Potty Training Twins – It’s not Twinpossible!

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Categories How Do The Moms Do It, Perspective, Potty Training

There’s been some discussion of HDYDI having some more Potty Training Multiples posts. Here is my original post from a little over a year ago, transcribed (with some updates) from my personal blog, Double the Giggles. Ultimately, there is no single successful method, so my suggestion is to read up on as many theories as you can, and see what works best for your twins. Most likely, it won’t be the one that works best for you and your busy schedule… but nothing is ever simple when it comes to multiples, right? Enjoy reading about our experience (below), and good luck in your potty training adventures!

Twin boys and potty training. Ugh. I was seriously starting to think that my little Andrew and Wesley would each be hauling a diaper bag off to college, (preferably a paid-for-by-two-full-scholarships sort of college). We started getting them both familiar with the concept of using a potty around 18 months and we are just now reaping the benefits of not buying diapers and Desitin just weeks away from their turd birthday. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).

By getting familiar with, I mean with potty books and the actual potty (read: 47 potties): The adult potty, the toddler potty, the tiny seat that goes on the big potty, portable seats, outside in nature (yes, I have boys), everything. You name it, we have it. I swear, I have at least 7 potties in addition to the two that came bolted to the floor of our house. We’ve tried them all. What ended up working? The permanent fixtures in the house. That’s right. You heard me.

Andrew was first to succeed, but what we didn’t know (18 months ago) was that we just had to wait until HE was ready… I wouldn’t believe this unless it actually happened.  And it did. Andrew decided when it would happen all on his own.  About 18 months of on and off, very stressful “trying to potty train” and one day, out of the blue, the kid just decided “today is the day.” It was wonderful.  Magical. (Insert angelic voices, here.)

Throughout this adventure, I’ve learned how difficult it is to have a mom (and/or dad), a curious second sibling and three dogs all in one tiny 4×5′ bathroom at the same time. Distraction, distraction, distraction. I decided to weigh my efforts more towards the child that seemed to have the hang of it instead of trying to train both at once. WAY EASIER, and Wesley wasn’t jealous or competitive at all. We always called him in after to help us wave ‘bye-bye’ to our flushable friend(s), but one at a time was the way to go for us. Give this a try if you are struggling with two at once.

Wesley is now (finally, about 3 weeks later) getting the hang of things, but that ‘light switch’ hasn’t been flicked quite yet. We are in the constantly-reminding-him-to-stay-clean-and-dry phase, and sometimes he’d rather continue to play then take a much-needed potty break. That being said, I’m refusing to buy any more diapers and still have a brand new pack that I’m not planning on busting open any time soon. All undies, all the time. (Pull-Ups at night, but that’s a whole other can of worms). Now that I see how things went with Andrew, I’m trying to stay as positive as possible with Wesley, even though their approaches to the concept are different. When an accident happens, I have him remove his clothes (and I’m sure to tell him “Yuck! I don’t want to touch those clothes!”) and after he visits the potty, he helps me clean the area he messed in. No yelling, no judgements, just matter-of-factly. You made this mess, kid… you clean it.

There is hope out there. We didn’t find hope in a toddler potty, or by using Cheerios as targets. We found it by sitting backwards on the regular old toilet, “making as many bubbles as possible” and by categorizing the end product, (Ex: “Wow! You made a dinosaur/crocodile/daddy-{yes, daddy}-sized poop!”)… and a sticker or M&M work well, if you’re into bribery!  Do some research for new and fun ideas if the ones you are trying aren’t working.

Hang in there. I truly think we give them the guidance they need, but it is up to them when it happens. Stay positive (so difficult, but sooo important), be prepared to do some extra laundry and buy stock in Lysol wipes. The day will come when they are ready for it and you’ll be their biggest cheerleader.

Rereading this post a year-or-so later, I need to add that it took another 6-8 months for the boys to stay dry through the night. I never realized that nighttime potty training was a whole other thing. I wanted my sleep, and feared that they’d be unable to go back to sleep if I woke them every few hours, so PullUps were what we relied on for quite some time. There was a lot of praise given on the mornings where dry PullUps still existed. The boys are now 4 and have been in “big boy undies” at night for several months now. Currently, the boys go to bed between 7 and 8, and I usually get them both up once a night (between 2 and 3am) to use the bathroom. I’m a light sleeper, so I’m usually up several times a night, anyway. This prevents any accidents in their beds (which if I didn’t get them up, might occur once or twice a month) and saves on unnecessary loads of laundry.

Whether you have one child in that stage or four, potty training is definitely an adventure. Not a hey-I’m-totally-living-vicariously-through-that-friend-of-mine-backpacking-through-Europe type of adventure. More like the adventure I had white water rafting where I was glad I was wearing protective safety gear, I was glad when it was over, and I never needed to experience it first-hand again!

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Margie

Margie is happily married and the proud momma of fraternal, red-headed twins Wesley and Andrew.  She has her Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science and went from a full-time to part-time federal worker when her boys were born in 2009. Margie is an active member of her local Mothers of Multiples organization and finds that the friendships she's made with other moms of multiples have been a huge support thoughout the "twinsanity" of life.  When she's not completely exhausted, Margie forces herself to go for runs and tries to eat healthy.  She loves Christmas and anything chocolate, and she enjoys the outdoors, cooking, being crafty and snuggling on the couch with her family and 3 dogs.  Margie is the author of Double the Giggles.

2 thoughts on “Potty Training Twins – It’s not Twinpossible!”

  1. I agree- WAIT! Our girls were using the potty occasionally from about 16 months old. They understood basic mechanics of using the potty, could pull their pants up/ down for months and then they told me they wanted to wear panties one morning when they were about 2.5y old. We haven’t looked back since with only a handful of accidents since then. They are still in nappies overnight and at nap time, however one of my girls wakes up dry 99% of the time. In my experience, when I was ready to be done with nappies, they were also.

  2. Each child should be watched individually for their signs of readiness to potty, if one child is not ready do not push potty training on them. Also the potty training method or style you use may need to be different.

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