Monday, November 14, 2011

Potty Training: The Scoop!

Ahhh potty training quadruplets, what a job! Don't get me wrong, I won't brave to say they are completely potty trained 100% but our 3(4) day weekend extravaganza was overall a HUGE success and we have said adios to daytime diapers! Brody, Baxlyn, Kylee & Korbin are now 33 months old (30 if you want to adjust) and I think that has been a big part of our success. My biggest fear was starting too soon only to find they were not ready, going back to diapers, leaving them confused. I am super duper lucky in having a TON of quad moms across the US at my fingertips via the internet who have been there done that when it comes to anything quadruplets. Sleeping through the night, night feedings, transportation, developmental issues and even potty training, they've got tons of advice on and for that I am so grateful. Since having the quads I've heard a ton about the "3 Day Potty Training Method". There's a book out there with specific instructions on how to potty train toddlers in 3 days. I personally know a handful of moms who have used this method and it has been successful 99% of the time. Not to say there are NO accidents from there on out, but for the most part they've got it. I don't have the book myself but my quad mommas have given me the "important info" so I took it and ran with it. Basically you stay HOME for 3 days and do nothing but focus on the potty while downplaying accidents and celebrating any little drip of pee that hits their porcelain plastic throne.

To prepare, Bret and I (with donations from Mamaw, Nana, Chris & Bethany!) stocked up on our cleaning supplies you'll see in the pic below as well as plenty of goodies to use as rewards. We transformed our cute little entryway into a "community bathroom", if you will. Tile floor was a must and the bathroom was a bit too small for all 4 potties so the entryway it was. In a small house, ya do what ya gotta do, right?! We also laid down plastic tarps from wall to wall to protect our white carpets. With 4 naked babies and just 2 adults things could easily get out of hand and we wanted to be prepared!

It's a no brainer that potty training multiple toddlers at a time can take a toll on you mentally therefore there was NO WAY I was going to do this alone. Day 1 Bret stayed home from work to help out. We woke up early ready to take on our first official day of potty training. Although people told me to just have Bret and I alone, realistically that wasn't going to happen with our busy schedules. Just 1 hour into our potty training experience we were expecting 3 therapists at the door. In all fairness the therapists were warned ahead of time about the adventure we were embarking upon that weekend and still agreed to come! They were greeted with our "Welcome to Potty City" sign that was hanging on our door!

We woke the quads up and brought them out and told them "Today we're wearing big girl/boy panties/undies! Wahooo!" We let each of them pick out a pair of undies and the pottying began.... all but Brody that is. They all sat, peed and were rewarded with their sticker and choice of an M&M or a Skittle. Before ya know the therapists were there and began their sessions with Brody & Kylee. As each minute passed we repeated phrases like "Be sure you go potty on the potty, not in your panties!" "Tell us if you need to go potty, ok?" "Brody, do you need to go potty?" Every once in a while someone would go but Brody continued to hold it making me a nervous wreck. The dude held it in for several hours and then FINALLY went! Whew!

The rest of the day went fairly well, to my surprise it wasn't too stressful and went smoothly. We did put them in Pull Ups during nap as I am not expecting them to be able to hold it in their sleep. Two were dry when they woke up, whoop whoop! Night time, by the way, we are still doing diapers, only because Pull Ups won't hold a night time's amount of pee. Not sure when we'll do night training but it won't be in our near future. OK back to business, Day 1 we had a total of 4, only 4 accidents! One from Korbin and surprisingly 3 from Baxlyn. The two I thought we'd have the biggest issues with, no problemo whatsoever! Although it was a great start, nobody pooped all day. My babies have NEVER been "frequent poopers" so I wasn't surprised but was left hoping for a number two or two the next day so we could practice conquering that part of potty training as well.

Bret has been super busy working on a big project lately (EEK!) and was not able to be with me the rest of the weekend so one of my BFFs Bethany came over Friday night to be there when the quads woke up Saturday morning and stayed the ENTIRE weekend, God love her. She and I, I swear, are one in the same. We work very well together and can tackle just about anything thrown at us. Bethany, thank you so so SO SOO much girl! Everyone who has been through the Three Day Method, and I mean EVERYONE, warned me that Day 2 was the worst. I was told to expect them to wake up and completely forget what they had learned Day 1 and prepare to start all over again. Every mom I have talked to said that their level of stress was pushed to the limit on Day 2 so naturally, I was expecting the same.
Day 2 went the TOTAL opposite of what we were expecting. We were in a bind with our photographer and were forced to do our Christmas pics that morning at 11am. After a great few hours at home and no accidents we put them in pull ups and headed down the road to Papaws house for our photo shoot. We were back home in just over an hour and only Kylee had barely wet her Pull Up, everyone else - completely DRY! Below is a fair representation of mine and Bethany's posture throughout the weekend. By the end of Day 2 my back was throbbing from the constant bending over. Pulling up panties, emptying potty seats, pulling down undies, emptying more potty seats, and helping pull up more panties is ALL WE DID. It honestly felt like we were running in circles the entire time. By the time we would empty one potty seat, two others had gone and so on. Not to mention it was our goal to reward each successful pee as quickly as possible with a candy and a sticker to put on their sticker chart. The rest of the early afternoon had gone so well, again having a couple even wake up dry after nap, so we thought we would venture across the street to attend lil' Sammy's 1st birthday party. It was a gamble of course but we figured if one had to go, we would just run them back home (literally across the street), let them go and get back to the party. That was our plan and that's what we did. Kylee made several trips across and Korbin once or twice. Brody & Baxlyn, despite our pressure to get them to try to go potty, insisted they were fine and wanted to play with the other kids giving us a look of "Go away, I'm busy and I don't need to pee, Mom!" We ended up staying about 2 hours and had ZERO accidents the entire time! When we got home, they all sat and peed like pros! We celebrated, and I mean celebrated every drop of pee. Here's Baxlyn and I admiring her fine work...Baxlyn and her prize, a sack of fruit, for coming in 1st Place in Pin The Nose On Elmo at the party!! Lol Go B!Mr. Broman came in 2nd and won a ginormous bag of cotton candy!!Here's a shot of their potty seats along with their sticker charts. You'll notice Baxlyn & Brody have quite a few stickers and then look closer, you'll see Kylee & Korbin have about 3 times the stickers. Sure Brody has proven he can hold his pee for record breaking time meaning less stickers but Kylee and Korbin quickly learned each and every drop of pee gets a reward. Those two would sit, let out a drop or two, celebrate, eat their candy, stick their sticker and go sit down for round two....then three.... then four... all within 40 seconds. Although this is VERY frustrating to deal with when you are the candy/sticker hander outer, and the toilet bowl dumper-wiper, I was reassured by other moms it was normal and to stick with the frequent rewards.We ended day 2 with just the ONE accident. I remember telling Bethany it CAN'T be this easy, it just can't be, Day 2 was supposed to be horrrrrible and yet we had an awesome day. As awesome as it was we still had no practice in the poop department. A couple had gone number two, but during nap, in their pull up. Besides an aching back we were pumped and good to go and ready to take on day 3! Below, sweet boys oh so proud of their sticker charts!Originally our plan was to reward any successful poops with a BIG sticker, a tattoo and a piece of candy. Because nobody had pooped thus far, we upped the ante to a BIG sticker, a tattoo, a piece of candy AND this huge sucker seen below. They all kept their eye on the prize and tried but still...nothing. Day 3: Sunday,"a day of rest"... right? We'll that's apparently what the quads thought. OK, it wasn't horrible but we did have a total of 7 accidents. Honestly, I think the "newness" of their new potty life wore off a little bit and they got a little lazy. We spent some time outside, with their potties nearby of course...I sat from my lawn chair and yelled every few minutes "Don't forget to pee in the potty guys!" "Tell Mommy if you need to go potty!" "Korbin, don't pee in your panties!" It was a gorgeous day, we had the windows open and I'm sure the neighbors did too all while hearing me remind the babies to remember to release their bodily functions in the toilet where they belong. Day 4. We had four consecutive days at home so I kept close notes on all 4 to share with you. Bethany left Sunday night to recuperate from the busy weekend and prepare to head back to work Monday morning. After having our "rough" day three, I called my mom to see if she would come out for a while day 4, just in case they take a wrong turn, take advantage of my lack of help, and send me to an early grave. My mom then informed me that she and Collette, our pastor's wife, were going to be there bright and early in the morning to relieve me. I was required to leave the house for a few hours to do whatever I wanted. Are you kidding me?!?!?! I'll take it!!!!!! So, Monday morning they show up at the door and I'm OUT! What did I do with my precious time away, you ask? I got in my quiet car, drove to Target, parked, rolled down my windows, reclined my seat and sat there. After an hour of me myself and I, Bret met me and we had a LONG OVER DUE lunch date at Chili's where I ate my weight in unhealthy food. During lunch we discussed how nice it was for it to just be the two of us in a small booth that we don't get to enjoy when surrounded by highchairs. After a few hours of toddler-free bliss I headed back home, just after they went down for their naps, perfect timing ;) Day 4 ended with a total of 4 accidents, not perfect but better than day 3.

Day 5: The next step...leaving the house in undies. We had an appointment this morning with Dr. Brister, the quad's dentist. I've been nervous at the thought of this appointment for days now. So many thoughts ran through my head as we came closer and closer... I CAN'T put them in diapers, I refuse. Do I put them in Pull Ups? Do I put them in panties? If I put them in panties, what if they pee in the car....omg what if they POOP in the car...eww?! Maybe I can put them in Pull Ups in the car and then change them into panties once we get there... What if I put them in Pull Ups and they stay dry, they COULD have worn panties? I can put them in panties, they've proved they can do it, right? Ugh, can they? If I put them in panties, I have to take a ton of extra panties AND clothes just in case!

I called my girlfriend and fellow quad mom, Suz, for a little pep talk. I explained my thoughts and she quickly replied "No, Heather, no Pull Ups" She told me to put them in panties/undies, make them pee right before we left, get to the doc's office and have them pee upon arriving. Worst case scenerio, some of them pee and I have to change them when we get there. After talking to her I was geared up and ready to go! (Again I LOVE the support I get from my mamas!) As I packed the diaper bag, I felt like I was packing for newborn infants once again, making sure not to forget any essential item. I packed what seemed like 20 extra pairs of panties/undies, wipes, clorox wipes, plastic bags, clothes, a potty seat and I'll admit it, Pull Ups, just in case. I also brought along 2 potties for the back of the van and covered their car seats with these little absorbant pads by munchkin in case anyone sprung a leak. I have always been a little obsessed with keeping their car seats clean and protecting them from pee and poop is high on my agenda...ugh, can you imagine the mess?
I dressed all the babies and sat them on their potties just before we left the house, all of them peed but Mr.-I-can-hold-my-pee-for-hours-to-freak-mom-out-Brody. Dr. Brister's office is about 25 mintues away and I was sooo nervous the whole drive. Again my fears set in... Do I constantly remind them NOT to potty in their panties as we drive? Do I not mention it at all in hopes to keep their minds off of peeing altogether? OMG (looking in my rearveiw mirror) is that one straining to poop right now or am I just imagining it? Why is this drive taking so long? Oh stop light please don't turn yellow, don't turn yellow, don't turn yellow...crap it turned yellow, I have to stop....OMG babies, please don't pee, your outfits are so cute and coordinating - DONT PEEEEE!

Despite my thoughts of terror, I managed to stay calm. As I pulled up to Dr. Brister's office I jumped out, opened their door and began unloading. My first to unstrap was Korbin, DRY Korbin! A sigh of relief and my heart is pounding as I make my way towards the next one, dry. Then to the back seat 3rd and 4th, dry. REALLY?! YOU ARE ALL DRY?! NOBODY PEED?! WOOOHOOO! As badly as I wanted to celebrate, I knew my luck could run out at any second. I scurry to get them all up the curb, swing the door open (potty seat in hand) and exclaim to the smiling staff "We're on Day 5, where is your bathroom?!?!?!" I herded them all towards the bathroom and one by one and let each of them try to go, which they did with the exception of Brody, of course. It was at that moment, I KNEW they would be fine. Sure we'll have an accident here and there but it was then that I felt a sense of accomplishment. We had done it, they proved they can do it, and my little bitty babies are now big panty and undie wearin' big kids!

The rest of the time at the doctor's office went great. They always do great at the denistry part but they also did great potty-wise. Mom met me there to help out and between the 2 of us we kept them contained between our exam room, the bathroom (which we owned while we were there by the way) and the waiting room. We were there about an hour and a half and before heading out I had them each go potty one last time. Even after this potty trip, Brody STILL hadn't gone... While the others picked a seat in the car, I opened the back door of the van hoping that maybe a little familiar seat would do the trick for Mr. Big Bladder. It took a minute, but Brody finalllly let out a lil' pee. Not a ton but enough to make me less frantic as we drove home!

Sure enough we made it home and nobody had peed in the car! This afternoon, day 5, while Nana was babysitting, Brody finally pooped on the potty and earned the big sucker that was taped on the wall! He walked up to her and said "I poop I poop! I NEED a hug!" Clearly, I am SO pleased with how our potty training experience went and look forward to the $$ we'll be saving in diapers! To sit back and watch them walk to the potty on their own, struggle to pull down their lil' panties and go potty all by themselves is crazy to see and I love it and it makes me SO proud! A SUPER DUPER special thanks to all of you for the encouragement and those special peeps who helped me (us) get through the weekend. There's NO WAY I could have done it alone!

A few quick tips if you're getting ready to take the plunge with your little one(s):

- 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 ;)

If there's something I didn't cover that you are still curious about, please, feel free to ask and I'd be happy to share. Good luck on your potty training and I'll keep ya posted on how ours continue to do over the next few weeks!


  1. Yay babies!! I am so glad your experience was a good one. I have been following your blog since before the beginning when I saw it on the news. I can't believe how big they are getting. You & Bret are super parents!!

  2. So very proud of you all! Great job! You are growing up so fast!

    Love, Sis (Aunt Beth)

  3. Wow is all I can say. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, you're such an inspiration! Nice job Cox Family!

  4. i LOVE the sticker chart. i have twins, and i might try your ideas when they get to potty training stage. they are only 5 months now so i have a LONG while..but what great ideas! :) and Great job BTW!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your strategy and experience! This has been so helpful as I think about potty training my triplets.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I am very impressed with all of your work. I have to admit that I only have one child that is getting close to 3 and the thought of potty training scares me to death. Your experience has given me a little hope that maybe I can do it. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us.

  7. I am not only proud of the quads, but very proud of you and Bret for your consistency in raising them. You are wonderful parents.
    Love, Mom-Nana

  8. I love love love LOVE the first picture! I hope you put that one in their senior yearbook!!

    -Nikki :)

  9. I know it's been while since writing this blog but I have to thank you for sharing this story I have looked high and low on the inter net on tips for potty training my multiples (I have 2 1/2 year old twin boys) your blog has been the most imformtive out of everything I have come across. I foud your blog by looking up doc bands for a friend at work (one on my twins had one as well) thank you for sharing your families story. Your 4 childen are beautiful! God blessed you for sure!

  10. Just found your blog from my twin Mommy's group. Trying to get my 33 myth old big brother of the twins done. We tried this method and he had a total meltdown at the end on day one so I stopped. After reading your post now 2 months after our first attempt, I am going to give it another try. So glad I found your blog.

  11. you are a brave mama and have earned my ultimate respect. I still break out in hives just thinking of potty training my twins

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your method. I will be potty training our four. I got the potties already but they are not too interested now at 18 months. I figured I would get the potties early as it may take a while. It is inspirational to see how fast you did it and how well it went! Thanks for linking to Multiples Monday and for sharing your inspirational story.

  13. I've read this post before when you posted it for other quad mamas, but I was cruising the Multiples Monday Link-Up blogs, so here I am again! :)

    I remember thinking you had this all together the first time I read it. In about a year, I'm sure I will be asking desperately for potty training tips. You might have to remind me about your method again (short-term mommy memory), because I love that you did it so fast!

    I'm actually pretty terrified of potty training my quads, and it's still at least a year away!

  14. we started potty training our 24 month old b/g twins two days ago- i loved reading this!! we haven't done rewards yet because our dd picked up on the whole business right away. however, my ds...that kid is a camel who can hold his stuff for HOURS. on my way to wal-mart for a sticker chart and some goodies right now!!


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