A coworker of mine recently told me that his two year old was potty trained. I was instantly jealous. The boys are 29 months old and still in diapers. I asked him how he did it and he told me about this PDF you can download that explains a method that worked for all of his children. So, I headed over to the site, http://www.3daypottytraining.com/, and decided, why not, let’s do this thing and purchased the PDF.
In the PDF, the author says that the ideal time for potty training is between 22 and 30 months. Steve and I talked about it and decided now was the time to do it. Another benefit to doing it sooner rather than later was my parents were coming into town to visit and it would be so handy to have another set of hands while trying to potty train twins. So, we did everything the pdf suggested to prepare, which included purchasing about 40 pairs of big boy underpants, some rewards (toys and treats), and a few extra water proof mattress covers. We memorized the pdf and were ready for action when my mom got here last Thursday.
On Saturday morning, we brought the boys down for breakfast just like we always do and told them how big they looked. Anthony was so excited to see the rugs pulled up from the living room and the couches covered in waterproof toppers that he started running around and jumping with excitement.
Then after breakfast we changed their diapers and had them walk the dirty diaper over to the garbage can. Then (and this is the big thing that helped sink it in mentally for Anthony), we had the boys throw away all of our remaining diapers. About 40 diapers and pullups were thrown into the trash along with diaper cream and anything else related to wearing “baby” diapers. Nathan enjoyed throwing them all away but Anthony immediately started crying. We then showed the boys the toilets and explained how they were now big boys and should go to the bathroom if they needed to poop or pee.
The entire premise behind the method is positive reinforcement. So we never got mad at them or punished them for having an accident. Instead we got wildly excited whenever they successfully went in the toilet and even if they were “dry”. So by the end of day 1 we were all exhausted. The idea is to catch them mid accident and rush them to the bathroom so they can finish on the toilets. We went through a lot of underpants on day one and had to do laundry midday. …it was a bit discouraging and felt impossible in the beginning.
With this method, we’re never supposed to ask them if they have to go to the bathroom (because a child’s instincts is to say “NO!”), instead we tell them to let us know when they have to go to the bathroom. So we probably asked that question about 200 times a day scattered with what we called “dry checks” where the boys would put their arms in the air when we said “dry check” and then we’d hoot and holler when they were dry. Nathan even started standing up on chairs during his dry checks.
The boys LOVED the extra attention they received over the three days.
I would say, for the most part, the program worked. We will never go back to diapers with these two. Nathan is having a much harder time than Anthony which was surprising to Steve and I…although we should’ve predicted it with how much Anthony hated getting his diapers changed. Nathan has yet to go poop on his own in the toilet and responds best to candy rewards. Anthony is rocking it. He is even dry after naps. Night times are another issue… lets just say we’re doing a LOT of laundry over here. Special thank you to Grandma for helping us through this unforgettable milestone in the boys lives. We couldn’t have done it, as positively, without your help. It might be a few weeks before we feel comfortable throwing them in the car seat and taking them somewhere for a long period of time. But we are so proud of our big boys.