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How to Potty Train in 24 Hours

By Erin Carson ; Updated June 13, 2017

While a 24-hour potty training turn-around might sound too good to be true, many parents do find success with quick-training books and methods like Teri Crane’s “Potty Train Your Child in One Day”, Suzanne Fellom’s “Diaper-Free Toddlers” or Wendy Sweeney’s “Booty Camp”. Whether the desire is to potty train because of the encroaching start of preschool, for which most three-year-olds should be potty trained in order to attend, or simply personal preference, parents often want to potty train their child quickly. Keep in mind that even after your child “graduates” from the potty-training session, he might still experience accidents and need your involvement in the process.

Make sure you and your child are ready for a concentrated day of potty training. The one-day methods require an intensive time commitment and dedication on both of your parts. These methods only work if your child is physically ready—she needs to be able to stay dry for two or more hours during the day and communicate basic needs through words and gestures.

Go shopping with your child to prepare for your potty training day. Let your child pick out a sturdy potty chair—one for each bathroom is ideal—and some new “big kid” underpants decorated with her favorite characters. Sweeney recommends stocking up on salty snacks and sugary drinks, which facilitate the process by making children extra thirsty.

Wake your child in the morning and inform him of your expectations for the day. Show him his stack of diapers and tell him that he will no longer be wearing them. Take off his shorts, pants or diaper and let him spend the day naked from the waist down. According to Sears, this can help him make a concrete suggestion between his sensations of pressure and the act of going to the bathroom.

Allow your child to take control of his own bodily functions. Sweeney does not recommend asking your child if he needs to go and urges parents to put the child in control of the process by simply telling him to go to the bathroom when he notices these urges.

Offer plenty of praise and positive encouragement when your child goes to the bathroom. Crane urges parents to go all-out and host a “potty party” complete with party streamers, balloons and a conga line of adoring family members. Fellom states that it usually takes 10 to 12 of these successful potty trips before a child reliably goes on his own, so keep feeding him snacks and beverages to increase his need to use the bathroom.

Involve your child in the process of cleaning up accidents. Never yell or react negatively to your child’s accidents. Respond to the accident in a calm, neutral manner and place your hand over his so that you can help him clean it up.

Tip

Even if your child appears physically ready, pediatrician and child development expert, Dr. William Sears, suggests delaying the training if he is in a particularly negative phase of his development. The last thing you want to do is turn potty training into a battle of wills.

Talk up the entire process by communicating to your child how wonderful and exciting it is to be "diaper free" and able to enjoy activities without the need for bulky diapers.

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