Potty Time: A Day of Potty Training
by Brittany Tacket, MA
Brittany Tackett is a psychotherapist, life coach, mental health writer, and mommy to an infant daughter. She currently works part-time as a play therapist at a local elementary school and spends the rest of her time writing, parenting, and running an online collectibles shop. Her approach to mental health is holistic and encompasses all aspects of the human experience. She is trained in a variety of modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, applied behavioral analysis, art therapy, neurolinguistic programming, and positive psychology.
Potty training can be daunting for any new parent. The intimidation alone can delay potty training for months, as parents may not even know where to begin. New parents don’t know what to expect when potty training a toddler, or how to structure their day. So here is a sample day from a seasoned mom who used a fast-track potty training method, which focused on positive reinforcement and putting toilet training above everything else.
To do this method, you’ll need to set aside a few days where you have no other goals or major responsibilities other than potty training. You probably won’t be leaving your house much because your child will be spending most of his day naked. 7:00 a.m.: Brayden wakes up, and Mom immediately removes his diaper and takes him to the potty. She turns on the potty timer and tells him he will sit on the potty until he hears the toilet flush alarm sound go off, which is his cue to flush the toilet.
While he sits on the potty, he is offered his special potty training bucket, which is filled with special toys that he is only allowed to play with while he sits on the potty. Brayden receives verbal praise and one potty star on his sticker chart for sitting on the toilet until the timer goes off. If he eliminates while on the toilet, he gets extra praise and a bonus sticker. After he eliminates, mommy helps him wipe and encourages him to flush the toilet. Then, he washes and dries his hands before leaving the bathroom. He gets a sticker for each of these individual tasks and will place them on his potty chart when leaving the bathroom.
7:15 a.m.: After his morning potty routine, Brayden’s mother gets him cleaned up for the day but keeps him naked. 7:30 a.m.: Brayden and his mother eat breakfast. 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.: Brayden has playtime. During this time, he will hear a timer go off every 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, Brayden and Mommy will head to the bathroom where Brayden will have 10 minutes of potty time with the exact routine and reward structure already mentioned.
If at any point during playtime Brayden has an accident, Brayden and his mother will follow their accident routine: Mommy will say, “I see you had an accident and did not go to the toilet to potty. Making mistakes is okay. They are part of learning. Let’s clean up the mess you made and go take a quick bath. Mommy then encourages the child to do much of the clean-up himself, helping him as needed.
10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Brayden has 10 minutes of potty time, followed by his naptime routine. Mommy will put a diaper and pajamas on him while he sleeps in case he wets himself. 12:00 p.m.: Brayden wakes up. Mommy takes off his clothes, addresses any accidents he may have had, and takes him straight to the bathroom for potty time. 12:15 p.m.: Brayden and his mommy have lunch. When he is done eating, he has potty time again. 1:00-3:00 p.m. At 1 p.m., Mommy dresses Brayden in underwear and clothing and takes him outside to play.
Underwear is used instead of a diaper so that he can feel the sensation of being wet and feel motivated to keep his character underwear dry. During play, Brayden is taken inside for potty time every 30 minutes. He receives potty training praise and rewards appropriately, and accidents are addressed if they occur. 3:00 p.m.: Brayden goes inside, has potty time, and Mommy undresses him down to his underwear or puts new underwear on him if needed.
3:00-5:30 p.m.: Brayden relaxes on the couch and watches a movie with pauses every 30 minutes for potty time. He may fall asleep for a second nap. If he has an accident, mom helps him clean up when he wakes. 5:30 p.m.: Brayden and his family have dinner. 6:00 p.m.: Brayden has an hour of naked playtime with a potty break halfway through. At this point, Brayden is allowed to trade in any potty training stickers he has accumulated throughout the day for prizes. 7:00 p.m.: Brayden has potty time and then takes a bath. 8:00 p.m.: Brayden is read a bedtime story. Then he has his last potty time of the day and is put in a diaper and PJs for the night.