Monday, July 18, 2016

Potty Training Triplets!

This post is dedicated to Daniel Tiger. "If you have to go potty, stop and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way." These catchy lyrics have been the family mantra over the past two weeks.

If you remember reading this post, you know that we unsuccessfully tried to potty training the trio three months ago. We used the three day naked method over spring break, but it was completely ineffective. All six of us were stressed out and the toddlers were having accidents everywhere we looked. We had already made a big deal about packing the cloth diapers away to give to babies, so we didn't want to bring them back out. However, it was clear that diapers were still 100% necessary. For the past three months, we'd all but abandoned any potty training efforts and used disposable diapers.

James, Amelia, and Maddie still weren't showing too much initiative or interest in using the potty, but we had to expedite this potty training process because it's a requirement for starting school in August. Plus, we wanted to potty train them by age three. On Tuesday, July 5, Jesse and I took daytime diapers away for good. The kids spent five days almost exclusively naked. We didn't take the trio anywhere the entire week, though Jesse and I took Jackson out individually. It was a long, boring, stressful week.

It was also an especially hot week, with temperatures nearing 100 degrees. We mostly stayed inside, though we occasionally let the kids run naked through the sprinklers in the backyard. Of course, Jackson loves any excuse to get naked.

Jesse and I tried to watch the kids as closely as possible. We haven't done anything more than regularly encourage the kids to go to the potty, sit them on the potty if they start to go, and clean up their accidents. There have been no sticker charts, marble jars, prize boxes, etc. Of course, we praise, clap, sing, and make a big deal out of every successful potty.

We have three potties throughout the house and move them around so there's one nearby at all times.

One of the challenges has been making the actual toilet more accessible. We've had to buy stools and smaller seats to give the kids more independence. Then they fight over wanting to use "the big potty". It's really quite ridiculous.

After being naked for a week, we introduced panties and underwear. Maddie had me in tears with her reaction to panties. She was insistent that "the princess be in her belly button".

To give us more confidence in public, we ordered these waterproof pants to wear over their underwear. If worn with thick training underwear, it's basically like a reusable pull up or cloth diaper and cover. The only problem is that it's too many layers and the kids have a hard time pulling them up and down by themselves.

Over the past week, Jesse and I have taken the kids to the splash pad, lake, Ikea, library story time, Chick-Fil-A, train station, etc. We try to leave after all three have used the bathroom. They aren't accident-free yet, but they are making progress. We take a potty in the van and encourage them to use it again before we go out.

Unlike Jackson, none of the trio mind public restrooms. Jackson used to freak out with automatic flushes and he would never poop in public. James, Amelia, and Maddie have all used the bathroom anywhere, even porta potties.

Two weeks later, Maddie has had the least accidents, followed by Amelia. Both girls seem motivated by school. We've repeatedly told them that they have to pee and poop in the potty before they go to school. Amelia has said at least once a day, "We're going to school!" or "I can go to school now?" James is less interested. He is accident free when he's naked, but has a harder time when he's dressed. He'll run towards the potty and say, "I'm peeing". It's frustrating, but time is not on our side, so we're going to persevere.

All three toddlers are still wearing night time diapers. We'll wean them once we notice they are consistently dry in the mornings. For now, we're just hoping they can independently and reliably use the potty during the day. I wouldn't say they are potty trained, but three months ago I didn't think we could ever get to the point we are at now. Here's to hoping they continue making huge strides and are accident free once school begins.

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