I am used to the triplets reaching milestones and doing everything together that its saved me so much time of not having to repeat the same occurrence three times over. Livia was only about 1.5 years older so she was not too far ahead from them either. It made me think: how on earth do parents with three or more individual kids endure through pregnancy, breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, solids, potty-training etc., three, four or five times over! How do these parents balance schedules of different-aged children? I found that sort of multi-tasking foreign. For us with multiples, we whizzed through developmental stages once and for all.
Of course the downside was our experiences were compressed. It was indeed overwhelming to do things triply. If my triplets were separated into different classrooms, I would have to zip back and forth between different classes during their orientation and that would feel hectic. Other times though, I felt relieved when I got over three difficult hurdles with one giant leap that I am had difficulty imagining having another child and doing it all over again. I felt a sense of weariness and ‘I think I’ve had enough’ moments the past 2 years. When the girls outgrew babyhood, I found myself slowly easing into cruise control and reclaiming more and more of my adult life back.
The one largest and most daunting milestone remained for us was potty-training. And potty-training triplets at the same time within 3 days? Guess what we did it, and only in 2, not 3 days. Here’s how it went down:
Day 1 of Potty-Training
After the millionth time of removing their bottoms and their diapers and walking around bottom-naked, I finally had enough and commenced the triplets’ 3-day potty-training bootcamp – the very same one we gave Livia at 26 months. We were planning to wait for the triplets to be 26 months to start potty-training, but they were showing signs of readiness and willingness much earlier. Given that we were a single-income household, we have always been more of a parent-led toilet-learning kind of family. Ideally, it would have been better for the child to go to the toilet on their own accord, and at their own pace, which can be anytime between 18 months to 4 years old. But I really did not have that luxury – diapers expenses were killing us. Regardless, we did not potty-train too early and waited for the obvious signs of readiness:
- Ability to articulate that they wished to eliminate.
- Ability to remove their bottoms and diapers
- Ability to pee and poop without drama in the potty or toiletbowl
- Long stretches of nap and sleep and remaining dry
The triplets checked off all of these signs. Just like when we potty-trained Livia, I decided on a random day to remove all their diapers and start offering ONLY the potty. It took a lot of encouragement and support for Livia to use the potty, but for the triplets, the moment I offered them the potty, they peed in it twice and poo-ed once, all without drama and incident. We’ve had 2 minor incidents and we provided them towels to clean up their own mess, which they also did without much trouble.
The triplets also took a diaperless nap and remained dry throughout, confirming that they could indeed hold their bladder. One girl had a minor accident on the bed but thankfully it was on the edge of the bed so it was easy to clean. I had placed a waterproof layer on top of their bed sheet and they will sleep like this for the next few nights while they get used to the potty. The rest of the evening were a mixed bag of hits and misses. The identical twins were doing really well and I felt Liora was a little behind on the memo and I thought maybe she should go back to wearing diapers till she was ready. Then suddenly, right after dinner, Liora was able to clearly tell me that she needed to go potty and I led her to it where she proceeded to make a big pee. There were a few more accidents on the floor by all the girls and I tell them to get to the towel to clean up themselves so that they understand consequence. I kept a mop on stand-by for even more major accidents but so far did not have to use it.
The first day is typically the hardest but I must say it was hardly the flood of pee I imagined it to be with triplets. It was clear when they had an accident, they completely forgotten they were not wearing diapers and they felt the consequences of being wet. Hopefully, the second day shows marked improvement!
Day 2 of Potty-Training
The girls remained dry throughout their sleep. I should have gotten up at 3am to bring them to the potty but I was too sleepy. My husband also did not wake up early enough to make sure he brought the girls to the potty when they woke up. Instead they woke up first and proceeded to have accidents on their bed! There were a few more accidents for the rest of the day but there were more hits than misses. Liora was able to go to the potty independently whenever she has the urge whereas the other two still needed a lot of reminders. We planned one more day of indoor potty-training and then we are done. I think the girls were ready, especially since they are totally dry when they are asleep. We continued to use diapers outdoors until they showed competency to use public toilets. I am happy to at least be diaper-free at home. I thought this day would never come!
Day 3 of Potty-Training
On day 3 there was only one accident and all the girls were able to voluntarily go to the potty. I guess my work is done! We also headed out diaperless (using training underwear only) without accident as well. My next step would be to transition them to the toiletbowl and also to use public toilets. But the main work of rewiring their brain to eliminate in a potty instead of diapers, arguably the hardest bit of toilet-training was over. I did it in two days flat. It was tiring YES, but to get 3 girls potty-trained over 2 days was worth the pain.
If you are interested in potty-training our way, you can look at this link. We didn’t follow it entirely. For example, I don’t wake them up at night to pee. I only made them pee before bed and upon waking in the morning. I think its important that kids were dry for long stretches during sleep to be potty-trained. Having to wake them during sleep to pee was just going to create a cranky and un-cooperative child. I also did not bring them to the potty every 15 minutes. It was usually after they drank water, meal times, before sleep and upon waking up so around every hourly or every 2-hourly.
I think its really important that children are absolutely ready to use the potty. They know whats it for, they can tell you what it is and they can sit in it comfortably. If at any point they show struggle or blur-ness, its best to postpone when they are more ready. Like with everything else, it doesn’t have to be traumatic. When a child is ready, they will do so willingly and cooperatively.
Update one month later
There continued to be random accidents throughout the first month after potty-training. But nothing serious, very minor and not very often. After the initial two weeks, we could go days without an accident.
It became apparent however that the triplets CANNOT eliminate in the diaper at all as I predicted. So when we were outdoors, they would actually tell me Mummy, poo poo toilet please. And in a very child-led fashion, started using public toilet bowls without any pomp or circumstance even though they have only used potties at home. In fact they loved public toilets because they could wash their hands in the toddler sinks. My only issue was I had to find a special needs toilets for them because typical toilet cubicles were very tiny and it was very hard to squeeze 4 tiny humans + 1 large adult. I couldn’t possibly leave one tiny human to wait outside, can I?
So just like that we upgraded from potties to toilet-bowls and so at home we started using the toilet-bowls too. I did not plan for it, my girls led the way. They managed to overcome this final “baby” milestone just before their 2nd birthday.
Our 2 big bags of newly bought diapers, which we bought 2 days prior to toilet-training (bad planning on my part on starting toilet-training randomly), sits rather lonesomely in the closet. Guess its time to sell them away.