Word Woes

The latest trend in the Douglas household is the use of “adult words” or inappropriately used potty phrases. Any of you that have the pleasure of knowing my other half are certainly not surprised by this thought or any other atypical phrasing that comes out of everyday conversations when you’d least expect it.

Does anyone believe these adorable faces say such terrible things?

It turns out that what we both believed was a genius way to handle profanity with toddlers may actually be backfiring. In other words (pun intended!) the continued use of certain four letter words that are essential in everyday life when raising toddlers, while lessened from prior years, still fly out of our mouths more than they probably should. For a while I was monitoring such things a lot better (with much effort), but ultimately age three pummeled me with such force that such things re-emerged with a hurricane force (does that depict it well enough?!). With the girls hearing such explicits, we constantly reminded them the words are only for adults, hence the that’s an adult word, you can’t say that word conversations we’ve maintained the past few months, which much success and minimal toddler repeats.

Previous to this genius, albeit backfiring, plan, the girls would drop the “f bomb” occasionally at age two (mostly Harper) and we couldn’t help but hide our chuckles. The correct usage of it taught us not only were they listening and paying attention to their parents, but that they are picking up verbiage and sentence structure incredibly well. This clearly covers more than bad words! One can’t help but appreciate using it as an adjective and then later as a verb, correctly, from the mouth of an unknowing tot.

Yes, we nipped that as quickly as we could…but I can still chuckle at the thought of Harper yelling mom, open the f$&king door! at me a time or two. That one definitely came from the “slam-the-door/gate-on-everyone’s-face-as-much-as-you-can-to-drive-the-adults-INSANE” phase. Gives me a stress headache just thinking about it.

The girls threw an unapproved rule book change at me when they started retorting any bad words from my mouth with that’s a daddy word, not a mommy word. You can’t say that, only daddy. I’m not sure what super level sneakiness Craig did to pull that sh$t off, but it’s now a rule. Writing that I even hear in my mind…mom you can’t say that. Just taking away ALL my fun. Craig doesn’t seem to have an issue with this change.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the instructional “we can say it but you can’t” concept was going amazing until recently. I believe this change resulted from two things: 1) the implementation of constant tattling, and 2) the recognition that saying it provokes a response from either a parent or a sibling or both!

A 3-year-old is basically a walking, talking middle finger.

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The cycle typically goes something like this:

Emerie: you’re a freakin’ poopoo. (to anyone in general or no one at all!)

Oh did I not mention the potty mouth words such as poopoo and peepee are apparently harder to break than the profanities? Yes, THAT, and any adult that remotely uses those out of the proper context in the ear range of my toddlers is going to hear more profanities heading their way from my mouth!! Anyway…

Harper: no, you’re a poopoo!!

And the argument goes back and forth until number three chimes in.

Reagan: Mom! Dad! Emerie said f$&king poopoo! MOM! Emerie said f$&king!! She said poopoo!! Moooom!

And repeat this about ten million times. Also include the times that Emerie did not, in fact, say those words, and yet here comes the tattletale, repeating them herself until you provide a response.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if ages were spanned out or we were just talking about one disruptive toddler. The girls have this magnetic super power that feeds off each other, in pretty much everything good or bad, and once it loads up, stopping it is practically impossible. One outlier from this occurred in the past few days, when Harper had a great attitude all weekend, listened at dance class and was most obedient on our last outdoor excursion, not feeding off the grumpy, push-mom-to-the-limits sisters’ attitudes. One can dream it will improve with age.

I sincerely hope the use of such wording is more centered at home then out at school, but I know the sister jabs and name calling of poo and pee reach far out into our activities and down times, with minimal success at shutting it down thus far. We’ve disciplined, given rewards for good behavior, flaunted rewards when one obeys and the others don’t, had continuous conversations about when it’s okay so talk about poop, and continue to stress the adult word concept, which is understood but not entirely accepted now.

And so, here I am, writing this fantastic blog on the woes of parenthood and my clan of three year olds and their potty mouths.

Pray for us ❤

3.5 Year Update!

The second half of summer kept us very busy, between the impending allergies and ear infections and all the outdoor adventures to be had! I’ve put the “pen to paper” less than I wanted to document some of the excitement, but managed to remember a few things that might bring a chuckle or two. As we round into fall and the impending winter, getting outside as much as possible is on the high priority list, among other things like dance, bike riding and lots and lots of Frozen II and Beauty and the Beast.

The girls are using their new found abilities to make our lives more interesting, especially as they figure out how to do more things independently. Every other moment of the day seems to produce requests (demands) for adult assistance, help open something, turn the music up, turn down the music, find a snack, retrieve a stolen toy, and on and on. One often turns around to find someone digging in the refrigerator, or helping themselves to that candy on the counter by way of a dining room chair, or trying to “help” you complete a chore like emptying the dishwasher or getting silverware out for dinner. Many days the girls will insist on buckling into their car seat and refuse help, even after major dawdling and getting sidetracked or distracted by every little thing. Reagan definitely has the buckling down; it is clear she will continue to excel at these types of skills as she grows and show her sisters how to do them. The other day she zipped up her coat on her own and now demonstrates the new skill to her sisters. In fact, we often find her assisting Harper and Emerie when they ask for help and it’s incredibly sweet. Then there’s Emerie, who climbed into the driver’s seat after pickup one day, sat down and instructed me to sit in her car seat because, well, I drive us home. We had quite the epic argument when I told her to get into the back.

This month’s major discovery involved the recognition that television personality Alexa can and will listen to their requests and start a show for them. After discovery a new movie download on Amazon Video by unsupervised remote clicking, parental controls and pin numbers are now connected to anything credit card related. There are definitely some digital perks that can go the opposite direction when it comes to kiddos and you never think about them until they happen.

New activities these days relate to riding scooters and balance bikes, checking out the new-to-us kid sized four-wheelers, coloring as much as possible and becoming professional blanket fort builders. In very rare form, one evening we even had a fifteen minute break from the usual toddler wars for all three to create a blanket fort under one of the doll strollers, with pillows and stuffed animals and many giggles arising from the blankets. All three playing together, in close proximity, ends in tears and/or fighting 99% of the time; that fifteen minutes, completely inspired by them with unassisted construction, was truly a cute sister moment.

While Craig and I continue to track down kid-sized four wheelers (two down, one to go!), I will admit the girls are still hesitant to drive them, all opting to allow Kaden to chauffeur or ride on Daddy’s wheeler. We hope by next summer they will be ready to tackle the solo art of driving and steering…you know…for a four year old.

We took an impromptu four-wheel trip one afternoon to Eklutna, a beautiful spot about 45 minutes from our house, that I used to camp at or fly into as a kid. For one of our first “let’s just go for it” activities with the girls, it went great! We loaded up for a good nap on the way, with everyone ready to hit the short trail to the lake after a post-nap snack. The whole afternoon went surprisingly smoothly and it felt wonderful to do something normal and unplanned as a family, getting out and about in the gorgeous fall weather. Other less motor driven adventures, such as berry picking and wood exploration, also top the list of great and inexpensive activities and result in delicious blueberry pies and tired toddlers.

Neighborhood balance bike adventures are another popular household past time; the exciting part equals that some treks go wonderful and others result in full meltdowns in the middle of the street. Harper is by far the rock star on this activity; it’s hard to keep caught up on a walk. By next summer I believe she will be riding a real bike, without training wheels, since she already speeds down the road and holds her legs up to balance. Emerie is much more resistant to riding the bikes but generally joins in on the fun, and Reagan can almost keep up with Harper if she really tries, but appears a little more timid than her daredevil, speedy sister.

Goofy attitudes emerge on a daily basis and I try to capture as many of the entertaining moments as I can, since they seem to vanish from my short term memory so quickly (I blame mom brain). Each drive home carom daycare brings a sample of entertainment and I never guess what topics might emerge. Sometimes they want to dye daddy’s hair yellow, or they need to find daddy some necklaces, or provide strict instructions such as mom, no dancing in the car. You can only dance at 11 o’clock. Mom! No singing either, singing is only in 20 minutes. Always very specific instructions, discussed between the three of them, albeit not always well thought out.

Lately Emerie sings a song with the days of the week, which is super cute right? Well she has something against Thursday and fully disagrees that it should be included in her melodies. You will hear her humming to herself and break out with Sunday, Monday, Tuuuesday, Wednesday, Friiiiiday! Any correction is met with Mom I not like Thursday.

The latest, randomly complicated request involves Mom, I want the fever! The fever Mom! Now most folks won’t understand this odd request, especially during pandemic days when NO ONE wants a fever in the house- calm down folks…they are referring to their latest love of all things Ana, Elsa, Olaf and Kristof related, and the short film called Frozen Fever. Fun fact…it isn’t really a short film if played on repeat. The little part of our toddlers’ hearts that fell in love with Wreck It Ralph and Tangled is now replaced with a love for both Frozen movies and “the one with the beast” or “I want to watch Bell,” i.e. Beauty and the Beast. They adore all the Frozen songs, which are played continuously in the car, and have a major fascination with the Beast, who is not nice but learns to be nice– hiding under blankets when he is scary but reminding each other he learns to be nice by the end.

Any guesses what they want to be for Halloween this year?! I bet you can guess.

Other miscellaneous household updates- Emerie’s latest eye check went great. We preemptively took her a bit earlier than scheduled after complaints her bad eye was bothering her. The doc says it appears to be an allergy related irritation and she hasn’t complained much more as the weather turns colder. Now that my little isn’t so little, she’s able to do vision tests by identifying pictures across the room (instead of letters like adults) and she is great at it. While waiting for Dr. Winkle to come in, I asked her about one image she wouldn’t answer, thinking she didn’t know what an old phone from the 50s was. She looked me right in the eye and said it’s a phone. When I responded with how do you know, she said because everybody calls it that, Mom!


Harper, Age 3.5

As we start the second half of age three, the girls all have different quirks that are quite evident. Harper is the doll enthusiast, loves to carry them around, tuck them in and change their clothes, and is by far the girliest of the three. She loves wearing “pretty dresses,” tutus, necklaces, crowns and pretty bows in her hair and wants to be a princess. Some days she proclaims her dress is SO BEAUTIFUL; how can you disagree with that?! Black continues to be her favorite color, although pink is a close second. She’s silly and likes to do things like slam her doll’s head against the metal gate, then grabs her with a awww poor baby, let’s snuggle. Her need for speed continues on everything; running, biking, informing you to drive the car faster, all of it.


Emerie, Age 3.5

Emerie continues to be the builder and loves to make block and train track creations. She also really likes to destroy them and watch them crumble (like Stitch does in Lilo and Stitch!). She enjoys wearing roller skates and is definitely the flexible gymnast and tumbler. She becomes increasingly opinionated everyday and lets her voice be known, especially on things like eye patch choice in the morning, when to wear her glasses, or when she should go to sleep. Her latest obsession is water play, which was perfectly fine over the summer when outside- now we often find her playing with cups in the bathroom and using the floor as her canvas. She belts out several of the Frozen songs with all her heart, and while not on pitch, it is definitely one of her cutest moments. She also loves to sing Patty Cake and knows the whole thing.


Reagan, Age 3.5

Reagan is still our artsy-fartsy one. She now colors within the lines and traces shapes on her own. Having her home most of last week showed her enthusiasm with markers and paint and she did a great job staying entertained while we put in work hours. She is so very proud of her masterpieces and most often wants Papa Lon, Tyler or Papa Cliff to see them. If I don’t bring all the coloring sheets home from school each day, she demands we go get them before we load up. Her second love is playing with kinetic sand and play dough, and you can’t forget about dancing! She also eats any type of muffin, although I believe zucchini mini muffins are her absolute favorite.

Bedtime at this age is proving to be one of the most difficult times each day, with drama playing out each night on cue and equals just as grumpy early risers. The lack of nap time is also causing very overtired littles, who do not want to go to bed, and we are back to the go to bed in their room, end up in ours sleep routine. Not sure how long this will last but I could use a nap.

Harper and Reagan still share height and weight, both coming in at 41.5″ tall and about 35 pounds. Emerie maintains her 31 pounds and is only an inch behind, at 40.5″. That means everyone is in the 99 percentile for height, to no one’s surprise!

Pray the second half of age three is smoother than the first half…although I won’t believe it unless it happens.

Future Ballerinas

Now it’s anyone’s guess what part of the girls’ DNA contains a skill in dancing, but right now we are definitely on a I want to be a ballerina life train. With that in mind, we’ve been eyeing dance classes around town, trying to figure out where to go amidst the current COVID chaos and finally landed on a three-year-old ballet and jazz dancing class by our house that occurs once a week.

To no one’s surprise, I already purchased matching pink, purple and teal sequin leotards off Amazon that fit just right, with a plan to purchase ballet slippers and tap shoes once we went to class (super cute ones here!). The girls begged for ballet slippers for a couple of weeks and randomly start dancing around the house or demanded for the fancy tutus so they can embody said ballerinas. Apparently crowns are an important part of the outfit too, according to them.

Class the first week went well overall, with one of the three teachers noting afterwards they did great for their first hour long class, especially with three of them to distract one another. The shy newbies resisted venturing into the gym full of fun, gymnastic equipment for about five minutes and then curiosity won the fight. In no time all three were climbing on the bars, swinging on the rings and walking across the balance beam excitedly.

After a few minutes of open gym time, all the little dancers gathered on the hardwood floor, with teachers showing them dance moves and other fun coordinated steps, moving with hoola hoops, running to music and using bean bags to assist the effort.

Overall I’d say Reagan participated the very most the first week, only coming over to me once and going right back when I told her she’d get a treat for staying with the group. Emerie rejected her glasses immediately, which we didn’t push, and definitely enjoyed the free time more than the structured. Harper was a bit in the middle, enjoying some of the dance moves and swinging on the bars. There is much anticipation regarding tap shoes, since we didn’t have them yet and she really wanted to march with the other glittery tots.


Week two was much improved. After a cold, a windy park visit and three very grumpy, continually bickering toddlers for the morning, everyone joined in on their second dance class without any adult intervention…for an entire hour! We tried to stay out of sight and keep them from that distraction and it worked quite well. A few times over the hour one would wander off and sit on the fun padding along the wall or hang from the bars, sometimes convincing a sister to join; after some convincing by a teacher, they all rejoined on their own!

The tap portion of the class was definitely a huge hit, especially with the little, black tap shoes! Lots of big smiles and running across the dance floor resulted in much happy discussion on the way home.

The ballet shoes were finally ready for purchase at the start of the third week of class (since it’s very hard to get three pairs in the same size from a small, family business and they ordered more for us!). The girls all sat quietly while one of the kind employees helped me put them on. This week I hauled everyone solo- it started off fine; fine as I’m no one ran off from the car or threw a fit in the waiting room, and proceeded to go downhill from there.

The end of the third dance class….

It went as out as smooth as I expected on the first week. All three rotated running off to the mats, not listening and needing to come sit in the waiting room to calm down, and then back to running off and climbing on mats they weren’t supposed to. The teachers were very patient chasing them (one, then two, then three). If I only had one kid to get complaint, making them sit in the sidelines and watch is doable because I can keep them still. Trying to keep three kids? Not so doable. Sorry of my life. If every week goes like this one, dance class will be very short-lived memory in their lives.

I’ll end on a sweeter note, that the girls claim they LOVE dance class and ask when they get to go throughout the week. They love their dance leotards and tap shoes and seem to really enjoy the balance beam. If we can get them to listen better, I’m sure more and more dance moves will emerge in our living room as we move into more indoor activities for the winter.

Bye Bye Cribs…Hello Big Girl Beds!

Well we’ve gone and done it now!

As usual, I am the parent that drags the feet on another change in the household, whether that relates to changing up bottle feeds, sleep training, or venturing off schedule (in my defense, I’m getting better). The latest shift in the Douglas household, which we are now a couple weeks into, is transitioning to toddler beds from cribs.

We hastily purchased toddler beds about fifteen months ago, right after the girls turned two, because they were climbing out on Nanny Chris during nap time or when they didn’t want to be left “alone” (alone with two siblings apparently) in their beds. We managed to nip this impending transition for over a year, and quite successfully I might add. The only caveat? It meant that bedtime routine included one parent chilling in the nursery chair until all parties drifted off to sleep. Some days this occurred in moments; other days it meant an hour or more arguing with one, two, or three tiny tots that refused to settle and sleep and trying to keep the unsettled souls from waking already asleep sisters.

While I fully recognize digging ourselves the hole of one parent needing to be very close by during the beginning of sleep times is not the optimal method, it resulted in over a year of really great naps and decent evening routines. I personally enjoy sitting in their room with my iPad many nights; once everyone settles it becomes relaxing and enjoyable, listening to the littles dream and talk in their sleep and getting some quiet time to myself. This method did not keep them in bed overnight, unfortunately, but we had a good six month burst of them complying so we could catch up on sleep (several years worth!). Allergy season in July appears to have ruined this beautiful trend and we’ve continue to slide backwards since then.

Since overnight sleep was already getting back to the normal LACK of sleep for the adults, we figured we might as well make the transition and just go for it. As summer rounds out and the “summer snow” cottonwood isn’t as widespread, everyone’s runny noses, ear infections and intense dry coughing fits eased up, but the battle of overnight sleep continued.

The girls helped Craig assemble the new beds on a sunny afternoon, running around the garage and making blankets with the boxes and protective packaging. After a driving nap to entice them to sleep, I managed to get the disassembled cribs down to the garage and the new beds upstairs and made by the time they returned, usually starting around midnight and off and on until morning.

That first night the girls excitedly checked out their beds and sat on them, commenting on pretty sheets and cuddly stuffed animals. Everyone picked out a book and sat under their blanket, flipping through and noting pictures on the pages. Then, much to my surprise, everyone went straight to sleep. It wasn’t a battle, with a ton of whining, crying, demands for water and to go potty again, they weren’t climbing out of beds and free-for-alling it around the room; they went to sleep!! Shocking, right? While the melatonin may deserve the majority of credit here, I also believe a few more months of maturity brought the benefit. All three slept the entire night through, which felt a-ma-zing, but also abruptly ended about ninety minutes earlier than normal routine the next morning.

I will also note that is the only night everyone slept in their bed all night since then, and it’s gone downhill from there…

Harper handled the transition the best by far; in fact, she immediately laid down in her bed and went to sleep, the first night and most after! I expected keeping her in the bed to be more difficult since she is more like me and doesn’t respond as easily to change, but she really took it well and enjoys choosing a book and reading it to herself. The past few weeks only resulted in a few abrupt midnight interruptions here and there and overall she’s our star bedtime routiner.

Reagan, on the other hand, never wants to sleep and has sung that tune for quite a while now, strongly resisting every night and fighting with every breath. She goes as far as throwing super tantrums and flat out screaming until we swap parents out, which seems to help. It doesn’t matter which adult is there; switching is the only way to first of all, not lose your sanity and emotional awareness and two, actually convince her to close her eyes. There are definitely many frustrating nights. Once asleep in her bed, since we refuse to cave to her demand of sleeping in daddy’s bed or her usual I don’t want to go to sleep, she snoozes about half the night and then hastily demands us to come get her. At least those demands originate from her bedside and not running across the house!

Overall Emerie adjusted to some well behaved bedtimes and some meltdown bedtimes and not much in between. Ever since Craig spent a few nights in Juneau last month for work, she is both feet into Team Daddy, reminding me on the regular that she wants dad at bedtime, cried for daddy after nap at school, and loves only daddy (her words, not mine!). Thanks, kiddo. While I’m not taking it too personally that she’s riding the dad train full time right now, it definitely makes bedtime less smooth when under no circumstance can I solve whatever thing she believes needs resolution prior to closing those sleepy, little eyes. Since this transition, she excelled greatly at not needing her overnight pull up. In fact, the last few days I’ve completely forgotten about putting one on and no accidents occurred. Good job, Em!

So yes, I wouldn’t say we’ve found the toddler bed groove yet, but at least we made it through the first few weeks, already gave up binkies last spring, and don’t even have to blockade (or empty) the bedroom to convince said toddlers to settle and snooze. I believe the girls know they can walk out of the room freely, although they don’t and I’m not pushing that, since the door is still cracked open at night and the gate isn’t shut, just propped closed so the animals don’t disrupt them. Through all the fits and arguing, everyone still eventually settles in their own room and I’m taking that as a win in itself. I’m excited for the day the animals begin to sleep with them without causing problems, assuming primarily the dog on their rug, and when they will get up to use the bathroom solo AND return to their beds.

All this new excitement essentially obliterated our nap time and we are rolling with the punches. Nearly three and a half isn’t too terrible for giving up naps, right? Since the first year of life they were non-existent, it was only fair we had least made it past age three! Weekends most toddler beds are usually spent with an encouraged driving nap if the day proves it’s essential (which sometimes work and sometimes doesn’t), but otherwise we are done with that phase and not pushing an afternoon snooze, which becomes quite the fight and not worth the added stress. One would think this would improve the ease of bedtime and cause more droopy eyelids, but that isn’t the case for the most part. Every once in a while they will request to go to bed if they are tired enough though!

I’m optimistic bedtime might improve and at some point in their lives, they must go to sleep without us so nearby, but not this week! And at some point in their lives…they will sleep through the whole night….right?!

First night in big girl beds

The Potty Saga

When people ask someone where they typically spend most of their time at home, one usually responds with the garage (which would be a Douglas boys response!), the kitchen cooking, or maybe the family room spending time with family…but theoretically the answer isn’t usually “the bathroom” (well I hope not anyway!). We can, in fact, say this is where we spent a great deal of our mornings, afternoons and evenings over the past year. Why, you may ask? Two words.

Potty. Training.

This blog is a very long time coming and I can happily report that this household only uses one nightly pull-up (for one!) and NONE during the day!! Huge milestone? Absolutely? Huge money saver? YES. Not buying multiple diaper boxes and tons of wipes on every Costco run is very much appreciated by my wallet.

It’s been a number of months now since the original claim that we are a potty trained household, which occurred sometime over the winter. The girls greatly excelled at their new skill by November/December of last winter, with the potty training saga beginning for real in September when they went off to their first daycare experience.

So how did we get here? It’s definitely been a process, one that I expected to be so much worse than it actually was. I agonized and dreaded the thought of teaching all three at once and spending all day long doing nothing but potty and repeat, potty and repeat; but once we found the groove, it moved along quite well. Large credit goes to my three littles who caught on very quickly!

I have a number of fellow toddler moms with kiddos that seem to fear the idea of potty training or clearly dislike behind pushed to do it. My potty training mindset was similar at this time last year, more of a horrific and dreaded nightmare when musing about it, much of the time before the girls went to off to daycare in the fall. We knew a new and difficult period was upon us, as often happens while raising young kiddos, and planned to push the pain out a few more months until we believed everyone would be more ready. In reality, it was more so we as parents weren’t quite ready to tackle the consistent potty training period and needed more time to mentally strategize and prepare.

To go back a bit farther, we gently eased into the idea at around 18 months old by buying three matching, lady bug potty seats. The first few days the girls carried them around the living room and sat on them, without any diapers coming off, just to get them used to the “new” thing and take the pressure off (no pun intended?!). This moved into a post-bath potty chair time- once the girls were dried off, one by one, we introduced them to the idea of peeing on the potty chair before getting dressed in their bedroom. This processed occurred each night for a number of months and slowly all three would go pee in the seats. At the very beginning everyone received a treat for sitting for a period of time on said potty, with this eventually stretching to only when they went pee. The girls found it quite exciting to sit on them in their bedroom and talk and giggle. It didn’t take too long before they could actually go, even just a little drop, letting us know they were ready to move forward to bigger potty training steps.

The original reward for this monumental act of control meant an M&M was handed to the achiever. This treat was found to leave messy, melted chocolate on our freshly bathed babes and was quickly replaced with jelly beans. Side note, using jelly beans also allows the toddler to choose colors and learn both at the same time while giving them an opportunity to make their own choice on something. This is quite the hit in our household, even a year later. Not only do they love them, but they excitedly focus on what color to pick each and every time. There are still constant demands of Mommy, I need two “lelli beans” for pooping! Emerie seems the most concerned, to date, on receiving the reward for her efforts; the other two occasionally remember now and ask for them.

Joint flushing time

I’ll also note by the time we started the post-bath potty time, all three girls were showing great signs of interest in the concept, with Reagan leading the charge. Had Reagan been the only toddler in our house at the time, she would have been potty trained by her second birthday! She was very ready and able to trudge forward on this new skill and bring her sisters along for the ride.

Most of last summer was this minimal process after bathing- we did not actively practice potty training throughout the day. The girls started telling us when they had dirty diapers and wanted a change, which shifted into diaper changes based on when they noticed something was amuck “down there!”

The girls were rock stars right off the bat when it came to number one, with Reagan leading the pack and able to hold it, go about her day and remember when she needed to go, and nap in big girl undies early on! She did that last step all on her own and Harper was right behind her on nap holding. It took another couple of months before Emerie was dry during nap time; the daycare ended up noting that she didn’t wear diapers at nap when we were still putting them on when at home. I learned from that experience that each kiddo more-or-less showed us when they were ready for the next step and could hold it through nap time, and eventually overnight.

Number two was a little more (or a lot more) effort, especially when it comes to three. They have moments of all collaborating and going at the same time in their undies, and then insisted on tagging along together for the bathroom experience, which can take forever. Who knew how tight a half-bath could feel when you have one adult and three children together! It often seems if one had an accident, for whatever reason the others follow suit, even when we know they recently went. I’m not sure if that is a multiples thing or just kids being kids thing, but they still do it even now.

By this past spring, the much used diaper changing stations for the past two years were converted to just bins of wipes and big-girl underwear. Since we live in a split level home, it’s highly useful to have clean underwear within hands’ reach no matter where you are, making it easier to swap out dirty for clean when spending all that time in the bathroom with three littles. The main floor of our house does not have a bathroom, so the three ladybug potty chairs reside against the wall in the dining room. Even now, with all three fully trained with minimal accidents, everyone still uses them throughout the week. This is often because they don’t want to trek downstairs to go, they want you to go with them and you are doing something at the moment, or it’s a #2 emergency and it’s the closest option. As we round out this winter, I hope to take them away in lieu of using actual facilities going forward. One very important word of advice when emptying said portable potties. Do NOT, under any circumstance, lean over the toilet as you empty the contents in. Trust me on this…

Over the past year or so the girls put their new skills into their creative play. All three went through a phase of constantly “play” scolding their dolls, claiming they pooped or peed in their pants, stripping off their clothes, and using play doll diapers and real wipes. The phrase you not getting a jelly bean for peeing and a finger wiggle was likely uttered AT LEAST million times. The poor baby dolls ended up in constant time out for accidents, something we do NOT promote and I’m not sure why they initiated that but it was a little funny to witness.

Potty win: no idea when I took this video!

We have the method down for getting out-and-about. Demands are met for everyone to use the bathroom prior to loading up in the car, no matter if it’s a short trip to Target or a long drive to adventure. We had a few “lesson learned” experiences on park or play dates and soon after purchased potty chairs for each vehicle. This ultimately removed the big stress of trekking everyone into a public bathroom, venturing into a gross porta-potty or leaving a park to find somewhere to go and has saved us dozens of clothing changes. Prior to the portable potty chair, we had some…errr…interesting ways to handle a kiddo that HAD to go right then. Overall car seat accidents are rare; this is likely coupled with the thought that most major potty training occurred during the pandemic, meaning we weren’t spending time in indoor public places and not out and about nearly as often.

So what have I learned about the potty training process in triplicate? Well I’ve never potty trained a kid before this, I’m pretty sure Craig has which helped; here are the things I’ve noticed and learned:

  • Don’t push it. Take the pressure off and let them show you when they are ready to start.
  • While my three littles are the same age and gender, they are not all the same and advance at different rates for different skills.
  • Rewards are often and important, make them something that isn’t messy or melts everywhere.
  • High praise gets every one pumped up and then they encourage each other.
  • Make a huge deal when a successful #2 in the potty happens and make sure the siblings witness the excitement!
  • Get extra step stools so one can wash hands while the next one is on the toilet. As they start going more separately, we now use the extra steps for teeth brushing.
  • Find a way to lock the main bathroom door open while going through the training process. The girls, even now, enjoy locking the door or slamming it on sisters (and parents) and while less private, they don’t need the privacy while they are learning the skill!

In addition, you will find yourself uttering phrases you never thought possible from your own mouth! For example, I have demanded them to “not bite the toilet seat,” to “stop licking the toilet seat,” to “stop putting popcorn in the toilet,” to stop fighting over the toilet seat and step stool, and even to give sister back her underwear! Ah yes, such fun memories to share with them as teenagers.

What types of potty chairs?

I would not have this answered a year ago, but now I can easily say the built in kid potty chairs from your local home improvement stores are amazing. They are relatively expensive, but they are nice to have and only require a step stool for the kids to access the facility. We started out with three of the same portable (ladybug style) potty chair, one for each kiddo, and completely stand behind both for ease of use. The girls all excelled at using them together. During full on potty training mode, we purchased several foldable toilet seats with a built in step stool and handles to climb up on. This seat was great while they learned more balance and became acclimated with using the “big kid potty,” but eventually they tried to remove them from the room and we swapped out.

What if my kid is afraid of loud public toilets?

This is a major issue that we still deal with, especially with Emerie. Our best advise so far is the potty chair in the car when you really need it, since kiddos pick up quickly where places have “loud potties” (like Target and the jump park!). In addition, keep a small stack of sticky notes in your purse or kid bag. When using a family bathroom (or any really) stick one note onto the toilet sensor and it won’t automatically flush until you force it to. Amazing tip to keeping the littles from running out screaming!

So where are we now?

Teaching the dolls new skills

We are now entering the phase that tells me we should convert out of cribs soon, though I am sooo not ready. Here and there we get calls in the middle of the night to Mommy I go pee! and most of the time they go right back to sleep. It won’t be long before they can get up solo and then climb back into bed…we shall see. And Emerie is starting to wake up dry more mornings than in the past; we believe we are close to no more pulls ups!

Even at almost three and a half, we are still living on the post potty training high and are still enjoying the non-winter aspect of last minute “pee-ventures” that I know we will have later this year with full snow gear already on.

To any of you reading this who are in the midst of triplet potty training or thinking about starting- get some wine, lots of snacks and put piles of clean underwear everywhere across the house…and you’ll be okay. It’ll all be worth it once you get through it! I’m glad to have that stage over and done with and look forward to spending more time outside the bathroom.