January 30, 2015

Good Bye Diapers

I have been in no hurry to potty train the quads because really it is easier to have everyone in diapers who I can change when convenient for me and besides a couple leakage issues there are never accidents that I have to clean up. But about a month ago I needed to restock the girls' closet with diapers because we were pretty much completely out. So I was off to Target to spend a small fortune in diapers. I never added it up but I am sure we were spending $300-350 on diapers every month and it was only getting more expensive as the kids needed bigger diapers because they charge the same amount for fewer diapers as the sizes increase. And buying diapers didn't just mean buying one brand and one size. All diapers are not created equal for each child. This is what our diaper selection looked like:
         Kenzie- Up & Up size 3
         Tate, Rylan, Isabella- Up & Up size 4

        Kenzie- Up & Up size 4
        Rylan & Isabella- Huggie size 5
        Tate- during the last month we had done Huggie size 6 with major leak issues, 
                 Up & Up size 4 with a Huggie size 5 but still with leaks, 
                 then Huggie overnights size 5 with only occasional leaks.

So if you are confused with who needed what and where all of the different sizes were stored so was anyone else who came over and had to diaper our kids. When I went and bought diapers it was a game of figuring out if Costco was cheaper than the promotions Target was having and then I had to figure out what diapers I needed to buy and what could wait until the next diaper pick up. My last run to Target had me frustrated when my bill was around $150 and it included diapers and 2 other small items. I was literally spending money to have it pooped and peed on and then thrown away. I left the store frustrated.

About a week later someone in my twins group mentioned the '3 day potty training method' and I decided to read the pdf version of the book. I have always been one to say never to potty train until your kids are showing signs because it just wasn't worth putting oneself through the stress of potty training your toddler who wasn't ready. At 27 months Aubrey told me one morning she wanted to wear panties. I told her she couldn't pee in them and she told me okay, she was trained both daytime and night time that day. Natalie, who is my 'if something is working don't change it' child, was just fine that her sister got an M&M every time she peed in the big potty and had no interest in getting rid of her diapers. Three weeks after Aubrey became a 'big girl' I told Natalie we were out of diapers because I knew she was ready and from that day she was a 'big girl' too. The girls were so easy and only required us to get them up at 10pm to go one more time before we went to bed and I could count on my hand the number of accidents they had.

Drew took a bit longer to become potty trained because when he turned 2 he had absolutely no interest. After the quads were born I hardly had time to pee myself so there was no way I was going to add in the extra stress of running a 2 year old to the bathroom while I was bottle feeding 4 babes. Right around Drew's 3rd birthday he told me he wanted underwear like daddy and he was day time potty trained from the moment he put on his little boxers. Night time was another story and I did have to resort to pull ups even though I vowed I would not spend money on them. Even waking Drew up at 10pm didn't ensure he would have a dry bed in the morning. He was almost 4 before he was fully potty trained at night and even now we occasionally have a little boy who comes in our room in the morning telling me he wet his bed. That boy sleeps so hard and the house could be crumbling around him and he would still be sleeping soundly.

So with the quads I was fully intending on waiting for them to become 'big kids' because the thought of having to make sure everyone goes potty before we leave the house sounds like more work than changing diapers a couple times a day and the thought of 4 toddlers in a public restroom checking everything out was enough to make me shiver in grossness. But after spending money on diapers once again I decided the extra work was worth the money we would save each month. The only kid who I knew was ready was Tate. He peed and pooped on the big toilet more than any of them even though the others tried often. The issue with only training Tate was that every time he went I had 3 others who wanted to pull down their pants and have their turn on the porcelain thrown. If I am already letting everyone have a turn I may as well train them all.

What I got from reading the 3 day method wasn't rocket science but basically a potty training boot camp. For 3 days one did nothing but encourage fluids which would then promote the need to pee which then lead to parents scooping up kids in hopes that the pee would go in the potty because then those same parents would do the happy dance and reward with sticker and/or treat. All of this is done in high hopes that after the 3 days of literally never being more than a couple feet from the john one's child(ren) will be masters at the whole potty training thing. Sounded great and totally doable so I picked a date two weeks later which I knew we had nothing going on for a 3 day period. What I didn't plan on was two weeks after the initial Day 1 I would still be nervous to leave our house. I have decided there is no '3 day method' instead I have renamed it '3 exhausting weeks when the biggest thrill in life is when one checks for dryness and a kid is actually dry'. It has been a long two weeks already and I think we probably have another week to go before I say we are daytime trained but that said I have not once been tempted to put a diaper back on!

Day 1: This was a day from hell and I will admit it. I was alone for the first day of this process and because of mine and Paul's schedules I knew we would never get 3 days in a row when we were both home. When the babies woke up we made it a huge deal that today was the day that they were big kids. No more babies. We had been telling them for two weeks that diapers were going bye bye because they weren't babies anymore and only babies wear diapers. As soon as I got Tate up I knew it probably wasn't the best time to start potty training because I could tell he was getting sick but at the same time we had been talking this whole situation up so I needed to follow through. By the time the 3 days were over I had 4 quadlings all running fevers of 103-104 with coughs that would not stop. It was probably the sickest all of them have ever been so I have a feeling this did not help us one bit.

Big Kids!

We moved the rugs in our family room because I knew there would be accidents an I didn't want to be scrubbing pee out of the rug.

After getting the kids out of bed I brought all the kids downstairs and donned underwear and shirts. Kenzie immediately peed in the potty and then we waited and waited and waited......before finally we had someone else earn a sticker. During that time I probably said the phrase 'don't forget to tell mommy when you have to go the bathroom' a hundred times. Leading into lunch time we didn't actually do too bad; only 3 accidents and then lunch happened when I had 3 pee while eating their meals and I was so happy naps were next. I had already decided that I was not going to do diapers at naps and just stick with underwear knowing we would have accidents. What I learned that first nap was to strip everything out of their beds I could so I had less to wash because even if they went potty right before naps they would still wake up wet. They were left with a waterproof mattress pad, a pillow and a small blanket. After stripping everything and starting the washer once again the big girls arrived home from school and they were so excited to help with this whole adventure. It didn't take long to realize 2 more kids helping added a new level of stress. By the time Paul came home from work Tate was the only one to earn a couple more stickers while the others helped get more areas of the floor mopped. By this time I was pulling my hair out and not enjoying this at all. Dinner time was another flop as pee dripped from 3 dinning room chairs. I literally wanted to cry and was so excited for bath time because after naps I had quickly decided we would be wearing diapers at night. That night I wanted to give up but at the same time I knew we needed to stick with it. I probably cleaned up 20+ accidents during Day 1 so that evening I hibernated in my bath tub until the water was way to cold to be bathing in it.

I did not want to have to spend 3 days sitting in our bathroom so we brought the bathroom out to the family room which is right off of the kitchen. One potty has now found its way to the car and the other is in an upstairs bathroom.
We set up many different activities that were all very close to the 'bathroom'. There is just something so adorable about toddlers in underwear.
My little helper on Day 1
We upped the anti and added in a marshmallow plus a sticker if they peed.

They were already getting antsy by 10am so we had a popcorn party.
Drew and I both felt this way by nap time.

Day 2: I was so excited when right away in the morning the boys both peed in the potty which earned them a sticker and a marshmallow. It hadn't taken me long to realize I needed to up the anti the day before from stickers to a treat and a sticker. After the first M&M was handed out which left a chocolaty mess on a face I decided that mini marshmallows would be the prized reward because I did not need more messes to clean. Day 2 was a million times better than Day 1 with only 5 accidents throughout the day plus wet beds at nap time. Isabella finally peed in the potty at 5:30 on Day 2. She was not afraid of the potty because she spent more time than anyone sitting on it but the girl could not figure out how to release her pee. We did the biggest pee dance and celebration hoping that she would realize she could do it instead of peeing in her pants when she finally went. When we tucked the kids in this night I think Paul and I may have actually had smirks on our face because we knew we had said good bye to diapers during the day.

I wouldn't be surprised if her babies peed more than she did during the first 3 days.
We had many plasma car races and it was a toss up between Tate, Drew & Dad for 1st place. 
Day 3: Today Paul was going to be tackling alone because I had to work. Thankfully when I got to work they were overstaffed and I was able to go home. I picked up donuts for the kids and Starbucks for me before arriving home to 7 very excited kids. I was actually looking forward to Day 3 because of how well Day 2 had gone. Unfortunately the babies were getting sicker and the husband spent the morning at urgent care. The nice thing about sick kids is they are happy to just cuddle and play quietly which is great when you only have one sick kid, but when you have 4 who all want mom's lap to themselves and scream the minute anyone else even dares to touch mom, you have 4 very crabby kids. My ten o'clock I had to get the kids outside. We had spent over two days cooped up in our house which is not our norm. We took the nebulizer outside and one by one I gave treatments while constantly reminding kids to use the little potty I had brought outside with us. At one point Rylan went off with Drew and to be honest I didn't even care if he had an accident because for 20 minutes he was not picking on his siblings which he does so well. And of course he had our first accident of Day 3 while riding in the jeep with Drew. Day 3 proved to be just a tad bit better than Day 2 but we felt no where near ready to leave the house. Isabella didn't have a single accident that day except for nap because the girl held her pee all morning til nap when she emptied her bladder on her bedding and then she held it again until bedtime. I now knew who my trouble child would be during this adventure while Tate proved to me that he was ready to be trained because the boy didn't have a single accident since Day 1. He was even waking dry at nap time.

Many hours sat waiting for someone to go potty.
The peanut is so tiny that finding underwear to fit her is tough and now without a diaper 12 month pants are falling off of her. Skinny girl problems...
Can you guess who was ready to be trained?!?
Day 14: I so wish I could tell you that we are fully day time potty trained but we are not there yet. Some days are better than others but we still have accidents. All of the kids will pee and poop on both the little and the big potty. I have had to quite the marshmallow game because Rylan and Kenzie both quickly learned that peeing even a teaspoon would get them a reward. This got super old very quickly. Now I only give them out right before naps because I need them to go potty at this time. We still stick pretty close to home because there is no way we could go to the mall and shop without bringing a potty with us. Once someone says they have to go potty they need to go now. I did finally adventure to the gym this morning and made it 30 minutes before I got called because Tate told them he had to go potty. I would have loved a longer workout but the fact that Tate was able to relay he had to go and then have the other 3 also go pee was a huge step. Naps are still an issue and we still are washing someones bedding every day. The girls still take at least a 2.5-3 hour nap and I don't think they even care they are sleeping in wet clothes. Rylan sleeps hard but the minute he starts peeing he wakes up screaming so I am hoping his nap wetting will end soon. Tate woke dry for almost 2 weeks and then the last couple of days has had accidents. Isabella we are still trying to figure out what we need to do for her. She seldom tells us when she has to go and so we have to be good about sitting her on the potty and she will happily sit there for 15-20 minutes when eventually she will go. She does get the worlds biggest smile and even claps for herself when she goes which you can't help and get excited with her but this is frustrating when I had to sit with her at the gym before dropping her off at kidcare because otherwise I knew I would be called for wet pants. I know many would say to just put her back in diapers but I just don't feel she needs them. She simply has a hard time releasing when on the toilet. Maybe wishful thinking but hoping she will soon figure it out.

Even with the accidents we have daily it is still better than diapers. I will never say the '3 day method' is easier than waiting til the kids are truly showing interest but my budget is going to look so much nicer each month. My best advice if you are thinking about trying this method is to have more than one parent home for the full three days, to strip the bed of everything except for what you really need, have plenty of underwear for the child, realize it takes 3 days for the child to understand they are suppose to pee on the potty but it will be many more days/weeks before they are full potty trained and to adopt the idea that it is only pee every. single. time you have to clean it up.


  1. Hahaha! I think you are amazing! I appreciate reading your story because we will be helping Amber with the quads in the near future! Guess I need to look for a few more potties!

  2. Oh girl, this did NOT encourage me to dive into PT. But, I do appreciate your honestly. At least I know we both need to be home with a bottle of wine, and a month's worth of patience.

  3. When I was potty training my son, he had a hard time releasing his pee at first too. One trick that worked fairly well was pouring warm water on his boy part (lol) as he was sitting on the toilet. It seemed to help him relax enough to go, or to trigger the reflex to make him pee.

  4. Great job sticking with potty training with 4 feverish kids. Also, good for you for sticking strong to the diaper-free naps and venturing out to the gym with kiddos in undies!

    I have done the 3 day method with my two kiddos - or a very close version. I agree, the process is longer than 3 days. I was very firm on night time training at the same time. With my oldest, I originally thought it wasn't a problem to put a pull-up on him at night. He was having occasional accidents during the day, and I too thought he was a hard/deep sleeper. Then, one evening a month or so after starting potty training, he refused to let me put the pull-up on him. That was the end of accidents altogether. I honestly think he would regress each night I put the pull-up on him; as the accidents most often happened in the early morning. For me personally, I realized I was sending him a mixed message with the pull-up. With my daughter, I never entertained the idea of buying pull-ups, and it was a much quicker/smoother process with her.

    Please, don't take my comment as an attack that you are doing it wrong, and I did it right. I do not mean that in any way. I just like to share my experience with others.

    Good luck as you continue on this adventure, and enjoy the extra funds in your budget!

  5. krista, this is crazy but you rocked it :) i don't even want to think about it yet, but I read the 3 day book. Where did you find the underwear? Especially for your little peanut - we have a small one too!


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