Your Potty Training Handbook: Expert Tips and Real-Parent Advice

Can You Potty Train a Child in One Day?

Books such as Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day (Fireside) teach you that by devoting a day to a "potty party," you can kick off training, if not have it finished by sundown. But when Brooklyn, New York, mom Allison Lucas tried it with 2-1/2-year-old Alexa, she discovered that it's not as simple as it might seem:

"Per the book, we bought a stuffed animal (we chose Curious George) and a squeeze bottle for pretending that the monkey urinated. I even sewed George 'big monkey' underpants. We bought streamers and balloons for atmosphere and baked cupcakes. And then we woke up one rainy Sunday, made Alexa's favorite pancake breakfast, and greeted her like it was Christmas morning. Only instead of Christmas, she was having a potty party.

"All the hoopla worked for 30 minutes. Alexa was thrilled to teach George how to use the potty. She helped us read a potty book to him and was surprised when George had his first potty 'success' (we impressed ourselves with our own sleight of hand).

"Then Alexa asked to put on underpants. According to the book, she wasn't supposed to put on her own underwear until later. Could we deviate from the instructions? We tried it.

"Unfortunately, Alexa, unlike George, refused the potty. She wouldn't sit on it unless bribed with candy. Then she stood up and wet her pants. She seemed mildly upset, but more amused. We changed her and partied on. We read books, sang songs, then went in our room for a change of scenery -- where she promptly clambered onto our bed and wet it. She regarded us with eyes that seemed to say: 'What did you expect? I am nobody's monkey.'

"We slapped on a diaper and put her down for her nap. We scoured the Web for advice (searching for "potty-party resistance") but found none, so we took a nap too.

"We met the afternoon with renewed vigor, plying Alexa with juice and, shamefully, as this is a potty-party no-no, the TV. Late in the day, she proclaimed that she had gone in the potty. All we saw were drops of water from George's 'pee.' But we wanted to encourage her, so we gave her a present. She knew the truth, and we knew the truth, but what could we do?

"She wandered into our bedroom, found an open suitcase that my husband was packing for a trip, and peed in it. We threw in the towel, put a diaper on her, and called it a day."

Update: Alexa is now 3 1/2 and trained.

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