By: Jennifer Murray

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 Responses to “Once Upon a Potty…Make That FOUR Potties!”

  1. The Titsworth Family
    November 15, 2009 at 10:02 am #


    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!!!

  2. Erin
    November 15, 2009 at 11:01 am #

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

  3. Anonymous
    November 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    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.

  4. Stacey
    November 15, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

    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!

  5. JoJo
    November 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    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

  6. AmyJ
    November 15, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

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

  7. Anonymous
    November 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    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!!


  8. Anonymous
    November 15, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    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!)


  9. Anonymous
    November 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    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.

  10. Harris Boys
    November 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    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!!!!!!!

  11. Harris Boys
    November 15, 2009 at 9:35 pm #

    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.

  12. Debbie
    November 15, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    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.

  13. Jenn
    November 15, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    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!

  14. Mamma Sol
    November 16, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    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 🙂

  15. Anonymous
    November 16, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    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!

  16. Melissa
    November 16, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    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.

  17. KSDallas
    November 16, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    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.


  18. Anonymous
    November 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    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.

  19. LStewart
    November 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    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!

  20. Anonymous
    November 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

    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!

  21. Andrea
    November 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    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.

  22. Sara
    November 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    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.

  23. Corbitt Family
    November 16, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    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 😉

  24. The Nolands
    November 17, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    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!

  25. schwalka
    November 19, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    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 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!

  26. Briana
    November 20, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    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!

  27. Sadia
    November 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    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.

  28. Anonymous
    November 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    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!

  29. 右脳左脳チェッカー
    January 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm #


  30. TG
    August 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    I’ve had a positive experience with Joy Berry’s I Love Potty Training iPhone App ( 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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