Sunday, July 26, 2009

potty training the second, fourth time around

Have I mentioned that Henry, who turned two-years-old less than a month ago, is now potty trained?

It's true.

Granted, he can't go to sleep without a diaper and if he is dressed in anything that resembles a onesie, he might have trouble. But if he is wearing clothes that he can easily pull off, he is a potty using SUPERSTAR.

Considering it took me over four years to obtain potty training success with the triplets, I am amazed at how fast my two-year-old has grasped the concept of voiding in a pot. Although I still believe that children will potty train when they are ready and not a moment before - as I'm watching Henry learn - I can't help but wonder if there was anything that I could have done differently with the triplets.

With the triplets, I think I missed out on their readiness cues, and hence, a window of opportunity. When the triplets were Henry's age, they were almost always dressed. I had so many reservations about having naked children running around. So, I would wrestle to put them in a diaper and a onesie, or thick cotton potty training underwear.

Or a costly swim diaper when they were in our own private backyard.

In hindsight, I think part of the reason toddlers are so keen on being naked is Mother Nature's way of helping nurture the potty training process. With Henry, I am much more willing to let him strip down to his birthday suit. Although I initially resisted having a naked toddler running around the house all day, I soon realized that when he was stark naked, he was consciously aware of his bodily functions.

Sure, I had to clean up the rug a few times, but very quickly, I noticed that Henry would run over and plant himself on his small potty seat. Now, whenever we are home, he is naked (by his choice) and he is consistently going both poop and pee in the potty, throughout the day.

All told, I would say that this entire process took less than a weekend to sink in. There was lots of praise. But there were no timers, no potty training books or videos, no reminders, no tears (mine or his), no flooding his little system with hydrating agents, no candy, no stickers, no rewards.

The most beautiful part of this whole experience, for me, is that whenever Henry does go in his little potty seat, his triplet siblings go crazy with excitement. Then, once Henry jumps up to see if he has left a deposit, one of his siblings will bring his potty seat in to the bathroom where they will dump the contents in to the toilet, rinse out the potty seat with water, and flush it all away while saying "BYE BYE PEE PEE!" or "BYE BYE POO POO!"

I'm hardly doing anything.

But this is my reward for struggling through potty training three children at the same time. It is my reward for chocolate syrup laced with laxatives. Enemas. And poetry.

Now that I have four children who know how to successfully use the toilet, my advice to those who are embarking on this milestone is simple: allow your child to run around naked.

And if all else fails, find a family with four-year-old triplets that your potty-trainee can understudy. (We are now accepting applications.)


  1. LOVE IT! My granddaughter is two and when we first put her on the potty chair, she loved it, but did nothing. One weekend, my daughter said,"No more diapers." We put her in panties out of the house, but at home, she was naked as a jay bird. The next day, she was saying, "Me pee pee" and since then has only had one or two accidents. She was alreadry dry through the night, so there you have it...

    Of course, I would have loved to borrow a triplet or three to empty the seat for me! LOL

  2. Awesome theory! I too am finding myself uncomfortable allowing my little ones to run around naked & have been pulling my hair out trying to figure out this whole potty training stuff. I guess I'll have to buck up and try the "naked technique" and thankfully I do own a carpet cleaner, but if this fails I just want you to know that I have two 2 year old's that I'll be signing up for a week with YOUR triplets! ;o)

  3. There's a reason why all three of mine have potty trained during the summer (the first within weeks, second and third within days). ;-)

  4. Ok Jen - you've given me to the courage to try. After vacation, they will be naked around the house.

    Are they constantly having to go to the bathroom when you are out? Taking them in public bathrooms kind of freaks me out because they have to touch everything...

    What about long car rides? Advice please!

    BTW, that's how my brother was potty trained at 1.5 years in 1965 when my parents lived in India.

  5. Austin was pottytrained right at two, too. Don't you remember me gloating about it to you?

    I'm telling you, missing the window of opportunity is the most important part. I did all naked potty training too. Naked is the way to go!

  6. Way to go Henry! How lucky you are to have the three helpers to empty the deposits;) My neice was 2 in December and so far no luck, she will sit on the potty for 10 seconds or so and then get up and look and say "it not working". How cute is that? I will tell her about the naked technique and maybe that will help.

    So glad you are feeling better.

  7. Sheila: Well, we haven't ventured in to the outside world w/ Henry sans diaper. He is potty trained at HOME.

    So, I suspect that with time, I'll dress him in elastic waist pants and a thick pair of cotton undies and when we are out and about, if he needs to go, he'll let me know. Currently, he just tugs at his clothes and yells, "OFF!!" whenever we're at home. Although, one day last week at the pool, he did start to strip down and when I put him on his potty he went w/o problem.

    Long car rides = diapers, for now. But, we always have a portable potty seat in the back of our car for emergency situations (the triplets STILL use it, to this day.)

    Public restrooms = I've been there done that so many times, I'm used to it by now. Yes, they will touch things. Yes, it is gross. Soap + water = only solution.

    Give it a shot and follow their cues. If your child wants to run around naked and free, put out a potty chair or two and LET THEM. You might be amazed at what they figure out on their own!!

  8. Wow, that almost makes me brave enough to try it again now. Potty training my second (of girl twins) was enough to send me to the brink of insanity. But heck, if they would train a sibling, I'm all for it. :)

  9. Yes I would like to sign up for the four year old trainers! I have one who will pee but no poo. Last night she told me poo is gross! Can I drop her off soon?!
    She is naked ALOT but I am finding the naked deal worked alot better iwth my boy than her.?????

  10. Couldn't agree with you more. Potty training on thier schedule is the easiest and only way to do it and going naked really helps. I used this technique with both of my children, our daughter was potty trained at 22 months and our son at 27 months. When I tell people to just let them go naked they think I'm crazy, but it works!!

  11. That's so awesome! I'm encouraged. Stinx has been potty practicing part time for a long while. He's made a lot of progress in the last month (started pooping on the potty) - and I credit the naked theory. I think I just need to be more consistent. I'm *hoping* he'll be trained by december when the new baby is here.

  12. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  13. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  14. That's awesome to have a 2 year old already potty trained.. It took an additional year for my little one to figure it out.

    I totally agree with your take on the child being ready when their ready. I pushed my boy probably too hard.