A friend laughed when I mentioned writing this post. “Did you ever think that one day you would be writing a blog post about potty training!?” Nope, I never imagined it. But after two kids, lots of diapers, reusable and disposable, the day has finally come when the only use for diapers on this boat will be for oil spills or major injuries.
   When Arias was two, and I was pregnant with Ellia, we decided it was time to potty train because there was no way that I was going to be changing diapers on two kids, and she was showing interest in wanting to be a “Big Girl”. That was when a friend passed along a very useful PDF called 3 Day Potty Training. To give you the long and short of it, it is all about positive reinforcement, even when you come across an accidental turd in your hallway. You still keep positive. The key is, for three days straight, to tell your child EVERY 15 minutes, “don’t forget to tell mama or papa if you need to use the potty”. Yes it is repetitive, and yes you will annoy even yourself with saying the same thing for three days, but it sinks in for you kid, quick. And every time there is a success, or an accidental failure, you congratulate your child and remind them that the potty is where their business goes. It is important to use those exact above words, not ask “Do you need to use the potty?” Because no child will ever want to take time out of their fun to go sit on the bowl, but if you make it about them reminding you, well then that seems like a better idea for them. You also have to stay around your home, and toilet or potty, for those three days, so that every time your child says they need to use the potty, or forgets to tell you and you need to whisk them to the toilet to show them where “it” goes, you never miss an opportunity.
   I cannot remember if it was in this same PDF or some other potty training article, but I also read that you can give you child a little extra juice or water in those three days, to fill their bladder and give them more chances to voice their need for the toilet. And that in these training days things like movies or other full distractions may not be the best idea because the child may forget to ask to use the washroom and do their duty right there in front of the tv.
   The book does recommend that when you begin the potty training that you take your kid and throw out all of his/her leftover diapers with them. This is so that they know that they are done with diapers, and also as a helper for the parent to not try to take the easy way out after you have cleaned up one too many accidents and are wanting to put potty training back on the back burner for another few months. Of course there will still be accidents after the 3 day potty training is done, but the fundamentals will be ingrained. And this is not an endeavor that you just decide to take on, your child has to show interest in potty training and be ready for it.
   For night time, the book says to take your kid to the bathroom before bed, and then again once or twice during the night. It makes for some pretty disrupted nights, but it is way better to have to wake up to take your kid to pee than to wake up to have to change soggy sheets and carefully clean a foam boat bed. That was learned from experience.
   With Arias we stuck pretty closely with the recommendations in the book. It was our first time ever doing this and we trusted the expert, and the many friends that had had successes. We threw out her diapers, I stayed in the boat with her for three solid days repeating myself and going stir crazy, but after a first day with pee everywhere to a third day with only minor accidents we were very proud.
   With Ellia however we have bent the rules a little to suit our current situation. Ellia was the one that started showing interest, and although we were stoked at the idea of not having to pay for diapers anymore, we had to keep in mind that she was only 18 months old. We took away her daytime diapers, she switched to undies (which by the way, they don’t make undies for children under 2T, what the. . .) and accompanied her positive reinforcement with some bribery, M&Ms. She took to it right away. She now runs over to one of us, “Potty, M&M”. Even if she is getting a lot more chocolate in her daily intake than usual we are happy because we have a potty training Superstar on our hands. She has done surprisingly amazing. I think that having both the parents and her persistent older sister telling her to remind us if she needs to go is an encouragement. And Arias is all over that, since she has swindled her way into getting M&Ms as well every time Ellia has a success. For naptime she is fine in her undies but we bought some incontenance blue pads to lay out under her just in case. We have, for the time being, kept her in diapers at night though. With her bladder control still being very young, her being in a new bed since we have guests on board who took over her old sleeping grounds, and the fact that I do not feel like changing our bed sheets four times a night, for now this is what works for us. I think once she is back in her own bed her nighttime diapers will be gone too.
   The 3 Day Potty Training is an intense form of training, for both child and adult, which can prove to be inconvenient at times, but we swear by it. We have had amazing successes with both our girls and am now proud to say that diapers may soon be a thing of our past, as well as accidental hallway surprises.