Potty Training Boot Camp

This is what Jake went through at the Rowinski home...Potty Training Boot Camp (PTBC). :O)
Yes, Jake is a strong-willed, stubborn child, who likes, well LOVES, the word NO!
After a few misses with potty training, I decided to put the ball in his court. One day, while searching the ads in the newspaper, Jake spotted a Diego potty chair. "Oh! I want that!" he said. Diego is one of his favs on Nick Jr. I told him, "that's not a toy, that's a potty. If we buy it, you have to use it." Jake: "I WILL!" So it began....
We bought the potty chair, & Jake picked out Diego underwear too. We brought our goodies home, & proceeded to pick a date on the calendar. I gave Jake the control over this as well.
He picked the date & I wrote down "PTBC begins" on the calendar. Pretty simple so far, eh?!

The day came when we had to start. I have to warn you, PTBC means no going out!! So pick a week to two weeks where you do not need to keep appointments, when your spouse or another designated adult can run your errands for you, etc. This is WAR!
The point is to watch your child like a hawk...grab him/her when they start to pee/poop & whisk them off to the potty...easier said than done. Hence...the staying home part.
Jake of course was not liking staying home, but it was also good incentive for him to get busy! Especially when his buddy next door invited him for a playdate, and I had to turn him down because Jake was not finished with PTBC!

OK, so you have the initial game plan. Now you must explain to your child what PTBC entails. Your child will be wearing underwear, not diapers, not pull-ups, just underwear....and I recommend JUST UNDERWEAR (no pants, etc) for at least the first 3 days. I explained to Jake that he needed to keep his underwear CLEAN & DRY. No peeing or pooping is allowed in the underwear, or on the floor...only in the potty. I showed him where the potty was (in the downstairs bathroom). I let him sit on the potty with his underwear on, then showed him how to pull down his underwear. He then sat on the potty. No pee. No problem.

I set up a simple chart with his name in bold letters on the top so he could see it, and columns of a week's worth of dates. I also made sure I had an ample supply of stickers & a bag of lollipops (potty lollies!). I told Jake that for every pee in the pot, he gets a sticker; for every ten stickers, he gets a lolly; for poop, he gets 2 stickers.
(I just want to intergect here that your laundry will pile up quickly, and you will need several pairs of undies/day. So keep up on it, or you will run out of undies!)

Day 1: Jake pees on the floor, not knowing that he had to go, and not caring that he peed on the floor. No remorse. I gently show him where the potty is and tell him again to keep his undies clean and dry (C&D). OK mommy.
Next time he had to go....he pees on the floor again. I show him the pot, sit him down on it and restate his objective. OK mommy.
Next time same as the first two. Now I am getting a bit discouraged! and it's only 11am on the first day!
So I place the pot in the living room, since that's where Jake spends most of his time, and I sit with him....asking him every 15 minutes if he has to "go." Yes, I did this! And, even if he said no, I sat him on the pot every 30 minutes. I was determined to get him to pee on that pot!
And you know what? HE DID! YAY! PRAISE! YIPPEEE!!
So Jake got to put a sticker on his chart! He was very excited!
This is what I did for the next several hours....Jake, you gotta go pee? no mommy. Jake you gotta go pee? no mommy. OK Jake, it's time to sit on the potty! NOOOOOO!!!! Jake...on the pot. If you pee, you get another sticker. OK mommy. Pee! success! another sticker.
You get the idea. The first day in PTBC, Jake only got 5 stickers, & no lollies. So you can guess how many accidents he had. quite a few. because you know, being a SAHM is not just sitting side by side with your 3yr old until he has to pee...I had high hopes, but could not maintain the 15 minute intervals of asking him if he had to pee.
Day 2: Jake got 5 stickers, & no lollies. At this point, I change my plan a bit. Instead of a lolly after 10 stickers, I give him a lolly after 5 stickers--more incentive!
Day 3: 7 stickers & 1 lolly! wooohoooo!
But there were still many accidents...so my husband came up with the idea of setting a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer went off, Jake went on--the potty that is!
Day 4: 13 stickers! and 2 lollies!! way to go Jake!
By Day 5, Jake is getting the idea on his own about when to go to the potty. However, we are still using the timer.
In addition, for another incentive, I told Jake that when he reaches 30 stickers, we would take him to Tree Paad, our fav family fun spot. (BTW he reached this goal on day 6.)

By the second week, Jake got the peeing in the potty down pat. He could tell when he had to go, & actually made it to the pot. yippee! The pooping, however, was a different story.
Jake's M.O. for pooping was standing/half-squatting behind the couch. :O) So getting him to poop while sitting was challenging. When I caught him trying to go behind the couch, I would direct him to the pot, where he would sit screaming, "I CAN'T DO IT!" for the better of 10 minutes. Once, I left him on the pot for 20 minutes, and he actually fell asleep on the pot!! hahaha!
After several attempts to get him to poop on the pot, & having him poop in his overnight diaper a few times, as well as a bit of constipation, he finally went poop on the pot! We gave him a potty party! what a day that was!
By the third week of PTBC, Jake was keeping himself C&D! (for the most part.)

This is week 4. This week, we venture out around town to places that are a fairly short distance from home, & that I know have a public restroom. We bring an extra set of clothes...just in case. While out and about, the question "do you have to go potty?" is posed to Jake often. When 30 minutes has passed, & Jake has not gone yet, we take him to the bathroom to try. If he goes, great. If not, ok. We ask again in another 20 minutes.

Does it seem like a lot of work? It is. Is it worth it? YES, IT IS! Is Jake still having accidents? yes, but they are becoming more infrequent, and they have only been pee accidents, no poop; and usually it's because he is too busy playing to realize that he has to go.

You can tweek this PTBC anyway you like. It's personal when it comes to potty training your child. Just know that with patience, kindness, consistency, perserverence, & lots of laundry, you can do it!



  1. Awesome!!!!!! Thanks :D I am so going to try this method!!! Its a little harder as I work .. but its still worth a try in my books! My son wants to stand to pee .. which means the only toilet in the house (upstairs) and it causes problems sometimes but I'm up for it!! THanks again!


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