3 Day Potty Training—A CafeMom Road Test


Sydney is potty training today

How's this for a great New Year's resolution?! Today mommacan is potty training her 21-month old daughter, Sydney! She is going to try the 3 Day Potty Training Method that you've probably heard other moms ask about every so often.

I'm curious myself about this cold-turkey approach, invented by Lora Jensen and made into a copyrighted e-book. I didn't know about this when I was potty-training my kids, so I used the 5 Months and 17 Days method for my son. Not fun.

The gist of the 3 Day approach, mommacan tells me, is that "you throw away all the diapers in the house, dress you child in big kid underwear, give him liquids, and rush him to the potty when you catch him in the act. Within those first three days of staying home and being focused on your child, something will "click" and your child will just get it!"

I talked to mommacan, owner of the 3 Day Potty Training Support Group, today while she was readying the last of the diapers for the trash can.

How do you know that Sydney is ready to train?

She started to tell me she was wet and stinky about 2 months ago out of the blue. She is very vocal about being "stinky" and wants to be changed immediately when wet.

In addition, I want to potty train once and not over months or even years. I have two children under two years old and have limited time to prolong the process. I am willing to give up three days and clean up a lot of messes in order to make it easier for me and my daughter in the long run.

What about the method appeals to you?

I do everything with my child cold turkey. She seems to adjust to it better that way. At 12 months I took away the bottles and took her down to one nap a day. At 15 months I moved her to her new room in her big girl bed and never used the crib again. When deciding to potty train, I wanted to find a method that fit my usual cold turkey approach and the 3-day method fit the bill.

How are you preparing for the event?

I have purchased two potties (one for upstairs and one for downstairs). I have 20 pairs of cheap underwear and all her favorite liquids and snacks.

My husband and I will be tag-teaming. He will be home with us and if one of us needs to leave the house, then the other will stay with my toddler and continue the training. I also have a 3 month old who is breastfeeding, so my husband will be potty training while I nurse.

We plan to stay home at least 95% of the time. If we do need a house break, we will not put her in a diaper, we will plan to run her to the potty. We are devoted to make these next three days as effective as possible.

What steps do you follow?

On Day One, I'll dress Sydney in underwear and a T-shirt only and I'll throw away all the diapers. It's the potty or the floor. I'll go about my day as usual. I'll give Sydney plenty of liquids, as much as she will take and keep a close eye on her. When I catch her in the act, I'll rush her to the potty (saying yuck!) and then praise her for finishing in the potty. She'll get snack. I must ask her if she has to go potty or tell momma when she needs to potty at least once every half hour.

That night, I'll stop her liquids two to three hours before bed, dress her in underwear, and put her to bed. In the morning, I'll wake her up right before she is fully awake and put her on the potty. Most bed wetting happens right when the child first wakes up.

Day 2 and 3 are the same as day one. During the 3 day process something will "click" in the child and she will just get it. Hopefully, soon she will be running to the potty before me.

What if it doesn't work?

True success for the method is determined on how devoted the parents are to make it work! You have to realize there is no going back. Not during the three days and definitely not after! If at any point a diaper or pull-up is put on the child, then the method fails. The child just received mixed messages from her potty trainer and the potty training process just became A LOT harder!

My fingers are crossed for mommacan. Read Three Day Potty Training The Verdict to find out if it worked or not. Have you tried this or another method? Which one worked best for your tot?

potty training


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BJLakso BJLakso

i tried this. a year later and i am still trying this. it depends on the child. mine is plan stubborn

mykid... mykidsmommy

My 28 month old has absolutely no desire to use the potty.  She will sometimes but it's a fight.  I don't know if it's best for me to just wait until she's closer to 3 or to try this.  When she wakes up in the morning her diaper is always full of urine.  If I just put underwear on her at night, won't she be soaked by morning?  (hair, clothes, etc)

LilMa... LilMae.N.MDJr

I agree that it depends on the child.  The best of luck to her, but this "method" did work for my son, now 4, but my daughter who is 2 and a half refuses.  She will go in the potty, will tell me when she has to go, but I still find little puddles and piles of #2 in her princess castle, behind the recliner in the living room, and other random "hidden" places throughout the house.  It is almost like she saves some for her hidden places, because she goes to the potty regularly.  Again, best of luck, but don't be too aggravated if it doesn't work.  It may take longer than 3 days....we are still at it 3 weeks later! 

armyw... armywife149

my son is 4 and is very stubborn i have been trying forever to get him to use the potty he just wont do it

wtds0206 wtds0206

I did this method with my 3 1/2 ( a few months from 4) son and it took him about 6 or 7 days... and he still wasn't number 2 trained for another month after that (granted he has sensory processing disorder which added problems)... also I still put him in a pull up at night (and he still wakes up with it full of urine)... I tried the taking liquids away from him thing... yeah I was taking liquids away from him 3 hrs before he went to bed (and he was still wetting slightly) and that's BEFORE we eat dinner so how was I to feed him without giving him something to drink? 

Now for number 2, I don't know what to do... I guess pay for a week of daycare and just not send him because they don't have to have to do this... also, he will go to hide from me when he has to go... which should be a sign that he has to go but if I put him on the potty he will hold it.  (I know a kid who held it for days when his mom went cold turkey, so I'm worried about my stubborn little man).  But I'm looking for answers

Lumin... LuminousMom

hope it works for her... it didnt work for my son, but he is totally trained now so really I believe the method doesnt matter- as long as the child learns! I resolved he would be out of diapers by 4 and he is.. so I am not going to stress about my DD yet.. her 2nd birthday is in 3 days... maybe we will start working on it then, but I wont do the 3 day method with her, she can barely talk yet.. I know shes not ready.

DeTor... DeTora_Family

This method really does work.  I have been a nanny for many years and successfully trained over a dozen toddlers using this method, long before it had a name or an ebook.  Not one was over two years old, and that is key!  A major reason for failure is waiting too long.  The older the child, the greater the fear and stubbornness.  I learned from my nanna.  She had 10 children of her own and they were all trained around 18 months.  No apologies for being blunt, but  the excuses I hear from parents with older children saying things like  "she has no interest" or "he just refuses," or "she's not even talking," etc. are just that.  Excuses!  continued...

DeTor... DeTora_Family

We're bigger, stronger, and a lot smarter.  We tell them when it's time to stop using a bottle or a pacifier.  We don't wait for them to tell us!  Then we'd have four-year-olds with bottles, pacifiers, and diapers.  I've seen those too, but I won't digress.  Why is this any different?  I believe in giving my child the dignity of using a toilet and not the embarrassment of sitting in his own waste at 2, 3, or 4 years old.  I'm NOT calling anyone a bad parent.  None of us knows everything, but having an open mind to learn from others who do know should be preferred over being defensive and making excuses about your unique, individual child or just plain being lazy.  That's my opinion, like it or not.  My first son was out of diapers at 20 months and my second son was finished with diapers using this 3-day method in one week at 19 months and he was not verbal, and he certainly didn't ask me to teach him how to use the potty.  Barring a developmental delay, I guarantee that I could train any child in about one week using this method with positive, loving encouragement, so long as they are between 18 and 22 months.    Once they're two years old, it gets more difficult by the day. 

Sweet... Sweetmami07

I like the idea but not about throwing the diapers away in my case I have a younger sibling to pass them down to and so does she. If I didn't then I would find somewhere to donate them to like WIC or DSHS. I dislike when people throw away things others can use!

bella... bellasrose71008

I am going to try this soon.  My son is already 26 months old and is showing alot of interest in making potty.  I will keep up with this post to see how things turn out.  Good luck Mommacan!

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