For the last month, you and your 2-year-old have been in potty training hell. Your days are filled with poop, wet pants, and Lysol; his days are filled with ambivalence toward his "big boy underwear."
Then your sister calls. Her voice is jubilant as she tells you that her 20-month-old just accomplished potty training - in three days. Lickety-split, the diapers are quit.
Is she mistaken? Deluded? Simply lying?
Nope. It can be done, according to this BabyCenter article featuring Julie Fellom's Diaper Free Toddlers program.
The program includes some fairly radical components, but Fellom claims they're pretty much guaranteed to work, particularly in children 28 months or younger. Some of the more interesting parts of the approach:
Three months of bare bottoms
For the first three months after your "potty training weekend," the child should be naked from the waist down whenever she's at home. That's right - no diaper, no pull-up, no underwear, no pants, no skirt, no nothing. And in public, she should wear just loose-fitting pants sans underwear. (Diapers are allowed at naptime and bedtime.) "If you really want this to work, it only works naked," Fellom tells BabyCenter.
A weekend of salty snacks
Usually we try to keep our kids away from the chips and crackers, but for the potty training weekend, thirst-inducing eats are the name of the game. It's sort of like the bowls of spicy nuts that bars put out at happy hour - because the more you eat, the more you'll drink. And when it comes to potty training, the more you drink, the more you'll pee. (Fellom also recommends plenty of water-rich foods, such as watermelon and ice pops.)
Accident? Nix the reassurance
Parents should not soothe children with an "it's okay" when accidents occur. Instead, they should use a tone of mild disappointment as they say "Poop/pee goes in the potty." Then they should have the child help clean it up.
On the first day of the program, children and their parents stay inside for the entire day. On day two, one hour of outside time is allowed, and on day three, this gets upped to two one-hour blocks of outside time. Yes, cabin fever may result - but according to the program's supporters, it's well worth it.
Although it may seem unrealistic, many satisfied parents swear by the program. "I used this method with my 24-month-old and it worked really well," says one BabyCenter parent. "He has not been in a diaper since."
What do you think - the real deal or a pipe dream? Would you try it?