A friend whole-heartedly recommended "3 Day Potty Training" by Lora Jensen. It's an ebook that you buy online and then you get the PDF electronic copy and a lifetime of one-on-one mentoring with Lora. She doesn't just email one to two sentences. She'll email you full paragraphs to help you with your specific questions. This lady is brilliant and her method worked amazingly!!! So here's basically what we did:
-She recommends potty training as early as 22 months if they are showing the signs of readiness... basically that they have a way to communicate to you the need to go potty. It worked for us at age 3. She explains more signs in her ebook.
-Since we had previously started a different method that didn't work, we put him back in diapers completely for at least 30 days before starting this new method.
-we went to the store to let him pick out his own underwear.
-We made it a PARTY! The night before, I taped balloons, some underwear, and pictures of him on the bathroom door.
-We Decided on rewards we wanted to do. For example, putting fuzz balls in a jar and opening up a dollar store gift when it's full. Or M&Ms or fun stickers, etc. We chose a special reward for #2 - go-gurts!
-I stocked my fridge with a fun variety of exciting drinks. We let him help pick these out too ... I put them all in a big container in the fridge a couple days before we began just to build up the excitement and suspense.
For Day 1:
-He woke up, and we marched to the bathroom to get super excited about our POTTY PARTY! I over-emphasized how now he was a "BIG BOY" and how PROUD I was of him!
-The KEY was to STAY POSITIVE and PRAISE continually for 3 days straight. For 3 days, I needed to believe in him and not get frustrated.
-We TOOK OFF his very LAST DIAPER and I had him THROW AWAY EVERY DIAPER/pull-up left. This part is more for the parent than the child. She says you MUST GET RID of every last one so you won't be tempted to revert back to them.
-Then, he got to pick out HIS FIRST UNDERWEAR to wear!
-We excitedly ran back to the potty, and I explained 2 things:
1. Keep your underwear DRY and
2. TELL MOMMY when you have to go
Absolutely NO more asking him if he needs to go. You only say over and over again... "Tell Mommy when you need to go." You now are fully trusting him that by the end of the 3 days, he will learn to tell you. It may take the full 3 days and lots of accidents, but stick with it, and it will click.
Tips for Days 1-3:
*For 3 full days, STAY RIGHT BY HIS SIDE!! The key is to never leave his side so you can catch him "in the act," scoop him up, and run him to the potty to hopefully "FINISH" in the toilet. Even if he only ends up going one drop into the toilet - PRAISE HIM!! Stay positive and encouraging even in the midst of accidents. Keep reminding him throughout the day to tell you when he needs to go, and be super excited every time he does tell you!!
*All throughout the day, praise him for staying dry. You can ask him if he's dry, have him feel to check, and praise again.
*NEVER force him to go. No more making him "try" or requiring that he stay on the potty longer.
* Since #2 is hard, make sure you pick a special reward that will mean a lot to your child. To get this part totally down with no accidents, it took actually a little longer than 3 days for us.
*We never reverted back to diapers/pull ups - even for naps and nights. We did go through accidents and changing sheets and washing lots of underwear those first few days. But he learned by following the steps Lora recommends for nap/sleep time... We didn't give him liquids 2 hours before bedtime (which was a total change for us). Check out the ebook for more suggestions and tips. She has great ideas that totally helped us. I honestly was suspicious that it wouldn't work, but he did it!!!!!
There are so many potty training methods out there, but I'm so grateful that this finally worked for us. THERE IS HOPE for us mothers!