When the time comes to begin potty training your twins, you will probably have mixed emotions. You might be jumping for joy at the notion of no longer being on (or paying for!) double diaper duty, while simultaneously cowering in fear over how to begin the potty training process. After all, you'll be dealing with two distinctly different individuals who happen to be the precocious and determined age of 2.
Will there be double the chaos?
Double the insanity?
"NO!"—as one or both of your toddlers might say at any given moment!
The potty training process is only going to be as painful as you allow it to be. But there are a few things to consider and some ideas we would like to share with you as you set out down the toilet-paper-lined road of potty training.
Are They Ready?
Your twins may begin showing signs of being ready earlier than you thought possible. They will start taking notice of you and perhaps even ask to sit on the potty. We say encourage this and, if you are ready to begin the process (which can and will take a while), go ahead and let them start.
As Twin Mom Ashley put it, "As soon as the boys started talking about going on the toilet, I ran to the store to buy them potty seats of their own."
By all means, jump in when the twins first show interest if you'd like, but know that it is going to take time, patience, and encouragement.
There is also a trend to start potty training in earnest when you notice your twins waking up in the morning with all or mostly dry diapers—usually closer to age 3. This is fine as well. The only "right" time to start is whenever you and your twins are comfortable and ready. Which begs the question ...
Are You Ready?
It might seem silly to point this out, but you as the parents are going to be a huge part of this process. So your buy-in is needed for the twins to succeed. By this, we mean you'll need to:
- Be patient. It is not going to happen for one child—much less two—overnight. This is going to take months and months. But eventually they will get there.
- Allocate the time. For your twins to take well to pottying, there needs to be consistency in when they go. Keep potty times the same each day as much as possible; doing this will help train the twins' little bladders. For example, set potty times for after waking, after breakfast, before lunch, after nap, and before bed every day.
- Try not to get frustrated. Particularly toward the end of the process, you may think your twins are trained when one or both have a bad accident out of nowhere or a series of very wet nights. Do your best to roll with it.
Praising Your Twins
The fact is, your twins are going to approach potty training at their own pace, but praising them will encourage them to want to do it. Seeing their sibling succeed can motivate them as well.
Nurse Chickie stresses that it is important to praise a child for going on the potty, NOT for having a dry diaper. The praise should come with the act of going rather than staying dry because a toddler could get confused and "hold it" in for too long, creating problems such as infections and constipation.
Twin Mom Carrie, who recently potty trained her twins Drew and Celeste, took it one step further. After her twins successfully went on the potty, flushed the toilet, and washed their hands, they received one M&M if they peed and two M&Ms if they poohed. It was a very small reward, but one they always looked forward to. (Read more about the potty training lessons Carrie learned with her twins.)
Need More Help?
Here are a few tips and tricks for potty training your twins:
- For wiping bottoms, flushable toilet wipes are easier on you and your twins in the early days and can be found at your local drugstore. (Note that baby wipes are not always flushable.)
- If you feel comfortable, it's okay to skip the potty chair phase and teach your twins directly on the real toilet via a step stool and perhaps a training toilet seat (you can find these at Home Depot). This approach can be especially helpful when you are traveling with the twins because they won't be afraid to go on the "big toilet" and you won't be carting around travel toilets.
- Make sure any caregivers are aware of your process and will be as consistent as possible with potty times.
- The potty routine should always include washing hands when finished. If you find you have a faucet-obsessed tot, take control early by counting and making him or her turn off the water after you reach a certain number.
- Remember to always celebrate your twins' successes, and have them cheer on one another. They are, of course, each other's biggest supporter.