While most parenting experiences are fairly universal, there's no one way to approach any of them. Take potty training, for example. If you're a parent who's trying to figure out how to start your tot on the diaper-ditching process, all the varying and conflicting advice out there is probably more confusing than helpful. While it's tough to know which tactic is going to be right for your kid, some sound more appealing than others, like the one that claims to potty train kids in just three days. Can it be true? Because the three day potty training reviews out there are mixed, to say the least.
First of all, let's take a look at how this seemingly magical technique is supposed to work. Basically, as Lora Jensen (author of 3-Day Potty Training) told Parenting, you give three days of you and your child's life completely over to the demands of potty training — and we mean completely. In Jensen's words:
"The parent(s) needs to know that it will take work and you have to dedicate a full three days to the child. This means giving up 'me' time. You won't be cooking, cleaning or visiting with friends — or Keeping up with the Kardashians. You will seriously be spending all waking hours with your child for three days."
You're also supposed to get everything else that might need to be done for three days out of the way ahead of time, from shopping to meal preparation to laundry and cleaning the house.
"Be ready to play games, color, watch cartoons and just enjoy some bonding time with your child," Jensen said (and, one would assume, wiping up a lot of pee puddles).
Sounds like just the type of intense, boot camp-esque experience that works for some kids, though one wonders how a parent with multiple children, a job, or the need to use the bathroom herself might pull it off. Plus, how can you tell if your kid is 100% developmentally ready for such a radical transformation?
Perhaps it's variables like these that have resulted in the seriously mixed reviews the three day method is getting from parents all over the internet. First, you've got moms like Torie Pruitt who shared on Facebook that she didn't have immediate success the first time around, but recognized that she might have made a mistake or two and was willing to give it a go again.
Okay so the 3 day potty training wasn’t completely successful. Why? Well it was me. I couldn’t keep from getting frustrated and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was on all three days. So there will be a do over because he is ready ... Y’all pray for me because my reactions to the accidents need to be better. I can do this! The do over will be successful.
Another parent on a WebMD forum, meanwhile, had a decidedly negative experience:
We tried with my DD. It was horrible and made things way worse. I still get upset when I think about it. It's late tonight and I don't have the energy to go into all the problems, but it was fairly traumatic ... Now I know all children are different, and we tried the 3-day method because we were having a hard time with getting my daughter to use the toilet, but I actually wrote the woman and asked for (and got) my money back. I really feel strongly that it is not a good or respectful way to potty train and feel like it harmed my relationship with my daughter (not permanently of course) and made her even more reluctant to use the potty.
Yikes! Another mom on the same forum wholeheartedly concurred, but conceded that the method does apparently work for some kids:
I can't agree more!!! We tried with DD when she was 23 months and it was an awful experience. She actually became so afraid of going to the bathroom that she was holding it for hours and crying b/c she had to go but didn't want to mess her underwear but was too scared to go on the potty. We are now just taking her to the potty whenever she asks and rewarding her if she goes...which hasn't happened too often yet. Luckily someone gave me the book so I didn't waste any money on it. However, I know of quite a few people who have had success with it. I guess it depends on the child.
And it's true, there are also parents out there who report positive outcomes, like this mom on Twitter:
And this mom, who gave a five star review to Jensen's book on Amazon:
My husband and I followed this approach exactly, and it worked really well for our 2.5yo son. The first day was really intense. He started it having no idea when he had to pee, and hating the potty, but by the end of the day, he was telling us when he had to go, and he was so proud of himself for using the potty. The next couple days were just getting him to maintain the pattern. He did wet the bed the first night, but woke-up dry the following two nights. I do wish the book had info in it about what to do after the 3 days are over and we're getting back to normal life. That's where [we're] at now, and it's a bit stressful. But our son is potty trained!
So clearly, as with so many things child-raising tips and tricks, while three day potty training might work like a charm for certain kids, for others it's a complete disaster. But there's no reason to think if your child isn't miraculously trained over a long weekend that you (or your little one) has done anything wrong.
"The time required for complete understanding and use of toilet facilities varies from child to child," stated the American Academy of Pediatrics in the journal Pediatrics, adding that the process should be expected to take at least three months and that "there is no one universal right age to begin toilet training and no absolute deadline to complete training."
So if speed-training works for your family, then by all means, embrace it. But if it doesn't? That's totally fine, too.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.