For the Potty Training Mommy

Amanda - posted on 11/17/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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It's time for another article that I have read.. This one will give advice for the Potty Training Mommy!


You long for the day when you can ditch the double diapers, yet potty training twins seems like a daunting task. Don't despair! With these tips, potty training your twins will be successful, and not stressful.
1. Ready, Set, Go!
Are your twins ready for potty training? The ideal timing for toilet training can vary widely, beginning as young as eighteen months or as late as three years old. If your twins are not developmentally ready to train, you'll encounter more resistance and frustration. Evaluate your twins -- individually -- to determine the right timing. Signs of readiness include showing an interest when others use the toilet, the ability to go for an extended length of time without wetting a diaper, being uncomfortable with a soiled diaper, and wanting to wear "big kid" underwear. About.com's Guide to Pediatrics offers this Potty Training Readiness Quiz. But remember, your twins are individuals. They may not be ready at the same time.
2. Reasons for Seasons
Choose your timing wisely. Once you've established that your twins are ready, take a good look at the calendar. Though tempting, try to avoid instituting the process of potty training based on a deadline. If you are under pressure to train before the start of preschool or a family vacation, you may encounter resistance. Anticipate other big changes in your twins' lives; are you planning a move, a change in routine, or the birth of a sibling? All of the change may be too overwhelming to a child who is trying to master the toilet.
3. Tag Team or Solo?
Certainly, it is easiest to train both twins at the same time. However, it may not work for all families. Identical -- monozygotic -- twins are easiest to train simultaneously because of their similar metabolism. Boy/girl twins are more likely to require differentiated training. If you do potty train both at the same time, they may benefit from companionship and competition, encouraging and challenging each other's successes and setbacks. Nevertheless, don't be surprised if one's success causes the other to regress. You'll have to decide whether a one-on-one approach is more effective. For some twins, potty training together is simply too distracting and disruptive. Potty time turns into play time, often with very messy results!
4. Make Rewards Work for You
Many parents have great success using incentives or rewards. (Let's be honest: bribes!) With twins, this can work to your advantage, or create havoc. You know your twins best and will have to evaluate their dynamic. You only want to offer a reward with success; how will the other twin react when he doesn't receive one? Some twins don't have the cognitive ability to connect the consequences, and you'll only incite unnecessary tantrums. However, if your twins are competitive, the presentation of a reward for successful potty-ing may prove to be highly motivating. Find your twins' individual currency; what works? Is it candies, stickers or dollar-store treats? Perhaps it the promise of an adventure or activity is a more appropriate reward.
5. To Buy Two?
There are some things that multiples simply can't share. Buy at least two potty seats. If you try to get by with one -- even if they are training at different times -- I guarantee that there will be a showdown when they both try to go at the same time. For that reason, to reduce squabbles, I recommend potty chairs rather than inserts that fit into the toilet. You may even want to consider multiple sets to place throughout the house. If your twins are stingy about sharing, you can designate ownership, but in the long run, this can cause extra drama for children who only want to go in "their" potty. However, it may be more necessary to specify with a boy and girl, especially if you are using a splash guard or deflector on the potty seat.
6. Expect Double the Mess
While potty training twins, you can expect that there will be double the mess. There WILL be setbacks and there WILL be accidents. Know that they're coming and prepare your home accordingly. Stock up on cleaning supplies so that you're ready to address the mess. If you are concerned about permanent stains or damage, protect the areas of your house that cause concern. Use gates to keep potty training twins out of rooms that are off-limits. Put away expensive throw rugs or bedspreads. Cover furniture and floors with tarps. Don't freak out about accidents; simply enlist your child's help in cleaning up, and move on. Maintain a sense of humor; the retelling of these incidents will make for great stories later in life!
7. Be Flexible
Even though they're twins, a "one-size-fits-all" approach won't always work. Be flexible. Tailor your responses to your individual children. Some children respond to gushing praise; others prefer less of a fuss. Some need continual reminders; some need to control the process themselves. Some are open about their bodily functions, while others prefer privacy. You know your children best, and can determine the approach that will be most effective. While you may develop a successful routine during the day at home, different tactics may be required for other times. How will you handle naptimes, overnights, outings or day care? Flexibility is the key to success.
8. Stick to a Similar Schedule
Training twins at the same time is definitely the easiest approach. If that's the path that you choose, you'll find more success by keeping your twins on a similar schedule. Many parents relied on a schedule for their twins when they were infants and they find that it works effectively for potty training also. When twins eat, drink and sleep on the same schedule, they're also more likely to "use the facilities" together. Introducing potty time as part of their daily routine can help them use the toilet consistently.
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9. Dress for Success
Many families prefer to potty train when the weather is warm. The comfortable temperatures require less clothing, which gets in the way and requires additional cleaning in the event of an accident. Help your twins feel confident and independent as they master their toilet habits by dressing them in clothes that they can manage. Favor easy access clothing, such as pull-up pants or skirts for girls. Forgo fussy snaps, zippers or buttons. Dry-clean only clothing and potty training don't mix; save the special outfits for a later date when your twins are more likely to stay dry.
10. This "Two" Shall Pass
Keep it in perspective. Like all phases of parenting multiples, potty training is a temporary transition. Your children WILL learn to use the toilet. You WILL get rid of diapers. You can look forward to a day when they stay dry and use the bathroom independently. It WILL happen. Be patient, flexible and loving. Down the road, you'll look back on this experience and think, "What was the big deal?"
Suggested Reading
•Taming the Toilet Times Two
•The Don'ts of Potty Training from About.com's Guide to Toddlers
•Potty Training Readiness Quiz from About.com's Guide to Pediatrics
Toddlers Times Two
•Dealing with Dawdlers
•Sleep Solutions for Toddler Twins
•Bathtime Tips
Talk About Potty Training Twins
•Join the Discussion in the Message Forum
•Poll: Potty Training Twins
•Share Your Potty Training Tips
Related Articles
•The Don'ts of Potty Training
•Potty Training Children with Special Needs
•Baby Potty Training
•Take a Potty Break - When Your Child Isn't Ready for Potty Training and...
•How Do I Handle Potty Training While Out?

22 Comments

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Jill - posted on 03/18/2011

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My twins are almost 3 and we are in the process of potty training. I have a boy and a girl. I started with my girl because she showed interest and then my boy decided he wanted to participated too. Some days are better than others. I think having a routine seems to help.

Maya - posted on 03/09/2011

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I'm new to the group but so happy this is the first thread I ventured into.....I have definitely printed this article for future reference for my boys. Thank you so much!

Tania - posted on 03/08/2011

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Amanda, loved the article! Thank you for the great tips! I admit I've been pretty lazy about potty training my twins but it needs to happen! The older twin is ready and is using pull-ups with occasional accidents. He is great about going if I remind him. The younger twin just doesn't seem to care. He will go in his pull-up just like it's a diaper. A wet or soiled diaper does not bother him at all! The ONLY way I can get him to use the potty is to let him run around naked!

Pushpa - posted on 03/02/2011

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Hi Amanda, thank u for ur article, i've printed it, and now my g/g twins are 2 and have been using a toilet for 2 but for pee they dont prefer a potty i have 4 pottys but they prefer to go standing up rather than sitting on a potty, anybody have any idea on it, how to train them, they prefer to use adult toilet like their sis, and parents, i diapper them at night now.

Katie - posted on 02/03/2011

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Hi! I just saw this threadand wanted to let everyone know that I just started potty training my 3 year old twin boys. They have been in Pull-ups since the first of the year, but this week is when I really decided I wanted this done. So on Tuesday the twins were put in underwear during the day, their incentive to use the potty was they would get a piece of candy if they peed and two pieces if they pooped! We had success with the older twin (lol) he peed inthe potty the first day all day long, the other had more of a difficult time he did not pee in the potty at all and just in his underwear.

But let me back track a little...both boys have peed in the potty every so often for about 6 months now. They understand what to do and when to do it, but I never stepped at that point and did what I'm doing now. Being stuck in the house more so this winter kind of pushed me to do what I'm doing now.

So day two was the same oldest peed but no poop and the younger peed in the underwear. Day three the younger kept up his streak until the early afternoon where he had to poop and came to tell me with a few tears he sat on the potty and did it! 15 min later I had to pooping boys (or so I thought). The oldest didnt really poop just had a little bit on his butt that plopped into the potty and 20 minutes after that pooped huge in his underwear.

Needless to say I've been doing their laundry everyday and cleaning the floors way too much, but I believe that we will have this done in no time.

I'm really excited!





***UPDATE***

Well it has been a little over 6 weeks since i started potty training the twins and they have mastered it :) I only have one wearing pullups at night time because he wakes up wet every morning but the other has not had any pullups on for two weeks. We were having trouble with one not pooping in the potty but two weeks ago he started and now tells me when he needs to. We still have accidents here and there but I am now a mother of three big boys who all pee and poop in the potty YEAH ME!

Monica - posted on 01/27/2011

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this was very helpful to me! my identical twins are both ready i just didnt know how to aproch it!

Danielle - posted on 01/21/2011

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great info! I introduced the potty on my twins 1st birthday, they are 15 months old now, and have used the potty a handful of times, they love to learn....I think their attention span is a lil short, but they will get it...im hoping b4 18 months!

Sheila - posted on 01/18/2011

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Bethany, I too have been potty training for months and am finally getting to the point where I feel like I'm seeing good progress. My girls were interested in sitting on the potty, but wouldn't go for the longest time. I didn't think to do this with mine, but could you start out with rewarding them a jelly bean just for sitting on the potty, then additional one for going potty, and two for going poop? Just a thought. My girls are past the point of rewards for success, but every once in a while they ask for a prize...just a thought.

Suzanne - posted on 01/16/2011

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Thanks have printed this out and will read and hopefully will help with potty training my twins. Had some success just a bit after xmas, Julia did a wee wee in the potty but nothing since.

Bethany - posted on 01/12/2011

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i have been trying to potty train for months!!! they are ready i know they are, when they sit there and poop then look at you and say uht oh i pooped, you know their ready, but they are stubburn and dont like sitting on their potties every once in awhile they get on them at night, but it seems like it has to be when they say they are going to do it, if i suggest it they wont sit on it, but it they say mommy potty then they will sit on it no problem, how do i get them to sit on it more than once a day?

Tiffany - posted on 01/09/2011

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We are venturing into this now, my g/g just turned 2 today and for the past 2 weeks they are going pee in the potty but have yet to go number 2, hoping this will just come in time :) I plan on starting to do a timer, because that is my big issue, time just slips away from me and I forget to put them in for potty time lol. Any good ideas for number 2 on the toilet. My girls each have their own potty chair, it just works out better for my twins because they like to do things together!!! We just bought big girl underwear yesterday so after their party today we put them on them. They still don't talk yet so they really don't communicate that they have to go but they know that everytime they get changed and before bed and in the morning they will just go and sit and go pee on their potty's !!! All in all I think for just starting out they are doing really well and I am glad we waited until I thought they were ready!!! GL to all of us who are venturing on to this new world of potty training twins !!!!!

Vikki - posted on 01/07/2011

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My boys are 2 1/2 now they potty trained at different times, Twin B started at 20 months and Twin a Started at 26 moths, it did feel like it went on for ever but i never wonted to push them i started them when they showed signs of wonting to be trained, though we ended up with about four potties around the house LOL x they where both so different to, one would like you to stand away and the other would like to do high fives after he had been, bless, it takes time and feels like there is no end, but there is no better reward then seeing a lillte boy in big boy pants x

Julixa - posted on 01/06/2011

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Great article. Has anyone done this before?? Do you buy two potties or do you make one wait??

Amanda - posted on 01/05/2011

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thats great info because im new to the potty training world and now with twins my son does not want to try anymore

[deleted account]

Thanks - I feel a little less intimitated to venture into this task in the next few weeks...perfect timing for me...THANKS
Any suggestions for night time - do you keep training pants on or go for pull - up/diapers??

Renee - posted on 12/26/2010

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Thanks for the advice! I am thinking my daughter is ready for potty training, my son is another situation!

Kassidy - posted on 12/21/2010

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this is very helpfful i am bout to start potty training my boys next month with all the holidays out of the way and no birthdays for a few months i thought that would be the best time thanks again

Christina - posted on 12/03/2010

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Thanks Amanda - very useful reading. Our twin daughter and son have just turned 17 months and aren't really showing signs yet so we're trying to be chilled out about the whole thing and go at their pace (like everything we've done up to now). We're trying not to listen to all the competitive parents out there whose kids have apparently started at 14 months and are really brilliant. As you said perfectly, each toddler is different and an individual - they'll do it in "their" time.

Amanda - posted on 11/21/2010

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Thanks Jodi! I am glad that you are getting use out of it if you need any other information on anything let me knw and I will try and get you that information

Jodi - posted on 11/19/2010

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Ah thanks hun, that was a fantastic read and shall keep reverting back to it, i am indeed dreading it, but my twins r chalk and cheese so readin this im wonderin if infact i shud do the 1 on 1 approach as oppoased to doin it togeva??? xxx

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