Saturday, September 15, 2007

potty training boot camp

Potty training boot camp (PTBC) started last weekend.

We went cold-turkey on diapers. Essentially, putting them completely away except for when the children took a nap or went to bed for the night.

Very soon - pretty much immediately - we could see that potty training our trio, with the possible exception of Elizabeth, was going to be no easy task. I suspected that there were going to be problems when after pumping fluids in to them for an entire morning ... they would throw a fit if I so much as suggested they sit down on the potty for a few minutes.

There have been a load (no pun intended) of people tell me that they had their child potty trained over the course of a weekend. Other people have told me that one day, their little child no longer wanted to wear diapers - and that was that.

Since potty training wasn't entirely successful during the time my mother was here, and since none of our children have come out and told me that they are ready to bid farewell to their diapers ... I thought I'd give it a little more time.

Because I've heard that (most) children will embrace potty training at around three years old (which we almost are), I had really high expectations that our trio would be through with diapers - once we went cold turkey - in a matter of hours. That was before I fully understood the attachment that our children have to their Pampers.

Although there was once a time that our children's digestive systems were totally synchronized and they would all have dirty diapers at about the same time every day - in the past year, that synchronization has gone the way of the Dodo bird.

It always seems to happen that someone will have a dirty diaper during our morning walk to the park. And then, I would just be ready to load them in to the car and drive somewhere, when I would notice that someone else had a dirty diaper. And then, just as soon as I'd put them to bed for the night someone else would need to be changed. So instead of having three dirty diapers once a day - it seems like they are scattered throughout the day.

I am constantly changing diapers.


However, since we've started PTBC, all three of them will go at precisely the same time. Because, as it turns out, they're holding on until I put them in a diaper for bed. And then, they have the audacity to lie about it.

When I ask them "Did you go poo-poo in your diaper?" They'll shake their head vehemently and point to everyone else in the room. They'll thoroughly deny that they dirtied their diaper, even though visible fumes are emanating from their back side. These children are oh, so smart. They might have some people fooled in to believing that they are totally naive, but NOT ME.

They know darn well when they need to go, when they are going, and where they went.

As for yours truly, ever since PTBC has begun, it's a guessing game once I see dripping underwear to figure out where and when they went. Usually, I find the spot once I start slipping across the floor. It's a darn good thing we no longer have carpeting because I would have ditched this whole potty training effort the day it began.

But I am steadfast and determined.

Which is another way of saying
stupidly stubborn.

Yesterday, while Charlie was at home sick in bed battling a fierce head cold, I loaded up all four children and took them to out. The purpose of the outing was to purchase a third, matching potty chair ... because although we had three potty chairs ... they weren't all exactly the same ... and unbeknownest to me it is impossible to sit on a chair that is not completely white with a little bear on the front.

I also purchased a much smaller, completely white potty chair with a little bear on the front, to put in our car so I would always have one available.

Assuming we ever get to that point where our children go in a potty.

We then headed over to another store where I purchased $56.00 worth of character underwear. My logic is that if the children had some say in their underwear selection, and if they had a specific character that they like all over them, they would be less likely to get them dirty.

So, with these goals in mind, and with mounting desperation for the sake of our new hardwood floors, I took all four children shopping.

Although I remembered to grab my camera, I completely forgot to grab the straps for the safety harnesses. In case you didn't know, safety harnesses do absolutely NO good without a strap attached.

It's like trying to fly a kite without a string.

Or, being 20 feet underwater and having a scuba tank without a regulator.

But I had my camera. How's that for priorities?? Don't think for a minute I don't care about you people in blog world.

Once William picked out his Shrek underwear ... Elizabeth had her Dory & Nemo underwear ... and Carolyn had her princess underwear - they all were so, so very happy. They told me over and over and over again just how happy they were. We weren't in the house for two minutes, and they were trying to pull their new underwear up and over the clothes that they had on.

When I asked them if they would keep their new underwear clean and dry, they all nodded in agreement. Of course they would!! How could they possibly dirty their favorite character?!

That would be sacrilege!!

But apparently, it is acceptable to pee all over the floor and then deny that the puddle they are stomping around in, came from them. Or their sibling.

William repeatedly told me "No poo poo on da ogre!" So I'm guessing one of two things are going to happen. Either the kids will embrace their new potties and learn to "let go" in a parental approved location ... or, they'll hold it from the time they wake up until the time they go back to sleep.

I think the fact that I took all four of the children to two separate stores by myself to get the proper equipment, shows just how desperate I am for this to be a success. With one week of PTBC behind us, the one piece of equipment I really could have used is a pair of boots with no-slip soles for myself.


  1. That is funny yours deny going poop. Just recently, one of mine realized he can stall his bedtime by telling me he pooped-even if he didn't really go.

  2. Now I'm interested- did you put them into diapers for the trip to the shop?
    I am loving reading your PT adventures (and on behalf of the blog world I want to thank you for remembering your camera). All my friends are gung-ho about PT their just turned 2yr olds. I am waiting until at least December with mine, maybe later. I've got the feeling that he won't be a fast trainer either.
    Good luck with it all!
    Rebecca D

  3. Actually, I thought about keeping them in underwear for a trip to the store. But then decided it was crazy enough to go TO THE STORE with all the kids by myself - the last thing I ought to be doing is have the trio go commando.

    Something tells me they would have sprung a leak in the checkout line ... about the same time everyone was asking me if all the kids were mine. And then, I would have had to lie that NO they aren't all mine, because my kids would never pee in a store.

  4. When my nephew was potty training he NEVER went poo-poo in his undies - Big Bird did it.
    Good Luck!

  5. I want to know how you get them all out of the car... in a busy parking lot... by yourself! It's hard enough with one.
    ps- I loved talking with your kids on the phone today! ...and... I have all of the ingredients for the chicken pot-chicken pot-chicken pot pie... I'll let you know how it goes!

  6. LOL....too funny. And, totally not being the mother of trips or even multiples, I wonder how the jealousy route would work? Just letting Eliz. potty train, and JUST rewarding her, and JUST letting her wear her panties...maybe the other two in fits of total greenness would up the ante?

    That or ponies for everyone!

    Potty training three children...gah...I'm not even brave enough to attempt it with my ONE!

  7. I was very frustrated as well with potty training. When I was researching potty training a common theme seemed to be praise and positive reinforcement. I came across a website called We hung it in the kitchen and named the little boy on the front of the package, Bobby. My son could not wait to go to the potty so he could push the button, hear the praising message, and get his chocolate reward from, Bobby. It really got my son excited about using the potty himself and it was fun for him. Because he became so involved, potty training was easy. So give it a try. Best of luck with triplets!

  8. Hi Jen,
    Good luck with the new undies. It will happen one of these days. It is a game to them right now. I went to Art in the Park today and it was very crowded in down town Greenville. They now have a water park.

  9. Hey, we have the same car seat!

    One thing that strikes me whenever I see your photos is that triplets is SO MANY MORE CHILDREN than twins. I sometimes go places with the baby and the twins, so I know what baby + twins looks like, and baby + triplets looks like TWICE as many children.

  10. Good Luck and Hang in there! they will get it and you will be so happy and proud when they do.

  11. it shows that they ARE potty trained if they can poop/pee in a diaper at bedtime (holding it all day/evening), it's just convincing them WHEN/WHERE its appropriate to go (ie in the toilet vs in the potty). The theory is if they can tell you when they have to go then they are (at least hypothetically) trained right? I think maybe that your kids are just tough. . . . ack!
    Maybe ask Michelle? how she did it.
    i honestly don't know what to say. apparently I was potty trained around 20 months . . . i haven't had to do it myself though i've nannied plenty and helped out the moms i sit for . . .

  12. Don't give up, Jen! You can do it. I have potty trained seven children so far and it is by far MY LEAST FAVORITE PART OF MOTHERHOOD!! I sincerely sympathize with you. Don't give up now!! Stick with it for another two or three weeks and they will get the hang of it. They are just learning. It is called potty "training" for a reason. Even if they are making mistakes, they are learning. Be sure and reward them for staying dry. I feel your pain and I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you and to NOT GIVE UP!!

  13. I have no experience with multiples, but I do have experience with potty training recently. First of all, I agree with someone else who commented that if they can hold it to bedtime that is a GREAT step in the right direction. Don't underestimate that. And if they hold it all day, who cares? At least they're not pooping in their underware. Sooner then you think, they'll get tired of that game.

    What worked for my son was the rewards. I swear, he had to be "mature" enough to love the competition and rewarding of it all... if they don't care about the reward, they probably aren't ready (even if they can hold it). My son didn't care or really understand the whole "don't poop on Nemo" concept. But what he DID understand was "if you pee in the toilet, you get two skittles" concept. Good luck...

  14. Oh, I hope the potty training continues to go well. We're headed in that direction. We've put a few things in place, and I'm seeing more and more readiness signs. So, I'll keep reading you posts about it for reference. ;) If you can do it with 3, surely I can figure out how to get one to go.

  15. My youngest would do the exact same thing. When I asked why he liked "baby diapers" and not "big boy undies?" He would scowl and tell me undies were for babies and diapers were for big boys! Sigh. He wasn't potty trained until right before his fourth birthday. What finally worked for him was to let me go "commando" in the house. For some reason he would poop and pee all day long in underwear, but as soon as he had a bare butt, he would make a bee line for the potty!

    Good luck with PT - I'm rooting for ya! Jen - Mom of 4

  16. UGH! I also have triplets and just came across your blog by googling Potty Training Boot Camp. Mine are 3 years 2 month sold as of yesterday. They too are incredibly attached to their diapers AND can hold it for hours! No advice for you just empathy. Good luck!