When our second daughter, Ambria was 2.5, someone recommended the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan Azrin. My husband picked up the $7.99 book at Barnes and Nobles. I thought I would give it a try with Ambria. The book was a quick, easy read. Seemed easy enough. And guess what...
So I thought, either 1. Ambria was just really ready to be potty trained, 2. we got lucky, or 3. the method in the book worked.
Ashlyn has been showing physical and mental signs of being ready to be potty trained for a few weeks. She went potty on the big potty a few times and was interested in the "new" potty chair. She is a month shy of 2.5 years old.
So, I got out the book again. I refreshed my memory about the basics of the method and we got to work.
Again, I was nervous for some reason. It was a bitter sweet moment of our last child in diapers getting ready to become a "big girl." I followed the method for the most part but Ashlyn pretty much took her own initiative and I only followed the method for the basic ideas and followed Ashlyn's lead.
By mid morning, Ashlyn was telling ME when she needed to go potty. She stayed dry! She hasn't worn a diaper since potty training day. She had a couple "half" accidents on training day where she started to pee and stopped right away and ran to the potty. I still call that success since she knew what was happening. The first night, I asked Ashlyn if she wanted to wear a diaper to bed and she said, "um, probably not." (Too cute!) She stayed dry for her 2.5 hour nap on potty training day and stayed dry during the night (9:00pm to 9:00am!!) I was actually shocked!!
So, what IS the method?? How can a child learn to potty train in less than four hours and be willing to use the potty without assistance or a reminder??
In short, you reserve ONE day for training and limit all distractions. There is a lot of repetition, positive reinforcement and no punishments or negative reinforcement. The book suggests this method for children 20 months of age to 4 years old. You start with a baby doll that wets to demonstrate and follow the same method with the doll as with the child. You use a lot of reminders and checking dry/wet pants. The child pulls their own pants up and down, helps empty potty chair, and helps to clean any messes.
Ashlyn didn't wear pants on training day, just underwear, so it was easy for her to pull them up and down. We had a lot of different drinks on hand (since training only lasts a few hours, you need the child to have to go potty a lot during that time) and fun cups with straws to drink out of (anything to make the experience a little more fun). Ashlyn enjoyed her potty chair, whereas Ambria liked the big potty better. We used high fives, praise, cheering, stickers, small pieces of candy, and band aids (yes, band aids, Ashlyn's favorite) as positive reinforcement. After a few hours, Ashlyn did not expect, or even ask for, candy.
Going pee was VERY easy of a process for Ashlyn, but I was nervous about the poo. I knew Ashlyn had to go, but I could tell she was a little scared. She told me she had to go poop and kept running to her potty chair to sit down but she did not go. This lasted for HOURS. I sat on the floor in the bathroom to help distract Ashlyn and to help her relax. I read books, I acted like I was doing other things like cleaning, I sang, I danced, really anything I could think of. Despite all these efforts, Ashlyn kept holding it and running to the potty every few minutes. I was actually doing dishes and Ashlyn ran past me into the bathroom and she pooped on the potty all by herself!! Again, I was shocked!! We celebrated!
Of course there will always be accidents here and there, and you use dry/wet checks and reminders for a few days/weeks after training day.
Disclaimer: A few of my friends tried this one day method and it did not work for their children, but I guess it is worth a try and worth $7.99.
All in all, Toilet Training in Less than a Day worked for two of our children!! I am a little surprised, but now I am a believer in the one day method!
(Side note: Ashlyn has been trained for over a week now. She hasn't worn any diapers. She has had less than five "half" pee accidents (just a LITTLE wet), no poo accidents, stays dry for nap and nighttime. One night she even woke up in the middle of the night to tell me she had to go potty! Yay!!)