Monday, October 29, 2012

Toilet Time- How I Potty Trained Twin Boys

I was about done with changing diapers and decided it as time to start thinking about how to potty train my twin boys. I had potty trained my other two children, but it was not at the same time and did not know here to begin for the boys. Do I train them together? Do I train them separately? Was I even ready to take on the challenge of potty training? I had no idea. So I started to do some research on how to train twins. What I found was, since each child is different, there are no real set of directions to potty training a child let alone how to train two of them.

The one thing I did find to successfully potty training is to make sure each child is ready. I told myself it was ok if one was ready and the other just wasn't. Each child will eventually get the hang of using the toilet, it just takes some patience. I looked for things like:
  1. Staying dry for extended periods of time. It shows some bladder control.
  2. Showing an interest in bathroom rituals. For example following me whenever I went or wanting to flush after going.
  3. Starting to be aware that they are wet or have pooped.
  4. The ability to use words to describe bodily functions.
Each of my children were ready at about 2 1/2-3 years old. Quite a few articles I had read regarding potty training in general stated that some children are ready as early as 18 months. If you believe your child is ready that early then by all means go ahead and try. In my opinion, that isn't old enough. I knew that if I tried to soon I would only end up frustrating myself and the boys. I don't believe a child fully understands these type of things until they are closer to 3 years old.

With my twin boys, they were 3 years and one month old when I potty trained them. I think one of them was ready a lot sooner than that, but since they do everything together I decided to wait until they were both ready. Neither of them have learned to be independent of each other yet and did not want to force it with potty training. I thought potty training them together would make things go smoother and they could learn from each other.

Potty Training In 3 Days or Less talks about how to accomplish it over a weekend. I decided to set 5 days aside where we did nothing but focus on potty training since there were two children instead of just one. I didn't think the weekend was a good choice for us so I chose to use the weekdays. This way my other two children were at school for the majority of the day thus cutting down on distractions.

Before we could begin our journey to being diaper less, I had to come up with some ways to make it fun for the twins. I read about using sticker charts and doing a potty dance. I didn't think they would work well for my boys. Try to do something that your child truly enjoys to make potty training more appealing. I decided that since my boys both loved jelly beans and Dum Dum suckers that they would act as their rewards. Each time they put pee pee in the potty they would get a jelly bean. And each time they put poo poo in the potty they would get a Dum Dum sucker. We were also going to include grandma and grandpa in the process. The first time each of my boys used the toilet on their own they were going to be able to make a special phone call to whatever grandparent they chose so they could brag about their accomplishment.

Awhile back I purchased an Elmo's Potty Time DVD. For the week prior to our 5 days of no diapers we started each morning watching it and talking about how going potty on the toilet means you're growing up to be a big boy. And each time I went to use the toilet I would take them with me. This way I could show the twins how to use the toilet correctly. I would make each of them also go with my husband so they could see how boys stand and pee pee. He was going to be in charge of teaching to pee standing up. At the end of that week I felt we were finally ready to start the path to diaper freedom.

Day One

We woke up and had breakfast. While eating I explained to my twins that we were not going to wear any diapers today, but instead going to put our pee pee and poo poo in the potty. I also explained that for the entire day they were going without any bottoms on. I made sure I kept supplying juice and water so they would have to go frequently. We took turns every 15 minutes sitting on the potty. The first few times were mainly to get used to sitting there. About the third time sitting on the potty my first twin finally started to go. He immediately jumped up screaming "I'm going pee pee!" as pee was going everywhere. I was so proud of him that I didn't mind only half of it made it in the toilet. Like I said there are no set of directions to potty training. I was just glad that he realized pee pee belongs in the potty. Moments later the second twin was going, too. Finally, I knew our days of diapers were over. They both got to make their phone calls once we were through. We continued with the rest of our morning going to the bathroom every 15 minutes until lunchtime.

We had lunch and I praised them both for doing such a good job all morning long. Neither one had a single accident and I thought it was time to wait a little longer between bathroom trips. After lunch we started going every half hour instead of every 15 minutes. I wanted to try to teach them how to control their bladder. I continued to keep filling them with juice and water throughout the rest of the afternoon. They both seemed to be getting it like a pro as long as I was taking them every 30 minutes. The real test is going to be later in the week when we aren't going to the bathroom as often.

I stopped letting the boys have anything to drink right around dinner time. I wanted to start making them go to bed with an empty bladder so there would be no accidents at night. After dinner we made one more trip to the bathroom and got ready for bed. I put them in training pants to sleep in and put them to bed. We had made it through our first day! I could not believe how well being diaper-free was going.

Day Two

Day two went pretty much like day one. We spent the day without any bottoms on and drank a lot of juice and water. During the morning time we made our trip to the bathroom every half hour. After lunch we increased our potty time to every hour. This is where I found my twins started to have accidents. Accidents are unavoidable and should be expected. Don't forget I was still giving them much more to drink than what they are normally used to. When one twin had an accident I just made sure I explained that pee pee/poo poo belonged in the toilet. I then had whoever had the accident help me clean it up. I never once said "it's ok" or "don't worry about it" because I did not want to condone soiling themselves, but I also did not scold them either. Scolding for having an accident would only discourage your child and possibly cause you to lose all the progress already made toward being done with diapers permanently. Instead simply just reinforced what we have been practicing. Let's face it, practice does make perfect.

Day Three

By day three my twins were beginning to realize when they had to go on their own. We started the morning off by going straight to the bathroom. Let me explain here that I never carried the potty chair all over the house during the whole potty training process. All the articles I read and all the advice I was given said to have the potty seat everywhere your child was at. I believe that either way would work, but I wanted my twins to get in the habit of going into the bathroom to use the toilet.

Throughout the rest of the day I slowly increased the time between potty breaks and gradually went back to their normal amount of drinks until it finally first twin disappeared into the bathroom all by himself! I was so excited that my little boy was growing up! And by the end of the day both of my boys were telling me they had to use the toilet.

Day Four

Since the past three days went so well, I decided to venture out to let my twins pick out some big boy undies. After breakfast was over, I got the boys ready for our trip to Target. I put them in training pants just in case. I didn't want to get stuck at the store alone trying to change one child and keep the other one occupied at the same time. I decide that was a challenge I wanted to take on when my husband was with me.

One last trip to the bathroom and we were off. Even though I am a shopping goddess, I knew our first time away from home had to be a short trip. We made it to Target and went directly to the toddler section. I was proud of myself....I even walked completely past the dollar section that grabs me every time I enter the store. When we found the undies, I let each boy pick out their own package. The first twin chose a package of Elmo print while the other twin chose Thomas the Train. Big boy undies were a huge deal and I was glad I finally didn't have to ever buy diapers again.

We went directly home where I put their new undies in to be washed so they could be worn later in the day. Much to my surprise both boys made it home completely dry. While we waited for their undies to finish, we had lunch and continued practicing using the toilet.

The rest of the day was spent running around in nothing but their new undies. You could see the excitement in each of their eyes. They must have tried on every single pair just because they could. While there were a few accidents, I was proud that both boys had made the transition out of diapers and into underwear.


Day Five

I planned for five days, but I really only needed four. I spent this last day reinforcing everything I had taught them the last four days. There were accidents along the way, but we just rolled with the punches and carried on. After all it's only been a few days since we quit wearing diapers cold turkey.

Yeah! With the help of my husband, I had potty trained two boys! On occassion we still use training pants if we know we are going to be away from home for an extended period of time. I don't think my boys really need them, I think it is more for piece of mind for me. Soon days of shopping in the baby section will be a thing of the past for us except for the occassional baby shower gift.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Family Management Binder

Being that I have ADD, staying focused and organized is a daily struggle. I regularly forget where I put that permission slip for school or the current cable bill. All too often are appointments missed or bills paid late because I have just forgotten. Let's not even talk about remembering to mail out family birthday cards. And I can't imagine how things would run if something were to happen to me. My husband would be lost. He doesn't have a clue where anything is located in our house or any of the important information that keeps our house running. This is where I made the decision to do something about it.

One morning as I sat drinking my morning coffee, I was scrolling through Pinterest and I ran across iheart organizing. It inspired me to create our own family management binder. So I sat down and brainstormed what I needed to include in it. As I thought about what information I was going to need, I realized that I should have done this years ago! I guess better late than never, right? Well anyway this is what I finally decided to include:
  • emergency contacts
  • CPR instructions
  • a sleeve with take-out menus
  • a full month by month calendar
  • home maintenance section
  • household chores
  • monthly bills
  • auto insurance
  • auto payments coupons
  • school information
  • medical information
  • pet information
  • birthday list
  • Christmas card list
  • miscellaneous section
Beginning with the most important information, the first page of our binder has our address and phone number. This is for the babysitter or guests that may visit so if there should be an emergency they would be able to direct someone to our home. The next page has our emergency contact information on it. I included the local Sheriff's, Animal Control, Poison Control, the neighbor's, our cell phones and a few relative's phone numbers. Next I added CPR instructions for infants, small children and adults.Then I added a clear plastic sleeve to put all the take-out menus we have acquired in so they aren't scattered all over the kitchen.
The first major section is a month by month calendar all the way thru December 2013. I just went online and googled free printable calendars, chose one I liked and printed it out. The one I chose can be found here: 2012 calendar and here: 2013 calendar. Right away I filled in all the birthdays and important school dates. Then I noted the due dates for any recurring payments and monthly bills. I even included when the pets are due for their shots. Now whenever I make an appointment or things arrive in the mail, they get logged directly on the calendar.
The home maintenance section has a list of all home repairs made and receipts. I have even made a list of important telephone numbers for our local repairmen. The next time the air conditioning goes out I won't have to fumble for his business card, it'll be easier to find his number. This is also where I chose to keep our renter's policy at for easy access.
A clean home is a happy home.....a family binder wouldn't be complete without a household chore section. I printed out a weekly chart from here: chore chart and filled in my weekly schedule. This is mainly for the everyday cleaning. The deep cleaning I broke down into 3 categories; every three months, every six months and yearly. Here is my breakdown:
Every three months
  • clean oven
  • vacuum behind fridge
  • vacuum upholstery
  • wash curtains
  • polish baseboards and trim
  • descale coffee pot
  • vacuum mattress
  • launder throw rugs
  • wash light fixtures
Every six months
  • launder pillows
  • clean lampshades
  • sponge-clean upholstery
  • wash slip-covers
  • scrub grout
  • vacuum condenser coil (fridge)
  • wash comforter and bed skirt
  • wash kitchen cabinets, inside and out
  • deep clean stove hood
  • ceiling fans
Every year
  • clean carpets
  • wash walls
  • clean blinds
  • clean vents
  • garage
Our monthly bills or finance section is probably going to be the most used section in our home. Bills are a necessary evil that we will always have so keeping them organized will alleviate any stress that they may cause. The first page is devoted to those monthly utilities. I listed each one, the corresponding account numbers and contact information. The next page is for all our credit cards and loans. I found this great printable here: debt worksheet and just filled it in. I added a pocket to put the actual bills in once they have been logged onto the calendar.
The next two sections pertain to our automobiles. I have the payment coupons, insurance information and a maintenance log here. I added some plastic sleeves to hold receipts and a copy of the insurance policy in. I plan to take pictures of each vehicle for reference if we are ever in an accident or if they should be stolen.
The kids get their own sections for everything school related. The names, addresses and phone numbers of each school are all on the first page along with each child's teacher's name. I included a district calendar and a copy of my daughter's schedule. All notes that come home go into a plastic sleeve for safe keeping. I also keep a current copy of my son's IEP here.
I have a separate section for our medical information. All of our doctors' contact information and pharmacy information is on the first page. I included a current list of all medications taken and have a clear sleeve to store all unfilled prescriptions in.
Our furrbabies deserve their own spot in the family binder since they are an extension of our family. The vet's address, telephone number and hours of operation are listed. I store their microchip numbers and current licenses here also. Our dogs have a wandering spirit and I need to keep them handy for those times when they decide to run off.
I most likely will be the only one to use the next two sections since the duty of sending birthday and Christmas cards is usually reserved for me. I only send cards to close friends and relatives so I decided to devote a whole section to Christmas and birthdays. If I sent them to everyone I knew, I would go broke. Creating a designated list for each saves me having to go through my address book and risking the chance that I miss someone. I also stuck a shopping list for Christmas here so I can keep track of who I need to buy for this year and what I plan to get them.
Finally, last but not least is the miscellaneous section. This is where everything that I haven't figured out what to do with yet goes.

I pinky promise to add some pictures to show off my creation just as soon as I find the battery to my camera. Next organization project will be putting all my recipes into a binder so stop back soon to see what I'm up to.
*Update......Here's the completed project. Feel free to share yours on my Facebook page.One Majestic Mama Happy organizing!