I’m no longer in a season of having tiny infants in our home, but I wanted to pass along this list of my FAVORITE books that have helped shape the mother I am (or at least the one I strive to be). These books are all different and meet different needs, but if you’re heading into a season of starting a family, are expecting a baby now, are in the throws of motherhood (like me) or know someone who is in these early stages these books are great, great resources. I hope they are a blessing to you as they have been to me!
Admittedly it took me a bit to really figure out what kind of mother I desired to be. At first I simply took notes from those who started families before me and with how long it had taken us to become pregnant, over time I had built in my mind the image of the perfect mom I was sure to be…”oh I’ll NEVER do that” or “I’ll for SURE do that!”…”Oh I cannot believe she did THAT!”….and then once I actually became a mom, I quickly realized that motherhood takes far more than a pipe dream and a snap judgment. Motherhood has a way of breaking you, of making you realize that sometimes you have absolutely nothing left. Motherhood is glorious in all of its lovely ways…but it can also crush you at the same time.
These are some of my all time favorite absolutely necessary books for moms and motherhood. These books gave me perspective, hope, and the knowledge that I wasn’t alone. Obviously there are so many books in different categories of life that I can’t wait to recommend as well, but for now, this is just for the mamas!
I’ve put them in the order in which I feel they are needed due to stage of life. If you’ve read (or heard) of any of these please comment below and let me know what you think!
1. Baby Whisperer
This book was written by a woman who served as a nanny for over 1,000 babies. She was diagnosed with cancer and before she died wrote this book. It has radically changed my life. I don’t mean to sound dramatic in the least, but it honestly has. Aside from the Bible I cannot think of any other book that has so shaped me as a mother and woman. If I’m brutally honest it was actually just the prelude that did it!!! Weird right?!
Before having children I had this idea in my head that I was in control, that I could study enough or learn enough or try hard enough to create the family I wanted to have. I looked at other moms and how they were going about doing things and thought I’d be just like some of them and absolutely nothing like a few others.
This book taught me to look at my own home, what I had been give, and to view my children as humans…as in real life people with real life preferences and real life personalities. I wasn’t playing with babydolls anymore and I couldn’t mimic what I saw in others. I had to find my own way and this book gave me that encouragement. The lightbulbs came on early on with this one, and I cannot possibly recommend it enough to new mamas who are just starting a family.
**Note: The chapters on nursing is outdated. Since the author has died they cannot reprint, but there are groups online that comment on her advice concerning breastfeeding. Other than that I’d highly recommend it!
2. Baby Sign Language
Whoa, like whoa, holy moly! This book blew my mind. Well, not as much the book but the fact that my 8 month old started communicating with me!
I was given this book as a baby shower gift. As in the kind of gift I didn’t register for but was thankful-on-my-face for when I opened it. Signing for babies…whatever! They’re not that smart…C’mon….
Famous. Last. Words.
I haphazardly started teaching Kate when she was about 5 months old thinking it was all a joke just to get moms to look silly. It sort of became somewhat of a routine for me just for the fun of it but I had never expected much at all. Until one day…
The light bulbs in her wee little (in my mind still just an infant) brain just came on! One day she started signing back. And then by that night it was two signs…and before you know it I literally had to go out and buy a full on ASL pocket dictionary to carry in my diaper bag because she knew more than I did! She would point and ask the name of things…animals, temperatures, objects, feelings…It was beyond fascinating!!!!
Seriously, teach your baby sign language. I promise you will NOT ever ever regret it.
3. Give Them Grace
Honestly I feel like this book should be read and re-read about, oh…every year as a refresher.
I have purposely put this book next because I deeply feel that it should be read while you still have a tiny baby in your arms. The days are soon coming when you are no longer concerned about nipple confusion or getting enough sleep, but you are now trying to figure out what to do with the little devil that was once so cute and cuddly.
This book gives a great foundation on motherhood and parenting in a way that doesn’t just help us to survive our kids but gives us eyes to see beyond the immediate. We are raising individuals who will one day be adults and that end goal must be on our minds when we are still wiping poo off our shirts.
Bad habits are tough to break. If you begin with this style of parenting in mind you’ll save yourself a lot of re-do and un-do later on. Our kids need to see Jesus, not just learn to abide by the rules. And this starts sooooooo young!
4. Toilet Training In Less Than A Day
I found this book at a used bookstore on our way to dinner for a date night one evening. It was torn and the edges had been ripped off. It looked well used and considering the title it caught my eye.
Seriously?! Train your kid to use the potty in less than a day?!
Ya whatever. I set it down and started to walk away. I glanced back and happened to notice the price, $.50. Ahhh…what the heck…why not?! Here you go…here’s my two quarters…
Reading this book was one of the best things I’ve ever read. It taught me how to teach my kids one of life’s most important disciplines in a way that they would truly understand. They don’t even know how to pour a cup of water on their own yet, but I can teach them how to control their innards in less than a day?! Um…yes please.
There are a few great books concerning the theory of gospel centered parenting…but very, very few on the “okay, shoot me straight, tell me EXACTLY HOW do I do that” kind of books.
This book is just that.
Getting your feet under you with the books I’ve listed earlier is necessary, but this one will give you the wings to fly.
6. Loving The Little Years
This book is one that will totally help with perspective. It is written by a mom who is in the trenches just like the rest of us, who understands how hard it is and who literally wrote this book with a child on her lap and a few at her feet. How in the world, right???
She’ll remind you all over again that although the days sometimes feel like eternity, the years fly by fast. Cherish these days and intentionally find ways to enjoy it. Her message runs through my veins as well and I couldn’t encourage you enough to read this to help with increasing joy.
I’m always up for a good read! Although free time is a hot commodity these days I would LOVE suggestions as to what books you’d recommend! Leave a comment below and share the love!
What do I do if training hasn’t gone well so far? I’m frustrated, my child doesn’t seem to care! He’s not getting it and I cannot stand to clean up any more poop and pee! This isn’t fun at all! If this is you, keep reading…there’s hope I promise!
I recently wrote all about my Potty Training in ONE day series. If you haven’t already please read those first three posts first. The first post was about the mindset going into this style of training. The second post was how to prepare for the day of training. And the third post was what steps to take on the actual day of potty training.This method comes from this book:
This book and this method have been around for a long time and has been used by thousands of moms I’m sure. I am certainly not the one who came up with this method, however, having used it now 5 times I can say I am a firm believer in the fact that this method is genius! It was originally created as a method to teach children with Downs Syndrome, until they realized that the method was so effective it could be used on just about any toddler.
The book will give a few more insights into the details of the potty training day and some more in depth descriptions for the method so feel free to get it and read it and gain even more knowledge.
What I wrote out is basically the cliff’s notes with some real life pictures to help other moms grasp the method as simply and as quickly as possible. My very first post about the relationship being first priority is my own thoughts and feelings being added to this method. While the method is solid in and of itself, I honestly feel it is meaningless if the steps being mastered takes priority over the relationship being cultivated between parent and child. It is for those reasons that I didn’t just simply write a short post of where to buy the book.
These final thoughts are about some troubleshooting ideas. I’ve asked permission from my friends and have decided to share with you a few of the questions I have recently received in regards to potty training to give some direction on how to handle things if training has been less than stellar so far. My responses are obviously toward that individual and their specific situation, but I am hoping that by letting you in on those conversations it might give some direction on how to navigate whatever troubles you might be having in your own situation.
Ashley: Hi Meg, we need some help. Do you have any potty training recommendations for a stubborn 28 month old boy? He and I are driving each other mad!
Meg: Hi Ashley, what have you done so far?
Ashley: Naked for a few days, undies. He knows how to control the muscles and can, but will just pee a teaspoon then say all done and refuse to sit any longer!
Meg: Then what happens? Does he pee on the floor after that?
Meg: How’s the dynamic between you two? Does he see you’re upset or does he think it’s no big deal?
Ashley: I’m definitely impatient
Meg: How has he responded to your impatience? Saddened or hardened?
***Note: At this point I had gathered enough information to know that my friend Ashley was responding to her child the same way I had in Post 1 with Crew. Her child was clearly not feeling connected to his mom and rather than learn the skill of potty training he was reacting to his mother’s anger and frustration. When a disconnect between parent and child is so glaringly obvious, it becomes clear that the skill of peeing and pooping in a potty is a secondary issue. Restoring the relationship by whatever means possible becomes the primary issue…
Me: Well….here’s the thing….you’ve basically got three options….
1. Keep doing what you’re doing and hope with all your might that he just “gets” it eventually. With this option, I could bet a large sum of money on the fact that you will continue to have accidents for many weeks, possibly months, and most likely bed wetting for what could be years. With this option, nobody wins. He stays mad. You stay mad. There is distance in your relationship and there’s lots and lots of pee and poo to clean up in your future. In my opinion this option is really not an option…so let’s keep going….
2. Apologize to him for your impatience, especially if you’re hurried, and have an I’m “put out” attitude toward him and his hardness with the accidents. The relationship needs to matter far more than him learning to potty correctly. With this option you’ll focus on tending to the relationship first while also trying to get him to still learn the skill of pottying too. Tell him that “momma is so sorry and ask him if you can start over with him”. Hug him and kiss him as much as possible and do everything within your power to restore him to softness. If he seems to respond well and seems to soften then ask him if you can start over with potty training. Ask him if he is scared. Or if he is mad. See if there is ANYthing that you can get out of him (at his age I don’t expect him to be able to have a full length conversation about his feelings, but try as best you can to relate to him) as to what is going on.
If he seems to respond positively to starting over and trying a new way, then move forward with the potty training in one day method….but YOUR attitude toward him needs to be polar opposite from what it has been. You’ve GOT to be patient and loving and spoil him rotten with treats and goodies when he does well. You can’t be mad anymore. You cannot take his lack of learning personally. You’ve got to cover him with love, encouragement, and affection. This option is definitely a real possibility but it will be a huge, huge challenge to overcome what memories have already been made during the past few days of frustration. There is far more hope of things going differently but you still may very well have the outcome and struggles of option 1.
Think of it this way….how would you feel if one day your undergarments that you’ve worn your whole life were taken off of you, and at the same time you had to learn a new skill that you weren’t good at and all the while someone you love dearly was angry at you the whole time? I know how I’d respond. It’d be either in tears or in full-on angry too.
3. The third option is what I would actually recommend. Put him back in diapers. Just like in option #2 tell him that you’re sorry for how this has gone and tell him that you didn’t mean to push him in a way that wasn’t helpful, that you love him dearly and that you trust that in a little bit longer he’ll be able to learn. (Waiting another month or two is not a big deal unless you are pressed to get it done before a huge life change.) Tell him that you don’t want to be mad at him anymore but that you now see the time isn’t right.
At this point the stress is fully removed. You can focus again on building trust between you two and you can fully relax and just love on him for awhile. This is NOT to be a shaming thing for him, rather tell him he just doesn’t need to worry about it anymore. And then spend the next few days/weeks restoring him in every way possible. Read to him, let him sit in your lap, take him for a walk with just you…whatever it takes. Show him his heart and you guys being close again is what matters to you the most.
Unless he is incredibly mad at being put back in diapers, which I’m hoping he isn’t, then he will most likely be able to relax again and his demeanor and attitude will change toward happiness and pleasantries once more.
Ashley: Option 3 sounds like the way to go! He is already back in diapers so we all can rest but I think some repentance on my and my husbands part needs to happen. That will happen today. And hopefully an ice cream date! We will give it some time and try your potty train in a day in a month or a few when we all have gotten over this experience.Thank you Meg for seeking out the heart of this situation and taking time out of your crazy busy life to help us out.
Me: My pleasure! I’m so glad that’s the option you’re choosing. Let’s rewrite this for all of you! And do everything you can to put the potty out of his mind for now. Take away anything that would remind him of it. No more little potty seat and no more little stool for him to climb up. No more potty books or underwater for him to see. It’ll help you later when you get those things back out to have it be a new and different thing rather than it just still being visible and available from now until then.
**A few months later I received this next message….
Ashley: Here’s the update! Hi, we took a break and came back to it with lots of treats, and a sticker chart. He still asks for treats sometimes when he goes poop even though it was months ago lol. We have also learned he will do literally anything to be told a story. So we tell him a story while he goes, and while we brush and floss his teeth, really he will gladly do anything if you tell him a story. He was all over it! We almost never have accidents. He’s definitely not ready for nights and naps though and I am totally fine with that for now.
Amber: Hi lady! Potty question after reading today’s post – I have been putting Jeremiah on the potty since he was about 10 months old. If I could see him needing to go, I just hold him on the potty to let him go. It is easier and less messy than poopy diapers. Now that he is almost 2, I put him on in the morning when he wakes up and at other times when I can tell he needs to. Sometimes he will say poop but most times he can’t tell me yet since he’s still so young. But he does say poop usually after he poops so he does know that he’s done it. Sometimes I ask him if he needs to poop and he will answer. Anyway, he’s too young I know but I had just started doing this a long time ago. After reading the Potty Training in One Day posts on your blog, does that mean I can’t do the 1 day method later when he is older?
Me: Good question…..I think you probably still could because it sounds like he is responsive to it. I have never ever done it that way tho so it’s hard to say…I would think as long as you just keep it really simple for now and then make a big build up later for that one day you’d probably still be successful. You’ll just have to make a big big deal that there’s no going back to diapers ever ever ever after that training day. I think the fact that he isn’t afraid of the potty and he is learning what it’s for is encouraging.
The part that worries me is that it is usually the kids that just see the potty there all the time and sometimes go and sometimes don’t go that tend to struggle the most. Those kiddos are usually the ones that grow too comfortable with it just always being there and are still getting to mess themselves in their diaper. Those are usually the ones whose parents just sort of hope they’ll “get it” some day and end up taking much longer than needed to get this skill to stick.
As far as this method, I think it’s the build up, and the actual process of the day that marks their minds for good that helps with really getting the skill mastered. All of that to say I think you could very well keep doing what you’re doing but would still definitely aim toward that big day build up in the future. Keep phrasing things to him like “one day you’ll get to do this EVERY time not just sometimes! “Your big day is coming” and so on…..
Lucy: Hi Meg. I’ve trained Ben to use the potty and even did the potty training in one day method. But at night time he has had about 3 accidents in the first few weeks following training day. I have him in pullups, but I don’t want him to have to use them anymore. When I go get him in the morning I can tell the pee is fresh and I think he just did it only a few minutes before I got in there! Do you have any suggestions for night time training?
Me: Does Ben sleep in a crib or in a toddler bed?
Lucy: In a toddler bed
Me: Have you taught Ben that it is okay for him to get out of his bed on his own to use the potty should he need to go in the night or early morning?
Lucy: Oh gosh I never thought of that.
Me: It might be that he needs to be taught that it’s okay to get up on his own instead of waiting for you to come get him like you used to when he was in a crib.
Lucy: Okay, so maybe he just is still waiting for me to come in and get him in the morning?
Me: Yes, it very well could be. Sometimes there are other factors that go into potty training that are helpful to think through like where a child is sleeping and patterns that have already been set. I transitioned my kids from a crib to a toddler bed at around the same time I potty train. That way they had the ability to get out and go by themselves. I would suggest you take Ben into his bedroom and close the door just like it would be when he is asleep, and have him lay in his bed. Have him pretend like he is waking up and walk through each of the steps of how to get out and how to open the door and how to walk to the restroom (or come get you) by himself.
Lucy: Okay! I’ll try that and let you know how it goes!
Lucy: So here’s the update. I kept Ben in pull ups for a few more nights just in case, but showed him exactly what to do if he needed to go. I realized he thought he was going to get into trouble if he got out of bed by himself. Now he is out of pull ups and gets up on his own to go potty every morning.
Some final thoughts:
Although this method is Potty Training in ONE day, I would highly suggest a few days of reinforcement following the day of training. The skills your child learns on that single day should most definitely be in tact, but most likely will need a bit of time to be reinforced. Plan to keep things simple for a couple of days. Try to not have too many distractions or too many outtings. Keep it fairly low-key. If you are planning to travel shortly after, then maybe just wait to train until you get back to do the actual training. Don’t stack up a ton of errands to do all at one time. If you do have to get out and about allow for breaks and plan in some stops to help prompt and ask if your child needs to go.
Helpful Tip: The portable potty seat you had for training is great to take with you if you have to run errands. You can line it with a plastic bag so it’s easy to get rid of. I keep wipes and toilet paper with me in the car too.
When your child goes through this method they quickly learn to recognize the need to pee and poo, but it takes a bit of time to get the hang of timing. In those early days just fresh from learning, a child will often say they need to “go” but give only about a minute’s warning. The key in those follow up days is to help your child find somewhere quickly. Taking along that potty seat is super helpful. For about 3 weeks following training day I would literally just pull over, find an empty parking lot, create a private space in how I positioned my car, and get him set up to go.
This has been extremely helpful when I am out running errands with all five kids and would reeeeeaaaally rather not have to get them ALL out of their car seats to hurry into a dirty public restroom only to have ALL of their hands all over everything while I help the newly trained child! (ewwww….)
Please let me know if there are any other questions! I would love to help anyone/everyone that I am able!
If you’re new here and are wondering if the title of this post is legit and if you really can POTTY TRAIN IN ONE SINGLE DAY, let me assure you that this method REALLY does work! I’ve trained all five of my children using this method and there is no chance I would ever do anything different.
However, if you’re just now finding this blog and this method of Potty Training in ONE single day is something you are interested in learning, please begin first by reading my Part 1 AND my Part 2. What you’re reading now is the third post for very specific reasons and if you miss Part 1 and Part 2 you’ll miss crucial information for you to move forward with this style of training. Part 1 will give a better framework for why this method works like magic, Part 2 will help you with exactly what to buy and how to prepare. This Part 3 is the actual steps for the day of. The mindset going in, the time leading up to training day, and the actual training day itself all work together. All of the steps are very important so don’t miss out by only reading this post!
If you’ve been through both prior posts and are ready to get started then you’ve come to the right place!
POTTY TRAINING IN ONE DAY! Yep just ONE!!!!
Greet your child and excitedly remind them that their day has finally come!
Leave your child’s diaper on and let them eat breakfast in a relaxed environment with you.
Watch Daniel Tiger on Netflix. It’s an episode called Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty / Daniel Goes to the Potty.
It’s such a cute little show and it walks through all of the steps. It also has the cutest little song (“If you have to go potty STOP and go right away! Wash and flush and be on your way!”) and we sing it together ALL throughout potty training day. Obviously, if you don’t have Netflix, don’t worry about this step. This is just a fun way to get the steps into their minds as well as give them a little song to sing to keep the mood light and fun. So, if you DO have it, watch it together!
Read one of your potty stories. Talk together about what the day will be like and begin to introduce all of the steps your child will soon learn.
After the show and after you’ve read your story, show child the new items (the doll, the potty, the stool, etc.). Show and explain what each one is for.
Let him/her pick a new beverage of choice and start to drink.
Let child name new doll. Refer to the doll with their chosen name for the remainder of the day. Let’s say “Jack” for now.
Teach Jack to use the potty. Go through each of the steps for the child. Let your child hold the doll and make the doll do the commands you are giving. “First Jack needs to walk over to the potty. Then Jack needs to pull down his underwear. Next Jack needs to sit down on the potty….” and so on….
Round one: Go through all of the steps: walk to the potty, pull down pants, sit on potty (boys push penis down with small wad of toilet paper—trust me, this works like a charm— and girls close legs), pee/poo in potty (use the bottle to make water come out of doll), get toilet paper, wipe, stand up, pull pants up, take the insert and go wash it out at the normal potty, return it to the kitchen potty, wash hands…finished.
After child teaches Jack, tell your child that Jack did so well he deserves a treat. Have your child act out feeding treat to Jack…then tell child that he can actually have it instead.
Round two: Repeat same instructions once more all the way through giving a little less instruction and asking if child can remember what is next.
Let child pick a salty snack and take a small break…
Round three: While child is distracted with new snack, wet Jack’s underware to pretend that he had an “accident.” Point it out to your child and make a big deal about the fact that “we don’t like wet pants. This ISN’T a good thing. Jack has not gone to the potty and he made a big mess. We need to teach Jack where he should go to pee and poo.”
Tell your child that he needs to make Jack practice to get it right. Start Jack at the spot where it was wet, and quickly have your child walk Jack to the potty. Then take Jack back to the wet spot and repeatedly say “we don’t like wet pants, Jack”…repeat this 10 times. Yes, ten times. Walk quickly back and forth from the wet spot to the potty 10 times. I know it sounds like a lot, but trust me, this step is key.
Then, help your child to change Jack’s clothes into fresh ones, clean up the mess, and then take the wet ones over to the washing machine. It is important that your child teaches Jack these steps because it will soon be what is happening to your child. It will be uncomfortable, and will upset your child to feel themselves wet, but this process in teaching Jack will give them some framework as to what is happening to them.
Keep this lesson at or around 15-20 minutes. Timing matters because you have been giving your child drinks this whole time…your child is going to need to “go” soon…so be ready…
Remove your child’s diaper. Replace diaper with new, loose underwear. Putting a child back in diapers is NOT an option from this point on and make sure your child knows that this is the turning point. Let your child help you bag up the rest and tie it up to give to a friend. Say goodbye to the diapers. And let them know that this is the moment they become a big boy/girl!
It helps to tie up their shirt so that they don’t have to mess with it when trying to learn to pull their underwear up and down. I just used a hair tie.
Give your child more drinks through the early steps (as much as he/she is willing to take in).
Then have your child walk over to the potty, and go through all of the same instructions, but this time with himself instead of the doll. Once you get to the stage where your child is literally sitting on the potty, encourage them to try to let their pee out. If child wants to get up right away, ask them in a fun, yet firm and encouraging way, to sit still and really try to focus on getting it out. Help your child to tune out all distractions. Help your child focus on you, what you’re saying, and their own body.
Stay right by him/her and speak in soft tones as if you are waiting for a big surprise. Say something like, “Let’s see if you can let your pee out and let’s be reaalllllly quiet to see if we can hear it hit the potty. Can you let it out? Just relax.” And then be quiet and wait.
Once the house is quiet and movement stops and you have helped him to slow down, your child may go right then and there for first time…if so, then praise him/her!!! And go over and above!!! Go crazy celebrating…but I would warn you here, don’t go so far as to scare your child. Keep it contained enough to let them know you are absolutely pleased, but watch to not be overly loud or overly animated. Give stickers and give one of the bigger candies/treats! Celebrate the huge accomplishment! Make sure your child begins to connect what that feeling was as a GOOD thing to happen in the potty!
If child does not go, stay in the kitchen and continue rehearsing teaching the doll. Go through the process of teaching the doll 2-3 more times, letting child do as much as possible. After he completes a few more rounds, tell child it’s his turn again.
Go through all of the motions just like he taught the doll. When you get to the part where your child is on the potty again, slow it down again. Very soft tones, listening ears…talk to them in whispers and ask them if they can let their pee out.
If child pees on the floor while in this stage…child must stay in wet pants!!! Don’t hurry to change him. Keep the wet underwear on for this step. It is important for your child to feel the discomfort of being wet while walking back and forth. Use the spot where they peed as beginning point A and the potty seat as point B. Take their hand and have them walk quickly from point A to point B. While walking, explain to them that this is where we go when we need to let out the pee and poop. Once you get to the potty, have them pull down their wet pants (only help if you have to), have them sit down and then stand, pull them up and walk through the whole exercise again. Your child may begin to cry. Don’t let this stop the process though. Comfort, connect, but be firm in what must be done. Love them through this, it isn’t fun for your child to have to figure this all out.
Repeat 10 times. Yes, 10 times. Yes, still in the wet underwear. Walk from the wet spot to the potty and back again 10 full times. At about round 6 or 7 you’re going to probably think “oh, that’s got to be enough” but please don’t stop short. Get through all 10. Encourage your child, love them through it. But be steadfast and keep reminding them as you walk together that we do not pee or poop in our pants. Keep saying, “We don’t like wet pants. We do not pee or poo in our underwear. We go to the potty to pee now.”
Have the child then get cleaned up. It will take longer but have your child be the one to take off their wet pants and then use wipes to clean off the urine off of their legs.
Then have them throw wipes away. Have your child put the new underwear on himself/herself. Have him walk his dirty pants over to the washer. Let him begin to understand how much work it takes to have a mess like that.
Now, you’re back to dryness again, but probably have hit a very low point with emotions.
Love and encourage your child, but do not tell them that peeing in their pants was a “good job.” Make sure you are explaining that they cannot do that anymore and that they must pay attention to their body now. Your child will most likely be in tears, but do everything you can to help them understand that although they can’t do that anymore, but you’re there for them, and you’re going to show them everything they need to learn. Remember Part 1 of this series and remember to be their best friend in this. You’re the momma and in those moments you’re the only one your child has to lean on.
Start again with salty snacks. Have another beverage.
The trick is to get as MUCH practice as you possibly can during this training day which means give more and more liquids. Without practice the skill won’t be mastered. Without drinks there won’t be much practice! ☺
So, give them as many fluids as possible. Keep reading and singing together, and keep watching the Daniel Tiger show.
Make up your own potty song and try as best as you can to keep focus on things regarding toilet training, not talking about other topics, but staying on anything related to potty training day. Distraction from the potty won’t help.
Read a story. Play with cars.
Spend time together, staying in the kitchen in order to keep him/her as close to the potty as possible. Play with blocks, do some puzzles, play with dolls or play dough.
After about 20 minutes ask the child if they have dry pants. If child says yes, then give them one of the small candy treats. If the answer is no, then once again go through the entire process from above.
If pants are dry, then set the timer for 10 more minutes. Keep close watch on your child to see if body movements give you any warning that the feeling to pee is near. After 10 more minutes ask again if their pants are dry. If yes, give another small treat. Set the timer again for 10 more minutes. The longer your child goes without peeing the more heightened your senses need to be to help them recognize when it may be coming. You can choose to sit them on the potty each of those times to help them re-learn the steps of how to get their underwear up and down, or you can choose to let them wait and tell you it’s time to go. I typically have gone the first 20 minutes and ask if they are dry, give the small treat and then go through one more segment of 10 minutes totaling 30 minutes since the last pee. If my child had not gone at that 30 minute point I would have him sit down on the potty to “try”. If my child did not “go” at that 30 minute point I would make them sit and “try” at every 10 minute interval that followed until he did finally go.
Keep going this way all the way until lunch. Offer a lunch, but more than likely your child will not eat much because of all of the liquids and snacks they have consumed by this point.
By early afternoon your child has (hopefully) had numerous times of peeing in the potty by now. Most likely your child would have had at least one accident, maybe more. Typically for mine, the kids were fully trained and could recognize the feeling to have to pee by about 1:30-2 in the afternoon.
Most likely you’ll hit that point in the day when your child begins to get tired and you are thinking you aren’t quite sure if they’ve got this new skill mastered or not. Whenever nap time comes, go ahead and make the choice if you want to put your child in pull ups, plastic covers over normal underwear, or in just underwear. It’s totally your choice. When I first trained Kate (our oldest), I bought a package of Pink Dora the Explorerer Pull-Ups. I wasn’t sure the method was going to work, so I had those on hand just in case. I put her in a pull up for that first day’s nap and then during the first night. The next day, though, she said she didn’t need them and told me she wanted to wear normal underwear. So, I told her if she could stay dry in the pull ups for 3 nights I would never make her wear them again. Sure enough, she stayed dry, so we kept our promise to her. She’s never wet her bed.
When I trained Kai, I had actually saved the same package of pink Dora pull-ups that Kate never used. I put one of those on Kai for that first nap and first nighttime. He hated wearing pink so he told me there’s no way he wanted to keep wearing them! So I made him the same deal. If he could stay dry for 3 straight nights he would never have to wear those silly pink Dora pull-ups anymore either. (Maybe the trick with boys is to get them pink pull-ups!!!!) It worked like a charm and he’s never wet the bed.
With Corban AND Canon I still had the same package of pink Dora pull-ups! And both of them were the exact same as Kai. No way they wanted to wear pink! So, they also asked to not have to wear them anymore.
Every child is different. Whatever you decide to you use, the one thing that is NO longer an option is diapers. And if you DO choose to do pull-ups refer to them as “night-time underwear” to make sure they still think of them as big boy/girl pants instead of diapers.
After Nap Time
Once your child wakes up, immediately take your child to the potty to try to pee. Change out of a pull up right away and remind them of the steps they learned that morning. Make sure you’re still encouraging and make sure they realize that they need to continue learning to recognize that feeling. If your child pees as soon as they wake up, set a timer in your mind to have them try again about 30 minutes later. If your child does not pee, set a timer in your mind to have them try again in about 10 minutes (or less). Most likely it will come soon so be ready.
That’s a WRAP!
Keep practicing, keep practicing and keep practicing! The more drinks you give your child, the more they will have to pee. The more practice they have, the more you are able to re-enforce the skill. Once you feel your child has mastered the skill, meaning they have told you a number of times they need to go and have successfully peed in the potty, your child is considered trained. Spend a few moments celebrating with others in your family. Have a list ready of people (family and close friends) to call that can congratulate your child for a job well done! Notice the time on the pic below when we made this phone call, we waited until he had peed successfully right after his nap was over.
I plan to still write one more final post, I’ll share more specifically what the days that follow will look like, what to do if things have gone badly with potty training already, and what to do with a few circumstances that are less than ideal. There’s some advice that may help with troubleshooting how to move forward if things haven’t gone well so far.
Please let me know if you have ANY questions. I would love to help in any way I am able! And Happy Potty Training to you and your little one!
If you’re new here and are wondering if the title of this post is legit and if you really can POTTY TRAIN IN ONE SINGLE DAY, let me assure you that this method REALLY does work! I’ve trained all five of my children using this method and there is no chance I would ever do anything different. However, if you’re just now finding this blog and this method of Potty Training in ONE single day is something you are interested in, please begin first by reading my Part 1. What you’re reading now is the second post for very specific reasons and if you miss Part 1 you’ll miss crucial information for you to move forward with this style of training. Part 1 will give a better framework for why this method works like magic.
So, now, if you’ve already read Part 1 and you’re all set to get going, then let’s get started! This can be a really fun process if you’ll let it be. Of course, there are challenges and the day might feel long, but choose to see this as a huge mile marker in the life of your child and celebrate the good that will result! Not to mention the diapers you will no longer have to buy!
There are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare.
Seven Prep Steps:
Step 1 (4 weeks til training day): Look ahead and pick a day when you will train.
It needs to be around a time when there is no travel, no new baby coming right away, no people staying in your house, no major holidays to celebrate. You need to be able to have one full day of NO interruptions and nothing out of the ordinary.
Step 2: Keep it a surprise!
As you move closer to this time do NOT introduce potty training until you have decided to start. Do not set out a potty just because the child seems interested. Do not let them play around and sit on the big potty. Do not buy them a kid potty seat and let them try it out before the actual day. These things must be saved for the excitement of that special training day.
DO: Let them watch you, or other siblings, or (if a boy) daddy as you go to the restroom. DO: Explain the process and answer any questions, but keep explaining to them that their time has not yet come. DO: Tell them their “day” is coming. Ask them if they are getting excited to learn such a special new thing! DO: Let them see their poo and pee in their diaper. Kids get curious about what it is. If you’ll show them, then it’ll be less scary when it comes out of them and goes into the potty. Start talking about how soon they’ll learn to pee and poo like mom and dad and it won’t be nearly as gross as it is now.
Step 3 (3 weeks out): Purchase your big supplies to have them ready.
#1: Doll that pees BOY and GIRL with a bottle, dressed in a hat or bow (one idea is to pick one that matches something your child has so they can match for the day) and with a little mini toilet seat.
#5: Big boy OR Big girl themed underwear (you won’t introduce this until child has mastered the skill, so don’t show them yet!!!).
#6: Dog pads like THIS or just plan to use old towels (but the pads are easier because you just throw them away instead of having to do more laundry).
#7: Potty Books. Anything that talks about using the potty. Examples are HERE and HERE. The one I have is HERE but there is a boy version too.
Step 4 (1 week out): Look forward to Training Day!
Make an at home calendar (or a paper chain) with your child to show them exactly what day they are going to learn to use the potty. Talk about it often. If there are family members, close friends, or neighbors let them know that day is coming and have them say something encouraging to your child. Have siblings write a note or color them a picture. Make it a topic of conversation every day. “The day is coming!” “You’re going to learn something new and it’s going to be awesome!” “It’s going to be such a fun day!”
Caution: personalities differ from child to child. If you notice the build-up creates any anxiety, then lessen the excitement and assure them you’ll show them every single step they’ll need to know and that you’ll be right there by their side.
If they get “into” the excitement, then play it up for them and go all out.
Make plans for where other family members will go, make arrangements for dad to be gone, large dogs to play elsewhere, other kids to not be home. I would recommend everyone except you and child get out of the house until the afternoon. You need one-on-one time at least until the child’s nap to just focus on him/her with no interruptions. If a delivery is coming, let your neighbor receive it. If you are having company, then move it to another day. No, no one can watch you. No, no one should come for lunch to check in. No, no one should be calling you. You are off line, and unreachable for the whole morning.
Step 5 (3-4 days out): Gather smaller supplies.
#1. Stickers. Pick something your child will like, maybe a theme from a movie or just circles ones like THIS.
#2. Salty snacks (peanuts, chips, crackers, pretzels, gold fish, rice cakes) don’t think of only healthy, think salty. I know, I know, I know…but this is an exception. And this is supposed to be a very special day filled with lots of foods and treats they normally wouldn’t see. For just this one day set healthy aside (within reason) and get them some pre-packaged, individulally sized snacks they would really love to try (it’s part of the excitement for them to see things they’ve never before been allowed to have!).
#3. Drinks. Not just water…get them juice boxes and Gatorade, Capri Sun (I prefer the 100% juice ones), sodas like Sprite or Fanta or whatever else they would light up to get to have.
#5 Treats. Gather some treats (know what you’re child likes-chocolate or fruity candy). Find something small like Skittles or M&M’s…NOT suckers. The “reward” needs to be quick. Nothing that will distract and take to long to consume. Think tiny, and bite sized and something you can give either just one or 5-6 of depending on the reward. Again, do NOT show any of this to your child before the potty training day!
**If you want to buy in bulk then get some fun little baggies (or decorate them yourself) to make each snack one little handful of something that they’ll enjoy and be able to eat quickly.
Step 6 (2 days out): Make charts.
You can make your own “yay potty” free printable charts HERE. Or you can buy something that is already done, like THIS. Make a few copies. You should only need one or two the first day and then you’ll keep this up for the next two days. After that, you shouldn’t need any more stickers or charts.
Step 7 (night before): Prep time.
Gather snacks (prepackaged and made cute) into two baskets or two boxes, one for drinks and one for snacks. Refrigerate the drinks. Having them cold helps. Make them look special.
Put towels or dog liners on floor, set potty seat on top of that…all of this in or near the kitchen.
Set snacks near you. Set out books (preferably ones that talk about the potty), set up a lap top to be able to show a quick video as you get started. Keep candy nearby but not visible. Get a good night’s rest and you’re ready to go!!!
Next post with all of the details for the day of will be up tomorrow!!!
I am a mom of five young kids and I have successfully trained my first four children to use the potty on their own in only ONE SINGLE DAY. Yep, just one. I don’t use pull ups, there have not been more than two accidents per child following training day and my kids have been able to independently use the restroom without continual prompting/soliciting or physical assistance required on my part.
There have been a few moms through the years that have rolled their eyes in disbelief that ANY child, much less FOUR children, could have possibly been trained in just one single day. And if I’m honest, after training my first child, I had sort of wondered if I had just lucked out too.
But I used the same method with my second and again had wondered if maybe it was just lightning striking twice.
Then the third…
were the EXACT same experience!!!
All trained in JUST ONE DAY!!
And at that point there was no denying that this method was more than just happenstance or luck.
I have shared this method with some of my closest mom friends who have taken the same steps and have had great success as well. And with that said I have to confess that as I was anticipating potty training my fifth child, I was quite possibly more excited to officially document each of the steps of this last child’s experience as proof than I was eager to actually have him out of diapers!
Potty training can be daunting for most parents. And I truly do want to help other moms train their own children and not loathe this part of parenting. But as a secondary motive I also secretly wanted a tiny bit of validation from those who haven’t believed me. 🙂
So, we came up with a plan. The plan was to have my brother come into town, set up camera equipment around my house so that I could document every step of training day. I would then use that footage to create video and blog tutorials to help other moms who have a desire to learn this particular method of training.
Great plan right?!
Ya, I thought so too…until it didn’t work.
For months we kept stalling out because the schedules for my brother and me never could align. As the year went on he and I both continued to get busier and since we weren’t able to find a mutual time for filming I decided to forgo the filming plan and just go ahead and train my son anyway. Still, I had planned to take a ton of pics to be able to walk other moms through the process as best as I could on my own.
My fifth child, Crew, was almost three. He was more than ready. He is smart, obeys simple commands, is articulate, we have a great relationship, and he has the motor skills to be able to pull his own pants up and down on his own. All of the pieces were in place for this training to be a breeze.
This was MY fifth round of potty training too so I honestly expected it to have no glitches whatsoever. I didn’t even have to review the steps beforehand.
But…pride often comes before the fall right?
I can point to different choices I made during that potty training day that in hindsight should/could have been different, but the bottom line is that by the end of the day Crew learned very well to pee, but not to poop on the potty. We luckily “caught” him just before the act the very first time. And with that I chose to believe he understood and was aware of when to go poop on the potty.
We went to bed that night. I woke up the next morning with a plan to relax at home and simply reinforce the skills he learned the day before.
However, that is NOT what happened.
About mid-morning he was playing outside with his brother. He was happily riding his little bike when all of a sudden he stood up, right in the middle of the street (we live at the very end of a super slow cul-de-sac) and he screamed at the top of his lungs.
I ran over to him to see what had happened. Did his brother punch him? Did he get his toe run over with a bike wheel? Did he bonk his head? Did he trip and fall?
Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.
He had pooed (and yes, my auto spell is telling me that is not even a real word but I don’t care) his pants.
Right there in the street. Pooed in his pants.
He had made absolutely no attempt whatsoever to get himself to the bathroom. He didn’t even call out to me that he had to go. It’s not like he just didn’t make it in time. He had not even tried!
I got him cleaned up but afterward I basically chose to excuse it and still considered him “trained” but with one major accident. Although I knew the first time he did poop on the potty was just a lucky catch I didn’t like the idea of having to re-train so I verbally went back through the appropriate steps to remind him how to be aware of the feeling of poop being different than the feeling of pee.
He responded well and seemed to “get it” and I thought after that we were done.
Yet the following day…
I glanced over at the exact moment to see his scrunched up, bright red, deer in the headlights face…it happened again.
I ran toward him yelling as loud as I could “Noooooooooooo, Crew!”
But it was too late.
And here is where I have to be brutally honest and open with you. I was mad! I mean really, really mad. Red hot mad. So VERY mad.
And he knew it.
He started crying.
I was yelling at him.
This was NOT how this training thing was supposed to go! Not only did this ruin his pants (AGAIN), and my morning, but my pride and now my track record! A lot had been at stake here!
In that moment, this was about ME, not him.
I so badly wanted to be able to share my “five” successful potty training stories…yet it was becoming more and more clear I was only going to have four success stories AND one total complete and utter failure story.
I took him inside and was visibly still super angry with him. My words were firm, sharp, unloving, selfish and far from encouraging. While cleaning him I made no attempts to console him as he continued crying.
After he was clean I moved quickly to put him down for his nap. I needed some time to deal with my own heart and anger.
He slept well but my mind was swirling. Do I need to start all over in the training? Was this a willful choice or simply an accident? Is this a discipline issue? Do I put him back in diapers? What did I do wrong? Why would he not even try? What do I do now?
A few hours went by and I couldn’t stand a moment longer of not talking with him. I chose to wake him up from his nap. As soon as we made eye contact I knew immediately that the events from the morning were fresh on his mind as well.
I picked him up and sat down with him on my lap in the rocking chair. I held him close. I whispered in his ear, “Crew, I am SO SO SO SO sorry for yelling at you. Mommy was not right at ALL to treat you that way. I wasn’t loving and I didn’t help you by being mad at you. Will you forgive me?”
I paused. And I waited.
Did he even understand me? Was he angry with me? Did he forgive me? Did he even remember?
I waited a bit longer…
And with the absolute, most precious, tender, sweetest little voice he said, “Mom, I’m SO sorry for pooping in my pants, will you forgive me?”
My heart absolutely melted.
All of this time I had thought that the method and the training day was most important…yet now it is glaringly obvious and is so tangibly clear that it is the relationship that is MOST important.
Yes, even on potty training day.
We sat there for about 20 more minutes talking about what had happened. I asked him to forgive me and he said he did. He repeated over and over again, “I go poo poo in my pants and that is yuuuucky! So big yucky!”
But toward the end of the talk there was another long pause. I could tell he was thinking about something so I just waited to see what he wanted to say.
Finally he spoke and he said ever so softly, “Momma, I scared go poo on the potty.”
Oh the sadness that came over me. In my heart I knew at that moment that I had completely missed him. It’s not that he didn’t know how. It’s not that he was stubbornly disobeying. It’s not that he wasn’t aware that he needed to go…he was afraid.
My throat tightened and my eyes watered up. I moved him toward me and looked straight in his eyes and said, “Oh Crew, Momma loves you SO, SO, SO much and I am here for you. I am going to be your best friend and I’ll be right by your side as you learn this. I know it’s scary and I know it’s hard but will you trust me and let me teach you and help you?”
And Crew, looking right back at me, said, “Okay mommy. I twust you.” And he hugged my neck as tight as he could.
Later that same night he had to poop again. This time he happened to be in the bath. He called out in a panicky voice and his face showed fear. Yet it also seemed like he was genuinely asking for help. He began to whimper and cry. As I got closer he pulled his hand up out of the water.
He was holding…you guessed it, a little nugget of poo.
He looked down at his hand and looked back at me and a look of terror came over him. I could feel the anger in me start to rise up again as I was faced with all of the same confusion and frustration from the past two mornings…but…instead of giving into it I paused…I looked directly at him and said as calmly as I could, “Crew, it’s okay. I’m your friend and I’m here to help you. Momma isn’t mad. I’m here to help. Let’s get out of the bath as quick as we can and get you on the potty before the rest comes out. Will you let me help you? I know you can do this the right way if you’ll trust me.”
Sure enough…his facial expressions and demeanor completely shifted. He let me hurry to help him get out and dry and up onto the potty seat. I sat right next to him and held onto both of his little hands. I looked straight into his eyes and told him that it was going to be okay and that this was the right place to go poo.
I told him I would not leave his side and continued to reassure him that everything was alright. I spoke with a low tone, almost whispering, not to cause any reason whatsoever for him to be any more alarmed than he already was.
He sat for a few more minutes and then began to whimper again. I could tell he was trying to figure out if he should keep holding back or trust me and relax. I continued to reassure and comfort, telling him repeatedly that he was safe and that I loved him.
And wouldn’t you know…the most amazing thing happened.
He pooped in the potty.
And who would have thought that my child pooping in the potty could not only bring tears to my eyes, but could birth such a unique bond between the two of us! He was so proud and so excited. He joyfully and excitedly ran throughout the house as he shared his big news with every other member of our family. And each time he told the story he said, “and mom hewpd me! Momma is my frwend!”
As a mother it is the greatest and most rewarding honor for me to get the front row seat in teaching my children new things. I get excited for their first smile, their first time clapping, their first steps. And potty training is no different. Potty training is, however, one of the most sensitive and intimate learning subjects in the life of a young child. Learning to handle their body. Learning what their body is capable of. Learning to guard and protect themselves and such private areas…these are all huge issues to such a young child. And to handle this issue with the utmost sensitivity, care and love is of greatest importance.
It is for those reasons that I’m crazy enough to say: Potty training days have become some of my absolute favorite days as a mom.
If you’re heading into the stage of motherhood where you are soon to be potty training as well, then I would love to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned. But please, oh please, please know that the reason this method is golden has less to do with the method and steps and FAR more to do with the relationship.
So here is my HUGE disclaimer: I would strongly advise anyone who would desire to potty train in one day to first examine the relationship between parent and child before beginning training.
After years of experience, with four 1-day successes and one 3-day success…I offer three of my best tips BEFORE potty training should occur:
1. Moms: training actually begins with you.
Potty training our toddlers actually begins with our attitudes as mothers. I share that in order to help you, not discourage you. When we attempt to teach our children something new, but especially something as sensitive as toilet training, the magic keys to success are patience, love, and a whole lot of encouragement.
Throughout this style of training there is an element of firmness and the need to be clear and direct, but love, affection and compassion must always undergird everything you say and do.
Kindness and compassion trump.
This will be one of the earliest most significant things you will ever teach your child. Instead of dreading this day instead choose to look forward to watching them master a new major skill. The relationship between you and your child matters first: Never lose sight of your role to love and to uplift. Caution:As a mother if you tend toward yelling, if you lean more toward being a discourager, if you struggle with being unkind to your children, if you mock or tease in a way that’s unloving, or if you’re highly distracted with your phone or with your work…this method will most likely not work for you at this present time. I would strongly encourage you to take a bit of time to make some adjustments to be able to win your child’s heart before you help your child win at potty training.
2. Obedience matters.
A huge part of this method coincides with a child being able to obey simple commands. If you are unable to give your child a basic set of instructions and see the child respond sufficiently (ex: please go into your room and get a book and bring it back to mommy), then most likely your child is either not yet old enough or not yet obedient enough for this method to be successful.
If you are the kind of parent that says a command to your child and the child does not respond or obey in a timely manner, most likely this method will not work for you at this time. Instead of pursuing potty training, begin instead working toward training in other areas. The goal is to be able to stay calm, give a simple instruction and have your child follow through. Read this article and also this one on how to go about beginning to train in other areas first to better prepare your child for such a big task like potty training.
3. Evaluate Age/Skill Level:
Age and skill level matters. My recommendation for boys is to wait until they are slightly older, as in closer to 2 1/2. Girls, on the other hand can be trained earlier, as in closer to 2. But not just age should be considered. The child needs to be able to pull their underwear up and their pants up and down on their own.
For example: In an ideal situation your child would be able to walk themselves to the restroom, use the potty and finish all of the steps without ever having to announce to you the need to go. But that isn’t always possible with kids that are trained very young. If you have only one child or if other children in the home are self sufficient, then this wouldn’t be a problem. However, if your children are as close together as mine, then you’re most likely nursing one and have another young toddler around that needs your care as well. For me it was worth waiting just a few months later to train so that I knew I wouldn’t have to rush out of feeding an infant to hurry my 2 year old to the potty.
Your child needs to be able to communicate the need to use the restroom OR be able to take themselves to the toilet independently (which involves taking their pants up/down, using a step stool and positioning themselves on the potty by themselves).
If these three things have been taken into consideration and are in order as best as you are able, then I commend you and would completely recommend continuing reading through the following steps to get ready for training day….