How I Potty Trained My 3-Year-Old in 2 Days

potty training toddler

Potty training. It's a blessing and a curse for sure. On the one hand, it's all sorts of awesome once it's over with -- because diapers are basically hell on earth. But the actual process of toilet training your kid, however, can sometimes be enough stress to make you want to keep him in diapers for the rest of his life. I know that's how I felt during my first attempt with my son, when he was around 2-and-a-half years old. I swear I tried every method under the sun -- and he just wasn't getting it. And so I did what most frustrated parents of a toddler who won't pee on the potty do. I threw in the towel, assuming that it probably wasn't the right time and that he'd "learn eventually."


But about a year later, when he was 3 -- I realized potty training HAD to be bumped to the top of my priority list for a couple of reasons. First of all, he had to be fully trained before attending preschool, so I had that little incentive motivating me.

Second ... how shall I put this? Changing a 3-year-old's dirty diaper and changing a 3-month-old's dirty diaper are two totally different things. Three-year-olds poop like kids -- not babies. And you finally reach a point where you're really, really over dealing with regular-sized turds. (Sorry, but I had to say it.)

Ok, back to when I decided to try the potty training thing again. This time it worked, probably because he was ready. But I still think the way I taught him had something to do with his successful transition. I'm not lying -- I potty trained my kid in two days.

Here's how.

First, I committed to staying home. That's the hardest part. I vowed not to leave the house until the kid was trained -- or at least fairly close to it.

Then I took off his pants and let him run all over the house half-naked. Every 45 minutes to an hour or so, I'd have him sit on the little training potty, which I put right in the middle of the kitchen where he'd have easier access. (A little gross, but he got there much more quickly than trying to make it to the bathroom.) I even gave him a book to read while he sat there waiting -- just like a little adult.

Every time he successfully did his business on the potty -- I did a little song and dance that I made up to celebrate and praise him. He LOVED it, and I really think it helped reinforce the behavior in a positive way -- so he wanted to use the potty again and again.

Somewhere around the middle of day one, he had an accident and peed on the floor. (Thank God we have hardwood.) I said, "That's ok" -- and then went over and grabbed a roll of paper towels. I calmly explained to him that we had to clean up the mess, and that pee belongs in the potty. I gave him a paper towel and had him help me clean it up -- and that was it. After that, there were no more accidents for whatever reason. He GOT it. And he went on the potty from that day forward and never looked back.

I really think the reason it was so easy for him was because of a combination of him being the right age, and also going about the process without letting myself get stressed out or frustrated. And while I can't guarantee that this method will work as flawlessly for you -- it's definitely worth a shot!

potty training two days
Vast Photography/Corbis

Read More >