Dana Price’s triplets had just turned 2 when she spent $72 for six potty seats, three for upstairs and three for down.
“It was the best money I ever spent,” says Price of Buffalo Grove, IL, mom of Amanda, Marissa, and Emmett, now 6. “There were times when they all wanted to sit and experiment. By having seats for each of them, we cut down on fighting — and accidents.”
But the whole gang may not be ready to give up their diapers at the same time, says Timothy Schum, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “You have to treat each child as an individual and look for each one’s signs of readiness,” he says.
When at least one of your multiples seems primed for potty training, usually sometime after he turns 2, try these tips from experts and parents of multiples:
Get a potty seat for each child To save money, scout yard sales or call local parents-of-multiples groups. To help children figure out which seat belongs to them, personalize each with name labels or different-colored tape.
Buy potties with removable bowls that can be easily emptied into your own toilet, then washed — you’ll be doing this a lot, and these are the simplest to work with.
Dress your kids in loose-fitting clothes that can be pulled down quickly, especially since one child’s urge to go might trigger a chain reaction among the others. Summertime can be an ideal time to train because kids wear fewer layers.
Praise children individually for potty successes, but don’t worry too much if a little healthy competition develops. Bill Laut of Fairfield, CA, father of 5-year-old triplets and coauthor of Raising Multiple Birth Children: A Parents’ Survival Guide, thinks that one reason his boys were trained in two weeks is that they were vying with one another for his compliments. Say, for example, “Adam peed in the potty! Let’s see if we can help you do that,” rather than “Adam can pee in the potty — why can’t you?”
Consider doling out small toys or stickers one at a time as rewards for using the potty. “This is one of those times when bribes are totally worth it,” says Laut.
Be patient, don’t punish a child for having an accident, and forget about comparing yourself to other parents. Says Laut, “You’ll find that many parents have very selective memories about when their children were toilet trained!”