How We Potty Trained in 2 Days
Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Ok. My 2.5-year-old has been in his undies for over three weeks now with no regression back to diapers and fewer accidents than I anticipated. He’s had some accidents for sure. Some at home and some at school but overall he’s getting the hang of it, so I’m going to put this in my mom-win column.
So how’d we do it? What worked and what didn’t? Below I’m detailing how Ben and I conquered potty training weekend (with a newborn) without killing each other.
Before the weekend
Study up- For starters, at the recommendation of a friend we used the book Potty Training in 3 Days as a guide for what do and how to structure the weekend. It’s a quick read and easy to understand and put into practice.
Stock up on alcohol - Sure this could be controversial, but it worked for us. Ben and I have always been a couple who loves a good cocktail when faced with something not so fun. If alcohol isn’t your thing, stock up on your favorite snack and give yourself the grace to eat allllll of it. The potty training weekend is tough so you have to give yourself some feel-good nuggets to get you through and keep your frustration low.
Stock up on snacks - See above. Be ready to order out for most of your meals. Since one of us had to keep an eye on Dom at all times, plus we have a newborn we knew cooking wasn’t in the cards for a full 48 hours.
Buy new undies AND Pull-Ups - Get undies with characters or things that your kid loves on them. This excites them! Dom has trucks and PJ Masks undies and was so pumped to put them on. The Pull-Ups? You’ll need them for naps and bedtime.
Decide on your reward system - Candy wasn’t going to work for Dom so we knew we needed to sweeten the pot a bit (pun intended). We purchased this sticker chart and hung it in the bathroom as well as a ton of small Hot Wheels cars. Every time he peed he got a sticker and a car. We bought 10 cars to start (cheap here from Target) and put them all in a box. Every time he used the potty he got to choose which car he wanted. It worked well because he could see all his options at once and knew he had to keep going on the potty to get more cars.
The day before
Call the Diaper Fairy - She is kind of like the tooth fairy in that your kid leaves something to get something. The Friday before D-day we had Dom help us collect all of his diapers in a bag and put them outside (in a Budweiser cooler ) for the Diaper Fairy to collect. The next morning she “left” him new undies and the cars in the cooler. This works because then it’s not a YOU taking away your kid’s diapers, it’s that diaper fairy bitch! It makes it seem more final. Like he cannot get them back.
Rest up - Make sure you and your partner are well-rested. It doesn’t seem like it, but following your toddler around all dang day is actually really exhausting. It’s like being on at work all day.
No phones for 24 hours - The book states this and we followed it. The idea is that you have to keep your eyes on your kid to understand what they’re "tell" is. Once you begin to know what you’re looking for to indicate your kid needs to go you can bring the phones back out.
Diaper Fairy progress reports - We called the Diaper Fairy twice a day to give a report on how Dom was doing. If we reported well, then he “earned” his Pull-Up for his nap. She’d “drop it off” in the mailbox. The idea that we were "telling someone" how great he was doing was enough to keep Dom motivated. You might need to figure out a progress report deal that works better for your child.
Hourly potty breaks - It takes toddlers a bit to learn the sensation of needing to go to the bathroom and to hold it until they get there, so taking them to the bathroom hourly helps them understand. Even three weeks in we still don’t let Dom go more than 90 minutes without trying to potty if he hasn’t told us he needed to go yet.
On Dom’s first day he had two accidents and none the next day. By Monday we sent him to daycare in his undies and he was jacked! He couldn’t wait to show his friends his PJ Masks undies (teacher confirmed he pulled down his pants upon arrival). We are now working on phasing the Pull-Up out for naps at home and have had success this past weekend. I don’t mind if the teachers still need to put him in Pull-Ups for naps at school though.
As tiring as the weekend was, I will say, one positive was all the one-on-one time I got with Dom. We spent a lot of time in the bathroom waiting to pee, which meant he told me everything that crossed his little mind. We played lots of games to pass the time since we couldn’t whip out the electronics. Ben and I enjoyed our cocktails and eating out for every meal without guilt too! So all-in-all I have to call the weekend a success. Now my baby isn’t really a baby anymore. The last little pieces of his babyhood were “taken” by the diaper fairy. I’m so damn proud of him. But also mourning the closing of that chapter too. Baby sure don’t keep.