How (Not) to Potty Train Twins {Five Favorites}

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Twins!  I always wanted twins!" Say approximately 50% of women who find out we have twins.  And for the most part, yes, what they see of twins is rather cute and appealing.

Exhibit A: Twins admiring flowers while praying the Hail Mary together.

But if you're one of these people, imagine if you will what potty training twins might look like.  

Heck, you don't have to imagine - I'll give you a little glimpse into the wonder that is our lives right now!

How (Not) to Potty Train Twins

Reading Material:

Some people like to prepare with many, many "potty readiness" books.  But there are wiser ways:

Forget to throw away that very old, very annoying copy of Once Upon a Potty.  Cave to requests to read it over and over again, then hide it behind a cushion because the trash can is too far away.  Kick self again when copy is unearthed and the requests begin again.  Never learn your lesson.

Resign yourself to the fact that you will have to say, "Bye-bye poop, bye-bye pee!" every time you flush the toilet from now until the end of time.

Find yourself doing this even when you're by yourself.


It gets old sitting on the edge of the bathtub reading the same book over and over again.  That's what older siblings are for, right?

She may not know how to read, but she recites a mean Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Goodnight Moon

Heck, she even volunteers to escort her baby sister to the potty!


Never ever check their diapers for poop before you remove them in the bathroom.  This will lead to lovely fun when you go dashing for wipes at the changing table and they have the opportunity to explore site of origin!

They're going for yogurt here.  Let's just say the term "poop mustache" has unfortunately entered into our vocabulary...


If you are too tired to get up off the couch every time they ask to go to the potty, tell them "Just use your diaper!  That's what it's for!"

Then get annoyed every time they poop and you actually have to clean that out of their nasty diapers...


Get one "good" potty seat for the toilet, and one regular potty for the floor.  Watch fights ensue as they both fight over who gets to use the Lion potty and who has to use the bear potty.  Because twins.

Toilet paper:

For the love of all that is good and holy, DO NOT TEACH THEM ABOUT TOILET PAPER!  While it's fun to watch one twin very carefully pick every wad of toilet paper out of the trash can and try to wipe her sister, it's also disgusting.

And then, of course, when they run out of toilet paper they try to find anything they CAN use, including but not limited to that dirty hoodie that's been lying on the floor just shy of the laundry basket for far too long...


Be prepared to yell "HANDS OFF YOUR CROTCH" more in 5 minutes than you ever have in your life (and I have a 5-year-old boy, so that's saying a lot...).

What, you thought this was going to be a helpful post?

Okay, I do have some pointers, just so this isn't entirely a post about poop:

1. Books in the bathroom DO keep them entertained for long enough to actual sit still and take care of business.  But maybe consider keeping library books OUT of the bathroom...

Because twins.  And books in the toilet.  


We have a Baby Bjorn Potty and a couple Prince Lionheart potty seats that work great, especially for itty bitty kids who are just too small to sit on a big toilet by themselves without falling in.  It gets old holding them up, believe me...

But the wonderful thing about the potty seats that suction onto the toilet, like ours, is that our kids have been willing to stay on the "big potty" WAY longer than on the little one, because they can't just kind of get up whenever they feel like it.  And they can't stick their hands into the bowl to explore just how much they've managed to produce.  So yeah, potty seats FTW.

3.  Cloth diapers!

Even if you don't cloth diaper, I highly recommend finding some sort of cloth training pants or inexpensive fitted cloth diapers to use for this phase - it's SO much easier to make a toddler aware when she can actually feel the wetness.  We've got some cloth diapers that are "stay-dry" and the twins totally don't care if they pee in those, but they demand to be changed immediately if they're in a fitted diaper or a prefold.  

4.  Training pants?

Once our kids are dry during the day, they're in underwear.  Sometimes I'll stick a cloth doubler in if they're prone to pee accidents, but we don't do training pants.  I will do training pants at night, but not Pull-Ups.  Flip Training Pants have worked awesome for us - John Paul was always a really heavy wetter at night, and even when he had accidents these held everything, plus they're easy to wash and last foooorever (well, we've had two kids go through them and our one set still looks like new).  A starter pack seems pricey, but when you compare it to the cost you'd be saving over Pull-Ups?  Totally a deal!

5.  It doesn't have to work immediately!

If you find yourself getting frustrated by the whole process, give it a break.  Stick with diapers for a while and try again in a few weeks, or a few months.  We started trying to train John Paul a little before he was 2, and he wasn't fully day-trained until 2.5.  Loooong, arduous process.  Cecilia decided at like, 17 months that she wanted to be potty-trained, and she was totally day-trained before she was 18 months old.  

Mary Claire has been asking to use the potty since she was 15 months old and I only *really* started letting her use it on a regular basis in the past few weeks (she's 20 months now), and she probably gets about 50% of her waste in the potty.  Elizabeth is just along for the ride and almost never accomplishes anything.  I don't really care - not like we're buying diapers, since we use cloth!

Just don't put more stress on yourself than is necessary, and remember that there's a WIIIIIDE range of normal for this sort of thing.  Some kids make it CRAZY easy, and that probably has nothing to do with your parenting skills.  And the ones that make it crazy hard? Probably not your fault, either :)  

Linking it up with everybody's favorite, Heather at Mama Knows, Honeychild - go check out more favorites!

PS links are Amazon Affiliate links, so you can show me a little monetary love at no extra cost by purchasing items through my links so Amazon sends a few cents my way - thanks :)

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