Tuesday, September 04, 2012

How we potty-trained in ONE DAY!

I know that sounds ridiculous... one day?  It's true!  Lucas will be 3 years old next month (can I even call him a toddler anymore?).  I have been trying to potty train him since he turned 2.  I've tried putting him in underwear, in Pull-Ups, letting him run around naked (inside, of course), setting a timer every hour (...and 45 minutes...and 30 minutes...).

"Lucas, do you need to go pee on the potty?"
"No... oh... Mommy, I peed!"
(Here comes the frustration... trying not to get upset with him... No use... after 2 changes of underwear, I'm done... here come the Pull-Ups again...)

I remember pinning a blog post about 6 months ago about how another woman potty-trained her kids in a day (I can't find that pin now... and I've tried Googling... was that you?  Let me know, and I'll link back to you!).  She said she set aside one day, where she devoted her entire attention to that child.  All the other siblings went to the grandparents' house for the day.  She pushed salty snacks, sweet snacks, and sugary drinks on her daughter constantly.  Every 15 minutes, she sat her daughter on the potty.  If she peed or pooped, the little girl could pick a family member's picture off of a board.  They would call that person to inform them of the good news... repeat...  This woman said that within that day, each of her children were potty trained.  Although there were occasional accidents over the next week or so, that was that!

Update: I found the pin! 

I'm thinking to myself, "Yeah... that might work for your kids..."  Still, I pinned it and kept it in the back of my mind.  I mean, seriously?  You push the kid to drink constantly?  Whenever I've attempted potty training, I've only given Lucas a tiny amount of liquid.  He'll just wet his pants if I give him more, right?

Somehow, last Monday, I ran into an interview with Wendy Sweeney, a woman nicknamed "The Potty Whisperer" (check it out... there's a video of the interview and her training methods).  Her "Booty Camp" is one day long.  She gives the kids lots of salty snacks and junk food, making them thirsty.  When they're thirsty, she gives them soda and other sugary drinks... they taste great, but don't quench their thirst... so they drink more... and they pee (don't worry... she doesn't condone this diet on a regular basis... just for the one day intesive training).  She tells the kids at the beginning of the "camp" and repeatedly throughout the day, "It is your job to know when you have to pee and to take yourself to the potty.  I am not going to remind you or tell you to go.  That is your job.  If you pee in your pants or on the floor, you will help clean it up."  She says she doesn't mean to sound mean.  She's just telling them what is expected of them.


That night, Lucas and I said, "Bye-Bye," to all of his diapers... his Pull-Ups, his Overnights, and his swim diapers.  Lucas asked me, "Mommy, are they saying {in falsetto}, 'Lucas!  Don't use us!'?"  "Yep, Bud.  They sure are."  I showed him the diaper organizer in his room... all empty!

...I wasn't brave enough.  I put all the diapers in a box in my closet (my lack of faith in this).  Tuesday morning, we woke up, I put him in underwear, and I told him every so often to go to the potty.  He fought me every time.  Never made a mess... but just didn't seem to care if he was dirty.


I bit the bullet.  I knew telling him to go (or even asking him if he needed to) wasn't working (I mean, I've tried it enough in the past year...). Elimination communication (read more about that here) works off of the fact that babies are born with a natural aversion to soiling themselves.  Super-absorbent diapers desensitize the child to that feeling.  Eventually they lose all realization that they even need to go.  Sweeney's method is to re-teach that child what it feels like to need to go.  This, in itself, is the hardest part of the potty-training.

We started off the day with me giving Lucas Sweeney's spiel above.  It was so hard not to ask him or tell him to go to the bathroom.  I prayed a lot! ("God, please help me to trust Lucas and to help him learn what his body needs").  I desperately wanted to get those diapers back out of my closet.  The only thing keeping me from doing this were:

  1. Lucas will never learn to recognize the need to go if I don't let him, and
  2. He would lose faith and trust in me when he realized diapers weren't actually going bye-bye.

After a fairly decent breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fruit, I pulled out all the salty snacks I had (he didn't seem to care that it was pretzels, Triscuits, and salty almonds... I learned the hard way not offer dried fruit on that buffet... dried fruit=lots of poop).  I just kept alternating orange juice and chocolate milk all day.

After many accidents in the morning, Lucas finally caught on to what it felt like just before he peed.

I had no idea I would have to teach a little boy how to physically "hold it in"...

I was so exhausted by the end of the day.

Lucas now knew that he had to pee (I consider this potty-trained!).  Thursday we worked on knowing when to go soon enough (this seemed to mostly be procrastination... Kid just wanted to play, not pee).  We had promised Lucas a big boy bike (complete with training wheels) if he peed and pooped only in the potty. When he got off of the couch (by himself!) Thursday afternoon while watching a movie to go pee (by himself!), we considered potty-training done! (How amazing is that?!)

The only "accidents" Luc has had since then are related to not being able to get to the potty fast enough!!!  I can't believe this might have happened sooner had I just been a little more patient and allowed him to get dirty a few times...

Bye-Bye, Diapers!!!!

or buy her training DVD on Amazon...

I hope this helps other frustrated (and clueless) moms!  What methods have you used to potty-train your kids?

Linking up to:
Jellybean Journals: Monday Mom Musings
The-Life-of-Faith: Mommy Moments
Rainy Day Mum: Tuesday Tots
Time-Warp Wife: Titus 2sdays
Six Sisters' Stuff: Strut Your Stuff
I Can Teach My Child!: Show and Share


  1. I think there were a few things that finally came together for me to get Johnny to poop on the potty. That was the big hurdle for us!

    He was 3.5 years. He had no idea how to poop on the potty and never made it happen, though he could pee. I just didn't want to have him in underwear if he was going to poop, because it was a giant mess and I ended up throwing out the underwear.

    So. His sister happeend to be running naked, and she stopped, squatted on the floor and pooped. GROSS! And Johnny saw it and thought it was the grossest thing ever.

    Then, we were out of town for the day. He doesn't usually poop when we travel. idk why. The next day, I had him go bare-bottom and told him he could have something on his bottom AFTER he pooped in the potty.

    He didn't like that. He came and found me and was going to hide behind a chair, but then changed his mind and told me the poop was coming! So I sat him on his seat and wished him well. He wanted privacy, so I sat outside the bathroom and prayed prayed prayed.

    He did it! And I helped him wipe and then we went off to the store to buy him a Nerf gun, which was the item promised when he finally produced.

    He just had no idea how to actually do it, and then he saw what was needed and declared it "easy." I think he had maybe one poop accident since, and from then on he has always done it on his own.

    He needs help with wiping, but whatever. The pee is almost always making it, too, but sometimes a little leaks before he makes it in time. That's ok, he's learning.

    But. Nighttimes are still a no-go (I know that's developmental) and going in public is not happening yet.

    We actually had to go out to the van for him to use his potty seat, because he was terrified of the public bathroom and the urinals. He just couldn't do it. No idea how we'll get past that, but whaddya do.

    1. Haha! Yep, poop and underwear don't mix... He'll get nighttime down in his own time. I got off easy with Lucas. He's been dry every night for about a month now (I just need to get him to the bathroom right away when he does wake up!). Luc was terrified of public toilets flushing for the longest time too... the toilets don't bother him any more. I think that stopped once he started flushing the potty by himself (instead of me doing it). Now, don't you dare turn on the electric hand dryer, though... he'll start screaming :).

  2. Love this! I have a 21 month old and she is already letting me know when she soils her diapers, so I know the time is close to potty train her. I guess I was just trying to hold off because I don't want her to grow up! :( Thanks for sharing!


    1. I know the feeling!! I wanted to cry when it dawned on me how much he was growing up! I just rearranged his room today, removing the changing pad from his dresser and the diaper pail from his room... looks much better, but heartbreaking at the same time :(!

  3. Woohoo! Kudos to you for your perseverance! I might just have to pin this for my own daughter in a couple years:) Thanks for linking up with Mommy Moments!

    1. Thank you for hosting Mommy Moments, Faith! It's helpful to be able to see and connect with other wives and mothers and to hear their tips and insights into life. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Visiting from {Monday Moms Musings}....

    It's funny, the Hubs and I were just talking about this. We have a 30 month old who is NO WHERE NEAR ready to potty train! He has no idea what is going on and "accidentally" peed on the potty the other day and it scared him!!! But our daughter was completely potty trained at 23 months! So he is comparing the two of them! Not a good idea!

    But I'm really glad to come across this - sounds like a great method when he IS ready!!! YAY!!!!!

    And congratulations for no more diapers!!!!

    1. oops! forgot to put my site! visit me at


    2. Definitely! It almost takes more training on the part of the parents than it does for the child... I wanted so bad to step in and help him! But I stuck it out, and it worked! You might be surprised at how fast your son learns and becomes comfortable with it!

      (Comparing seems to come with the parenting territory... so hard not to do!) Thank you for visiting, Jill!

  5. Congrats on getting him potty trained. I dread potty training with my son because he is so stubborn.


  6. Thanks for sharing the technique. Not sure how long I'll wait to try to p-t my little girl, but I'm always happy to come by new techniques. I've read a similar one to the woman who had her child call a family member. In the other version, the little kid got a call from his favorite super hero congratulating his success. Thanks for sharing your story at Monday Mom Musings, Christine.

    1. That's such a cool idea! I'll have to remember that!

      Thank you for hosting the Blog Party!

  7. they taste great, but don't quench their thirst... so they drink more... and they pee (don't worry... she doesn't condone this diet on a regular basis... just for the one day intesive training). buy potty training in 3 days carol cline She tells the kids at the beginning of the "camp" and repeatedly throughout the day, "It is your job to know when you have to pee and to take yourself to the potty. I am not going to remind you or tell you to go.

  8. I don’t normally comment on articles, but I have an experience I’d like to share that will hopefully help others in a similar position as myself. We recently started to potty train my daughter (Emily) any time my husband and I tried to "potty train" my daughter it seemed like nothing was working! I did a lot of searching and found this site called PottyTraining101.cf which allowed me to potty train my daughter quickly and calmly. As it turns out, me and my husband were not using the correct techniques. But I can now happily say that I no longer worry about her, she is now fully potty trained. I have even recommended it to family members and friends. If anyone is in a similar position, I recommend using PottyTraining101.

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