Thursday, October 11, 2012

Adventures in Potty Training

So. The girls are potty trained. Like, all the way potty trained. Nights and everything.

I think the whole process took 13 years off my life, but it's done, and I'm so proud of how well the girls are doing with it!

I really hesitated on whether or not to potty train them. We're still trying to sell the house, and then there's the baby. Both events, I've heard, can cause serious regression. I didn't want to have to clean up messes in a new house as we get settled, or with a newborn.

In the end, I decided that there was never going to be an "ideal" time to get this potty training thing done, so why not now?

I have many bloggy and real life friends, who have gone before me, so I had all kinds of resources/methods/plans/advice to read and listen to. Most recently I'd been reading B's advice over at little grovers about potty training her twin boys. She used this three-day method that sounded intriguing to me. She emailed me some encouragement, and references, and we decided we'd take the plunge.

So, here's the thing with this plan---you get rid of all diapers day one.

Yes, you read that right. 

So, on Monday when my husband called around 11 to ask what the accident count was---we were at 18. He called me back to say he was coming home early and was taking the next day off.

Love him!

So. With the three-day method, with twins it can take a day or two longer, and this proved to be true with our girls. Day four they finally (sorta) got the hang of things, and by day five they really had it down. Whew!

So, I wanted to share a few things I found helpful/encouraging/surprising. Maybe you'll find it beneficial if you're somewhere in the process, or just thinking about it.
  • Probably the most surprising thing for me was the "freak out" factor the girls experienced. There were several moments during those first couple of days where they were both crying and clinging to me (at the same time). Taking away their diapers and suddenly giving them the responsibility of figuring out what was going on with their bodies was really stressful for them. I wasn't prepared for it at all. There were many times when I came very close to putting diapers back on both of them and calling it quits. It was hard. 
  • The other big thing I wasn't prepared for was the nights. We went from sometimes soaking through overnight diapers to wearing big-girl undies in one day. So, nights for the first week---it was like having newborns all over again. They were up multiple times a night. We were exhausted! The waking proved to be inevitable, but something we used to help cut down on laundry were GoodNights Disposable Bed Mats. They cover approximately 75% of a crib mattress, so chances are good that they'll catch the mess. They're a little pricey, but worth it!
  • The plan recommends that you get 20-30 pairs of underwear per child to start out with, because of the large number of accidents (and no diapers). I aspired to do lots of laundry, and went with 36 pairs for both girls. I got half in their actual size, and half in a bigger size. I only used the bigger size for a the first several days until the girls got the hang of things, then I packed them away for future use.
  • Wood floors/tile/linoleum/laminate are your friends! Easier clean up. Find activities to keep your kiddo(s) on those surfaces as much as possible. For example: my friend has a big window in her tiled dining area, so she got her daughter some window clings to keep her on the tile.
  • This particular plan also suggests that the kiddos just wear undies and a tee-shirt for the first few days. We added some BabyLegs on cool mornings for some extra warmth.
  • Something that we're dealing with right now is that Brynne will only go potty on the little potty. The big potty intimidates her a bit. In fact, I bought and donated a little potty to our church, because she had a couple accidents there, refusing to use the big potty. So, in addition to having a little potty, or maybe instead of (??) I recommend getting something like this:

That way maybe you can avoid our "fear of the big potty" struggles. It sits on top of the big potty, so that their little bottoms don't fall through. I'd also recommend getting some sort of a step-stool to go along with it. That way they can go by themselves. Hadley loves the independence of being able to do it "All by myself."
  • Another thing I wasn't prepared for was the manipulation factor. And this I still haven't figured out all the way, though it does seem to be better. The "I have to go potty!" (even though they just went two minutes ago) thing that only happens at bedtime, or when they really don't want to do something like clean up, etc. I've had to get creative with discipline and distractions to keep them from playing that card. It's tough, because I don't want to call them liars, and they can usually squeeze a drop, just to prove that they really did have to go---at the same time, it gets really ridiculous sometimes. If you have any advice, experienced mamas----please help!
  • Along with nighttime, the girls started getting up super early to go to potty. I mean really early (!!!), and they'd think it was time to party for the day. My friend Mandy has raved about the "Ok to Wake!" alarm clock, and since then I've heard several others sing its praises. I'll tell you, I didn't blink once at spending the money on that little gem. When the girls get up super early to potty, they know they have to get back in bed until the clock turns green (which means it's okay to get up!). Hallelujah---love this guy!

Okay. So, there you have it. Anything I missed, veterans? Anything you want to know, mamas who aren't there yet?

UPDATED: I knew there was more! My friend (the smart one with the tile and window clings), brought me a meal one night when the hubby wasn't home. This was a huge, wonderful thing she did, because that way I could concentrate on the girls, and not have to stop to prepare a meal. Highly recommend you prepare some meals ahead of time, or have a friend bring you a meal. Potty training is intense, and requires a lot of your attention. 

Also, if you do need to leave the house, disposable changing pads work great to protect car seats. They also keep your high chairs nice and dry. 


Unknown said...

So I feel like you deserve a medal or something. Well done. If I had a cookie, I'd gladly give it to you :)

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

WoW! That is amazing...AMAZING!!! We are also potty trained here but not at night...I didn't even think about going there...I probably should have...GREAT JOB GIRLIE!!!

yettie said...

Good job. The thought of potty training still scares me to bits

B. said...

Congratulations! Great tips...the disposable bed covers are a fantastic idea I wish I'd known about.

The Guddats said...

Awesome! I am about to start that adventure myself. I am doing something similar with John Rosemond's "Naked and $75" method when next month rolls around. We own our house and the majority of the house is carpet. Bummertown! I so wish it was like our old rental that was mostly laminate.