It is with mixed emotions that I write this article. On the one hand, I am beyond relieved that my twins are essentially potty trained. On the other hand, the fact that they are means my babies are no longer babies!
This became clear one night after dinner recently. My husband, Andy, unstrapped our daughter, Celeste, from her highchair, and I began cleaning up. Andy got our son, Drew, out of his booster shortly after. A few minutes passed, and I looked around. "Where is Celeste?" I asked. Not half a second later, our little girl came wriggling out of our hall bathroom with her pants 90% up and proudly announced, "I just went potty all by myself."
Andy and I looked at each other, so proud and so shocked. And then my eyes filled with tears. It's official—she doesn't need me anymore, I thought.
Okay, so it might not be that dramatic, but to say that I didn't think it for a split second would be lying.
Then Drew ran—not walked, ran—to the bathroom to do it himself because there was no way he was going to be upstaged by his "little" sister. (That minute and a half between their births is already having an effect!)
So, where does that leave us? Well, I think we are almost officially potty trained. There will, of course, be missteps here and there; that is natural and to be expected. But we have turned a corner, and I don't think either one of the twins will be looking back.
Here are some tips I can share based on the lessons I learned:
- Know that potty training is a commitment. Looking back, I think we started potty training a bit early. We started when the twins were about 2 years and 2 months. I think it would have been wiser if we had waited until they were at least 2 and a half or even a bit closer to 3. I believe the whole process would have moved faster because there are significant developments in understanding, communication, and maturity during those months.
- Expect boys to be harder to train. I had heard that boys are a bit tougher to potty train. Now that I am on the other side of training one of each, I agree. Drew often was just too busy being a boy to stop and realize he needed to use the restroom. Celeste, on the other hand, seemed to get the entire concept more easily and was willing to stop what she was doing and try to go.
- Start them on a real toilet. This was probably the best thing we did. We purchased a convertible toilet seat and a simple step stool, and from day one we had them go on the big toilet. This way, we did not have to mess with transferring poop and pee out of little potty seats, and the twins were never fearful of using "the big toilet" when we were not at our house.
- Be patient. There will be setbacks. You will be so disappointed and frustrated at times. Go easy on yourself and your twins. They will get it eventually. They truly will.
- Try the "dream pee" if needed. A friend told me about this handy little way to keep those diapers dry through the night. It's a similar concept to the "dream feed" for infants, which many people swear by. Here's how it works: Prior to you or your partner going to bed a few hours after the twins have gone down, quietly and keeping everything as dark as possible get your tots up to try to pee. We did not do this with Celeste, as she was able to make it through the nights with a dry diaper. But we did do it with Drew, and it was a big help. He just couldn't seem to hold it from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. He would wake around 5:30 a.m. to potty consistently, throwing the entire family's morning routine into a bit of chaos.
- Always have backup. I think until the twins are at least 3 and a half, the diaper bag will carry a backup set of underwear and pants instead of diapers. I don't expect us to be accident-free forevermore, so it makes sense to be prepared.
- Tell your twins you're proud of them. Just like with other aspects of parenting, positive affirmations seem to be well-received and remembered. Praise your twins each and every time they potty on the toilet, and tell them that you are so happy and proud.
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