3 Day Potty Training: The Little Mermaid Version

I better start with a disclaimer.

seahorse herald

Disclaimer: There is a book that instructs parents (mothers) how to potty train children in three days.  I even know people who have passed this around and swear that the method works. It is my personal example, although it is not directed at this book in particular as much as the expert advice given on this subject. This is the part where I hail you girls who have succeeded in 3 days as more patient, understanding, disciplined, and awesome. I hail your kids as brilliant, more cooperative and destined for greatness.  I also state that after being peed on multiple times today, I concede that the problem is clearly me.   Otherwise, how could something so straightforward and easy become such a disaster?  Easy: It’s me. Or reality. Either way.

 And now: 3 Day Potty Training: Little Mermaid Style

It all starts with a basic question:

Exactly how does going to the bathroom work in that situation? Ariel-the-little-mermaid-47028_1023_768

I mean, I know it’s supposed to work somehow but the logistics just don’t quite click for me right off the bat.

 So, I’m a mom. My oldest is 2.5, so about 75% of my conversations with other adults have involved poop for about 3 years now. Forgive us, Single People- (especially you, Jenn Faulkner. Thank you for making to ‘no poop at the table’ rule. We needed that.)

As potty training started entering conversations, I realized a book was VERY popular in a few circles. A lovely mom who has an awesome son by kid’s age had success, so she passed the book on to me. The moms insist that it works. Okay. At the time I had just given birth prematurely and had nothing better to do at 5 am than feed, soothe, and read books on potty training.

That’s when it started. My child was already past the ideal 18 month mark. I had appointments every day and couldn’t imagine 3 days at home with undivided attention given to watching another human pee. Still, it WORKS. What else would I do? So, I began to dream of what it would be like to have 3 days of Hell and then have a potty trained kid!


This method, while it turns your life upside down, works. “When implemented correctly”. Clearly I am not doing it right. After all, the author takes only a few pages to say she is the self-professed QUEEN of potty training. How do you argue with that? I mean, if it doesn’t work, the problem is with the trainer. You can’t argue with the 3,000+ success rated Queen.


So we began. I mean, this has to work, right? No more diapers, undivided attention, lots of sippy cups, multiple potty locations… the time had come! After all, if you do it right, kids will cooperate no matter what the method is. Everyone says so. (“Got that? THREE days. Now listen…THIS is important.)


The first day went as expected, according to the book. LOTS of laundry. Mild progress. I was still fairly idealistic, but reality kept calling me to the here and now…usually with wet underpants.

ariel sebastian

So, we’re having a little trouble. My strongwilled kid is holding it. He’s climbing onto my lap and then peeing. He’s sitting on the potty for 10 minutes, standing up and immediately peeing. He’s screaming, “NO!” every time we rush over to the potty. He’d rather use the potty as a basketball hoop.  My other baby’s misery makes it very difficult to sit and stare at my oldest all day. scuttle staring

  By day two I have that look of most mothers of a 2 and 1 year old who isn’t allowed to leave the house due to potty training.

miserable longely and depressed

Back to the book:

It is expected that I not lose patience or show frustration. Otherwise the child will be upset and I will prolong the process.  Anything that takes attention away from my kid is a problem and means I am not doing it right.


She’s right. When I finally burst into the bathroom myself 5 seconds after my son’s accident, he followed me in and peed on my feet. At least it was in the bathroom. I put him on the toilet immediately, causing him to thrash and splash.


The “Witching Hour”–the one where the teething baby shrieks when not held, the oldest melts down from not napping, dinner has to be made, the phone rings constantly because everyone is off work, is when my kiddo decides to pee 5 times in 2 hours. Hint: NONE made it to the potty in time. I’m clearly incapable. I’ve bought into this idea that I’m doing it wrong. Never mind the fact that every kid is different, some need different potties, some need bribing, some want charts, some relapse 100 times or every time there is a move… no. I’ve bought in. I know this works. The problem is me.


Maybe everything will magically click tomorrow, on Day 3. Maybe 4. Maybe 17. One day that magic will finally be mine.

 shell necklace

Until then, we’ll be running to the potty as often as I did in the third trimester. This isn’t a race, isn’t a science, can’t be forced, and isn’t going to work perfectly. Honestly, it has been pretty good for only a second day in the crazy life we live in this house. Even if the book is pitched tomorrow, or if I follow it to the letter, eventually he will be potty trained…I hope.

So, all you parents who potty trained successfully, in three days or not, well done. One day I’ll be “part of your world”.



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