When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to potty train three two-year-olds, a decent respect for the enormity of the task requires that the trainer should declare just how on earth such a thing was accomplished. And maybe just toot her own horn. Just a little.
I'd put it off so long. For months I'd felt they were ready. For weeks, Charlie had been putting himself on the potty. But then we had to move. Then we had the wedding trip. Then the kids got sick. And then the excuses ran out and it was time. Time to potty train times three. I knew it'd be hard. I knew it'd be exhausting. But I knew we'd all survive, somehow. Plus, I had back-up, in the form of my sister-in-law Megan. She's 14. How many teenagers do you know would help potty-train three toddlers? Yeah, she's amazing.
After breakfast, we gathered for a family meeting. I told them what was going to happen, we sang a "Bye Bye Diaper" song, then it was off with the diapers and on with the big-kid underwear. I spread a big ol' blanket over the one nice rug we have. I pulled out the three potties we'd been storing forever. Filled the sippy cups with juice and water. Here we go. Every fifteen minutes, I'd put the kids on the potty and reset the timer. Sometimes they went, mostly they didn't. Lucy especially seemed to never need to go. Until she wasn't on the potty. It was so mindnumbingly boring. But I made it to nap time and was so very grateful when I got to put diapers on them and take a break. By the end of the day, they were starting to go when I'd put them on the potties. But man, was I tired.
Same routine, except set the timer for every half hour. We still stayed at home and I started to feel major cabin fever. And wish we had easy access to a nice, fenced-in yard. Or didn't live in a tropical jungle. Yes, New Jersey (at least this summer) is in the tropics. The kids were doing better at making it to the potty on time. At least, I thought they were. Then we had the first poop-in-pants incident. .
And I thought changing poopy diapers was bad! Why did I ever start this???
After a pep talk with my friend/expert Lindsay, I was ready for Day Three. The plan was to send Charlie with Elizabeth to Tot Lot (the neighborhood drop-off playgroup) since he'd been doing the best, and keep Eddie and Lucy home, still reminding them to go every half hour or so. They were learning really quickly, but I'd learned on Day Two that they still needed a lot of reinforcement. Adam came home early that day, as he does every friday in the summer (best thing ever) and we all went to the pool. He also mentioned that he noticed the IHOP on his bus ride home had a sign that said kids eat free on Fridays. I took that to mean he wanted to take us out for a pancake dinner. I sold him on it by calling it a celebratory dinner. I think the reward system definitely needs to be extended to the adults doing the potty training. We had a great time and no accidents!
I don't remember much of this day except that they had a LOT of accidents. Well, Charlie and Lucy did. I think this is when Eddie pretty much pole-vaulted past his siblings to the position he currently occupies of the least accident prone. But of course, all I could see was the failures and I was pretty discouraged. And Sunday, with our three hour church schedule, was looming in the distance.
Sunday morning, during the frantic eating, dressing, gathering, bickering, panicking that is getting ready for 9 AM church, Adam and I didn't even have time to come up with a game plan for church. At the last minute, we just packed a change of underwear for each kid and said a prayer. Little did we know, the kids had entered the stage of "every little twinge means I have to go." I swear they each asked to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes. And not at the same time. Yeah, we didn't attend much of our Sunday services. But we also didn't need our back-up underpants. Boo-yah.
Days and Days:
Starting Monday, I felt like we'd left full-blown potty training mode. They were staying dry, even during their naps. But the poop. The POOP! I made the mistake of thinking we could handle a trip to IKEA. We all had been eagerly awaiting the day when the triplets were potty trained so the kids could all go to Smalland together. We even got to the store 10 minutes before it opened. But when Charlie, Eddie, and Lucy stepped up to give the worker their shoes, she looked at them, pulled out the measuring stick, and said they were too short . . . by an eighth of an inch. The rest of the trip went downhill from there. Three accidents later (two of them #2 and none of them Eddie), we were all ready to go home and cry. Then there was Charlie and his inability to control his bowels whenever he got into the pool. Poor guy missed a lot of fun in the sun last week. I felt bad, but it was pathological. The minute he was submerged in water, boom! Time to chlorine shock the kiddie pool. How long will this go on, I kept asking myself. It was driving me crazy.
And then, and then . . .
They got it. The pooping in the pants stopped. The wetting their underwear stopped. Cue angelic choir.
It's been almost two weeks since we started and I feel like I can say without hesitation that THE TRIPLETS ARE POTTY TRAINED. They are asking to go when they need to, or better yet, going by themselves. I've gotten rid of all but one of the little potties and they all prefer to use the real toilet. Only Eddie, bless his little heart, still asks for "sticker and treat!" every time he goes. I still make a big deal out of pooping in the toilet, especially for the previous repeat offenders. And—Hallelujah!—Charlie has stopped crapping in the pool. (Sorry, but that's really the only word that conveys the disgustingness that is poop in a public pool. I deleted my previous word choice.) I still put him in a reusable swim diaper, though. And I'm sure we'll still have accidents from time to time. Don't we all? (Don't we? Am I the only adult out there?)
But let's just say it all together now:
THE TRIPLETS ARE POTTY TRAINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel like I need one of those "I survived..." t-shirts.