With some toddlers, potty training can take months, frustrating both parents and kids. Advice on this topic is plentiful, with hundreds of books.

Plus, every parent who has done it seems to have an opinion on the best way, and often is more than willing to share that with other parents who are in the throes.

As a mother of a 2-1/2 year old boy and a 7-month-old girl, I'll be living these issues for several years to come. As WHYY's behavioral health reporter, I'm interested in the parent-child dynamics of potty training, as well as the competitive adult pressures. And I wanted to see if the burgeoning field of behavior modification had any useful tips for parents.

So when my husband and I decided to use try a fast-track potty-training method, I wanted to document our efforts. The approach we used is based on a best selling book. Its claim: you can complete the task in a day.

How would that work for Julius? How would that work for his parents?

Here's my report:

We introduced Julius to the potty when he was about 2. Then his sister was born, and our efforts fizzled. As bad for the environment and as expensive as they are, diapers are still darn convenient.

But, all of Julius' friends were shedding their diapers, parading around proudly on the playground. And friends and family started stating the obvious, with a side of judgment, "Oh, he is still in diapers."

But there's no reason to get all stressed out, Nathan Blum, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, tried to reassure me.

He explains that almost all kids learn how to use the toilet eventually.

"It's not something that you need to put a lot of pressure on yourself about," said Blum, "or feel like it reflects your parenting, or your child's skills or anything along those lines."

Also, dumping the diapers is not so much about age. Blum explains that kids let you know when they are ready. For example, children should be able to communicate that they want to use the toilet, and they should show some interest in using the toilet. Blum adds that they should be able to go for at least an hour being dry during the day.

Julius was definitely ready, but we just hadn't really gotten around to practicing.

Then my friend Jennifer King said she could potty train Julius in about a day.

I was sold.

King is a therapist who is trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis. This approach breaks tasks down into small steps and uses rewards to get results. It also employs the same strategy that gets people to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice.

Here's my diary for the big day:

On day one of his training, a Saturday, Julius has to drink lots of water and milk to keep his bladder full. This way, he will learn what it feels like to have a full bladder, and how to control the release.

Armed with sippy cups, a timer and a bag of M&Ms for rewards, we proceed upstairs. The timer will keep track of our rigorous schedule for the morning. King will take him to the potty every 15 minutes. Julius has to sit for five minutes, and hopefully, use the potty during that time.

When he is not sitting on the potty, Julius has to learn what dry pants are all about, explains King. The child has to learn that keeping dry pants is not an option, that they can use the potty at home to get a reward, and then pee in their pants while at the park or the mall. They need to learn that they have to keep their pants dry at all times.

King's protocol is loosely based on a book called Toilet Training in Less Than A Day.

It's 30-some years old, and has sold more than two million copies. Author Richard Foxx is a psychologist at Penn State. The method is highly structured, but Foxx says it can be tailored to each child: "You can have a little bit of slippage and it will still work, or people can modify it and it will still work."

King is optimistic the method will work for Julius. She says that he cares about praise, and will likely go along with the program.

But, it seems like we can't even overcome our first hurdle; putting on underwear instead of diapers. Julius cries, and struggles as we try to pry the diapers off and get the underwear on.

Nothing a little Dr. Seuss "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" can't fix. Julius starts sitting on the potty. He keeps drinking. King asks him to check his pants every five minutes. He pats them, and they are dry. He collects rewards for having dry pants. But after two hours, despite sitting on the potty every 15 minutes, he still hasn't used it for its intended purpose.

Finally, at about 12 noon, we have a breakthrough. Julius pees on the potty. King and I are both in the bathroom with him, and we make a huge deal out of this.

We praise Julius, we clap, and he gets a reward: a red bear that plays music and has blinking lights.

From here, the training progresses. Julius only has one small accident, and begins to tell us when he has to go. We ease up on the 15 minute schedule. He wears a diaper for nap time, and one for overnight. We end the day feeling pretty good.

The original method laid out in "Toilet Training in Less Than a Day" also includes some measures to "punish" the child when there is an accident. That sounds a lot more severe than it really is. The book suggests telling the child that wet pants are bad, to walk the child to the potty after an accident, and have them help clean up. We do not use this part of the approach with Julius as it seems unnecessary.

He very clearly wants to do use the potty and keep his pants dry, and is visibly upset when he has an accident. So, King just reminds him that wet pants are bad, and we move on from there.

The next morning, King comes back to continue the training. A few hours later, things are not going so well. Julius has had three accidents in a row, and he is sitting on the potty, but not going. So we take a step back, and use a more structured approach. He has to sit on the potty every half hour, and after a few successful turns, he starts to go every hour.

Since his two-day potty training boot camp, Julius is doing pretty well. He has had a few accidents when life got too exciting. He usually says when he has to go, but we remind him.

Overall, the method worked for us, and by that I mean us, the parents.

Frankly, our previous potty training attempts were lackluster. We wanted Julius to learn a skill, but only asked him to practice it when it was convenient for us. Not good.

We learned we needed to offer our child more structure, and a steady commitment to see things through.

Now, is there a one-day boot camp for bed time and discipline?