The Big Boy Party! A Special Potty Training Weekend


After months of reading parenting articles and mommy blogs on potty training, my husband and I have tried a lot of approaches. Some worked for awhile until our son outsmarted the tactics or simply grew bored of them. Who knew a toddler could get tired of chocolate rewards?

We talked to other parents to get suggestions but that advice was followed by we weren’t working at the time or she/he was with a relative or the daycare helped with the transition. Oh… not helpful to us.  We both work full time, he is not with a relative and our daycare’s potty training regimen is only somewhat helpful. Some daycares have full on training programs that ditch the diapers all together. Ours takes the child on scheduled times but the child must stay in pull ups. More intense programs immediately change the child to underwear.  This practice would be more helpful but quite a mess for the staff at our daycare to take on. I get it. Still what are working parents to do to successfully potty train? We aren’t pressuring him. We are trying to be cheerleaders. We would not even be trying this hard but we are on a deadline. The preschool he was accepted to for the fall requires the students be potty trained so….the Big Boy Party Weekend was created.

All week before the big weekend, we built up the “Big Boy Party Weekend.” I explained to him that this was the weekend we say goodbye to pull ups because he was a big boy now.  I told him big boys are allowed to wear cool underwear! I built the excitement by telling him we would give the pull ups over to the pull up fairy and in exchange he would get prizes every time he went to the potty. Buckner got excited every time I talked about his special weekend.

Before the big day, I spent $17.00 in The Dollar Tree on prizes. I planned to take a picture of the basket. It was full of toys and very enticing. But to be honest, I am a working mama and we started after five pm on a Friday so the picture just didn’t happen. However, I can tell you what I bought to give you ideas for your basket!  Potty prizes included:

  1. Coloring and Sticker Books (this was not a big hit compared to the other more novel prizes)
  2. Stickers
  3. Toy car
  4. Bath toy boat
  5. Bubbles and bubble toys
  6. A pack of swirly straws (not a big hit)
  7. A pack of Chinese yo yos (In the party favor section so I broke them out and there were several to chose from. Big hit!)
  8. Tiny xylophone
  9. Flashcards
  10. Ball with paddle nets
  11. A light up frog toy
  12. A windmill
  13. Oreo cookies
  14. Screen time
  15. Ice Cream (obviously not in the bag)

Friday evening came and we had a big ceremony right after we walked in from work. It was Big Boy Party time! We had him help us gather the pull ups and night time diapers in a box. Then we had a parade! We marched them out and put them in my car so the fairy could get them.  With the exception of sleeping, from that point on he was in underwear (lysol wipes on hand!).

You know what? It worked!  We only had two accidents on Saturday and one on Sunday. Monday he ended up having to stay home due to a sinus infection and it was an accident free day.  The weekend even included short outings and lunch out. I held my breath the entire meal because I was so afraid he would start peeing in the restaurant.

The process went a little like this:

Roughly every 30 minutes, we would ask, “Do you have to go potty?”

Buckner would respond with his normal, “Noooo.”

To which we would respond, “You get a prize!”

Buckner, “Ok!” And off he ran.

After the first three times, every time he wanted a new toy he would announce he needed to potty. He was outsmarting us. We had to change the rules to make sure he produced something in the potty to get the reward. The novelty of not knowing what he was going to get every time kept him from getting bored.

Phase one is complete.  The prize bag has been emptied except for one lone coloring book and some swirly straws (like I said not a big hit) so now we go back to allowing a few minutes of screen time as a treat. The next phase will be in a few weeks when we have big prizes for going accident free for a period of time until we are gradually off prizes.



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