Do you need potty training tips that are practical for working parents? It is HARD to potty train when you are a working parent. If you can’t take vacation time for a long weekend, you might need 2-day potty training tips for working parents. To potty train effectively in two days, you need to: change your expectations, talk to the teacher, know public school policies, and prepare your child to keep potty-training after two days is done.
I have read HUNDREDS of articles about “potty training in 3 days”. Have you? Are you convinced that you need to take vacation time off of work, and force potty training in 3 days? Well I’m here to tell you that you can start potty-training in just a 2-day weekend, and how to make it work with your child.
But, before I begin, let me just be brutally honest. This article took me SIX MONTHS to write. I think we would be potty trained and done in a week or two. Instead, it took my son six months to completely be potty-trained.
All that to say, the biggest piece of advice that ANY mom can give is: TAKE TIME. It might happen fast. It might happen slow. But, if your child isn’t ready (or is only partially ready), you just need to take time and go slow.
So, in light of that, let me show you how we potty-trained (almost all the way) in two days.
- Disclaimer: Potty training tips
- 2-Day Potty Training Tips for Working Parents
- The 2-Day Weekend
- Back to school: Talking to the teacher
- Back to school: Public School Potty Training Policies
- Back to school: The pep talk
- The new at-home routine
- When your child won’t learn to poop in the potty
Disclaimer: Potty training tips
When my daughter was 2, I felt pressured to start potty training when she was 2. It was a disaster. She made it a control-issue, and simultaneously refused to eat, to bathe, to go to bed. It was horrible. After 2 weeks of forcing it, I was unbelievably miserable. She didn’t want to try, and I was only making myself unhappy.
Right before she turned 3, I tried again, and did the proper 3-day method. I was home, and was on maternity leave, so it was the perfect time. She learned in about 1-2 weeks, but it was still really hard. This was my first experience, and when I began teaching my son, I couldn’t use this experience as an example, because at that time I was an at-home mom. WIth my second, I needed a working mom’s solution.
Lesson learned: wait until your child is ready
With my son, I chose to potty-train right before he turned three. I knew when he was two, that he wasn’t really ready. But, as he got closer to three, I needed to send him to three-year old preschool. And, I couldn’t send him until he was potty-trained. This meant that I had to do it quickly, and with an end in sight. I also was working full time (at home), and had childcare for my kids during the day. This is what happened….
2-Day Potty Training Tips for Working Parents
I’m writing this article ASSUMING you know the potty-training principles that every other person talks about. We’ve all heard the basics:
- Get fun underwear/underpants/training pants
- Use a potty chart
- Use a rewards system with stickers/sticker chart
- Give a bigger treat/reward for when they go “number 2”
- Get a potty seat
- Praise a lot
- Use consistency
We know these things! I know you do. If you need the basic information about how to conduct a basic potty-training weekend, then check out articles like “How to Potty Train Your Child in Just 3 Days”.
Ok, now that you have a good idea of the basics, let’s talk about why these potty training tips are unrealistic.
Reason 1: You can’t take off 3 days
Let’s be honest. A lot of us can’t spare vacation days just to potty-train. That means we need to speed-potty-train in 2 days. If you condense the normal potty training tips into just 2 days, chances are your child won’t be adequately potty-trained, and you will be stuck with a “mostly potty-trained child” when they return to school or day care on Monday. Yikes!
Reason 2: Your child is in daycare or school
For a lot of moms that work from home, they can take it slow, and extend the “learning phase” while they are at home during the week. They buy extra potties for their car and stroller (I’m not kidding!). They have space in their days clean up accidents as they happen. For a lot of us less fortunate, we don’t have this option. We are potty training in 2 days, and immediately sending our kids back to childcare. We need a FAST solution!
So what are you going to do? Here are EASY, CONCRETE ways that you can potty train in just 2 days over the weekend, and then send your child back to childcare. It’s possible!
The 2-Day Weekend
Where to Potty-Train
I recommend doing the initial training period in two days in just one room of your house.
This was something I learned the hard way. With my daughter, I stayed home, but we used the whole house. I kept the training potty in her upstairs bathroom, and we rotated rooms. What happened was that I was constantly cleaning up in multiple rooms – on carpet.
With my son, I stayed in the kitchen. We didn’t move. We had the potty IN THE KITCHEN. I had a ton of activities ready (I saved up KiWiCo activities which were a lifesaver.) We ate picnics on the floor. There was no moving. This was brilliant because I didn’t have to clean up much of the house – and on no carpet. Also, I was RIGHT beside my son, so I could life him on to the potty in about 2 seconds when he started to go.
How to do it
This is where I followed the typical 3-day potty training method (but for 2 days). I let my son walk around with no underwear. I gave him LOTS of juice. We used a timer to go to the potty every 15 minutes.
(Fun tip: Let your child change the alarm on your phone to something fun they’ll look forward to!)
I did this straight for two days and it was HARD. I couldn’t leave his site. I couldn’t have a normal routine. We had tons of accidents, a few wins, and mostly we were just miserable.
What worked: By the end of two days, he had gone to the potty several times. He knew what was expected, and if I put him on the potty, he was able to tinkle.
What didn’t work: He was NOT telling me when he needed to go. This is something that might not happen with a 2-day approach. Your child might not be able to tell you when to go pee. That’s ok! if you as parents or daycare providers are able to keep a schedule for your child, then you will be able to help keep potty-training after the two days are done.
This is the key difference I think with a 3-day method and a 2-day method. You will keep potty-training as your kid goes back to school/daycare. It’s ok! This is how you do it.
When we were done with these two days, I removed all diapers from the house, and bought a supply of pull-ups. My child was still wearing pull-ups during the day. I couldn’t trust him in underwear full-time yet, and that was ok. He was wearing pull-ups during the day and I was taking him to the potty on my schedule for him.
Your child is now: Going to the potty when you are taking them. They are maybe not alerting you to go, but they can tinkle when you take them.
Your child is wearing: Pull-ups during the day and night (if that’s ok with your childcare person). If they need to wear underwear, make sure you tell the teacher well that they need to help keep your child on a schedule.
You are now doing this: Taking your child to the potty on a decided schedule. Talking to your childcare person about the schedule and the possibilities of accidents.
Back to school: Talking to the teacher
The week after I did the 2-day potty training method, my son went back to using a babysitter in our house while I worked full time. It was nice and easy that he was in our house, and he was still wearing pull-ups during the day.
Three weeks after we did this 2-day method, he began 3-year old toddler preschool in a public school. I thought that those three weeks would give us a lot of time to practice, but we were still using this pull-up schedule three weeks later. So, we transitioned to underwear during the day, but I was still taking him to the potty.
I love what this article says about preparing for preschool: “For now, your goal is for your child to be able to go three to four hours without an accident.”
As you are getting ready for preschool/daycare, here are some things to ask your childcare helper.
Can you please take my child to the potty even if they don’t say they need to? Your teacher might be able to do this! A lot of teachers/classroom helpers help kids go to the potty regularly, so please ask them to urge your child to go!
Do you have a certain time of day all kids go to the potty? This is really important to know! I used this information to tell my son when he would be going to potty each day. This was his new schedule, and it helped him mentally know it was coming.
What do you feel comfortable with? What are the school’s policies? Some babysitters, some daycares, and some private schools are super comfortable helping potty-train your child. We had this experience with my daughter, and I didn’t know how easy we had it! If this is the case with you, enjoy looping in your childcare person, and ask them to support you as you potty-train.
If you are in a public school, like we were with my son, it’s a lot harder! Read below to see how we kept potty-training even while my son was attending a public school.
What happens if my child has a lot of accidents? I was TERRIFIED sending my new 3-year old to a public school when he was barely peeing in the potty. TERRIFIED. Even though he was in a public school with strict rules, he had a great teacher that was really understanding. She repeatedly told me that she was ok with accidents, had a lot of grace for young kids, and understood that we were new to this.
As the first semester went on, my son had about 1-2 accidents every week for the first 3-4 months. I thought that was A LOT and was terrified that the teacher was going to send him home for remedial potty-training. But, she worked with me, and encouraged him even with his accidents. This gave me so much peace as we were on this potty-training journey.
Your child is now: Using a schedule at school to go to the potty, and trying to be accident-free for the few hours at school.
Your child is wearing: Underwear during the day, pull-ups at night.
You are now doing this: Encouraging your child during the day, and teaching more potty-training techniques in the afternoons, weekends.
Back to school: Public School Potty Training Policies
We’ve experienced the transition from private to public school, and the potty-training policies are so different!
With the private school we were part of, the teachers were so helpful with helping us take our daughter to the potty, and help us “potty train away from home”.
But, as we switched to the public school system here in Denver, CO, we discovered that teachers are not allowed by law to help a child on the toilet. They can’t wipe, pull up pants, clean up a child after an accident, or even lift a child on to the potty.
As a mom, this kind of terrified me. My three-year old son was SO FAR from being able to wipe himself and pull up his pants. As I talked to his teacher (and as he began school there and I saw how his specific teachers helped him), I realized that they do have a little wiggle room to help a child in need. But here are some ways I prepared my son for these policies:
Learning how to sit on the school potty: My son’s school potty is a short adult potty which is very different from his little potty that we had at home. So, several times before school started (at parent conferences, etc.) I took him to the school to practice. Seeing the actual school environment really helped with his confidence.
Learning how to wipe: Look, teaching a kid to wipe is REALLY hard, especially a 3 year old. We practiced this a lot, and learned how to maneuver toilet paper, and I took all my queues from this blog post. Super helpful!
Back to school: The pep talk
When my son began his 3-year preschool, I started my pep talk. These are the three things I repeated with my son every morning on the way to school:
- Don’t poop in your pants! If you wait until you get home, you can poop in a pull-up.
- Say yes! If your teacher ever asks you if you need to go potty, you always answer yes!
- Go potty after recess. And every time your class goes to the potty.
The new at-home routine
Once my son started 3-year old preschool, we began a new at-home potty routine. This new routine lasted about 3 months while he continued to learn how to poop on the potty. This was our at-new home routine:
- 6:30 – 7:45 am – Pee at home on the potty
- 8 am – 12 pm – Morning preschool. Pee on the potty (so far, he’s had a few bowel movement accidents at school)
- 12 pm – 2 pm – At home, I let him practice pooping on the potty, then wear a pull-up to have a bowel movement.
- 2 pm – 4 pm – Nap time when I let him wear a pull-up
- 4 pm – bedtime – Practice using the toilet for both pee and poop
When your child won’t learn to poop in the potty
It took 4-5 months after potty-training my son for him to learn how to poop on the potty. Even as I write this, we are still kind of struggling with the whole thing. I have tried EVERY possible trick to get my son to poop on the potty. If it’s on the internet, I’ve tried it. I’ve felt like the worst parent (and the grossest, let’s be honest), cleaning up poop from every possible crevice.
If you are in the middle of this, I’m sorry!
I don’t have many tips you haven’t heard, but here are three things that helped my son:
- Time – Honestly, this is the ONLY thing that really helps. Give it time. Wait for your child to be ready. This is really the only thing that will get you there.
- This Potty Chair and Squatty Potty – I bought this squatty potty in a fit of frustration and anger late at night, and it really helps! It has helped my son switch from his little potty to sitting on the big potty. The squatty potty stool also is amazing to help with bowel movements.
- Understanding what made my child “comfortable” – I knew that my son liked to have #2 after every meal, and he also loved to squat and curl up on the floor to do it. I decided to mimic this on the potty. I found a little stool for his arms, and he learned how to sit on the potty and lean over with his arms to mimic “his pose”. This really helped him become comfortable, and it’s what eventually helped him begin to use the potty more comfortably.
- This Probiotic Powder – This probiotic is a game-changer! Once we started giving this to my son, his bowel movements became more regular, his constipation stopped, and he was able to react better to needing to go #2 on the potty. We’ve tried other probiotic vitamins, but because he is picky, slipping this in his milk or yogurt every morning has been so much easier. Get it on sale here.
Final words on the 2-day potty training method for back-to-school
Potty-training is SO HARD and no parent really knows how to do it. Give it time. Don’t compare siblings. Try new things and don’t give up. You can do this!