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Potty Training - Quitting Diapers Cold Turkey

Updated on June 19, 2013

Quitting Diapers Cold Turkey

Potty Training – Quitting Diapers Cold Turkey

As my youngest son approaches three years old next month, I’m forced to face the “beloved” (said with sarcasm) potty training season. If you are one of those mothers who has a child that easily potty trained at 18 months, no need to read further, and please stop judging the rest of us! Not all children are ready that early through no fault of the parent.

I would like to share my approach and things to consider while training. I am in no way saying my approach is the only thing that works, it is what worked for me once, and hopefully twice. It is really very simple; all I did was put the child full time (night and day) in underwear and did away with the diapers cold turkey. Here are the steps I took to prepare and execute the plan as well as a few things to consider:

1. Make sure the child is ready. Not all children are ready to be trained before three or four. There are a lot of factors such as gender, motor skills, and language skills (to name a few) that go into making this decision. Only you know your child well enough to decide when to start. I waited with my oldest until his third birthday and it seemed to be a good time for him. He was trained in under a week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that child #2 will have the same success at age three.

2. Pick a date to start and stick to that day. Share the date with your child and let them know ahead of time that on that date there will be no more diapers. You may even want to mark how many days on the calendar until the diapers go away. You will be preparing the child for the change and they will know it is coming.

Stock up on groceries and other necessities and plan to be home until your child gets the hang of using the potty. Throwing on a diaper to run out to the store sends mixed signals about training and can be a setback.

3. Keep the child in underwear day and night. For night, I put a plastic fitted sheet over my son’s mattress and gave him a few old blankets instead of his usual blankets. I told him I wouldn’t let him sleep with his teddy bear until he used the potty all of the time so he wouldn’t mess up teddy. He wasn’t happy about this, but he complied. To my amazement he never had an accident in his bedroom. I’ve heard other mothers say this as well. I guess some children don’t like to sleep in wetness or a mess.

During the day was another story. It is difficult and inconvenient to have a child soil in underwear (especially when you think they know better) but remember your goal and don’t give up. When they do soil, have them help as much as possible in the clean up process. It should be inconvenient for them as well. You want them to find using the potty more convenient than soiling their underwear.

4. Use rewards. Pick a special treat (stickers, candy, etc.) that is an immediate reward they receive exclusively for using the potty. If, for example, you are using a piece of chocolate as a reward, don’t give them a piece of chocolate as dessert for lunch. It’s not something special they will want to earn if they can get the treat anytime.

5. Remember that it WILL happen. This is only one season in your child’s life. It will soon pass with the reward of not having to buy or change messy diapers.

When considering how you want to train your child keep in mind that you know your child best. There is no correct method or correct age. Don’t let others dictate what is best for your child, be confident and informed. You can do it!

© 2013 HeatherH104


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    • HeatherH104 profile image

      HeatherH104 3 years ago from USA

      Lol joedolphin88! The good far outweighs the bad in parenting in my opinion, but there are definite challenges. My boys were stubborn about training, but I've heard stories of kids who wanted to use the potty and trained themselves at an early age so you just never know. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that your future kids are easy to potty train. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • joedolphin88 profile image

      Joe 3 years ago from north miami FL

      God this must be a tough time for parent and child, guess I have something to look forward to when I have a child. I'll revert to this then.

    • HeatherH104 profile image

      HeatherH104 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the comment Mz Quene Bee. :)

      Good luck with the training. Going through training is frustrating but is such a relief when it's over. Be patient and persistent and don't give in.

      All the best. Heather

    • Mz Quene Bee profile image

      Aquene 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Thank you for this post! I was previously attempting to potty train my step-son prior to recently giving birth. Unfortunately, I was the only one ready for him to be potty trained so it didn't work out so well for us; about ready to start trying again so I will definitely keep these tips in mind!

    • HeatherH104 profile image

      HeatherH104 4 years ago from USA

      Lucky you! I'm not sure either of mine would have ever trained if I didn't do anything. I never pushed before 3rd birthday and neither wanted to try potty before that. I guess I have stubborn boys. Luckily after the initial 3 days of accidents they were fully trained day and night no accidents.

      No more babies! Truthfully though I'm glad to be past diaper phase. :)

    • Kesha caldwell profile image

      Kesha caldwell 4 years ago

      All my children were potty trained before the age of three. The potty training was fairly easy for me. My secret...I just didn't think about it or force it. I let them potty train themselves pretty much and all I did was say hey look at mom potty lol. Then I would just stop buying diapers altogether. Pooping was the biggest problem because kids are afraid to poop in the toilet lol I have no idea why! But i'm proud to say none of my children have had potty accidents, except my 3 yr old for a week or two and then it just stopped! Now she gets up at night and goes. So proud...Tear =D

    • HeatherH104 profile image

      HeatherH104 4 years ago from USA

      Child number two is trained (day and night). He also took less than a week.

      I admit, changing diapers is one thing I do not miss!