Once Upon a Potty…Make That FOUR Potties!

The time is drawing near that we will try to tackle potty training with 4 BOYS!  Heaven help us! 

For now we are in the stage of introducing the idea.  “Operation Potty Train Quadruplets” will commence when they seem a little more “ready”. 

However, would you like to hear a humorous story from our introduction?  I had Isaac sit on the potty for an “attempt” and wouldn’t you know that he quickly had an audience of 3 (in our already cramped little bathroom) yelling “PUSH!!!!! PUSH!!!!!!” Needless to say, his attempt was not successful.

I’ll be looking to you, for advise, humor, sympathy, etc. in the next few months. 

Today my two pertinent questions are:

1. What type of potty chair do you recommend?  (I know that many of you recommend using the toilet, because then you have to transition from the potty chair to the toilet, but I can’t be in 4 bathrooms at the same time, nor do we have 4 bathrooms!) I’ve heard the simpler the better?  I’ve having the lovely Casey from Moosh In Indy scope out what IKEA has to offer today. There are so many options out there, it’s ridiculous!  I mean a potty chair that sings and flushes?  A slot machine potty?  These thrones have all the bells and whistles.

 fisher-price potty buddy  safety 1st jack pot potty summer potty chair

My personal favorite has to be the Peter Potty Urinal….

 peter potty urinal

Hilarious, right? You know what a potty chair would do if I designed it?  It would clean the ruined underwear that I have a feeling is going to become a new budget item, that’s what it would do!

2. What types of motivation would you recommend to introduce the idea?  Did you have a favorite story or video?  A doll or stuffed animal?

I’m here to learn, people, and I SO appreciate your input.  We will survive this, right?

80 thoughts on "Once Upon a Potty…Make That FOUR Potties!"

  1. Anonymous says:

    I bought the potty that sings for George & Junior. Hee hee.

    I hear M&M;'s work little miracles. Hang in there!

    Amy C.

  2. Lindsay Bowling says:

    I bought a "froggie" potty at Target, or Walmart, or Meijer, anywhere. I think it's fisher price. We did the introducing stage too and put the potty in a convienent place (bathroom isn't close enough when you "gotta go") then gradually moved the froggie potty to the bathroom. Then gradually made the transition using the frog for just bowel movements and then gradually using the big boy potty for everything. I would have LOVED to get that urinal, especially now. My son is too short to stand at the toilet by himself and go and he has been potty trained for about 8 months now but still needs us to go with him. We also started with sitting down to pee too. not sure if that's a good or a bad thing but like i said, Jack is short so and a step stool is too tall. Now he just stands on our feet and he does the rest!!! hahaha.

    Hope that helps!


  3. Juliana E. says:

    We had a few different styles when we potty trained the triplets. I had an old potty chair that had been their fathers (I can't believe my in-laws saved it that long!), the one their big sister used and a ring for the big potty. I used skittles and sticker charts to encourage them – I know many people don't believe in bribes, but hey, most of them have not had to potty train 2 girls and a boy at the same time! My eye twitched a lot during that month, but we got it done! Good Luck – I can't wait to read all about it!

  4. Anonymous says:

    We had a sticker board in the bathroom and they would get a sticker if they went potty!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Potty seats are so unnecessary and only make a big mess, and more work for mom. Get a ring for the toilet and use that.

    I used chocolate chips as rewards, nice and little. Also focus on the positive, dry underwear! We gave rewards for that.
    Also don't go the pull-up route, go straight to underwear. Thankfully pants aborb most of the accident as they shoot down the leg. Girls just made a puddle on the floor.

    Biggest advice is don't do it until they are ready. Otherwise you're only training/frustrating yourself. My guess is the boys will all stagger it out.

  6. Heather says:

    You can do it!

    I agree with the simpler the better. I really like the baby bjorn little potty. It's all one piece, nicer than the two piece potty chair that can stick to their little bottoms when they stand up [immediately falling and spilling everywhere if you can't catch it in time].

    Toys'r'us has them online for 12.98 a definite bonus when buying four! They are small enough to empty directly into the toilet, no seems keeping them easier to clean [and cleaner in general!] and they have the little front splash guard for boys just learning.

    One of my families had two and they stack easily together, making moving four just a little easier.

    The best potty training aids I've used are potty books. They can read them while sitting on the potty and off. Pictures help kids to understand and identify. There are loads of them at your local library and you may be able to request even more. At this age the board books seem the easiest to hold and carry.

    Finally, I found, with potty trainees eight and nine, that a song can really help. They can't tell time yet and knowing a simple little song that you can sing together [or on their own] gives them an idea of what to expect. 8&9 were boy/girl twins and we sang "I'm a Little Teapot" because you 'tip me out' and it's pretty short. But if you think that's too girlie for your boys I'm sure you can come up with something short that's the same every time [no old mcdonald or wheels on the bus with verses].

    Your going to do great! This is just another opportunity to grow with your boys. I'm really ecited for you – you work so hard!

  7. Heather says:

    Almost forgot. A stool for the sink! Washing hands from the start adds a little fun to the process and it's something they can do every time, even if they couldn't produce something in the potty they can feel proud of doing good work every time they try and that positive feeling is what they'll be left with.

    [and I do get that washing four sets of hands on top of trying to potty every. time. is a lot of work, thus the stool suggestion. Don't worry about cleanliness at the beginning, it's likely they won't even have gone potty, let it be a completely independent activity [that you know you'll have to follow up on later] you can all use to foster independence – which is what potty training boils down to anyway, right?

  8. Don't start potty training until they are ready! Second, I'd start them all sitting on the potty – unless Dad is going to train them standing up! (Then what about BMs….?) Don't use pull ups. I'd recommend taking them at regular (short) intervals and having them all try (which could be a good reason to have enough potties for everyone). If you are really brave, load them on liquids so they really need to go! Relax and remember this too shall pass! LOL!

  9. Brittany says:

    I've "potty trained" three children now and I say it's a great idea to introduce the potty and it's purpose. It's great to encourage them to go in it. But, until THEY are ready, it won't happen. This is one of those things in life that you can't make happen without them wanting to do it. Encourage any and all progress, but don't stress over it. It's not worth it. By waiting until he was ready, my 3rd never had a poop accident in his underwear! (Yay!!!) He had very few pee ones, same with the girls.

    We have a plain potty chair at our house but I never used it with kid #3 and barely with #2. But, in your situation, I would definately use pottychairs because when they gotta "go", they gotta "go" NOW and can't wait.

    Good luck!

  10. Kate says:

    You are brave my friend, so very brave!!
    One of the other SIMPLE moms reviewed this awhile back, and I'm planning on getting one.
    However, it doesn't solve your problem of having something for all 4 boys at once. But its just an idea for you! I REALLY don't want to clean poop and pee out of a potty chair.

  11. AmazingGreis says:

    I have no good experience or advice on this, you know, since I have no kids. But I wish you all the luck in the world. I'll even send good potty thoughts your way, because that's the kind of friend I am. LOL

  12. Anonymous says:

    What you could do is buy just one of those little potty seats that sits on top of the potty, one that has characters on it that your boys like. That way, you won't have to transition them. The potty seat just makes them feel secure, like they're not going to fall in.

    What I've seen to work is while changing their diapers, don't talk to them. Don't interact with them. Don't give them any attention. Then, when they sit on the potty, give them LOTS of interaction, lots of encouragement, lots of stimulation. That way, they cling onto and they want the attention that they get while going on the potty.

    Also, M&M;'s work awesome. Two for poop, one for pee. Or you know, whatever suits you.

    Good luck, we're in that phase now. Just toward the end of it though. WOO!!


  13. Lady Why says:

    I'm on my third potty seat right now and it's very similar to the one you have pictured on the far left. This is my sixth potty trainer but only my second boy. Let me recommend a guard… a HIGH guard. Those are hard to find on today's potty seats. I wrote about it here:


    Also, lots and LOTS of underwear, especially for the beginning weeks. We are on week three right now and he is fully trained to 'go on command'. However, he will still not tell us if he needs to go so I have to stay alert. 🙂 Happy Potty Training!!

  14. Kim Runyon says:

    We are training Caileigh right now too. If you want, you can send one of the boys our way! LOL!
    We use the potty seat that fits on the toilet, but I'm only training one. The Baby Bjorn one piece seats (though there are alot that are like that) look like they could be good. I hated the ones that had the insert you took out. If you had a "spill" the outer part of the potty chair was really hard to clean.
    Good luck! Know I'm right there with you, just with 3 fewer kiddos!

  15. Kim Runyon says:

    Oh, and m&m;'s are a very good reward for going potty. We can give Caileigh her own bag of m&m;'s, but getting 1 m&m; for going potty is a huge deal!

  16. I have the IKEA potty and it is now in my trunk (yes, you need a potty in the car too, it has saved a million messes). It was cheap, but hard for my little guy to get off and on without dumping a full potty over!!!!

    I bought a $15 Safety First potty from Target for at home and also have a seat on the potty. We also sit backwards, facing the back of the potty, when at grandmas as it is easier for them to sit and fit!

    We had one BIG present for when we went 8 hours without an accident and when he goes on his own he gets to pick a piece of candy from the jar.

    I also bought some of the $3 sweatpants at Target to keep in the car with wipes, pull ups and back up undies.

    It is rough, there have been a couple bad days, but everyone said don't give up! We are almost 1 week in and we are doing pretty good. I can't imgaine doing times 4 but it is rough and just push through:)

  17. Jen says:

    Elmo's Potty Time was a big hit in my house and my daughter still watches it once and a while even though she is already trained. I also LOVED using the Gerber training pants from Target. They are padded underwear and hold sooo much more potty when they have an accident then normal underwear. Great for that transition time!!

  18. I haven't potty trained a boy yet (SCARED) and my girls practically did it themselves because I waited until they were truly ready (around 2 1/2 for both). Also I didn't use a potty seat but I can see how you would need to. I am all about that urinal. AWESOME!!

    I would discourage pull ups and encourage a tiny food related treat. I used m & m's. I also bribed with underwear they got to pick out themselves.

    The book "Potty Train in a Day" or something like that gave me lots of good tips. I didn't follow it exactly, but I found it helped me along the way.

    Good luck!!

  19. I would have loved the urnial, and if I had 4 boys, that's definitley what I would get!!!

  20. I forgot to add that we use the ring on the toilet seat too, and it works well as long as it has the guard. We had a potty seat, but it was rarely used.

    M n M's worked for us too and we skipped the pull ups, went straight to undies and he wore the sweat pants with the elastic across the bottom of the leg, luckily it caught most of the mess and it only took a week until he was accident free, day and night!!!

    We also believe in waiting until THEY are ready. It worked for us!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I just finished training my triplets who turned 3 in September, so I feel like I could write a book (but I will try not to here). I say "finished", but we're still working on #2 in the potty instead of in the diaper at nap. I started with my girl last Feb because everyone said girls are easier. I definitely believe in going all the way with underwear and not messing with the pull-ups. Such a waste of money I think. Anyway, we did have about 3 months of pooping in underwear at least 3 times a day. I almost lost my mind. I tried to stay patient and not make her feel bad, but have to admit I wasn't always the best at this. By May she was all done and we are now working on night time with her. But she was so hard that I waited and waited to do the boys. I started right before they turned 3 thinking they probably weren't quite ready. Turns out they were. One of my boys only had one accident and the other one just had a few. And waiting for a diaper at nap time is sooo much better than what my daughter did. Her favorite time was right after we got to the park.
    And yes, the potty chairs are totally gross and a waste of time… if you have one child. Or maybe even twins. But with triplets or more you just about have to use a potty chair. At least for the first few weeks. At this point the triplets only go about three times during the am and three more times in the pm before bed time. So we only use the potty chair for the car (really gross I know).
    But I totally love the baby bjorn. For a potty chair anyway.
    I hope it goes well.
    And one more thing. I would say if they don't seem to be getting it after two or three days then they're not ready. Everyone told me this and I didn't listen. Remember my daughter with #2 in underwear 3 times per day for 3 months. How many times is that?
    Oh, and don't be tempted to throw away the gross dirty underwear. Gets expensive really quick. Buy a box of plastic gloves and hold the messy underwear in the regular toilet while you flush. That gets most of it out. Then just rub it off with your gloved hand. I know it's gross, but so much better than always buying new underwear.
    Stacey McCastlain

  22. Jennifer says:

    I'm currently potty training my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I went with the toilet ring but I totally understand what you're saying about not being able to run between bathrooms. I would say go with the simplest and cheapest potty seats since you'll be needing four. Also, I'd recommend a step stool for hand washing. My daughter loved the Elmo potty training dvd and I also got an Elmo potty training coloring book that she loved. The coloring book came with a chart and stickers and she loved picking out stickers and putting them on the chart. Also, I tried the plastic training undies and my daughter hated them. She wouldn't walk with them on so I think they're king of a waste of money. I think with lots of patience and positive reinforcement they'll get there in no time. Good luck!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I used the baby bjorn for my twins. I bought them online.

    I didn't use pull ups for training. I do use them for naps and night time. We call them "nap underwear" or "night time underwear".

    I bought the gerber training thick white underwear. 3 are in a pack for about 4-5 dollars (at target, babies r us). They could feel them get wet. I did a shirt and underwear for the training time. I would run the washer every night for the next day. You could save character underwear for "graduation."

    Have a good step stool for washing hands.

    I also used the book 1-2-3 Potty. They talk about a treat tray. I used this and left it on the counter. I had little cupcake liners with 2 mini marshmallows, m&ms;, half of a powdered donut, couple fruit chews etc.

    I got great smelling soap (this is actually the hard part washing hands all at once!)

    And my key phrase was "listen to your body." My 3 year old now puts that line to song.

    I also had books that were only for potty time. They were new books that I bought specifically for training.

    get yourself in a mindset that this is all you will do for the next week. Make simple meals, have all errands done. I trained them when my husband was away and he came home and said I looked skinny. I told him who has time to eat with potty training!!

    And remember in the bad moments (as my mother told me) "No one goes to kindergarten in diapers."

    Good luck I will be thinking of you. To celebrate them trained treat the two of you to a night out and use your diaper money to pay for it. It really is a milestone that you all did!

    I will be thinking of you.


  24. Anonymous says:

    I recommend the IKEA potty….I liked it the best! We had a little potty with Logan…it had a cushion and pee would get caught between the hard plastic and the cushion all the time. I hated that thing and threw it away! We also have a flip down seat for the regular potty which is nice when they don't know how to balance themselves up there. I got the IKEA potty for Brynn and it was great! Simple to empty and clean. It does have a bit of a guard but you will want to make sure you teach the boys to point down when they go.

    I too highly recommend just going to underwear when you feel they are finally ready. I think they tend to get a little confused when you go back and forth between diapers/pull ups and underwear. I bribed with M&M;'s too…works well!

    Good luck!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Lots of folks said no pull ups, but no one said why…with a pull up they don't get the sensation of warm liquid down their legs :{ gross I know, but I really helpful "consequence". So I totally agree with NO PULL UPs (sorry diaper company). Lots of cheering! Bribes work great. Best of luck!! You'll love being done with diapers!

  26. Becky says:

    Here's what we did…a SIMPLE potty seat. I put it on a plastic mat in the living room (or near the kitchen) where I would be accessible to it and we could get to it quickly. Then, the first day, the boys went NAKED! Underwear and pull ups are a waste of your time and money. Also, the first day, we sat them on the potty and watched movies all day with a sippy cup in hand of whatever they would drink. They would pee in the potty without even realizing it and then we would celebrate. They seemed to catch on quickly. For the first few days, meals went out the window and it was all about the fluid. (The more they pee, the more opportunities to learn.) I rewarded with m&ms;, 1 for pee, 2 for poo. After we had the idea down, then we added underwear and moved the potty to the bathroom. AVOID the "spray sheilds" for boys. Our experience was they just fall in the toilet. Much easier to just tell them to keep their knees together.

    Good luck! Can't wait to hear your adventures!

  27. Anonymous says:

    We too are using the fisher price frog potty from Target. Similar design to bjorn, but I love the removable insert so I can really sterilize it nightly(although we do soap washes after each use). We haven't had a single issue of it sticking to him or spilling.

    I'm not big on giving our little guy(2.5) chocolate, so we do mini marshmallows(and who can beat $.89 for whole bag).

  28. Isaac Dakota says:

    Wow, I can't even imagine doing it with four at the same time and I don't know if this will help. Our little guy was a rockstar potty trainer it seems. He was trained just a month after he turned 2 1/2.

    Here's what worked for us: told him about a week before that he was going to start going potty in the toilet next week – watched the elmo potty video a few times – gave him one m&m; for potty in the toilet – had him run around the house naked – first day no potty in the toilet – second/third day potty on the kitchen floor (a few times), poop in toilet – realized m&ms; weren't motivating for him, changed it to 10 minutes of Lightning McQueen movie – after about three days of this and me thinking it was never going to work, it all the sudden clicked and we've had an average of about one accident a month including daytime and nighttime.

    – Let them run around the house naked or with just a shirt and socks
    – Find what motivates them
    – Get underwear with their favorite character on them
    – Stick with it at least a week (I was doubting myself after a few days but by the fourth day it kicked in for him and I'm glad someone told me to wait at least a week)
    – Be willing to stay at home for how many ever days it takes to do it
    – Don't use pullups except at bedtime (I would use pullups for a few days after when we would go out in public but he would automatically go potty in them – I realized that I need to just cut diapers off completely and once I told him we need to keep Thomas or Lightning dry and it wasn't a pullup or diaper he kept them dry)

    Good luck! Sorry this is so long!

  29. Anonymous says:

    1. The potty. We chose the Baby bjorn (the bigger one with 2 pieces so that the bucket could be emptied!) It works like a charm with a built in splash guard so no pushing it into the potty while playing and then messy bathroom!! (I've helped others potty train and seen that happen too many times ..I hated fishing those things out after they peed!!)My son is 2-1/2 and loves his little potty! He can go on a regular toilet and does when traveling (only problem is somehow peeing between toilet seat and toilet…thus change of clothes needed!)

    2. I agree with previous posters…go to underwear and don't go back! It did not take long at all for the peeing to happen! We have always had an open door policy in our bathroom so he 'knew' what to do, and would go 'sit' while Dad went potty. Once we started, no diapers or pull ups (except a diaper for bedtime..one step at a time!) and every few hours. Our story took longer than it should have because we moved about 10 states and had quite a rough transition, but at 2-1/2 he is fully potty trained (sitting…we are just now starting to work on that standing and aiming thing!!)

    3. Rewards…We tried everything honestly but he got the peeing part so fast that nothind was needed, pooping rewards were a dum dum sucker (the bag has lasted us quite awhile too thanks to parades and Halloween contributions!)

    4…I would also love the urinal and I only have 1 little boy..he is sitting here with me asking for one as I type…I can only imagine what a hit it would be in your house!!

    Stay positive and good luck!!

  30. Anonymous says:

    I agree with no pull-ups. I used a sticker chart and hershey kisses. I also used a timer to tell him when to go because otherwise he would argue with me. When the timer went off he knew that meant it was time to go potty. They will do it when their ready. Good Luck.

  31. Cheryl Lage says:

    Hee hee! Love how helpful everyone wants to be! When we potty trained our twins (a mere half of your challenge!) we DEFINITELY needed the potty seats…heck, I wish we'd had four! (I was toting them all over the house trying to make the "make it there" easier!

    We wrote our diatribe on the process. It's here:
    Truly believe the key is patience AND tenacity!

    GO get 'em! (it WILL happen…and will be GREAT fodder for blogging…) 😉

  32. Joanne says:

    I threw cheerios in the toilet and the boys had to "shoot" them. I started out with a paper target, but the cheerios worked so much better. I really would consider not getting a fancy potty chair. If you get a couple of step stools the boys can all stand up and pee on the cheerios together. Then, you'll only have to clean up once.

  33. Mama Llama says:

    Oh girl! you've got your work cut out for you… but constistancy is key! I am a huge fan of potty training in less than a day… but of ocurse they aren't REALLY potty trained in less than a day. But you do an intensive training day. I have written out whole method *(adapted for ma ferw different places)out on my blog. http://www.littlellamas.blogspot.com There is a button on it for Little Llamas learn to potty!

    I am not a fan of little pottys or potty seats, but I totally understand you needingto have them all in the same room. Good luck! Drop me an e-mail if you have any questions at all about the the 1 day training method.

    You got this!

  34. We did the cheerio thing for the boys (the reality was it was me training them and I had no practical experience standing :-)). cheerios worked very well. We did not use a potty for them, just a stool by the toilet and cheerios. My daughter was a whole different ball game, and we did use a potty for her. Mainly because I found the boys one day trying to "help" her learn to use the toilet by floating cheerios for her and trying to show her how to "hit" them. They soon discovered that this does not work with a girl. She, however, thought this was hilarious and tried to do it again and again. So we bought her the bjorn potty as a "treat" – it was her special potty – so she would stop trying to stand at the toilet. good times 🙂

  35. Anonymous says:

    One word…Ikea!

    I loved the fact that is is one solid piece. I had a different style for my son. Almost everytime he used it the floor would be wet! The ones that are available at Ikea are very inexpsensive and very easy to clean. I kept one in the car, because it never fails, when they have got to go, it really meant they had to go five minutes ago! Good luck!

  36. Becky says:

    1st of all, good luck Momma! You can do this!
    My main piece of advice is definitely wait until they are ready. I started too soon with my son and went thru months of tears (more me than him) and messes… then one day it just clicked.

    We started out watching the video Elmo's Potty Time. I tried a potty chair, but my kiddos behinds were just uncomfortable on them and would only want to sit a short period of time. So we used the Elmo ring on the toilet. However, with 4, a potty chair would probably be the best bet, at least for awhile. Especially if they all seem to be wanting to watch and/or sit at the same time.

    For my son, we did M&M;'s and stickers for a reward, and LOTS of praise (his love language is affirming words). For my daughter, we did stickers and little dollar store toys (her love language is gifts) and praise of course. With her, I also took her down the Barbie aisle and told her we would get a new Barbie when she was successful. Yes, I stooped to bribery…but it worked!!

    There will be good days and bad days. And even after they are trained, there may be so/so days. HAHA But remember, this too shall pass. And think of the advice you'll have when you're done!! Good luck!

  37. Anonymous says:

    I did not read the other 34 comments, but here's my take. M&M;'s and little treats are highly motivational and easy. I did not like the potty chair, but I understand your theory. We went to the store and let Carter pick out his own stool and his own new package of underwear and really made it a special trip. The first many days I put the underwear on then the pull up on top of them so that if he wet, he could feel what it felt like, but he was still covered. Then I transitioned out of the pull ups all together. Carter never really had any poopie accidents but many potty accidents. I am sure you will have many opinions and, in the end, four completely different stories. I also love the Elmo's Potty Time DVD because it has catchy little songs and humor about it. They do think they are so big and they are so proud. You are welcome to have the DVD and we even have a book of it too that has flushing sounds. I'll bring it to you (along with some other things that I have found that are 3T) if you would like. Good luck. In the end, they are all very different. I also had Mike take Carter in with him to the bathroom as often as possible for obvious reasons. Ha! Best wishes, friend. HUGS!!


  38. J Myer says:

    Well as a mom of a 3 month old… what do I know? However, Jonathon seems to be a big fan of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAGdShHiNv8
    Joe and I found this to be absolutely hysterical. You've got to check it out. We'd love for Jonathon to meet his 4 buddies soon. I'm sure they could teach him so much. Keep us posted on the job front… we're praying for ya all. Love to get together soon.

  39. Well, I can't think of anything major that the other commenters have already said…

    For our twins, we used Mini M&Ms; for rewards each time along with lots and lots of praise! I went with the underwear approach although I did use pull ups if we were going to be out and for overnight until they were ready. (my daughter has been full trained since about 2.5 while my son still has a few accidents a week and needs a pull up at night)

    We had 1 potty seat and 1 toilet seat cover so they each had someplace to go at once. Honestly, my son was almost too big for the little potty seat so he has to use the toilet. It is harder to encourage my daughter to switch to using the big potty all the time but since she's independent on the lil potty, we're not fighting the issue too much yet.

    We read books, watched Elmo's potty time and thankfully their day care worked on it just as hard as we did. We 'casually' introduced the potty for several months – going if/when they asked to, before baths, when they woke up, etc just so they could get used to the idea…then as they started taking more interest and having more success…we went full steam ahead (especially once I was home in the summer with them).

    Good luck…it certainly has its ups and downs! My two (boy/girl) were pretty different in 'getting it'. It'll be interesting to hear how it goes with FOUR boys!

  40. We used a potty chair from Target that you could take the seat part off and it would fit on your toilet. It helps them to not "fall" in the toilet and feel more comfortable and relaxed.

    We did reward as well with Starburst. He got 1 for pee peeing and 2 for pooping. They were so easy to keep up with because they were individually wrapped. He also got to pick out the color he wanted.

    One other tip! This was a HUGE success. We took a special trip to the bookstore and picked out a special book. He picked a dinosour pop-up book. The rule was he could only read that book when he was using the potty. He loved that book so he actually would sit there and read the whole book and end up pottying!

  41. I would say the simpler the better as far as potty chairs go – the last thing I would want is for it to become a toy (both for the icky germs factor and the not wanting to spend any more time than you have to having anything to do with the potty!). We've used M&Ms; as a reward for our first two and will with #3 and #4 as well. (The plan is to potty train #3 before the next one arrives…so I guess that means the next few weeks!)

    Personally, potty training is quite possibly my very least favorite part of parenting. I feel the hours of my life slipping away as I sit and watch between a small child's legs for signs that they're doing anything! 😉 Yes, you will get through this – and I wonder if the peer pressure factor might work in your favor and it will be easier because they're all doing it at once. (Hopefully!)

    I would definitely say wait until you're quite sure they're ready. The last thing you (well, I, at least!) want to do is have to drag it out any longer than it has to, which can happen if you start too early. My first son was 2yrs 9mths when he was potty trained (probably could have done it a few months earlier, but I had morning sickness and wasn't going to deal with it then!). My first daughter was trained…I don't know, around 3 sometimel, she was actually way harder and had accidents for quite a while. She was ready, just easily distracted. And #3 is almost 2 1/2 and like I said, we'll start soon. I have a lot of friends who start training their kids around 18 months, but to me the only person getting trained is the parent – so if your boys aren't ready to do it independently, don't even worry about it!

    Good luck!

  42. Emily says:

    Our 2.5 year old daughter is getting close to being fully potty trained…she gets it right, most of the time! My best advice is this: after the introduction stage, when you know they "get it" and understand what to do and when…quit putting them in diapers (except at naps and night, if you want). I realize this may be impossible with 4 (what do I know about that!!!), but it removed all confusion for our daughter. Instead of having to figure out if she could pee or not, she just learned that she always has to go to a toilet, as there was no diaper on. Did that make sense? Hope so! Good luck!

  43. Anonymous says:

    Just get four of the cheapest potty chairs that you can find because they will not be using them forever and why do you need fancy ones. I would even go to suggest buying only 3 and then a seat insert and switch them around each time they go to the potty.

  44. Word to potty in the car.

    Also? I should have gotten you stools too.

    Better you than me.

    Someone almost died during moosh potty training but I'm not naming names.

  45. Meridith says:

    We have the singing potty, and while my 16 month old (girl) does use it first thing in the morning, the rest of the day she seems to think it is a toy. I have to keep the bowl out of it because…ewww if I didn't!

  46. Many of the potty chairs are the same but for a boy you must have a splashguard…since it is difficult to aim when sitting down! Other than that give them access to books and TP and the rest will work itself out…but i would invest in a cover for your potty…and then you can take it with you when going in public so the boys are more confortable and familiar with it…those potties can be very big and scary when training!

  47. Abby says:

    We also have a baby bjorn potty. Very simple, and very easy to clean (bonus!). We're done potty training our oldest two, and the youngest has another year to go before we reach that point, so I now keep the potty seat in the car for when we are out and about and need a pit stop fast! It really helps at parks and such that don't have bathrooms close by.

    The only advice I have is what we did: First thing in the morning we sat the kids on the potty to see if they would go (they were staying dry most nights), and they would then get used to the potty seat and what its use was.

  48. Leah says:

    I've been trying to potty train my 2 year old…no luck so far 🙁 he only goes when HE wants to.

  49. Anonymous says:

    All of my grandson's sat on a regular toilet backwards (facing the tank) and trained that way. If they faced forward they felt they would fall in and that was terrifying to them. We tossed Cheerios in the toilet for "target" practice. It was a big hit. No pull ups as they're the equivalent to a diaper and they're horrible to change if they "poo". Just go with nothing on their bottoms or put them in training pants. Set a timer for every 30 minutes to make them go potty. A friend of mine got her kids little potty watches that they wore and when the watch alarm would go off, they'd go sit and try to go potty. She has triplets and it worked well for them. Good luck to you!

  50. Anonymous says:

    When I potty trained my 2 boys what I did was

    1. Didn't use a potty chair…We used a potty ring (on the BIG potty) with the boy part that comes up. Why didn't we use a potty chair because I heard of a lot of kids was scared of the potty and took forever for them to use the BIG potty plus easier clean up.

    2. Bought the book and movie on once apon a potty for boy.

    3. every morning that he woke a dry put him on. I can remember sitting on the floor in the bathroom reading and coloring books until they went for the first couple of times.

    4. we did the potty dance after they went. they got m & m or fruit snack (not the whole bag).

    5. once they were potty train for a couple of months we taught them to stand and potty.

    hope this helps


  51. Jen,

    I just potty trained Emma about 3 months ago. I don't have any advice for the potty chair b/c I just got one that went on the potty with handles. But I can tell you that what worked for us was offering a reward of 4 M&Ms; each time she went potty successfully. Some people don't want to give chocolate I understand, but it only lasted maybe 1.5 wks and then it was over! I do have to say the first 4 days were super hard with some accidents but she knew exactly what to do and I just bought several pairs of sesame street panties and by day 5 she was going potty perfectly! It's now been approx 3 months and very rarely do we have an accident. Good luck!!!

  52. Erin says:

    Elmo's Potty Time dvd and the froggie potty! Both big hits around here.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Here is a funny story. I was a cross at a neighbor's house. My son need to go potty only at our house. I broght him home to my husband. He had a accident so he went upstairs to get clean clothes. But he decide to wear ONLY crocs to come back to me. I wish I had a picture of him running to me NAKED LOL He was about your boys age when he did that.

  54. Stacey says:

    We are ending with the third one. I must say read Gen Mcnulty's post about it, she helped me. We also do m&m;'s and we buy them on clearnce after holidays. My sister just got some for .75 a bag:)from Halloween. I have the frog with no sticking and spilling and another one that someone gave me that I hated. I like the frog because it has the take out part so upon rinsing it is not runing down the side like the one piece potties. I keep clorax wipes in the bathe room for the potty and reg baby wipes for dirty bottoms. We also had the potty in the living room for the first few weeks. I started just by it being out and one day Alli got up and wanted to go on "there" so that is how we got started. Alli has done awsome, she is still wet at sleep times and we do pull ups during these times. She has been done for about 7ish monthes. I did panties with pull ups going out away from home for a while for me but she never wet. Nate has been going poo for a long time and has been dry now for about 3ish weeks, pull ups still at sleep. Emma, well she has been hit and miss up untill 2 weeks ago today and she has only had 2 accidents since SHE decided to get on board:)she was a bit jellous of the other 2 and there cool underware. When Alli decided she was going to start we did a week of bare bottoms (all 3) and they all did well with very few accidents. We always go potty 1st thing in the morning, before and after every meal and just before leaving and returning home. I have a potty in the garage for outside play and one that folds down and fits under the seat and uses little bags (I use grocery store bags, watch for holes). We have a stool for Nate but started only siting for a while and now he has the hang of standing. Emma and Alli both have also tried standing:) Also with Nate I would tell him to tuck down your boy parts and have him lean just a bit forward on the big potty and he has done fine like this. They all want to share their success with each other but the rule is they have to shut the potty before flushing because the germies get out and land on everything in the bathroom. I also don't wash hands in the sink every time because it takes forever with 3 but we have a bottle of "hanatizer" under the counter and we wash hands with this and then we use the sink every once in a while. They are great hand washers since I am crazy about hand washing. We do also all go at once at the times listed above and who ever day it is gets to flush so we save a little bit of water. We alternate who's day it is and they get to be the helper and go first and geting their food, going potty, jamies etc. I won't say it has been easy but this too shall pass. I think it is the hardest being away from home so we use the potty in the car when we can and when we are in public I have them put their hands in their pockets or hold their hands to prevent the multiples touching everything while I am potting one of them. Good Luck! If I can help please let me know!

  55. JoJo says:

    Hi I'm a nanny and I've aided parents in training their children quite a lot. If I was training 1 or 2 yes I would say avoid the potty! But with 4… unavidable! How about 3 pottys and 1 toilet seat and mix and match the boys so they all get used to both? This way you avoid the transition! Also when out and about it is sooooo much easier to use a empty plastic water bottle instead of a potty… (their little bits fit perfectly inside!) I know this sounds weird but it is soooo much easier and can just be popped in your bag and done discreetly. Hope I have been a little help for you xx Love from Jo xx

  56. AmyJ says:

    4 boys X multiple pairs of undies a day, I'd suggest dark colored ones!

  57. Anonymous says:

    I bought the cheapest potty chair they had at WalMart. It is beige/white and can serve as a stepstool onto the "big potty." DD loves it. She would sit on it for hours if I let her. We have just been doing potty time before bath time at night and she often uses it (She's almost 2). She gets 1 m&m; for #1's and 2 m&m;'s for #2. They are known as "special chocolate treats" in my house and they are magical.

    I'd recommend distractions in the bathroom…whether it's a book or something to keep their hands occupied (my daughter likes going through all of her hair clips).

    I also started with this strategy: "Special" treats to get her to sit and stay on the potty (I used the Gerber Yogurt melts which she loves, but I don't like to give to her regularly) and "Special, special" treats which are the M&Ms; and she gets those only for actually "producing" in the potty.

    I think potty-training 4 at once sounds so funny! You need to video record this for yourself!!


  58. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and I agree with the above on the "potty time with elmo" video! My daughter loves it and we often sing the song on the potty. The song is on youtube (not the whole DVD) and it's awesome…Just be careful when searching for this video on youtube because there are some…uh, spoofs (so watch it yourself in full to make sure it's the right version!)


  59. Anonymous says:

    I use Odor ban to soak soiled clothes in before I wash them. I get mine at S@m's in a gallon jug. It gets the spell out. Especially if clothing has had pee or poop on it for several hours. Like if soiled while out and about or at school. I just soak in a designated plastic container. I fill with water and about 1/4 c. odor ban. (or follow directions on jug)
    I also keep gal ziploc bags, gloves and extra clothes in the car at all times. Good Luck.

  60. Harris Boys says:

    we started with the potty on the floor…it was a elmo potty, can't remember the brand…then once the boys got more comfortable with going to the potty (which was about 3 days) we switched to the ring on the toliet. I only have twins and I find it challenging to do 'potty' time. We are still working on potty training ourselves, but giving the boys a piece of candy (m&m;) usually gets them excited about going. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

  61. Harris Boys says:

    oh yeah, don't do pull ups, they are useless b/c they feel too much like a diaper and it was hard for my boys to tell the difference. Also, don't start till they are really interested…we started and then took about a 2 month break.

  62. Debbie says:

    Years ago I taught a potty training class at the Pediatrician office I worked at. My opening line was always the same "Our goal in potty training is form your little one NOT to go to college in diapers!" It was a great relaxer as we started the class but a very true statement. So RELAX and know most boys are not physically ready until 3yrs old and since you had preemies be sure to adjust their age. Keep a sense of humor and if you want a great guide get the book "Potty Training in Less Than A Day". My daughter is potty training her 21/2 yr old triplets right now. Ella is completely trained for a month now with only 2 accidents. The key was waiting until she was ready. Anneleise just flat out says she will not poop on the potty so pull ups for her but she rarely wets them. Cameron wants to potty so bad but just can go when sitting on the potty. What worked better than M&Ms; for her was a chant they use at Preschool …You simply put your hand on one hip and then the other the do a hip circle while saying "Hip…Hip..Hooray!" Then they get flown around the room. Good luck and don't feel pressure from others.

  63. Jenn says:

    We have the one that plays music when flushed (it was a gift), but don't have the music on very often any more. Our little guy potty trained real easy (and I count my blessings every day). he is the same age as your boys (born 2/12 in St. V's) and took to it like a champ–I bought all kinds of potty training incentives (stickers, coloring books, etc.) he could care less about all of that. We started with the elmo potty time DVD which we all loved-it was great to get the conversation going. We were just at Ikea and I saw the potty chairs there, they are very simple and economical, but I didn't like it because there was no little bowl to take out to dump, you had to pick up the whole thing which again wasn't much, but still. I was thinking about getting one for the downstairs bathroom, we just moved from a ranch to a two story and thought it might help, but instead bought a foot stool and have him going on the downstairs regular toilet (TMI?). Good Luck!

  64. Mamma Sol says:

    Well, I only have twin girls… But we have the Ikea ones. I love them and find them perfect. Very stable, easy to clean, nothing too fancy or scary. For us, IKEA potties are just right.

    We are just practicing, though – we haven't started yet – but the girls love their potties and like to sit on them. We give them tons of praise for sitting down on the potty. Time to take the plunge? For us, I suppose it will be over summer. Running around naked for days is easier when it's not absolutely freezing 🙂

  65. Anonymous says:

    Don't get any of these chairs!!! Just get the small ring that sits on top of your regular potty.

    You surely don't want to spend the next few months of your life cleaning those things! Gross!

    Have the boys stand on a stool in front of the potty (just like a big boy) to pee.

    Of course, lots and lots of praising! M&M;'s and "Whoppers" are great rewards! Good luck!

  66. Melissa says:

    Maybe you should invest in one of those sprayers that you hook to your toilet. They are made for cloth diapering–to spray the poo off the diapers. I have one on my toilet for that reason, but recently discovered it also works great for cleaning out training pants! 🙂 Let me just tell you– I. hate. potty training. HATE IT!! I cannot imagine doing four at one time, although they say it goes faster because they'll watch each other and learn faster.

  67. KSDallas says:

    Ok, my daughter is quite a bit older but here is what worked for us…

    I just bought the simple, plain potty from Target. The bells and whistles would be a distraction, I think.

    Anyway, I bought a big poster board and wrote "Jamie's Potty Board" on the top. Then I bought a bunch of different kinds of stickers and put them into a small plastic container with a lid. Every time she would go potty in the potty, I let her put stickers on the board. In the beginning, you might let them put some on just for trying. She loved getting to pick her stickers and it really did work like a charm.

    I have heard of people using M&Ms; – I personally don't agree with using food as a reward. I think it can lead to unhealthy eating habits. I am sure others will say it is fine – this is just my opinion.


  68. Anonymous says:

    Don't use pull-ups. What a waste of money – and in your case, times 4.
    Get underwear. Stay home and try it out…just a tshirt and undies. It will make for easier clean-ups.

    Just remember, "this too shall pass". During this stage, it seems like it will never end and all you think about 24/7 is the bathroom…BUT, soon enough you'll turn around and those precious toddlers will be big second graders (mine is now) and his (their) bathroom habits won't even cross your mind. It's great when you reach the point that you say "we've been out of diapers longer than we were in them". You and they can and WILL do it! Just relax and make it very positive!!! I know you will.

  69. LStewart says:

    When starting the potty training process with my grandson we used the one pictured above (top left) and also an Elmo potty. Elmo is and always has been Lil Man's all time favorite character. Neither seemed to be doing the trick. I was afraid we would never get him potty trained and with never having potty trained a little boy I really didn't have a clue what I was doing. Not having a man in the house didn't seem to help a whole lot either. You are lucky in that respect!!
    Our break with training Lil Man happened when he started Early Headstart. He was around other little boys who were also starting the potty training phase and they all learned together. Dad will be the hugest influence on the boys learning to go potty. Let them go when he goes and all little boys love to run outside to potty. Lil Man was strictly an outside potty boy until it started getting cold and he was ready to migrate inside where we moved straight to the big potty instead of a potty chair.
    I would say easily that neither one of the potty chairs purchased have been used more than a dozen times each. Outside and the big potty with other male influences did it for us. Lil Man is still in a Pull-Up at night but he is relatively accident free during the day and also at nap time.
    Good Luck!

  70. Anonymous says:

    Something that worked wonders for my oldest son (though not for my younger) was "potty training" his stuffed bear.
    Before I started training Justin I told him we were going to potty train his bear and I actually put diaper on the thing. Every few minutes I'd ask if his bear needed to go potty and when Justin said yes, I'd put the bear on the potty seat and make a HUGE deal about him going potty. THEN, I'd ask Justin if he needed to go. Usually he'd say yes and if he went I'd make a HUGE deal about him going. Pretty soon, the bear and Justin graduated to underwear and the whole thing took about a week.
    Good luck to you, whatever method you use!

  71. Andrea says:

    I have one potty chair and twins. They use the real deal big potty or the chair. What ever one is available. Our potty chair is nothn' special – Babies R' Us I suppose (gift). ONE M&M; is a Great motivator and one piece of Potty Time paper on the fridge for each kid. ONE sticker awarded for success on the potty. My kids just get the sticker. There is no greater award for ten stickers or anything like that. Working like a charm.

  72. Sara says:

    I just came upon your blog and I have some experience with other peoples children (I'm 19 so no children of my own yet). One of the parents I babysit for actually lived in NYC and always had a Nanny so potty training didn't happen early on with their 3 year old. She's just starting now and her Mom bought all the fancy potties. There's actually 3 around the house. Every time we complete an activity and after dinner and before bed I'd have her sit on the potty and try and go. We'd talk about big girls going on the potty and her friends she knew that are already potty trained. Also she'd get an M&M; if she managed to go in the potty. Mainly just asking over and over if she has to go because when they're that little they always have to go at least a little bit. I'm still working on that with her but it seems to be working so far.

    Good Luck.

  73. We used the urinal for my son and he loved it! Made it easy to teach him to stand up to go from the beginning. Our reward was one m&m; for using the urinal and 2 if you pooped in the potty. He did have some trouble pooping in the potty for the first time, so I bought several items from the $1 store and let him pick the first few times he went to encourage it. Good Luck in your adventure! I am about to start potty training my twins, I am sure it will be half the work it will be for you 😉

  74. The Nolands says:

    We bought a step stool/potty when Kenzie was about 18 months old just to get used to the idea. She used it a few times, but preferred the duck potty seat that you just set on the toilet. We used the m&m;'s and she was excited to use the potty and eventually she stopped asking for the m&m;'s. We just said we were done with diapers but there are still the few accidents every once in awhile. Just keep positive-it will happen!

  75. schwalka says:

    I'll answer #2! we started out using m&m;'s but it lost its luster after awhile, so our most recent reward that is working WONDERS with our 2 year old, is letting him play a game on nickjr.com for 10 minutes after a successful potty. They have all kinds of easy to play, very educational games and our little boy will do about anything to "play dora". there's my 2 cents!

  76. Briana says:

    The urinal potty is hilarious! Didn't know they made those for potty training! One of our easiest solutions was just a seat to put on the big potty and use a step stool to get on it! less mess for everyone…some kids are nervous about that though! GOOD LUCK!

  77. Sadia says:

    I have only two kids, but we have a toilet seat with a built in toddler insert on the toilet, and a simple no-frills Baby Bjorn potty chair as a backup when sister just can't wait.

    We also carry a second potty chair with lots of plastic bags in the car, in case of commute crises.

  78. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jenn, It has been months since I have had a chance to look at your blog and I laughed because we have just begun the same process with our twin boys born in January of 07. We bought some basic potty chairs at our mother of twins club garage sale and the boys sort of sat on them on and off for a few months. Then they discovered that they could stand up and the baby chairs were all over. I sold them at the last garage sale. The boys love to stand on opposite sides of the toilet and criss cross their urine into the toilet. This is especially amusing first thing in the morning when their bladders are full. The sheer motivation of peer pressure seems to be really working for our multiples, because our older boys took much longer to potty train!
    Also, I just bought a cheep gumball machine and each time the boys go potty they earn a penny which then is really fun to put into the machine and get a piece of gum. I have to admit, I'm not so pleased with all of the gum remnants I am finding so I bought some M&Ms; to fill up the machine when it is empty. Goodk luck!

  79. ????????? says:


  80. TG says:

    I’ve had a positive experience with Joy Berry’s I Love Potty Training iPhone App (http://joyberrybooks.com/pottyapp/index.html).I know it is not an option for every family, but it is fun and engaging! The e-book and game are wonderful!

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