How to Potty Train Your Three-and-Two-Thirds-Year-Old in 21 Easy Steps

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Oh man, potty training! Am I right?!?

Just the thought of the dreaded P word (poop, pee, potty…take your pick) is enough to send parental stress levels soaring. At least that’s how parents of toddlers used to feel. Have no fear, though, those worries are a thing of the past. I’ve got you covered. Here’s an absolutely fool-proof method for potty training your three-and-two-thirds-year-old in a maximum of two days. 

1. Do not do any proactive potty training for the first three-and-a-half years of your child’s life. This is crucial. This might sound easy, but it’s not: doing this much nothing can be exhausting. Ignore those posts from your Facebook friend named Mackenzie about her child being potty trained at 26 months (or whatever). You know the ones, “We’re so proud of Chanel! Barely 2 years old and already using the potty like a big girl! #blessed.” She’s lying. Just let it roll off you like water off a duck’s back or little Chanel’s urine off of Mackenzie’s leg. Because that is what is really happening at Mackenzie’s house every day for the next year or so. Just be patient, put the blinders on, and stick to your game plan.

2. When you realize your child is closer to four than three, panic a little and start subtly broaching the topic. Start out by saying something like, “So, Johnny, think you’re about ready to start using the potty?” Johnny will respond, “No, I’m not big enough yet!” Don’t let it phase you; it’s all part of the plan.

3. Late at night, perform a Google search for “potty training 4-year-olds.”

4. Take your child to the store and buy at least three miniature toilets. He will never actually use any of them for their intended purpose, but they’re fun to have around anyway. Plus, it makes you feel like you’re doing something. I personally recommend the Jake and the Neverland Pirates one because it has a little handle that, when pushed, rewards you with recorded whoops and cheers. Of course, the handle is completely inaccessible if you’re actually using the toilet as a toilet, but that’s irrelevant for our purposes. Just keep it in your bathroom, turned upside down, and give the handle a little nudge every time you use the regular, boring toilet. You deserve the adulation.

5. A couple months later, when the subtle approach has failed, perform a cost-benefit analysis on blatant shaming. Consider the potential value of telling your child things like, “All of your friends use the potty, what are they going to think about you still wearing diapers?” Decide to bite your tongue because what you really mean is, “What are my friends going to think about me?” 

6. Decide that if your child doesn’t give a crap about potty training, you don’t either. (See what I did there?)

7. Late at night, perform a Google search for “Kindergarten in diapers.”

8. One morning, when your child is approximately three-and-two-thirds years old, wake up to realize you are out of diapers. Not sure how you could run out of the primary staple of your first four years of parenting, but no judgment here. Anyway, where one person might see disaster, another sees opportunity. 

9. Let your half-naked, crying child sit on a towel on your bed. Provide an iPad or other screen for distraction. This is not the time to get anal about screen time limits. (See what I did there?) 

10. Go about your normal business, but when the crying escalates, grab your child off the wet towel and make him sit on or stand in front of the toilet (either option is viable here because we all know, despite the gender neutrality employed to this point, this method is really only necessary for boys).

11. When a minuscule amount of lingering urine somehow finds its way into the toilet, celebrate like you just won the Super Bowl.

12. Text your spouse at work, “We have urine in the toilet!!” Wait for his or her response of, “I assume you’re talking about yours?”

13. Try not to roll your eyes too hard when your child says, “I’m ready to go to school now!”

14. Trot out the cute little boxer briefs you bought about two years ago. You’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, enjoy it.

15. Try not to shed a tear when you have to wrap up the thoroughly soiled, no longer cute boxer briefs in a plastic grocery bag wrapped around a doggy training pad (don’t ask, this will make sense when you get there).

16. Go to the store and buy three cartons of apple juice because your child has taken to shotgunning juice in an attempt to make himself pee more frequently. What can I say; using the toilet can be really addictive.

17. While you’re at the store, pick up a pack of nighttime diapers, because you have the sneaking suspicion your child might not be up for nighttime toilet usage, at least for a few days.

18. Try not to roll your eyes too hard when your child wakes up the next morning and asks why he is wearing a diaper. It’s not like he’s worn a diaper everyday of his life or anything.

19. Get back to your normal routine. You did it!

20. Oh, one last thing: go ahead and stock up on underwear. Turns out mastering the whole pooping situation takes a tiny bit longer than two days. No worries though, the peeing is really on target. (See what I did there?)

21. Last and most importantly, when you post the momentous news on Facebook, don’t feel compelled to post follow-up reports of any little setbacks that might occur. Your child is now potty trained. End of story. #blessed

This post also appeared on the Huffington Post Blog