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Monday, January 4, 2016

Adventures in potty training twins

A few disclaimers: 
1. If you are not interested in reading about potty training, do not read this post.
2. I am not including a lot of specifics about actual bodily functions because (a) no one wants to read about that and (b) although I'm prone to over-sharing on the internet, I don't want to completely embarrass my children by sharing those details.

We decided to give the 3-day method a try with the twins (except we're still going to use pull-ups for naps and bedtime), meaning we put ourselves on lockdown for 3 intensive days of training to kick off the process so that they got plenty of practice in a controlled environment. Enough people had warned us that training method, though effective, was far from "done" after just 3 days, so we weren't expecting the twins to be completely self-sufficient by Monday morning.

(If you want to know any of the specifics of our strategy (which rewards we used, etc.), let me know and I would be happy to pass that info along!)

A chronicle of the experience follows:

Day 1:
The day started off with plenty of enthusiasm. They put on their new underwear, bid farewell to their diapers, and gulped down the freely flowing (diluted) apple juice. We told them a minimum of 7,500 times to tell Mommy or Daddy if they needed to go potty and reminded them to keep the princesses/cars/super heroes/etc. on their underwear dry, lest their favorite characters be sad.

We ate breakfast, set about playing, and then the accidents started. They did let us know when they were happening (or had just happened if we missed it), so that was encouraging. Throughout the morning, Colby's attitude was all over the place. He was either very on board with the whole thing or insisting he didn't want to wear underwear and clinging (unclothed) to us crying. Clara took it mostly in stride and was even OK with switching between the little potty and the big potty whereas Colby quickly became attached to using the big potty exclusively.

Lunch time was chaotic (both booster seats got a good soaking) and I think we were all ready for a break at nap time. We put them in pull-ups and took a breather for the next couple of hours.

After naps, we were back at it again! It got off to a slow start, but eventually they both got into a groove and it felt like we spent the better part of the afternoon/evening camped out in the bathroom with one or both child(ren). There were a couple of heated arguments about who got to sit on the big potty or stand on the stool to wash their hands at any given time- the joys of training two at once, I guess!

After dinner and baths, we put them to bed (again, in pull-ups) with minimal protests. Miraculously, Colby even yelled for us to come take him to the potty about 1.5 hours after we put them down (he was still awake). We think it was really a stall tactic, but we obviously weren't going to rain on his potty parade. ;)

All in all, I'd say the first day was a success. There was much rejoicing, treat-giving, and FaceTiming when they were victorious and I do think the peer pressure of having two worked to our advantage ("I wanna go potty, too!" "I wanna treat, too!"). When accidents occurred, we practiced the mantra of, "You'll get it next time!" and did our best to maintain positivity.

We ended the day tired, but relieved to have the first (and rumored to be the hardest) day behind us.

Day 2:
More of the same from day 1, but fewer accidents. Some "significant" successes for both twins in the morning set a good tone for the day and I think that helped, as did the continuing free flow of juice and treats. Being locked up in the house all day with two toddlers learning to control their bathroom habits and that are hyped up on sugar is really... neat. But I must say that the treats worked, and so did the juice for that matter!

Colby seemed to have jumped on board by day 2 and didn't have any more meltdowns like he had on day 1. Clara was mostly cooperative, but did not hide her annoyance with us for continuing to pester her and didn't dare take any trips to the bathroom that weren't her idea. Again I'm left wondering from whom she inherited her stubbornness...

We also still dealt with a lot of false alarms and therefore spent a great deal of time in the the bathroom without anyone actually successfully using the potty, but better that than the opposite, I suppose. We even bravely ventured out for a 45-minute outing to get dinner and only one twin ended up peeing on the floor of the restaurant, so it could have gone much worse!

Personally, I was really ready to be done at the end of day 2 and feeling a little burnt out on all the potty talk and togetherness, but again, I was thankful that we seemed to be making progress.

Day 3
The third day got off to a bit of a rocky start because we had to leave the house for church pretty shortly after they woke up. This meant very little time to load them up with liquids and therefore neither one was ready or willing to go before we left. They had also gotten used to lounging around without pants/shoes/jackets on, so there was extra protesting about getting dressed.

Nonetheless, we loaded up, and headed to church (telling them 1,000 times to tell their teacher if they needed to go potty). They refused to go once we got there but we told them that if they stayed dry and didn't have any accidents during church, they could (a) have donut holes, and (b) open a new toy once we got home. Not sure if it was the bribes or lack of liquids, but when we picked them up, they were dry and hadn't had any accidents! Success!

After some more practice that morning, we put them down for naps in pull-ups and were back at it again in the afternoon. Not sure why, but Clara decided that afternoon that the potty was "scary" and kept saying she didn't want to go potty. She had a couple of accidents throughout the day, but redeemed herself by asking to go (and actually going) twice at bedtime.

I have to brag on Colby because he was the underdog in my book (everyone says boys pick up on potty training more slowly), but he did not have any accidents on day 3 and he told us every time he needed to go! I was definitely impressed!

Upon the conclusion of day 3, I'd say that the whole ordeal went about as well as it could have. I'm really proud of all 4 of us for sticking it out, but especially of the twins for how well they adapted to the changes. As hard as it was on us, I know it was even harder on them!

They're off to daycare today and we're hopeful that the peer pressure and routine classroom potty breaks will work in their favor. Fingers crossed! (And if you're lucky, I won't write any more blog posts on this topic :)


Natasha said...

Whooo hooo!!! Especially the staying dry, on their own, at Sunday School part. I hope daycare today continues to be a success.

My main question for you (and you don't have to share if you don't want to) is are they #2 trained as well? One of my kids got fully trained in the "three day lockdown" method and one of them took A LOT longer to get #2 trained as well.

Natasha said...

PS. Also the child which took way longer to day train was way easier to night train and the other child (who completely day trained in three days) is still not completely night trained. It's a mixed bag for sure.

the blogivers said...

Yay, you all survived! And from what I can tell, you are on track to not being nearly as emotionally scarred as I was about potty training! I shall start praying now that Avery is one of those mythical children who potty trains herself...

Erika said...

Although this entire post made me want to writhe...I'm glad that it was so successful and that they're doing so well!! I hope daycare serves to finish the drill with excellence!!

Brittnie said...

I am super impressed!!! I woke up thinking about you this am and so happy that you had the weekend behind you! Can I pay you to potty train Camille in like 6 months??? Thanks in advance!!

Allena said...

I might be a weirdo but I'd love an update whenever you feel one is warranted! Congrats to all 4 of you for surviving!

Brittany Gaspard said...

That picture of them at the dry-erase board is the cutest thing I've ever seen!

Brittany said...

I'm so glad it went so well! It sounds like you were super prepared, which of course doesn't surprise me. :) Yay Team Joiner! :)