Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Potty Training Setback

I wasn't sure if I was going to post about potty training at all. I started this blog as a baby book and potty training is certainly a big step for toddlers. It has also been used as a place for me to get down my thoughts and feelings (if I ever need therapy-- potty training might send me there.) While both of those make me think I should, I do realize that this is being put out to the world and one day my children may look back and read this. I have no memories at all of being potty trained. I clearly was (not bragging, just saying...), but aside from one or two cute pictures of me on the potty (and yes, I did have to take a few of the crew), no memories. And I'm okay with that. I don't really need to know the details of me earning my big girl panties. Just when I decided against blogging about it, I realized how interested I get when another quad-mama blogger writes about potty training. Knowing that this was coming up for us, I would wait and make sure I read the post when I could really devote my full attention to it. I wanted to hear what they tried, what worked, how long it took, how they knew the kids were ready, how they knew they were ready... I couldn't get enough! I finally decided that I was going to write about this, but probably be a little vague about things.

I have been dreading the whole idea of potty training. I thought the kids were kind of ready, but I knew that I was not ready, so I just kept putting it off. Last week they officially turned 2 1/2 on Tuesday. That same day, one of the girls announced that she didn't want to wear a diaper-- she wanted panties! I kind of tried to ignore the panties and put her in a diaper, but she insisted. She actually started crying! I figured that I needed to "Mom up" and take the plunge. I put her in panties. Once she was wearing panties, the others wanted them as well. Heaven help me. I had four toddlers wearing big-kid bottoms. Yikes!

I'll spare you the details of an insane first morning. I had the kids' potties in the hall outside the bathroom. Well, I was running myself ragged trying to sit kids on potties while trying to keep an eye out for accidents or other mischief from the others in the family room. By evening, I had worked out a system.

The potties came into the family room. I sat the crew on them at the same time (putting them in the family room also allowed us to watch Elmo's Potty Time while sitting on the potty.) Still not easy, but I had a system.
We had some highlights. Almost everyone had at least one success on the potty. My favorite moment as a mother-- I was giving M&Ms as rewards. On our second afternoon, the crew asked if they could have baby carrots as a reward instead. Um... okay!
We also had some disappointments. One girl simply does not have the patience to sit on the potty for more than a minute. What's worse, is having an accident didn't really bother her Even if each kid only has a couple of accidents each day, times four that is a lot.

Before actually starting to train the crew, I had been hopeful that once one quad had it down, he/she would kind of teach the others. If only. Instead, my child who was least ready, brought everyone down with her. A day or two into the process, she decided she didn't want to wear panties, she wanted a diaper. Since she clearly wasn't ready, I agreed and put her in a diaper. Well, by yesterday, all four kids were back in diapers. No one is willing to wear panties no matter how nicely Mommy asks or what she gives as reward.
I'm trying not to make too big of a deal over this. It is just a setback. I'm considering the last ten days to be my trial run. It was the crew's way of telling me that this is coming. I better get used to the idea and figure out a way to make this work. Now Mommy is ready. As soon as anyone (or the whole crew) feels like they are ready, I'm going to start getting these kids out of diapers. As much as I'm dreading the process, I dream of the end result. No more diapers!!! I can hardly imagine such a thing, but it sure sounds lovely!


  1. I'm surprised you was able to get a picture with all for on the potty at the same time. Ours are just 6 months behind you and we'll be trying to move out of diapers this summer. The kids all started wanting to go potty on the toilet at 17months, and recently we've been able to get some to go on their potty seats. We have one just like yours the white/blue/green ones. They didn't really care for that one, so we have another one that has like padded seat that Matthew claims, he doesn't want to be put up on the toilet anymore. We started out with the M&M's also, but phased it out about 2 months ago. We'll be excited about moving out of the diapers, but not too excited about the messes... lol But we know when one wants to start, they will all want to, thats pretty much how everything is now. There's always the competition in the house.

    The McCleary Quads

  2. I wouldn't call it a set back. I believe they each have to experience having accidents so they're developing an awareness of what is going on. I say put it away until you see one or two or more give you all the signs. I posted about our journey I think you saw it last month on Potty Training 1-2-3 by Ezzo. It helped me not get my hopes up and to understand that they each have their own readiness schedule. Bummer! I wanted to teach mine all at the same time this summer and get it all done with at once!

    But because Makena was totally showing all the signs, she potty trained herself in about a week. I was thinking today that it's been a month now! wow!

    If you push it to much the reward system won't be that effective. Makena got her reward for being dry and a bigger reward for going. Occass. I would reward the other two if they were dry at random times, but they didn't get the big reward. That was hard. But this was Makena's time to shine. Our K-bug won't sit still for more than 2 seconds and just today told me she had to go. I'm going to wait to alot more signs are there before I start her.
    Good luck. It will help other's out there in blogland! Hugs!

  3. Wow, Beth ....I think the progress they made is awesome! My 3 years old still really aren't showing interest!! Molly is just now kind-of interested. Luke not at all. I am not to worried yet, but ask me in a few months!! Wish me luck! I am really hoping since I haven't forced it that it will just click one day...what a Mom can hope, right? I can't wait to read more about your potty adventures. Good luck! Take care!

  4. I think that's great progress. I can't imagine trying to train 4 toddlers at once. I just started with my 2 year old. She's doing well, considering I haven't really had a routine for her. I don't want to push it too much, lest we freak each other out!

  5. I dread this day, and can't even begin to imagine the patience that will be required! Good luck!

  6. I can empathize to some extent, but I only have twins and a singleton so it's not quite so intense. My 3-yr-old son has been fully trained since about 3 mos. before his 3rd birthday. He was pretty easy to train. It took a bit, but progressed in typical fashion from diapers to pull-ups to underwear. But his twin sister is still in diapers! She can't stand the potty. It's so frustrating and I feel like I'm judged all the time by others because she's nearly 3 1/2 and still in diapers. I'm hoping that letting her run around in the nude once it warms up will finally do the trick!
    In other news, I hope you'll come on over to my site today and enter to win a $10 Subway card! Thanks!


  7. Nothing wrong with taking a break and waiting until you think they're a little more ready! I am SUPER impressed that you tried all four at once! I am not that brave!!! :)

    Keep up with me, Ted, and our Fab Four at

  8. I am totally feeling your frustrations and struggles! Brett and Parker went from having NO accidents from day one to suddenly having tons of accidents every day. They started having accidents again when I put Kaden and Cooper back in diapers, since they are no where near ready!
    I am currently trying to decide if I should just go back to diapers, give us all a break, and then try again in a couple months. It's hard, I feel like I need to work on it, since they just turned 3, but at the same time I don't want to push them!
    Thanks for sharing this, I haven't blogged about our potty training experiences at all and I don't know if I'm going to. You are exactly right though, I love it when other people blog about their experiences, so maybe I should share mine. Maybe someday........

  9. Our presonalities are so much alike! I think through all the things you do. My blog I originally started for me, but it is also my record of the kids. So I write about a lot but I try to respect their privacy about certain things too.

    Anyway, love the picture of all 4 of them! And I think you are wise to look at it the way you do. I would do exactly what you are doing - letting those who are ready and willing work on it. One thing I learned from the first time is to not engage in a power struggle! Reagan's trained and now Ashley is finally working on it. She wouldn't sit still for one minute either but she's doing good now. Just graduated to a pull-up and I'm hoping to be out of those soon. We'll see! Good luck! Stay sane! Just don't put pressure on yourself or you will make yourself crazy! Glad you wrote about it. It probably is helpful for other moms of high order multiples.