If you are the parent of multiples or you have two or more preschoolers in your charge, you too can triumphantly toilet train by simply winging it! I did.
My oldest daughter, Lorelai, was just over three-and-a-half and had unexplained anxiety related to toilet training. Her anxiety was so severe that she would only take a bath in a swim-diaper. Being a November baby, Junior Kindergarten was on the horizon for her and time was running out! In Lorelai’s mind, she had plenty of time, she had decided to wear diapers forever and never go to school. Her determination, in fact, almost had me convinced!
My other daughters, identical twin girls, were 26-months of age at this time, and in my mind, we had at least another year (if not more) of diapers, creams and wipes to go! With just over seven weeks before the start of school, I had to do something; start somewhere!
Panic set in with questions running through my mind… How was I going to toilet train Lorelai? Was she physically and mentally ready? Was I going to create more stress for her? What was the underlying cause of her anxiety and where did it stem from?
By the time you finish reading this post, there will be absolutely no reason you can’t successfully train three preschoolers simultaneously. See below for my step-by-step method to improvised toilet training!
In my defense, it wasn’t actually my intention to improvise. I did do my research:
- A Child-Oriented Approach To Toilet Training (Brazelton);
- The One-Day Method;
- The Two-Day Method;
- The Three-Day Method;
- The ABCs of Potty Training;
- The Naked & $75 Method (Rosemond);
- The Timer Method;
- Potty Training Boot Camp
The list goes on!
Since becoming a mother, I have learned so many things along the way… just by the sheer experience of it all. Am I not the expert? Could I not write the book?
So, I made the best-ever real mom decision. To wing toilet training. Starting with my radical decision that if Lorelai was not going to wear diapers, none of the girls were going to wear diapers!
How I said goodbye to diapers in 10 Steps
Step 1: Schedule
Pick a date and start. July 16th looked good.
Step 2: Prep!
- Remove rug from main living space.
- Equip with necessities (mop, bucket, wringer, rags, sanitizer, etc.).
- Acquire the essentials: toilet seat lids (for each toilet in the house), underwear (LOTS). I chose to skip the potty altogether.
Step 3: Set up
The night before your start date, when the kids are asleep…
- Remove any trace of diapers (including cloth, disposable, pull-up, swim).
- Put out all my necessities and essentials.
- Present an opportunity for reward. I chose stickers! I Fun-Tak’d these charts to the wall in the main bathroom.
Progress & Reward Charts from: mypartydesign.com
Step 4: Ready, Set, Go!
The big day has arrived. Batten down the hatches! Stay home.
Step 5: Day Training
Cold turkey, wing it and improvise! Keep everyone naked or in new character underwear. Offer many accessible opportunities to use the big-kid toilet. When an accident is in progress, transfer to toilet. Praise for trying. Reward success with stickers. Clean messes. Sanitize. Change underwear. Spray & Wash. Launder. Take frequent deep breaths. Hold strong.
Step 6: Night Training
The first of the night trainings has arrived. Batten down the hatches! Line beds with shower liners, incontinence pads, towels, PeapodMats… whatever you got (multiple layers).
Put everyone to bed in new character underwear and two-piece pajamas. Wake up two to three times throughout the night and take everyone to the toilet. Wake up another time or two to change underwear, pajama bottoms, bed lining. Spray & Wash. Launder. Take frequent deep breaths. Hold strong. Sleep a very little bit.
Step 8: Stick to It
Repeat steps 5 & 6 every day and night until it clicks.
Step 9: Taking it to the Streets
The time will come to venture out of the house – when you feel ready!
- Don’t forget to travel with a toilet-seat lid or a portable potty
- Always pack a change of clothes
Step 10: Celebrate!
You successfully toilet trained three preschoolers simultaneously (by making it all up as you went along). People will think you’re genius. And, you are! You are the best-ever real mom! You are now an expert in the field. Congratulations!
This process took five days for my daughters. Since Thursday, July 21st, my preschool trio are fully day and night trained. Lorelai’s anxiety is long forgotten, and my babies became big girls. Those were an exhausting five days of hard work (physically and psychologically), and it definitely wasn’t pretty.
What I gained most from this whole experience was time… precious time. I quickly came to realize how much more of it I had once I no longer had to diaper change three preschoolers several times each day. I now had a lighter load and more time to spend with my family. What could be better than the gift of time?
I’m a real Mom, making it up as I go along every day. Aren’t we all?
What type of parent are you? How would you describe your approach?