Potty training in 3 days is a method popularized by the book 3 Day Potty Training, by Lora Jensen that basically promises you'll be done with diapers for good (and for real... including night training) in only 3 days.
The method can work really well if you catch your child at the right age, you dedicate 3 full days and nights to it (seriously, cancel all plans/work) and have a lot of patience and your eyes on the goal.
What is the 3-day potty training method
The method really is exactly as the title says: a cold-turkey approach of taking away diapers for good, including day and night. No pullups, no going back.
Tips to make the 3-day potty training method work
The 2 main issues you'll encounter with this method are a) it is MESSY and b) you want to offer as many teachable moments as possible to your child. In order to make this a success, here's what we recommend:
- If you have any carpet or area rugs in your home, either limit access to them while going through your 3-day potty training or cover them with plastic.
- Cover your couch and chairs if upholstered. We used yoga mats to cover our couch when we potty trained our little ones and it worked really well as the size was practically identical, in our case.
- Invest in a mattress protectant. You can either use disposable liners (the kind you can buy at a pet store for puppy training) or a reusable, highly absorbent liner like this one.
- Invest in a car seat/stroller liner, to help with accidents when out of the house. We love this set of 2 (trust us... you'll need more than one)
- Offer your child more water/liquids than normal. You really want to make sure they are drinking a lot of liquids, so they pee more often... and they get more opportunities to learn how to use the toilet. If they won't drink more water, consider offering water-down juice or milk.
- Offer your child more fiber than normal, to avoid constipation and to ensure they'll go #2. (Plums and peaches are our favorites).
- If your home is large... we recommend you get a couple of potty chairs and to keep them near your child. Accidents will happen - and the best you can do is to quickly bring your child to the potty mid-accident, so they can finish peeing or pooing on their potty. If your potty is far away or you rely on your bathroom only, chances are you won't make it fast enough.
How to start the 3-day potty training method
We recommend you start reading potty books to your child at least a few weeks before attempting your 3-day potty training process, so they start getting familiar with the potty, as well as letting your child see you use the toilet, so they start learning their new routine.
You should also talk about how diapers are going away, and you can plan what you'll do with them - for example, donating them to a local shelter or a friend with a younger child.
Then, once you clear your calendar for 3 full days, we recommend you cancel any plans and stay home (best over the holidays if you can't take time off from work). The morning you start, take your child's diaper when they wake up and let them know that was their very last diaper! celebrate this and really make a big deal, so they get really excited. Have them wear cute undies, maybe with a favorite character, favorite color, etc.
Every few minutes, ask your child to tell you if they need to use the potty (best if you set up a timer so you don't forget). Stay close to your child, keep offering liquids, plums, and peaches. Accidents WILL happen, and this is completely normal. Don't lecture your child - just keep a spray bottle with a multipurpose cleaner and paper towels or cleaning towels and clean the accident fast without making a big deal out of it. If you see them starting to pee or poo on the floor, try your best to move them to the potty so they finish there -and praise, praise, and praise! You can use a rewards chart with stickers, M&Ms, a funny song - whatever works best for you - just make it exciting.
Will the 3-day potty training method work for my child?
It really depends. We have seen children react with fear of the potty or constipation... and that can really be related to their age and readiness, which is sometimes hard to assess. But many children do really well and never go back to diapers.
We have seen a blended approach work best: using the 3-day potty training method for day training but continuing to use pullups at night, so you don't have to wake up your child to use the potty in the middle of the night and you don't disrupt their sleep (and yours!). Night training is a natural process that really varies by child, so we prefer to let that happen completely naturally.
Ready to Potty train your child?
Potty Training Fix is a complete kit to potty train toddlers.
Each box contains a detailed step-by-step methodology for parents and a curated selection of items for the child to successfully say goodbye to diapers.