Potty Training Diaries — Day 3

Pushing through the failures of Day 2 of potty training really paid off. We had ZERO accidents on Day 3! Granted, we got better at watching him for signs of having to go, but by the end of the day, he was telling us that he had to use the potty every time.

AND…he had a totally dry night! He woke up a few times and asked to use the potty, but no pee in the bed! Whoo hoo.

This is exciting stuff.

Lessons of This Day

We picked up a few important lessons on Day 3. After the four baths and a pile of laundry on Day 2, I went back to the book. Yes we’ve trained five other kids already, but this time I’m using a totally new (and truly awesome) method. So I needed a refresher and some encouragement going into Day 3.

I think the most important reminder was to stay relaxed. In hindsight, we put way too much pressure on the poor boy on Day 1. I hovered over him and asked way too many times if he had to go. I’m certain he sensed the panic in my voice. I needed a reminder that just a few days ago, the whole pee and poop thing was completely off his radar. He could do his business whenever and wherever he wanted without giving a second thought.

At first, I think he thought this potty training thing was kind of fun. He got lots of extra mommy attention, and the new little potty was slightly interesting, but by Day 2 he figured out that we were serious about this, and it fully freaked him out.

The Power of Routine

By Day 3, I relaxed, watched him carefully and gently, but firmly, suggested we use the potty when I saw signs that he needed to go. I also created an appealing routine to go with success, and toddlers LOVE routine!

When he successfully put his pee in the little potty, we dumped it together, rinsed the potty chair bowl, put the lid down on the big toilet, flushed, and then washed our hands while singing the full ABC song. Then we dried off our hands, turned off the bathroom light and announced success to whomever was in the living room or kitchen (just outside the bathroom door). We did it the exact same way every single time. For Matty, the routine was the payoff, and there was nothing on my own agenda that was more important than giving him the fullest reward. He had earned it!

It was so much fun to watch him experience total satisfaction with himself. He was learning a new thing — a hard thing, and he was rightly proud of his success. He owned it, and it was exciting for all of us to see.

Bedtime Snafu

The big snafu of the day was bedtime. Still a potty success, but a bedtime regression. As I mentioned in Day 1, we put Matty on a little palette of blankets on the floor next to our bed so that I could monitor him throughout the night (when we nixed diapers, we did it all the way–no nap or nighttime diapers).

It normally takes Matty less than 15 minutes of tossing and turning before he drifts off to slumberland. But last night, he tested the boundaries, and we wrestled through it for an hour and a half.

He kept saying he needed to poop, and since he had only pooped once earlier in the day, I didn’t want to call his bluff. I suspected he was playing the system to stay up longer, but I just wasn’t willing to take any chances.

After an hour of putting him on the potty and prolonging his bedtime, I finally decided that I was willing to clean poop if it came to that, but I wasn’t willing to let this little bugger stay up any longer.

He knew the boundary was the edge of the blankets, and he didn’t cross it, but he did cry and complain. I sat aloofly nearby on the couch in my bedroom and read Oh Crap Potty Training, carefully not responding in any way to his requests. Had he ventured off the blanket, I would have gotten up and gently but firmly put him back on the blankets without any eye contact, but by that point in the night, he knew his place, and respected my authority enough to not cross the blanket border. It took a half hour from the point, but finally he went to sleep.

The end of a wildly successful potty training day!

Calm, Consistent, Committed

This potty training is hard work. It takes a calm parent, who is willing to be consistent and is totally committed to the process. Oh look…That’s the 3 C’s of Authority that Jody and I teach: Calm, Consistent, Committed! It’s a formula that works for discipline and clearly for potty training.

Jody and I are super busy, but once our conference was over, I made the commitment to do this for Matty. I cleared my schedule for almost an entire week so that I could focus entirely on this boy. He’s worth it! And teaching him this life skill and setting him up for success is worth it!

Onto Day 4, where we add a new dimension: shorts! Check back in tomorrow to see how it goes.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

More Posts

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of seven kids (ages 1 to 20) including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.