Thursday, February 3, 2011

3 Day Potty Training Boot Camp

When I first started on this endeavor, I was going to do a blog post each day (for the 1st three days). We are now on Day 9 so I'm scratching that idea. Here's what has been happening the last 9 days at Potty Training Boot Camp.

First, I need to go back to December. Each day for about a week, I would see comments that a facebook friend was making about doing the 3 Day Potty Training with her daughter. As the days passed, with the exception of an accident or two, it appeared that her daughter had really been potty trained in 3 days. I became a bit curious but didn't inquire of her.

This would be a good time to tell you what a lazy mom I am when it comes to potty training. I crashed and burned early with Eli in the potty department and finally gave up until he made up his mind to do it. (as a sidenote since I wasn't blogging waaaaaaaay back then. He was 3yrs and 1 month old when he made that decision. It was Thanksgiving weekend. Philip and I were on an anniversary getaway and my parents were staying with Eli and EK. He walked up to my Dad and said something to the effect of "Grandpa, I need to poo poo." And that was it. All my frustrations from the previous year in vein.)

So when the time rolled around for EK, I just let it happen whenever it did. That turned out to be the fall that she was 2 1/2 when she started preschool 2 mornings per week.

Since the lackadaisical approach seemed to work best for me, I had planned on that same approach with Zane & Zander.

As mid-December came though, Zander kept showing more and more interest. 9 times out of 10, he would go in the potty on my command. (Hey Zander, you wanna go to the potty? Off he'd run and he would make it happen)

So I decided that I might should ask this facebook friend about the 3 Day Method. 'Cause I was thinking if I could get 2 boys trained in 3 Days rather than dragging it out, my life would be better.

The "method" is in an e-book format. My friend emailed it to me. I read it and thought it sounded good with the exception of 2 things.

  1. You basically had to clear your calendar for 3 days in a row. The author suggested no cooking, no computer, no doing laundry, etc... Just at home right by their side for 3 solid days.

  2. She also suggested they would wear underwear and T-shirt only for those 3 days. That would've been no problem if we were still in Florida, but a tad cold for this Arkansas winter weather.

So I read the book right after Christmas. Zander continued to go-on-demand. Zane would attempt it only after Zander produced something in the potty. But even then, Zane was usually unsuccessful. He just could not make it happen. (Keep both of those things in mind as you read further down)

The author of the book also said that after the age of 2 1/2, it gets harder to train using this method. My boys were 2yrs8mos in January, so if I was waiting on that warmer weather to happen before training, it sounded like it might be even harder.

I looked at our January calendar (which was already full), but saw that we only had one event the last weekend in January. I called my mom to see if she would come and help. My Dad said that they both would come. (THANK YOU!) He said he would take the big kids to/from their activities, take them out to eat, etc... and my mom would help me. (this is what my friend Lori called man-to-man defense. Me with one boy. My mom with the other. LOVE that phrase!!!)

Fast forward to the last week in January. I've got the calendar mostly cleared for the upcoming weekend. My parents are set to arrive Friday. I will start the 3 Day Method Friday morning and then they'll be here that afternoon to help me with the rest of Day 1 and then all of Days 2 & 3.

On Monday before boot camp is set to begin, I get a call from my Dad. He said, "Did you know the signs are right this Wednesday and Thursday?" I said, "What signs? What are you talking about?" He said, "Rita believes in the signs and she says the best days are Wednesday and Thursday." I follow up with, "What signs and who is Rita?" To which he replied, "To potty train the best days are this Wednesday and Thursday. Your mom is checking with someone else and if her signs are the same, then we'll be coming to your house tomorrow and train them Wed,Thurs and Friday." Well that conversation was over. I still had no idea what the "signs" were nor who Rita was.

I called my mom a bit later and asked her about the signs. The good ole Farmers Almanac. I laughed and laughed. And by the way, the person my mom checked with agreed that the best days were Wed-Friday. So that was the new plan.

My parents arrived Tuesday and I got everything ready to start Boot Camp bright and early Wednesday morning. I had previously emailed the book to my mom to read, but we both skimmed through it again Tuesday night to make sure we were on the same path.

The supplies I had were:

  • mini M&M's for going #1
  • gummy bears for going #2

40 pair of underwear... (my friend said her daughter went through 19 pair the first day, so I did the math. 19 for 1 child = 38 for 2 boys)

  • 28 T-shirts...

and 17 pair of socks.

(I did have a picture of the socks, but now its disappeared. And those of you who upload single pictures to blogger, know what a pain that is if you're already in the midst of your post. So you'll just have to imagine what 17 pair of socks looks like)

Day 1 began with breakfast as usual. After breakfast, I told them we were throwing all our diapers away because they were big boys now and they were going to be wearing underwear.

Eli was my underwear model. He showed them how big boys wear underwear....

We put all their underwear in what-used-to-be our diaper basket. I let them pick what they wanted to put on first. They could choose from: Thomas, Mickey Mouse, baseball and a few random Spiderman that a sweet friend gave to us. Zander immediately chose but Zane kept picking 3 at a time.....

I had bought all of them in size 2/3T. However, we quickly discovered that one certain boy's rear end is a bit big. They were T-I-G-H-T on his hiney!

Day 1 went so much better than either my mom or I expected. If I recall correctly (since it is now 8 days later), they each had 1 accident. This is probably also a good time to say that I didn't follow the book exactly. She suggests going cold turkey ALL the time. I like my boys to sleep. So for naptime and nightttime, I put them in a pull-up. So when I say only 2 accidents, that doesn't refer to when they were sleeping.

Day 2 was about the same except that we had our first poop accident. That was fun. I think it was Zane that did it. We also got to go outside for a bit to play and Zander had a pee accident while outside playing.

Here are their backsides on Day 2:

Zane on left Zander on right

Day 3: They both had #2 accidents. Fun times again. But neither boy had a #1 accident.

My parents left on Day 4. Philip was working and Eli had 2 basketball games to play. Whew. I was a Nervous Nelly. We were going to be gone for about 3 1/2 hours. I loaded up my car and diaper bag with supplies. I had 6 pair of underwear, 4 pants, 2 shirts, paper towels, wipes, trash bags and a "pee" bucket. (pee bucket was suggestion of same sweet friend that gave us the Spiderman undies) Throughout the course of the ballgames, I took them to the potty 4 times and only on the last and final trip were they successful!

It was also on Day 4 that we had poop actually go into the potty. Up until then, they had either done it in their undies or when they were napping. So that was another success!

Day 5 was church and I was once again a Nervous Nelly! Philip had to work so I debated about whether or not to take them. No way was I reverting back to diapers, so if I took them it would be in their underwear. Since they had done so well on Saturday (both at home and on their first "outing"), I decided to take them. My diaper underwear bag was packed and off we went. When we got to Zane & Zander's class, there wasn't a teacher. So I volunteered to stay for the first half. So thankful it worked out that way. I was able to see the bathroom situation (how small the potties were, that it seemed to be better for them to stand rather than sit, etc...). During the 1 1/2hrs I was in with them, I took them to the potty several times. Zane was successful once but Zander never was. I think this was partially because Zander cannot seem to stand and pee at the same time. So, again, thankful that I was in there to see all this so I know what we need to work on at home. (they are in childcare at church 3 times per week, so its important to be able to use the potties there!) When another set of volunteers came to relieve me, I went to my Bible Fellowship class, but was constantly looking at my watch. Wondering if Zander had gone in his pants. Wondering if I should go and check on them. The hour passed and I was pleasantly surprised when I picked them up that they were both dry! Another success!
Days 6-9: On Mondays we are mostly at home anyway, so I wasn't worried about Day 6. Monday night and into Tuesday morning, we were showered with a huge snowstorm, so the kids and I have been "snowed in" ever since. As far as potty training goes, being snowed in has worked in our favor. Normally, the boys would have been in childcare Tuesday morning for Bible Study as well as this morning for Mom's Day Out, along with being in the car taking Eli and EK to/from school, gymnastics, basketball, etc...
I would consider Zane 99.9% potty trained....hooray! He tells me without fail when he needs to do #1 and #2. I don't think he's had an accident since Day 3...but my memory could be failing! There have been times when he's done it completely on his own. Pants down, potty successful, and I don't even know until he comes running out to tell me. One of my favorite things he has continually said throughout this process is "spush." For example: after he goes in the potty he needs to spush (flush) it.
Zander, on the other hand, is probably 80-85% trained. Day 7 & 8 (which was Tuesday and Wednesday of this week), he had 2 or 3 pee accidents each day. Now, there were still plenty of other times when he told me he needed to go (both #1 and #2), so I know he's getting it...just not completely got it.
Do you recall way earlier in the post when I told you to remember that back in December and January, Zander would go on command but Zane never could make it come out? That is so interesting to me now after we've gone through P.T. Boot Camp. I just knew Zander would catch on so quickly, but its been totally reversed. They never cease to surprise me!
Having twins has been beneficial in the potty department. They love to clap and cheer each other on and are genuinely happy for each other when they are successful!

I guess because Grandma was such an integral part of their first few days of Boot Camp, they still occasionally say they want to tell her after they go #1 or #2. Emma Kate took the picture below of me calling Grandma to tell her that Zander had poo poo'd in the potty....

Overall, I'm highly satisfied with the outcome. It went much easier and better than I anticipated. Thank goodness for facebook or I might never have known about the 3 Day Method!


  1. Great information! Braden's pt story is almost identical to Eli's, and now that Cameron is almost 2 and is starting to show interest (probably because he sees Bubby doing it), I have no idea what to do since I didn't do anything with Braden! :)

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmm I like little boys I would love to sample those tight little bumholes, hold those little hips while I bend them over and pump them tight little holes , catch my load as it drips from them and let them lick it up