method 8 months prior she wouldn’t have moved through the blocks so fast. But that was unique to my child, your child at 22 months might be able to move through block 1 much faster.
Block 1 is a day of complete nakedness.
Clowacki argues that the snug feeling of a diaper is a major security blanket for babies and toddlers. She says many of them had a diaper on before they had their first meal of life. So in order to disrupt this comfort of diapers, the toddler must be stripped down to nothing. So when the pee comes out it will run right down their leg and they will be more aware of it.
The first instruction for block one is to slightly increase liquid intake. Then when the child starts peeing, you should pick them up and put them on the portable potty. Eventually after a few instances of this, the child is supposed to realize that, “Oh, when I have that urge I should sit on the potty”.
“Is my child capable?”
The book also talks about every kid having a cue right before they actually start peeing. Whether it’s raising an eyebrow, crossing a toe or biting a lip every child has one.
Every kid she says has one and to watch for your child’s cue to know when to put them on the potty. We used the BabyBJORN Potty Chair, which was easy to move from room to room. The potty insert was easy to remove to dump and clean after each use as well.
It goes without saying that in addition to a lot of patience and vigilance, block one requires a lot of stain remover. Our home is partially carpeted, partially hardwood. We did most of block 1 in a carpeted room because that was where the kids usually played.
I used a bunch of Clorox Lemon Wipes and it got stains out with no lingering smell or discoloration.
Once your child has connected the urge to go with getting to the potty they can move to block 2.
Potty Training in 3 Days: Block 2
Block 2 or day 2 is when you can add more clothes but no underwear! It is important they are commando. Underwear is still snug and can be confused with a diaper. This block or day your child can wear a top and pants / shorts, but that’s it!
Savannah wore a t-shirt and skirt with no diaper or underwear. The skirt allowed her to sit on the potty independent of me and not hassle with pulling down shorts. We were still in the house, drinking water while playing and watching movies mostly.
The book says to expect some resistance on block or day 2. The first day was new and possibly may have seemed fun to your little one. But the second day they’ll realize that this is now a way of life and may fight back.
Savannah went through block 2 with ease and even pooped in the potty on this day.
There Facebook group “Oh Crap Potty Training Unofficial Book Club” which was extremely helpful. I loved checking in with a community of potty training parents to talk, vent and bounce ideas off of.
Potty training in 3 Days: Block 3
Once you are confident in your child’s progress they can move to block 3. Block 3 you can introduce underwear (I let Savannah go commando under her clothes for a week before I did) and go on small outings.
The third day, I actually took BOTH KIDS and our portable potty to the library. I made sure she peed before leaving the house, then again in the portable potty in my car before going inside. We stayed 30 mins or so and she peed again in the potty before leaving. And when we arrived home, she was dry. We officially had our FIRST no diaper outing.
Was it intense? Yes.
But I was DETERMINED, so I pushed through.
The Proof is in the Pudding
I know this method works because I saw the results first hand.
We started on Friday and by Monday she was walking around accident free. She still wore a pull up at night and during nap which the books says is normal until she learned to hold her bladder while sleeping.
The hardest part was being in the house for 3 days straight. I was also mentally exhausted from watching her like a hawk. Sean was 8 months old so that made it even harder to watch her.
But I recommend this process because the outcome far outweighs the temporary frustrations.
If you want to master potty training once and for all, I HIGHLY suggest you read the book. There are even chapters in it about signs of readiness, regressions and getting your daycare provider onboard.
I suggest that once the three days is over you still prompt your child during the day every 60-90 minutes. This is because it takes time for them to gain bladder strength to hold it for longer periods.
Savannah is one now month shy of turning three and can hold her bladder up to 3-4 hours between bathroom breaks and wakes up dry every morning.
If you have tried this method let me know how it worked for you in the comments.
Cieara is a wife and mom of two, passionate about empowering parents to not just survive but thrive. She offers practical and expert advice on topics related to parenthood.