Potty Training Twins: Tips and Tricks I Learned Along The Way

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Having two sick little girls is no fun! We even ended up with a trip to the hospital! Luckily, they are finally feeling better and I can get back to writing on my blog again!


The girls have been using the potty for a couple of months now. Yippee!

When I was starting to potty train, I noticed there wasn't a ton of info. out there about potty training twins.  I know a few of my moms of multiples friends have had to do double training since one twin was ready before the other.  But my girls always want to be doing the same thing at the same time.  So training one than the other wasn't an option for us.

Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed at the task of training two at the same time. Where do I even begin?  I thought about when I was teaching and how I would teach a new concept to my students.  Since I feel better armed with a plan, I came up with my own "lesson" plan for potty training...

1.) Pre-Assess- I searched online for potty training readiness cues.  Here are a sample of questions I found on www.mayoclinic.org...
  • Does your child seem interested in the potty chair or toilet, or in wearing underwear?
  • Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
  • Does your child tell you through words, facial expressions or posture when he or she needs to go?
  • Does your child stay dry for periods of two hours or longer during the day?
  • Does your child complain about wet or dirty diapers?
  • Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
  • Can your child sit on and rise from a potty chair?
Since the girls were showing signs for over half of these questions, I decide to move forward by

2.) Building their background knowledge of how to use a potty

  • A few months before the girls turned two, I purchased two potties and left them in the living room so they could explore. We talked constantly about using the potty.  They were eager to watch others model how to go potty on the toilet.  I also started reading potty books.  Some of their favorites were... 










images from amazon.com










I even checked out a few DVDs from the library for the girls to watch.  Once upon a Potty For Girls and Elmo's Potty Time were both big hits.  As long as I made using the potty look exciting, fun, and easy the girls were ready to give it a try.

3.) Gather Remaining Supplies
Since we have three main living areas in our house, I decided to  purchase enough potties to have one on each floor so I wouldn't have to remember to carry them up and downstairs.  I quickly learned that each girl would need her own potty (there's no holding it to wait for an unoccupied potty), so I ended up purchasing another set to keep on the first floor.  Here are some of our favorite potty training essentials...
From top left-
Bjorn Potty (solid, non skid, easy to clean)
Fisher price Froggy Potty (inexpensive, easy to clean, lightweight, easy to throw in back of car)
Mayfair Nextstep Child/Adult Built in Potty Seat (looks good in powder room, magnetic closure is very tight so won't fall but too tough for my girls to open alone)
Baby Bjorn Toilet Trainer (easy to remove and clean, non slip, good to take on overnight trips)
Potette Plus Portable Potty (full size, folds flat, easy to carry in diaper bag while running errands, non slip, durable)
Britax Seatsaver Waterproof Liner (EZ dry fabric, machine washable, fits most carseats)
Kandoo Flushable Toddler Wipes
Minnie underwear (girls chose their favorite:)

4.)The "I Do" Portion Of This Lesson

  • Once I was sure the girls had a good understanding of HOW to use the potty we started to work on the WHEN.   I was ready to go all in with the Potty Training Bootcamp (also known as 3 Day Potty Training or Potty Training in a Weekend). 
  • We rolled up the throw rugs (I figured the hardwood floors would be easier to clean), let the girls run around without a diaper, and  I sat the girls on the potty every 15 minutes-30 minutes. It was exhausting!  Even with my husband home to help, we couldn't keep up with the accidents, and the running  the girls to the potty when an accident started to happen.   By day two, we were exhausted and the girls were stressed.  Not wanted what I wanted.   I told them how proud I was of their effort. I left everything set up, but we went back to diapers.  The  good thing that came from this attempt was the girls had practice of racing to the potty, peeing on the potty, and the experience of having an accident.  
5.) The "We do" Part
  • About 3 weeks after the botched potty training attempt.  I was running low on diapers.  I started counting down the number of diapers we had left in the house-sharing the amount with the girls- then I would remind them that when the diapers were all gone, they were going to use big girl undies and go pee-pee and poo-poo on the potty.  I was so nervous because I could tell that we were going to run out of diapers on a weekday when I would be home alone with the girls.  I was so worried about having a repeat of last time.  But it was nothing like last time! 
This time I let the girls take the lead, but was right there with them...
  • I put them in tight fitting pants with no undies (easier to absorb any accidents, and quicker to pull up and down)
  • I didn't set any timers and gave very few reminders  
  • We had a good amount of accidents the first day, less the second, and only 2 the third day.  By day 6, we were accident free.  
  • As soon as the girls said "Potty" I would scoop them up and run to the nearest potty (which I strategically would keep with in 5 feet of us at all times, even when playing on the deck or in the back yard)
  • I rewarded successes with cheers, hugs, and a skittle or a pick from the prize box. (I know "they" say rewarding a positive behavior with food is "bad". But really, it's the only time my girls get candy and if one skittle does the trick, I'm OK with that.  Plus, the more they go on the potty, the less they ask for or expect a skittle.  After 3 weeks, I think they may have remembered to ask for a skittle once every 10 times.)
  • When accidents happened, instead of saying, "That's ok" I used "You had an accident, but you will make it next time."  Still positive, but not dismissing the accident.  
  • I kept a roll of paper towels, the Swiffer mop, and Clorox wipes close by to clean up any messes.
  • I've talked about this before, but I'm not big on using reward charts.  No reason to make one feel less than the the other. However, I do use a "Poo Chart".  The girls get to put a stamp on it and on their hand when they do the deed in the potty! Seems to be working. 
  • After that first week, I took the girls to Babies R' Us to pick out a "Big Girl Prize" to celebrate all of their hard work.  They chose Minnie Mouse cups without straws because "it for big girls!" So cute! 
6.) The "You Do" Part- Fostering Independence 
  • We are still working on naptime and nighttime potty training.  For now we use pull ups.  I'm being a bit lazy here, but I was so tired of cleaning up accidents in the beds.  The girls keep a potty in their room, and most of the time they will get up and use it instead of the pull up. Building independence! 
  • Reward dry pull ups with cheers! 
  • My goal is to work on naptime training over the next month, and then nighttime sometime after that. (I'll let you know how it goes).
  • Running errands: I always throw one of the froggy potties in the back of the SUV before we leave the house.  It's nice to have the quick grab if needed. 
  • Public restrooms with twins is HARD and DISGUSTING! There is no easy way around it.  If we are too far from the car to use the froggy potty, I will use the potette plus on the toilet.  I try to use the largest stall in the restroom and have drilled in to their heads when you are waiting for your sister, you don't touch anything! I often give the waiting twin my keys or something to hold to keep them from exploring on their own.  I need to be better at insisting if one goes, then the other one tries. Inevitability, ten minutes after a visit to the restroom for one, the other decides she needs to go.
7.) Final Assessement
We still have accidents every now and then.  I think that's to be expected.  I'm just so happy to be saving a fortune each week by not buying diapers.  

Potty training twins at the same time is HARD! I often clock 30 flights of stairs on my Fitbit from running up and down to empty potties (no bathroom on the 2nd floor).  In the beginning, there will be back to back accidents or pee running down legs while you are racing to get the other one on the potty.  You will do more laundry then you thought possible, and there will be days when even then you still run out of clean Minnie Mouse underwear.  It may even take months until you get to sit down and eat dinner without the, "I have to go" cry interrupting you mid-bite.  But don't despair.  Know that there are others out there just like you and we all survive.  If you go into potty training knowing it will be tough, it will be a lot easier to laugh off the craziness and come out the other side with your sanity still in tact (more or less-I mean you are still a mom of multiples, lol).

Love to hear from you about your potty training experiences. Especially any tips for for nighttime training.

Happy Potty Training!
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4 Comments »

4 Responses to “ Potty Training Twins: Tips and Tricks I Learned Along The Way ”

  1. Congrats! Thanks you for sharing at Whatever Wednesday on Thank You Honey! Hope to see you again next week!

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  2. Thank you for sharing! I have fraternal twin girls that I call my ladybugs too ;) I have tried potty training on the toilet with a ladder potty and they seem to be having trouble staying there long enough to make the magic happen. I am going to try again though because they are showing lots of signs that they're ready.
    Good luck getting them trained the rest of the way!

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  3. Thanks for your tips. I have twin almost 2 year old girls that take their diapers off or want me to change them as soon as they start to go in their diapers. We've been SLOWLY working on potty training. We had an "I do" experience a few months ago. I've been blogging about the whole experience. But nothing really substantial over the last few weeks. I just keep trying. They keep going through phases where they want nothing to do with the potty chairs and the SCREAM if I put them on the real toilet. Baby steps I guess. Glad to know it can be done! I was sort of convinced that all the adult twins out there were still walking around in diapers because it's not possible ;)

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  4. Thanks so much! It is very hard to find anything about twin potty training that is remotely helpful. I have tried before and put it off again because they are so stubborn about wanting to hide in a corner and refusing to go on the potty. But they are 3 now and it is getting warm so I am ready to give it another go.

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