Potty Train Your Toddler in a Weekend -- It Is Possible!

We Tried It 38

potty trainingI see that headline: Potty train your toddler in a weekend! And the skeptic in me says, OH REALLY? I don't remember how long exactly it took me to potty train my son. It's been a few years now. I just remember it was more of a process than a couple of days. So when I saw that headline again this morning, "Potty Train Your Toddler in a Weekend," I thought it sounded too good to be true.

But when I took a closer look, it actually looked ... realistic! Look, every kid is different and every family's experience is unique. But there are a few basic principles that make the whole potty experience work. Here's what I think works about this approach -- from the vantage point of hindsight.

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1. It's not really "just" a weekend. There's prep work before, and there's followup after, and then it's actually more like a three-day weekend, and results may very. The point is, telling yourself that you can make this happen in a weekend is just a handy way to psych yourself out so the task doesn't feel so monumental.

2. They take the no-diaper approach. I always say, those trainer pull-ups just drag things out. The quickest way for your kid to learn how to use a toilet is to make that connection between the "need to pee" feeling and that "stuff coming out of me" reaction crystal clear. It's messy, but it works.

3. Follow through. Yup -- you're not done after that three-day potty-a-thon. Keeping up good habits and reinforcing that this potty business is the new normal is key. A lot of kids (like mine) will adapt quickly and go along with potty training because it's a fun novelty. Then after a few days or weeks, it gets old and they're like, "really, this is what I have to do EVERY time?" YES. Don't take for granted that once your kid gets it for a weekend that he's got it for life.

What I didn't like:

1. I think this business of saying "boo" if your kid doesn't pee or poo is counter-productive. I think Dr. Sears and other child development specialists would say that's a form of shaming and can over-emotionalize an already potentially tense situation. It's not about being good/bad, it's about helping your child change their behavior and feeling comfortable about it so there will be no reason for resistance. I say skip the booing and just be neutral and don't comment on those missed potty opportunities at all.

2. You should aim to stop using diapers by the end of the third month? Hahaha! Try two years for my kid. You can make your child pee before going to bed, but the nighttime dryness can take much, much longer. They're ready when their little bodies are ready. Don't stress over making this one happen quickly.

Do you agree that most toddlers can be potty trained in "a weekend"?

 

Image via gjbell/Flickr

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