Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training - We Survived!

Ahhh potty training twins, what a job! Don't get me wrong, I won't brave to say they are completely potty trained 100% but our week long extravaganza was overall a HUGE success and we have said adios to daytime diapers! Max and Emma are now 30 months old and I think that has been a big part of our success. We attempted potty training back when they turned 2, but decided after a couple days that they weren't quite ready yet (especially Max). Over the years, I've heard a ton about the "3 Day Potty Training Method" from other multiple mamas that have had great success with it. So, I went to the website and downloaded the book. It's a super quick read, only about 50 pages, and I think I may have read it like 10 times just to be sure I didn't miss anything! Obsessive much? From what I gather from other moms, the method works about 99% of the time, pretty good odds if you ask me! Not to say there are NO accidents from there on out, but for the most part they've got it. You can download the book here.

Let me start by saying, that this is in NO WAY a manual on how to potty train. Jason and I just wanted to write down our thoughts so we can always remember this crazy week! Basically you stay HOME for 3 days (which we actually stretched into 5 just to be safe) and do nothing but focus on the potty while downplaying accidents and celebrating any little drip of pee that hits their little potties. We had told the kids the night before that they were going to get to wear brand new big boy and big girl underwear the next day, and that they weren't going to be babies anymore, but BIG kids! Emma seemed pretty excited about it, Max couldn't really care less (which is pretty much the norm). So Monday morning rolled around and when the kids woke up, we took their LAST diapers off ever!!! and had them throw them away and put on a new pair of underwear. Max chose Spiderman and Emma chose Dora.
Max so proud in his Spidy-roos

 Emma so pumped for her Dora panties

Let's do this!
Next, we marched around the house finding every diaper and took turns throwing them all away (we didn't actually throw them away, but donated them to a friend). I had stocked up on stickers, poster boards, prizes, treats, etc. the day before and was ready to hit the ground running! Since Max and Emma have been pretty comfortable with the potty for a while now (we have always had it in the bathroom since they were a year old), I feel like that put us at a little bit of an advantage over say someone just introducing the potty for the first time. The book recommends that you not ask them if they need to go potty, or force them to the potty every 20-30 minutes like some other methods, but rather say, "Be sure and let Mama & Daddy know when you need to go pee pee on the potty." And,  "You guys let Mama & Daddy know when you need to go pee pee on the potty..." and "Be sure to keep Spiderman/Dora clean and dry, we don't want to get Spiderman/Dora wet"- literally, we probably said these phrases 90 million times over the course of 5 days (no joke)!
Emma went potty first, which is just sooooo her personality! She got her princess sticker and a "white pretzel" (her treat of choice). We kept reminding Max and watching him like a hawk all morning, anxiously waiting for a giant puddle to appear on the carpet, but FINALLY, he went potty - I swear the kid's like a camel!
Big girl peeing on the potty
So big!
Emma so proud of her princess stickers
Max peeing like a big boy!
Max and his cars stickers

We had a few accidents here and there on day 1 (both poo and pee), but overall not bad. The book suggests training them during their naps and at nighttime too. I was all on board for nap time, but wasn't sold yet on the nighttime. Sure enough, they both wet the bed during their naps; we apparently did not empty our bladders enough before hand - whomp whomp! We also did not have any pull ups aka "big boy/girl nighttime underwear" for that first night, so we kinda knew that was going to SUUUUCCCCKKKK! And it did. By mid morning of day 2, I think I had already washed urine filled loads of laundry 2 or 3 times. And I gotta tell ya - stock up on the undies y'all! You couldn't pay me enough money to get the poop out of some of these underwear - bag it up and chunk 'em I say!

So Day 2 pretty much sucked! I was like. "what the heck?! what am I doing wrong here, why are they regressing?!" Emma had like 3 pee pee accidents - ugh it was awful! We did leave the house to go to swim lessons down the street, but they did really well in the car thank goodness! Max didn't poop at all on day 2, which made me start to worry that he was holding back and might be getting constipated, so I was sure to offer only high fiber foods - seriously, their lunch on day 2 consisted of strawberries, bananas, brown rice, toast with tuna, applesauce and broccoli! Luckily, he pooped the next day, granted it was the size of a freakin baseball! Poor little guy!

Max's sticker chart after day 2
Emma's sticker chart after day 2

Day 3 was AWESOME! They were really getting it! I think we had one pee accident that whole day! Poop was another story. Neither of them wanted to poop in the potty, but I tried not to stress about it too much and not make a big deal about it, but rather make grandiose praises for everything they did do right. Surely, they won't poop in their pants for life, right?! RIGHT?! BUT... Emma did take it upon herself to poop in the potty - woo hoo! I couldn't believe it! Completely unsolicited! We had promised them ice cream, treats, stickers, Sea World, the Zoo, Bounce House, new toy, a kidney, the world, ANYTHING THEY WANTED if they would just poop on the potty! Yes, apparently I AM that mom. Who knew? During their nap on day 2, I ran up to target and bought some night time pull ups - Jason and I were both on the same page - Hell to the No were we going to go through panties at night time again! Ahhhh, it was soooooo much better. It really makes you wonder how on earth we survived those early months of getting up countless times a night for feedings?!
Emma so proud of her poo poo!
Enjoying some pink and brown ice cream for her victory!
After day 3

After day 3
Day 4 was a breeze! The only accidents we had were poop related. Aaaaaand... Max pooped on the potty! Halle-freakin-lujah! He was the one I was most worried about in regards to pooping, but my boy pulled through and surprised us all! So, as promised, he got some green ice cream! I was really hoping that Emma's  jealousy would force her to step up and do it  too, but no dice. Naps were also going soooo well, this was the second day in a row that they both woke up dry! It was finally clicking and they were getting it. We even left the house again today for more swim lessons (which by the way, Emma finally started doing really well at since starting potty training - weird). Of course, Jason will hate that I'm telling you this, and I know Max will too one day, but yeah, he straight up wore Emma's panties, numerous times... princess ones, Dora ones, even the homemade Bubble Guppies ones. What kind of mother would I be to not let him wear the characters that he wants to wear?! He's 2 and just wants to do whatever his sister is doing, and I get that. My sweet innocent little baby boy - so cute in his little princess panties. These pics may or may not resurface MANY years from now on a wedding slideshow of some sort :)

reviling in his glory with some green and brown ice cream

Day 5, we were accident free again (except poop)! Jason and I would look at each other in amazement at night at how well this was going! This was also a HUGE day, because we decided, spur of the moment, to take the fronts off their cribs, making their cribs into toddler beds. I had been dreading this for months! But, Emma had been resisting all naps and bedtime for about 2 weeks and it was becoming quite violent, scratching, clawing, attempting to bite, just no bueno, and we were at our wits end and were desperate to try something... anything to make it stop. So, Friday morning, Jason made a couple big boy/girl beds, and the kids LOVED them! We are now on Day 6 of the big beds, and I cannot even begin to tell you how well they have down with them. It's a miracle really. God has clearly spread mercy on us. They seriously stay in their beds and don't get out, like at all. No more fighting at bedtime. It has done wonders for my sanity! Poor Emma does keep falling out though! Guess we should probably do something about that! #momoftheyear

Emma and Max in their big girl/boy beds

Sticker charts after day 5! Check out all those princesses and cars and trucks!

All in all---the 3 Day Potty Training Method definitely worked! (for the daytime at least). You just need to mentally prepare yourself to stick with it NO MATTER WHAT! Don't quit on Day 2! Hang in there!!! Be consistent! It WILL work! Going back to diapers was NOT an option. Just take that off the table from the get-go. The hardest part was being able to catch every single accident as it was happening--which is imperative for this particular method to work. I was pumped and so ready to be DONE WITH DIAPERS - woo hoo - it's like winning the lotto! Granted we aren't there quite yet - I know it's close - I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's glorious! I also can't wait to go to Sea World in a couple weeks as my their reward! Hyatt Hill Country San Antonio here we come!

Here are a few quick tips if you're getting ready to take the plunge with your little one(s) provided by my friend Heather, a mom of quads (if she can do it, anyone can do it!):

- Commit to staying home for *at least 3 consecutive* days.
- Bring in reinforcements, DO NOT attempt to do it alone, especially if you have multiples!
- Introduce them to the potty a few weeks before so they're a little familiar with it.
- Stock up on cleaning supplies & small rewards you know they'll enjoy.
- Don't stress the small accidents and CELEBRATE every drop of pee that hits the potty!
- As in everything, consistency is key, don't give up. As a mom of quads I LIVE by this.
- When traveling, pack the "just in case" necessities as well as a portable potty.
- My only other words of wisdom would be wait until they're older. All of the moms I know who have done this method has waited until their babies are closer to three years old. Not saying your 20month old can't use this particular method, just sayin' the success I've seen has been with older toddlers.
- Remember when things get tough, at least you are not potty training 4 at a time ;)

Good luck!