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As a working mom with 2 and 3 year-old girls, I knew the time had come to get potty training over with. I went to Amazon, typed in “best potty training book” and picked the one with over 4,000 4.5 star reviews. Normally I would read reviews, but there was no time for that anymore.
I got Oh Crap Potty Training on Audible. I started listening to the book whenever I could.
At first, I felt like the book was mean. Not the process for the kids, but kind of mean in that it was just a tad judgy of moms who hadn’t potty trained sooner (like me). But I didn’t have the luxury of getting too offended by the author and finding another book. This book was my only hope. So I just rolled my eyes big and kept on reading.
I had actually “tried” to potty train the girls back in the summer over the Fourth of July weekend. I asked around, got advice, and figured I would give it a shot. I didn’t realize until after listening to this book that this is not a way to approach potty training. At least not for someone like me.
I believed in the tips I received from other moms because they worked for them. They did not work for me though. And it wasn’t necessarily because the girls weren’t ready or they didn’t know what to do. It was because I wasn’t ready and I didn’t know what to do.
I Am a Person Who Needs a Book
Some people might not be into how-to books, or they might have more intuition to go with things and see them through than me. Or they have more people in their lives giving them tips along the way. I have no idea. All I know is that I needed a book. I can see that very clearly now.
The book gave me all the reasons I needed to believe this could be done. It gave me all the nuances of how to handle this or that situation. It gave me the process I would follow.
I kept hearing myself start sentences to my husband with the phrase “The book says to do…” or “The book says don’t…”. He was very patient with my allegiance to this book.
What We Actually Did: Day 1
Once I got past feeling bad and being offended by the author in the beginning, I started to really believe that I could do this. I had decided. I picked a date. A Friday. I took the day off work and also the following Monday and Tuesday.
The book suggests that you start talking about “no more diapers” about a week before. So that’s what I did. I would tell the girls whenever I was changing them “On Friday, no more diapers!” And they would yell back excitedly “No More Diapers!”
It’s so funny because this book is soooo about the mom/dad who is executing the plan. The toddlers/kids can do it. This was not about them. It was about me.
On Friday morning, I got up early, and re-listened to the most important chapter in the book about the first day. I moved the diaper changing station into the garage and took out the last bag of diapers along with the diaper bin.
The first day is the day to have your child run around the house naked, or at least bottomless. I offered our girls long-sleeved shirts so they wouldn’t be too uncomfortable or cold.
The big deal about the first day is that you as the parent need to be 100% focused on your child. Like you can’t be working, making phone calls, folding laundry, doing dishes.
I made sure I had as much of the house work taken care of ahead of time, and planned to not get anything done. This wasn’t easy for me to just not get things done, but it was necessary.
We ended up hanging out in our 3 year old’s room, watching Frozen for the first part of the day. I brought the little potty into her room and they actually used it a few times. I’m sure this wasn’t all by the book, but it worked fine for us.
The most important ingredients to the first day were that they were bottomless and I was 100% focused on their every move. I did allow myself to scroll through my phone so I didn’t completely pass out with boredom.
I definitely had to do the run through the house with a peeing child move several times with our 2 year-old. Our 3 year-old pretty much knew what to do from the start of the day. I might have gotten peed on about 3 times that day. Not too shabby.
Days 2 – 3 and Beyond
Days 2 and 3 were slightly more advanced versions of day 1. On day 3, I started putting them in dresses. When there were accidents we just reverted back to shirts only for the rest of the day.
The “3-day potty training” method out there is based on the idea that most kids get the basics after 3 days. But I like that this book is honest that it’s not all kids, and it’s not that they are fully potty trained in 3 days, in general.
Exactly one week after we started this process, I put them in pants and dresses. We’ve taken a few short walks around the block so far and everyone survived! Our next steps will be eventually getting them into underwear and pants, then actually going places in the car, and nighttime training.
So that’s where we are! This was one of those major milestones that was looming over my head and that I knew I had to take care of but wasn’t sure what to do or when I would find the time. The author makes a good point that you will never have a good time in your life that’s the “right” time to get this done. It’s not going to be perfect, but I feel so accomplished and also learned so many other things from this process, which I look forward to sharing in a future post.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has struggled with getting clear on exactly what to do for potty training, as I did.