Potty training twins is something I’m often asked about, so thought I’d write a little post detailing how exactly I did it.
I’ll say right from the start it wasn’t exactly the most fun I’ve ever had, but seriously, the feeling when it’s done is AMAZING. Bye bye nappies! And when you’ve had three children all in nappies at the same time, getting through 100 a week, having NONE at all in the house is good. Like, really good.
You may have read all about how I tackled potty training my eldest already, if not have a read if you’re only potty training one child.
If you have twins and are considering potty training, here are 10 tips on how I did it. Obviously (as usual) I’m no expert, and I’m sure you can find gazillions of articles online about how you ‘should’ do it.
But I’m just a normal mum, with a normal parenting approach (I think). You’ll not be surprised to read I was definitely not hovering my baby over a potty at the age of three weeks. And this is what worked for us.
10 tips on potty training twins
Wait until they are ready
If I had to give just one single piece of advice for potty training twins OR singletons this would be it. WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE READY. Yes I know, I know, Karen from baby group potty trained her little one when they were 12 months old. And now your child is already 2.5 and you’re feeling ALL the pressure because that’s what you think you SHOULD be doing.
I have three words for you. BOLLOCKS TO THAT. You potty train your child when you and your child are ready. The one thing I have learned from doing this three times with my boys is that there is literally no point in starting too early. I know people who have tried when their child is 2 and have taken 7-8 weeks before the poor thing has even done a single wee on the potty. In my opinion that is 7-8 weeks of your life that you’re never going to get back. And what is the point? So that you can conform to the mother in law’s/health visitor’s/social media’s expectations? Again BOLLOCKS TO THAT.
I’m so glad I waited
I waited (and waited) to start potty training with all three of my boys. Until I thought they were ready. And guess what, unsurprisingly it worked. It’s not exactly rocket science to see why, is it?
My first was nearly three, the first of my twins was three years and two months, and my final twin was 3.5. THREE AND A HALF. Some would say this is too late and that I should have done it earlier. You can guess what I’d say to those people. It’s similar to BOLLOCKS TO THAT in case you weren’t sure.
I chose to wait with my first because I didn’t think he was ready. I also had tiny twins and it was something else to make my life difficult at that point in time. Remember it’s okay to do it when YOU want to too. It’s you who will be clearing up shit and piss from your carpet. Not them!
So when it worked with my first I knew I’d do the same when it came to potty training twins. And all three of them nailed it within a week or so during the day and within 6 weeks at night. Proof that it worked for us to wait.
Consider doing it separately when potty training twins
This will obviously depend on your own children but potty training twins does not mean they have to do it at the same time. It will depend on if you’re waiting for when they are ready and practically asking for pants, or if you want to just go for it in one big shebang and assume they’ll deal with it simultaneously. There’s no right or wrong answer.
As I’ve just said, I waited until mine were ready and that meant it wasn’t at the same time. Twin One was ready almost six months before Twin Two, and that was fine by me. I can’t think of anything worse than having to do them at the same time! I guess you could get a bit of a competition going, but what happens when one is doing better than the other? For us it was easier to do them separately. After all they are individual people despite being twins.
Stay at home for a few days
I did this with all three of mine, and it definitely took the pressure off a bit. It meant they could wander around the house or garden naked from the waist down, or wearing just pants – basically meaning less washing of clothes if there was an accident. Because let’s face it, we all have enough washing to do as it is. Twin Two started in winter so he wasn’t in the garden half naked, but he could be inside a warm house wearing just pants and a jumper.
It also meant I wasn’t constantly worrying that they would wet themselves at a really inopportune moment whilst we were out, or that you were constantly looking for toilets or spots for them to wee outside. Mastering an outdoor wee is a whole other skill, so there was no need to add that into the mix on the first day too. Why add any more pressure to what is a bit of a shitty time anyway? Quite literally.
Let them choose their own pants
Bigging up the whole wearing pants thing is important, so let them choose their own and they’ll probably get excited too. Twin Two was the last to do it and probably out of the three the most reluctant. He was ready in the sense that he would tell me when he was doing a wee or a poo, and at 3.5 there was a bit of pressure to get it done before starting school. But he was pretty attached to his nappies too! He told me he wanted green pants, and as we started it just after Christmas we put a pack of green pants in his stocking from Father Christmas and made a big deal of it.
Ask them regularly if they need a wee
This sounds really obvious, but it was a habit I got into when potty training twins. They’d soon get annoyed at me for asking all the time, so I would then suggest they tried at regular intervals and I’d take them to the toilet. A good tip I was told by a friend the first time round was if they’re trying and nothing comes out – turn the tap on in the bathroom. The sound of the water made my boys do a wee nearly every time!
Skip the potty and go straight to the toilet
This is a personal choice, and will depend on what your child thinks about it, of course. But I hated the potty with my eldest singleton. Especially when he’d done a poo in it and I had to clean it out. Grim! Luckily he only used it for about a week then wanted to sit on the toilet with a toddler seat. I was all for that, so did this straight away when it came to either twin. Twin Two didn’t like the potty at all and never once used it, so was happy to sit on the toilet, and Twin One went one step further and by copying his big brother was standing up peeing for England like a grown up within the first week. It was hilarious!
This meant that when it was Twin Two’s turn he soon started standing up too just so he could join his brothers. It’s not been unheard of for all three of them to stand at the toilet and pee in unison. FFS boys are gross.
Don’t be afraid to use bribes whilst potty training twins
Some might not agree with this, but I’m all about the bribes, as I know many of you are too. And if there’s a time and a place for them, then potty training twins is definitely it.
I gave my boys a small chocolate every time they did a wee on the toilet, and praised them like they’d single handedly created the vaccine for Covid. I also got the other two boys to celebrate it too. They were loving it. The chocolate bribes for a wee only lasted about a week before I phased them out, and then they would only get one if they did a poo on the toilet. Which was always a bit trickier!
Within a couple of weeks there was no need for the chocolate but it had been an integral part of the potty training success – so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I wish someone would reward me with a chocolate button every time I went to the loo! Likewise try not to get annoyed with them for wetting themselves. It’s SO frustrating especially when you’ve just that second taken them to the loo and they’ve produced sod all. But hey, kids are sent to try us, right?!
Use an app to help them do a poo – seriously!
Okay, I realise this sounds totally ridiculous but there is an app created by the NHS called Poo Goes Home To Pooland that I’d been told about by a friend when her little boy would refuse to do a poo on the toilet.
So I downloaded it with Twin One and then used it for Twin Two too. It’s basically a story about a little boy who is scared of doing a poo, and by externalising the problem it helps to promote understanding of toileting matters and relieve anxiety. That’s the official line anyway. The unofficial line is, put simply, it’s a cartoon of a talking shit, that wants to be flushed down the toilet to join his mummy and daddy in Pooland. Yes it is as random and bizarre as it sounds, but it really works!
At no point in my life did I expect to be talking to a child about them needing to do their shit on the loo rather than in their pants so that the friendly little thing could go and find his Mummy. But there we are. That’s exactly what I was doing. And the kids bought right into it. They still talk about sending poo to Pooland now long after I deleted it. Or if you wanted a different approach, read about the Montessori way here.
Think about tackling night times sooner rather than later
Again this will be different for each child, but I cracked on with no nappies at night time quite soon. I was expecting it to take months or even years for them to be dry overnight. But first time round I’d also heard (whether it was true or not) that there was almost a ‘window’ where your child, once potty trained, might be ready to be dry at night too. A window that then closes again. So with each of my boys I went for it within 6 weeks, and despite maybe 2-3 accidents for each twin, they’ve been amazing.
A good tip I was told when starting the night times was to double up on their bedding. I buy those absorbent changing mats and put them under the sheet to hopefully catch any wetness. But I also layer up the mats and the sheets for an easy change at 4am. So I’d have a mattress protector, then an absorbent mat, then a fitted sheet, then another mat, then another fitted sheet. So if they were to wet the bed I’d just have to whip off the top sheet and mat, and they could get back into bed straight away. I still do this now and it’s super handy.
Congratulate yourself for potty training twins with a large glass of wine
Now you know me, this is by far one of the most important pieces of advice I can offer. Potty training is a pain. Potty training twins is an even bigger pain. Especially if you do end up doing them together. So be kind to yourself. Once you’re through it, pat yourself on the back for yet another milestone ticked off, and have a glass of wine to celebrate. Cheers!
Do you have any tips on potty training twins? How did it go for you?
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? Why not hang around and read a few more. You might like The ‘Fun’ Of Moving Twin Toddlers From Cots To Big Boy Beds, or you might be interested in Best Potty Training Products. How about 5 Reasons I Have Mum Guilt? Or what about heading back to an early one about being pregnant with twins – My Twin Pregnancy Cravings Were So Bad, I Wanted A McDonald’s On Christmas Day. Or head over to Mum Life for more parenting waffle, or to the Travel Section for some UK holiday inspiration.
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