The Twin Source - Toddlerhood http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood Mon, 08 Mar 2021 19:04:50 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Carrie On: Tackling Tantrums http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/194-carrie-on-tackling-tantrums http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/194-carrie-on-tackling-tantrums

Toddler Tantrums

All children have tantrums, and my twins have certainly thrown their fair share. Honestly, simply picturing it—the crying, the irrationality, the full-blown insanity of it all—begs for aspirin or a glass of wine to soothe the pain!

Finding out that we were having twins instantly filled my husband, Andy, and me with joy, but, of course, it also made our heads spin. As first-time parents, the idea of managing twins was something we had a hard time envisioning. Managing tantrums did not even occur to us until, well, they started occurring.

Reality set in quickly.

Tantrum Triggers

At first I found tantrums to be unpredictable, seemingly coming out of nowhere. But when I started researching the science behind tantrums, I began to see patterns of what I call "tantrum vulnerability." Basically, tantrums are more likely to occur for my twins when:

•  They are overtired.

•  Their schedule has been adjusted in some way.

•  They are hungry.

•  They are in a new environment that could be a bit overwhelming (especially for someone who has just two years of life experience).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

One saving grace,
which I hope is the case for all twin parents, is that my twins have rarely had total and utter meltdowns at the exact same time. If one starts to lose it, the other generally gets quiet and watches. I am not sure whether the calm child is just observing in shock or actively trying not to worsen the situation. Either way, it's comforting to know that both kids are unlikely to have tantrums at the same time.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There are, of course, other unexplained triggers that can spoil the most perfect afternoon out. But if I keep the above in check, my twins are generally happier and more patient.


Countdown to a Meltdown

Sometimes that's easier said than done. Just a few evenings ago, we went to an early dinner at a dear friend's house. The twins ate dinner right on time and were having a ball playing with their friends. All was going so great that Andy and I lost track of time.

Once we realized it was nearly an hour past the twins' bedtime, we quickly gathered our things and went to get the kids out of the play area. I looked at my daughter and knew within seconds she didn't want to go, she was overtired, and the countdown to meltdown city was on.

Five.

Four.

Three.

Two.

"I DON'T WANT TO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Andy and I tried to reason with her for about 90 seconds. Then we made the fastest exit you have ever seen. It was not the way we wanted to say goodbye, but it was necessary.


My Reaction Makes a Difference

Whether they are brought on by known or unknown triggers, tantrums are going to happen. And when they do, there is no secret recipe for diffusing the situation. It has been proven that tantrums often simply must run their course. They have been compared to a computer locking up, needing a reboot because of information overload.

Keeping that in mind helps me parent through the twins' tantrums.

If we are home and a tantrum begins, now I often talk to my son or daughter in a normal tone of voice and say, "You are having a tantrum and not being very nice." I then walk them or carry them to their room and tell them that they can come out when they are ready to behave.

So far, this approach is working better than any of my previous tactics (which—I'm not going to lie—at times included panicking and yelling back as though I was also 2 years old).

I believe my being focused and as calm as possible does help in some small way. And giving the children time to collect themselves in their room—the safest place in their small world—allows them to take ownership of and manage their emotions independently.

This is just what is working today, though. So if anyone has the ultimate cure-all for tantrums, I would love to hear it!

Tantrum Resources:

What's Behind A Temper Tantrum? Scientists Deconstruct The Screams by NPR.org
Temper tantrums in toddlers: How to keep the peace by The Mayo Clinic

 


Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter: @TwinSource.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) Toddlerhood Mon, 05 Aug 2013 19:31:04 +0000
Carrie On: Chores for Your Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/180-carrie-on-chores-for-your-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/180-carrie-on-chores-for-your-twins

Chores for toddlers

There comes a time when you realize that your babies aren't babies anymore. They are growing human beings who will one day become contributing members of society. Then, like me, you might think "Damn, now the real work begins." I think about how I want my children to grow into adulthood all the time. I hope that they grow to be sensitive to others, curious learners, responsible, and independent.

I often ask myself what I can do to support and coach them to become all these things. My first thought is that I must teach them good manners. (Twin Mom Maritza has some great ideas for teaching your twins basic manners.) My next thought is always, always that they need to get to work around the house. Assigning simple household chores is, in my view, one of the earliest ways you can teach a toddler how to:

  • Contribute in some way to the family dynamic.
  • Respect and take care of things.
  • Be organized and create structure in one's life.

 

Getting Started

You can start assigning chores as soon as your twins are walking. That might seem silly, I know, but there is nothing a new walker loves more than putting clothes in a hamper. So start there. Allow them to do that one little task, and praise them for it.

At around age 2, you will begin to see your children get excited about doing things around the house. I started with having my twins help set the table—only their plastic plates and forks, of course, but it was something. Then I began asking them to put their shoes away in their rooms and their coats next to the hall closet when they come into the house. (They can't quite reach high enough to hang up their coats yet.) This is something that they do every day now.

Another thing we do is clean up their toys as a family, with my or my husband's oversight. We often do this in the evening just before bedtime. I like to mention that we are taking good care of the toys they love and that by straightening up we are tucking those toys in for the night.


Consistency Pays Off

A few tips to remember as your toddlers take on household chores: 

  • Consistency is key, which I think is the hardest part at times. You have to remind them over and over what you'd like them to do. You also must have the same standard every time and make sure they meet it. (At times, they might get lazy.)
  • Praise, praise, praise. Don't wait until after the task has been completed to let them know they've done something good. For example, if you are putting toys away in a toy box, verbally praise them as much as possible throughout the process.
  • Start with the small things, then ask yourself what else you think they can take on.
  • Have them work together. They are twins and will enjoy the company while completing their tasks.

As a side note, my son does one tiny "chore" that I believe will help him snag an amazing wife one day. The moment—and I mean the moment—I started potty training the twins, I insisted that they both put the toilet seat fully down, with the lid closed. (One of my biggest pet peeves is men leaving the toilet seat up.) So now Drew puts that lid down without hesitation every time.

Come to think of it, if I can create one man who always puts the toilet seat down, I might just have raised that contributing member of society I dream of! It's the small things, really.

Articles We Loved

When Can My Toddler Start Doing Chores?

Chores for Busy Toddlers Slideshow

10 Chore Ideas for Toddlers

 


Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) Toddlerhood Fri, 26 Apr 2013 09:04:50 +0000
Carrie On: Adventures in Big-Kid Beds http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/178-carrie-on-adventures-in-big-kid-beds http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/178-carrie-on-adventures-in-big-kid-beds

TwinstoToddlerBeds


We planned for the switch to happen on a Friday evening. That way, if things went awry for a few nights, we would have the weekend days to recover. We got home early to put things in place and kept the nighttime routine as normal as possible.

And then we turned off the lights ...

Okay, so the experience of moving our twins, who share a room, from their cribs to toddler beds was not quite that dramatic—but I'd like to say that's because we did a fair amount of advance planning. We have learned some lessons and still have a few things to figure out.

Prep Work

The twins always loved their cribs and were never climbers. Our son Drew climbed out of his crib just once in three years, and (as far as we know) our daughter Celeste never even attempted to. Their cribs were their cozy, cuddly, safe spaces. Once the twins were completely potty trained and well past the age of 3, however, we thought it was time to make the transition to big-kid beds.

Here's how we got ready:

  • We decided to start on a Friday in case the twins were up all night playing and going from bed to bed. (We had heard horror stories about this.)
  • We bought big-kid bedding, including a full crib sheet set with a great top sheet, and new comforters to fit their toddler personalities. We used these for the first time on the big night so that it felt like a special occasion.
  • We bought a toddler alarm clock for their room so that they could learn time and understand that they were allowed to get out of bed each morning when the light turned green.
  • We placed pillows on the floor next to their beds in case they rolled out in the middle of the night.

When we turned off the lights on that first night, things were surprisingly normal. The twins did not get out of bed (a rule we tried to set from the get-go). They talked and sang as they normally did, and then fell asleep.

We went to bed thinking things were going to be great, that perhaps we were fantastic parents with amazing intuition and that we had timed things perfectly.

And then the next day ...

Naptime happened.

Naptime Woes

We are still trying to figure out naps, and it has been nearly eight weeks since we moved the twins to their toddler beds. We are not sure why, but naps have nearly gone out the window. This has been surprising because the twins were both great nappers when they were in cribs. Now, they play, sing, get out of bed, and are defiant during naptime. They don't want to sleep; if they do fall asleep, it is at the very end of their naptime.

We have pushed the twins' naptime back to late afternoon and now call it "quiet time" in hopes that they will fall asleep, but the reality is they usually don't. I am hoping this is just a phase. We are not going to get rid of this time for rest each day because I want to give their growing bodies an opportunity to recharge.

That bit of quiet time is so nice for everyone, parents included, so I welcome any suggestions for holding onto naptime!

 


Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) Toddlerhood Mon, 15 Apr 2013 19:49:37 +0000
Mari On: Birthdays for Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/176-mari-on-birthdays-for-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/176-mari-on-birthdays-for-twins

bday twins MAIN

Because my girls are identical, I try really hard to give them separate identities. For example, I never call them "the twins" (I use their names), I never dress them the same, and I give them different hairstyles. And on their birthday, I try to make each one feel special.


One Party for Two

I think it's hard, on top of looking exactly the same, for identical twins to have to share everything including the special day that is their birthday. I would love to give each of my girls her own party, but that's not feasible for a number of reasons. For example, how would we decide who gets to have the first party? And would her sister wonder why it wasn't her and feel bad? Plus, having two parties in a row with the same friends seems like too much.

So this is what I do:

  • I buy them really cute special dresses to wear and let them decide who wears which one.
  • I have two cakes made, one for each of them with their name on it.
  • We take pictures of them separately with their friends, my husband Noel and me, and their grandparents.
  • We sing twice. This works well because we are raising our girls bilingual, so we sing in English for one of them and in Spanish for the other.
  • We let them open gifts and cards at the same time. (They are too excited to wait and take turns!)
  • We give them one or two big gifts that are meant to be shared and smaller gifts that are theirs alone. When they turned 3, for example, we got them a little loveseat to share and each one got a doll that talks.

Party Planning

bday identical twinsWe have always had the girls' birthday parties at home. For their first year, we had a big party. We invited all of our friends with kids. The girls didn't know what was going on, of course, but it was a great party and we have tons of pictures to show them when they get older.

As they have gotten older, the girls so far have agreed on party themes and who to invite. Last year, I asked what kind of party they wanted and they agreed on SpongeBob. And because they are always together and have the same friends, they agreed on the guest list.

It is suggested to invite the same number of kids as the age of the child (or children!), and we have followed that guidance. The girls get lots of uninterrupted fun with three or four friends, and they talk about their birthday for the rest of the year.

I expect party planning to get more complicated as they get older. For example, they are already telling me that they want to invite their whole preschool class and their two preschool teachers to their next birthday party. They have also started getting more opinionated and saying things like "I wish I could have a party at so-and-so place" or "I wish I could have a so-and-so party." However, they don't always want the same thing. I see more and more differences in their likes as they grow.

Hopefully, I will be able to convince them to agree on a theme for a little while longer; otherwise, it will have to be the beginning of two parties. I'll cross that bridge when it's time.


Birthday Gifts

In general, people get the girls gifts that are similar but different—such as clothes that are different but the same color—and for that I am grateful. If they get completely different gifts, sometimes one of the girls really likes what the other got and tries to pull it away. (Overall, though, I think twins are very good at sharing because they have had to share everything ever since they were conceived!)

I always feel bad that friends have to buy two gifts for them. I have been really tempted to ask people not to bring gifts at all, but that's a pretty radical idea for people who love buying something for them. Plus, a big part of kids' birthdays is the gifts they get, so I don't want to take that away from my girls.

After the party, we send thank-you notes to everybody who came to celebrate with us. I print a group picture of the kids, which has become a tradition, and send that along with a note. Now that the girls know how to write and they are into sending cards, they will be able to participate in writing the thank-you notes next time.

 


Want more Mari? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow!

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Mari) Toddlerhood Wed, 20 Mar 2013 19:33:28 +0000
Maritza On: Teaching Your Twins Basic Manners http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/174-maritza-on-teaching-your-twins-basic-manners http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/174-maritza-on-teaching-your-twins-basic-manners

Good Manners Toddlers 

Immediately after your babies come into the world, your only concern is keeping them alive. You make sure they are loved, fed, and clean. Then, once they hit about 2 years old, things get real! Now you are responsible not only for keeping your twins alive but also for teaching them how to be all-around good citizens.

As your twins start to have more interactions with other children, you start to worry about things like whether you are raising a bully or someone who will be bullied. You want to make sure your kids know how to share, take turns, say please and thank you, and show good table manners.

You will need to be patient and consistent as you teach your kids basic manners. And while it might seem like it will be double the work with two children, it can actually be easier than teaching just one child because your twins can practice their manners with each other.

Sharing and Taking Turns

Take every opportunity to teach your twins how to take turns. I worked in lessons during my girls' daily routine—while they were brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and so on. I would say, "It's Jenny's turn to brush and Jessica's turn to wait." It always helps to praise the child who is waiting.

Having your twins take turns during routine activities makes it easier for them to understand the concept of taking turns and sharing when it comes to toys. Notice I said easier, not easy. I have found that, as in most relationships, with twins there is a giver and a taker. For example, one will probably be more willing to give up a toy for the other, while the other will have a harder time giving anything up.

I admit that delivering lessons on sharing or taking turns can be exhausting. Sometimes I had to mentally prepare myself, and I could only do it for 5 to 10 minutes—tops. Be patient and give it time. It will take a while, but eventually you'll be able to relax a little more at play dates.


Saying Please and Thank You

I always encourage the girls to say please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me, and I'm sorry to each other. It helps develop their manners and at the same time their respect for one another.

I feel like a broken record most of the time, but it's important to be consistent. Nothing is more rewarding than hearing that your children are well-mannered.


Table Manners

Eating together is almost always a losing battle when kids are young. As your twins get older, you can all finally try to sit at the table for a family meal. Be patient. It will take them a while to get used to the "rules" at the table.

Staying at the table was the biggest challenge we faced. It helped to have boosters with seat straps. It also helped to have dinner served and ready when everyone sat down so that there was less time for the kids to get restless. At age 4, the girls are able to sit still much longer. They also love to help set the table; I think it makes them feel grown up.

Eating at the table and learning table manners at home was good practice for those times when we braved taking the family to a restaurant. To keep the kids from getting restless at the table when we ate out, it helped to go someplace where we didn't have to wait long to be served and to be ready to order soon after we sat down. In fact, sometimes my husband would get to the restaurant a little bit earlier and order for us. (Twin Mom Carrie provides even more tips for dining out with twins.)

Whether you eat at home or at a restaurant, be prepared for a mess. Don't stress over it. Eventually, you will all enjoy a good meal together.

 


Want more Martiza? Check out her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow!

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Maritza) Toddlerhood Mon, 11 Mar 2013 19:22:14 +0000
Carrie On: Sibling Rivalry http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/171-carrie-on-sibling-rivalry http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/171-carrie-on-sibling-rivalry

Twins Sibling Rivalry

My husband, Andy, and I knew that our twins would be supremely close from day one. We also knew that there would be moments when sibling rivalry would rear its head. It's inevitable when two children go through literally everything together—from amazing developmental milestones to ordinary day-to-day experiences.

When the twins were infants, they got along great overall. But in toddlerhood, certain signs of rivalry started to pop up. Sharing their things was the first issue; the concept of "mine" sunk deeply into their heads as they turned 2. Jealousy flare-ups began to occur as well, mostly through attention-seeking when our focus was on the other child.

As they have grown, the twins have needed reassurance of their own unique selves and their own unique strengths. For example, my daughter Celeste has always been very small and is not able to keep up with her brother Drew on the playground. Even when she could barely speak prior to turning 2, she would express that she could not climb the way Drew could climb. Andy and I knew that she would get there. It was just going to take time and coaching, and she would need to gain confidence. And today, she climbs. She is still slower and more cautious than Drew, but we allow her to feel her way and take her time.

When we focus on the twins as individuals, deal with moments of rivalry case by case, and encourage good behavior, there are fewer instances of rivalry and flare-ups are more easily defused when they occur.

My advice? When rivalry rears its head, take a breath and talk to your toddlers. Explain why their behavior is not okay, and get down at their eye level. Perhaps even take their hands when explaining why they need to overcome their feelings. Always encourage them to verbally apologize to one another and hug each other after a spat.

We often remind the twins of the importance of being siblings and stress that they are support systems for one another and will always have each other. When we are able to refocus our twins on their special twin bond and their very unique experience of growing up together—of always having a friend and confidant—they are able to take a step back and understand that they should be good to one another. It's quite a sight to see and very much a privilege to watch.


 Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) Toddlerhood Thu, 21 Feb 2013 18:45:19 +0000
Maritza On: Moving from Cribs to Beds http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/163-maritza-on-moving-from-cribs-to-beds http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/163-maritza-on-moving-from-cribs-to-beds

Maritza Twins To Big Beds 

Some twins seem to prefer co-sleeping or sleeping in the same crib early on, but my twin girls seemed to like their own space. In fact, at 5 months I put them in separate rooms to allow my good sleeper (Jenny) to get some sleep. By 18 months, they were both sleeping through the night pretty well, so I put them back in the same room.

Jordan, our oldest, was in a big-boy bed by 2 years old. It didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked. We were constantly in and out of his room because he would get out of bed and play or just cry at the door. It made for some long nights. So, with my twins, I wanted to wait as long as I could. Right before they turned 3, I decided it was time to put them in big-girl beds in the same room.

Here are some tips for making the transition:

  • Mentally prepare your twins to move from cribs to beds. Talk to them about how things will change.

  • Make the transition exciting. Plan it around a holiday or birthday, and buy fun bedding that they will enjoy.

  • Secure the room with a door lock or other method. We used childproof doorknobs from the inside. Other suggestions: switch the doorknob so the lock is on the outside, get a half door, or even use a baby gate.

  • Take precautions to prevent falls. Side rails worked great for us. We bought two for each bed at a consignment store. (If the beds are against a wall, you can save some money by only having to buy one side rail per bed.) A friend of mine gave me this great additional tip: If you let them think they can only get in and out of bed using a stool, you can take it away once they are tucked in and you won't have them getting out of bed constantly.

  • Consider removing toys and books from the room. Otherwise, they are likely to be scattered nightly, which means more clean-up for you.

  • Invest in video monitors. We bought ours from Costco. We could talk through the monitors, and it was funny to see the twins' reaction the first time we told them to get back in bed. Just try not to get obsessed with looking at the screen; enjoy your downtime when you can.

  • Be prepared for long nights.

We were dreading the first night the twins slept in their big-girl beds, but it went much better than we expected. And ironically, considering they liked having their own space when they were younger, I feel like they were comforted by the fact they were together in the same room.

 


 Want more Martiza? Check out her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow!

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Maritza) Toddlerhood Thu, 13 Dec 2012 10:51:37 +0000
Carrie On: Potty Training Lessons http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/152-carrie-on-potty-training-lessons http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/152-carrie-on-potty-training-lessons

 Potty Training Twins

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.

 


Want more Carrie? Follow her many musings, and check back often as the list will grow! You can also follow her on Twitter.

 

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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (Carrie) Toddlerhood Tue, 16 Oct 2012 19:48:03 +0000
Potty Training Twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/83-potty-training-twins http://thetwinsource.com/index.php/en/twin-life/toddlerhood/83-potty-training-twins

Potty

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.
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carrie.carroll@gmail.com (The Twin Source) Toddlerhood Mon, 19 Mar 2012 02:03:55 +0000