Saturday, June 1, 2013

Selling extra diapers?!!

Where we are
I recently saw a photo of a big box of diapers for sale on a Facebook post from a local garage sale group. The title was "Selling Extra Diapers - my son potty-trained faster than I expected." Looking closer, I saw they were Pampers and I love a deal, you know. Unfortunately, they were a size 3. A size 3! I haven't seen a size 3 in this house in well over a year. I used to get excited about the Pampers Gifts to Grow program. Now that we're on size 6 diapers, there's nothing much on the reward list we don't already have, so we just get coupons for more diapers, and that's not exactly exciting.

Back to selling diapers. That mom doesn't need any diapers for her son anymore, at all. I almost cried. I am definitely not THAT MOM, and not just because I don't have a son.

I can't even imagine how it must feel to be able to say I don't need diapers anymore. In fact, I'd love to be able to say "she's potty-trained" for any of my triplets and know it means a process that's actually finished. While Sunshine triplet really only has accidents at night now, those accidents often include number 2 just as often as number 2 ends up in the potty. (Okay, I lied, we just had a Number 2 accident and it's in the middle of the day).

Potty training = nightmare

Sunshine triplet's night-time wear
Potty training is an absolute nightmare with triplets, especially when two of the trio have autism and are significantly delayed with milestones. Okay, I lie. I haven't really even tried much with Angel or Princess triplet, just some basic introductory stuff to the potty. My goal has been to get the neurotypical triplet trained which would magically make it easier for me to deal with the other two, right? Potty training my neurotypical triplet has been hell, and I've been afraid of what it will be like to really concentrate on it with my autistic daughters.

My experience with potty training in the past is minimal. I used to think it was just perfect experience, now I know better. Lotte was about 3 years old when her dad and I finally started the divorce process. Potty training, while I thought about it briefly, was rejected as not a good thing to pursue until some of the instability of her world disappeared (is that another way of saying I was lazy and didn't have a clue as a first-time mom?)

Anyway, Lotte practically potty-trained herself. She came up to me one day and said, "Mommy, I don't wear diapers anymore." I replied, "Really? Okay then let's go get some big girl panties for you." One trip to the store, 2 packages of brand new underwear, 1 set of training pants with plastic pants for over top and 2 weeks of practice. Potty training was done, finished, complete - EVEN AT NIGHT! Oh, did I tell you that she was in daycare full-time back in those days? Yeah, in retrospect her potty-training had absolutely NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with a really fabulous daycare Mama. (Don't ask me how long it took for me to realize that).

Anything and everything

We have 15 pair of training pants
ready to go right now
for Angel and Princess triplets
Back to the trio - Lotte would be so happy if I would quit discussing her potty training after all. I should tell you that we tried absolutely EVERYTHING with Sunshine triplet, and I do mean EVERYTHING. Rewards worked enough to get her to sit on the potty, but honestly I spent over a year just trying to get her to go number 1 in the potty. I have never met anyone with such a bladder of steel. The girl could hold it for 12 hours if she wanted - even with me pushing fluids as much as possible. She would simply wait until she knew she would be wearing a pull-up to go (like at night). School was as frustrated as me, well, maybe not quite, they usually only had to change one diaper/pull-up a day after all. And they certainly don't pay for them.

In the end, what worked for Sunshine, you ask? Well, it was a little meanness and the use of an old summer camp prank that actually did it. Here she was, just before bed, sitting on the potty jiggling her legs and screaming "I want a pull-up," when Tripped Up Daddy said, "tough." "You have to sit and you have to go here. We're staying right here and you're safe, but you have to go on the potty, not in a pull-up." Then he pulled out a dishpan, filled it with warm water and stuck her bare feet in the water. Within seconds, Sunshine triplet surprised herself by going pee in the potty, and not just a little. She had been holding it for hours after all. That was the moment when she finally realized there was nothing to fear about using the potty, at least for number 1. Then within days, she self-initiated bathroom time and she's only had a number 1 accident about 3 times total. That was about two months ago.

The lessons

Church NextStep Toilet Seat

So what have I learned? Well, I wish I would have realized it was fear and not really stubbornness that was the issue with Sunshine. I also realized she had almost been at the same point about 6 months earlier, but I gave in to the frantic screaming and fear by letting her have a pull-up. Had I instead stayed strong, she ultimately would have broken through and succeeded, saving us months of anxiety and frustration. I also wish I had found Potty Training Concepts a whole lot sooner. I think it would have been an invaluable resource. I wish I would have chosen a specific method of potty training that I agreed with and stuck with it. Sunshine triplet enjoys structure, maybe even more than her two triplet sisters with autism. If we had chosen a specific structured approach to the whole process and stuck with it, I think it all would have been easier. Instead, we were way too busy trying everybody's suggestions, the doctor's, mother-in-law's, friends, family members, teachers, etc., that I think it simply confused everyone, especially Sunshine. Last, while potty chairs are fine, I strongly recommend using a potty seat on the actual toilet, like the Church NextStep Toilet Seat.

Where we're headed,
sooner rather than later
we all hope.
What can I apply to the next two triplets for potty-training? Ahhh, now that's an interesting question. At this point, we will be working very closely with the girls' new ABA therapists and OT therapists regarding the process. While I've found many plans out there and even recently went to a seminar specifically for toilet training kiddos with Down syndrome (and other disabilities), I still am not sure what method is the best. Stay tuned, though, I'm sure we'll be learning a lot soon because toilet training is definitely on the goal list for both Angel and Princess triplets.

If you have any advice, I'll sure listen, because like I said, potty training stinks (even for singletons who don't have autism) and obviously I'm no expert on all of this.


  1. Our au pair did the bulk of the potty training last time so I am out of my depth with it now that I am home full time. I can't even get E to talk (had her tested she is fine just doesn't want to talk) so how will I get her to use the potty!!! Fortunately we seem to have caught up on all the motor delays at this point so maybe she will start working on talking and then I can work some potty time in. The au pair started V at 18 months and had her trained for daytime by about 2 and completely by 2.5. I have no hopes of that this time around.

    One thing we used was those small potties because V was a bit intimidated by the toilet and we let her sit on it and play with the ipad.

  2. I had that same issue with the girls - if they aren't talking how can we potty train? She understands though, so you can just teach her to go to the potty or come get you when she has to go.

    Yes, the iPad is a great idea. It keeps them there long enough to go. We start ABA for Princess next week. Toilet training is right up there for her goals. Still waiting to see what goals are recommended for Angel.

  3. We are going through potty training now too. And potty training multiples is question about it. I wish I had some great tidbit for you but we are still in the thick of it ourselves (and cannot do the weekend method because we don't have enough people to be potty buddies for each child). Good luck (and I feel your pain!)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. Misery really does love company, doesn't it? Actually Sunshine triplet is doing much better already and ABA therapy starts this week with potty training as part of the goals. I'm actually more excited because of the help we're going to get now.