Potty Training in 3 Days by Carol Cline is something you might peruse when you’re on the toilet yourself. A rather quick read, it’s full of advice and suggestions on how to get your toddler out of diapers even when they have no plans of ditching their built-in bathroom. Like most books, it has good and bad, advantages and disadvantages. Yet overall, it’s a solid choice for the exasperated parent who’s ready to cut the crap.
So, let’s get to it and discuss the cons and pros.
First, the Bad News
One could argue that the book is a bit presumptuous in who it’s written for: it’s consistently directed at the mother, as if it’s solely her responsibility to lead toddlers towards the toilet – plunger in hand like a bathroom focused Pied Piper. Some people might not care about this; others might find it worthy of an eye roll. After all, raising a child is a partnership, the duty of both mom and dad. Plainly put: changing dirty diapers? It’s not just for chicks anymore.
Another negative associated with this book is its tendency to talk down to people who’ve waited longer to potty train. This isn’t blatant nor is it mean, but it is laid on a bit thick. Bringing up the fact that some cultures have children toilet trained at six months isn’t likely helpful to the struggling parent of a four-year-old who’s still soiling their shorts. The audience of this book is likely moms and dads who’ve tried to potty train on their own unsuccessfully. Thus, they might have children who are a bit older.
The final mark in the “bad” column is that the title is a bit deceiving. While the majority of the work involved does take place over a three-day span, the preparation for that work involves several days. Anyone reading this on a Friday night and assuming their child will be potty trained by Monday better stock up on the Lysol.
Now, the Good News
Luckily, the good news is much more prominent: it’s headlined in bold. Ultimately, the best thing about this book is that it’s thorough. So thorough, in fact, that it’s even inspired a poem:
It touches on biology – bladders, bowels, and kidneys.
It talks about urinary tract infections and how to pick a potty prize.
It shows you how to give strong praise and that accidents are just a phase.
You get the picture.
The book is also great at discussing things that may be unique to your situation, such as toilet training identical twins or children with autism. And it provides tidbits that you generally might not know – girls tend to regress when a younger sibling arrives, cruise ships don’t allow swim diapers, the use of Pull-ups may deter progress.
It’s even full of practical advice that you can use outside of the bathroom, things like how to add more fiber to your child’s diet (hint: it involves sugar…and potatoes), as well as general wellness tips on what constitutes a healthy bowel movement. This is towards the end and isn’t limited to children: the author lays out the warning signs of several digestive disorders, from Crohn’s disease to colon cancer. Many will find this chapter interesting, though hypochondriacs should probably skip it.
By far, there are two main perks of this book that make it worth the read: 1) the focus on positivity and 2) the involvement of your child. In regards to the former, this book preaches in upbeat overtones: it discourages punishment of any kind because we all know that accidents happen. It urges you to bathe your children in love, which is good advice for any human being. The attention on your child’s involvement is also very helpful. The author goes to great lengths to explain that your son or daughter should be a partner in the potty training effort, rather than an unwilling participant. They should help pick out the potty, help pick out underwear, and be encouraged to communicate fears and ask questions.
Overall, the book is a wonderful ally in your potty training arsenal. It offers no guarantees or gimmicks and, instead, provides useful, thorough advice and true-to-life experiences. If the process doesn’t work, readers are encouraged to hold fast and remain consistent. Or, might I suggest, just start filling your child’s diaper with sand.