The Top 10 Most Unglamorous Tips for Potty Training Twins

I’ll admit it–my wife and I have been putting off potty training. It’s not that we’re against the idea–we’re pretty psyched about not having to spend literally $100 a month on Costco-sized diapers for two little asses and are over the whole diaper-changing/alligator-wrestling ordeal. It’s just that we have a psychotically busy April and are just trying to make it through the month before we hit the potties hard. In preparation for this next chapter of parenthood, I’ve enlisted the help of Kristin Myers, a veteran mother of twins who has recently featured me on her blog and just released a new book titled Twin Turbulence. (Guess what it’s about!) In this guest post, she offers tips to aspiring parents of potty-trained twins which stand to benefit those of us about to enter the cold tile floor battlefield. Enjoy!

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The Top 10 Most Unglamorous Tips for Potty Training Twins

by Kristin Myers

1. Set a timer to remind yourself to put them on the potty. A potty-trained parent is a potty-trained set of twins. Be prepared: You will become very familiar with the hard surface of your bathroom floor as you will the excretory magic to happen with your parental super powers. Do not be above bribery. M & M’s are great incentives. So are Post Potty Parties – obnoxious songs and dances to appropriately celebrate Number 1 or Number 2 after they occur, of course. (A premature party can startle them mid-stream, either creating quite a mess or the need to start all over.)

2. Do not be fooled by anatomy. Both boys and girls need help learning how to squirt down! You do not want to learn this the hard way while sitting on the floor in front of them. Just saying…

3. You’ll want to be present as the action is happening. Otherwise they’ll “help” each other wipe and clean up. This rarely ends well. Imagine two 2-year-olds trying to dump the contents of the kid potty into the grown-up potty. Not good. In addition, twins can exhaust a roll of toilet paper faster than a puppy dragging the roll through the house. And when they’re done? It’s great fun to stuff it all in the toilet to see just how many flushes (or floods) it will take to make it disappear!

4. When at home, twin bare-bottoms become more commonplace than pants. You don’t mean for this to happen, but it does. Grandparents will more than likely be offended and fight the uphill battle during visits. Just ignore them.

5. If you let your boy pee on a tree even once, I guarantee your daughter will feel the need to demonstrate her vertical stream as well when you least expect it. Like in the park. On the great big tree in front of all your friends. It’s a very uncomfortable moment. Trust me.

6. Eat before you go out to eat. The majority of your time at a restaurant will be spent in the bathroom with one twin or another. Cuz when they gotta go – they gotta go!

7. Public restrooms. If you’re a germaphobe – get over it right now. Your twins will touch every surface deemed untouchable in a bathroom stall. Pitfall to look out for with Mommy: The sanitary napkin disposal lid is way too much fun to open and close! Pitfall with Daddy: Everything! (Daddies: Just knock before entering the ladies room. Men’s rooms and twins are a nightmare. My germaphobe of a husband has never been the same since the time he discovered our twins holding and closely inspecting the fun neon-colored urinal deodorizer.)

8. When in a jam, loop the handles of a plastic grocery bag over the buckles of their carseats and spread the bag underneath their bottoms – hopefully they’re wearing long pants. If you know they might fall asleep on the car ride home, this can be a lifesaver.

9. Port-A-Potties: Every twin parent’s worst nightmare. I cringe at the thought. If the only alternative is Mother Nature – pick a grassy hill and instruct them to sit right down on their bare bottoms. The stream naturally trickles down and away. (Not my proudest moment. At another park. In front of all my friends.)

10. Derived from the out-door experiences listed above: Never leave the house without a portable potty in the back of your car. Just make sure that when you close the victorious Ziploc bag, yellow and blue really do make green! Another horrible lesson to learn the hard way. Thank God we don’t have that van anymore.

Best of luck! Here’s to hoping you have nothing to add to this Tip List when your twins are diaper free!

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About the Author

Twin Turbulence

Kristin Myers is a stay-at-home mother of three (two of which are twins), wife to a husband who kicked cancer’s ass, and the author of the recently-released memoir Twin Turbulence. The story starts in 2004 when journaling became her outlet. This is not a handbook – it’s a labor of love. While reading you will nod, laugh and empathize with Kristin as a woman, as a parent, as a wife, as the mother of twins (which is a completely different ballgame) and as part of a team facing a cancer diagnosis.These are the honest reactions to the constant, unexpected nature of life that was magnified by twins. The trials and errors, the ups and downs, and the in-betweens. This is the truth of living through the rough parts while searching for any and all silver linings.

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Thanks to Kristin for the badass advice and for being a fantastic Twinfamy Lobbyist on the Internets. Please take a gander at her book and purchase it if you so choose. It’s available in paperback and Kindle edition, and she’s so super nice that she’d probably read it to you aloud if you asked politely enough.

Also, if anyone else has any potty training tips or helpful links–especially in training twins–feel free to leave them in the comments below (I have a feeling we’ll need all the help we can get).

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You may also enjoy:

The Butthead Butterfly Effect   I Can Fly Twice as High   Open Roads and Diaper Loads - Our First Road Trip

If not, perhaps you’d be more comfortable peeing on a tree.

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22 comments

  1. Leluteekin Emilia

    These are so true! And I am so glad that ours are potty-trained! One aspect of twin-parenting I won’t be missing. :) I suggest that when you’re through, take the diaper money and do something very nice with it – for you. You earned it.

    Like

    • John Pseudonymous

      If we get anything, it’s gonna be for both of us–not just me. My wife’s working full-time to support all of us while simultaneously being a parent and getting her Master’s. Meanwhile, I get to play with the kids for half the week, and spend the other half learning about stuff I thoroughly enjoy. While a guitar would be nice, an “us” or a “wife” reward is way more appropriate. :)

      Like

  2. Jennifer @ Brave New Home

    We just started trying to potty train our almost two and a half year old and it’s a full time job! Day care said he’s not ready (but I think really they just don’t have the time to devote to him) and I’m seriously considering taking some time off work to focus on this skill. Good luck and thanks for the tips!

    Like

    • John Pseudonymous

      Best of luck to you, too! Make sure you word your request to take time off carefully. I feel like “I’m taking time off so I can do potty training” could be too open to interpretation. ;)

      Like

  3. twotastic

    Our boys are only 11 months but this was very interesting to read about what our future holds for us… Definitely not looking forward to it but I love the advice!

    Like

  4. April K

    If it’s advice you want…

    1. Stickers make just as good bribery treats as candy, and they don’t rot teeth or induce a sugar rush. However, they are awfully hard to peel off of furniture. Make sure the sticker goes on skin or clothing first. Better yet, make a potty chart to hang on the bathroom door and put the stickers on that. Then they can see their progress!

    2. If you regularly read to your children, get some fun books about using the potty and read them. Once Upon a Potty is very straightforward with discussion of body parts and bodily functions, but it got my kid excited about the potty. (There’s even an Elmo potty push-button book with fun flushing sounds!)

    3. Buy a potty or potty seat well before you’re ready to train and leave it out where the kiddos can see and touch it. Even if they don’t decide to try it on their own, its presence will get them used to the idea. Let them sit on it, play with it, whatever. Getting kids to try new things can be hard, and if your child melts down because he/she doesn’t want to sit on the “new thing,” it could set training back months.

    4. Unless you have to put your kids in daycare next month, wait until your kids are ready to try. Signs include tugging or taking off diapers, hiding while pooping, touching or holding privates before urinating, waking up dry from naps, or demanding to be changed immediately after pooping and/or urinating.

    5. If you’re feeling brave, put your toddlers in cotton trainers once you’re ready to get serious about training. They’ll make lots of puddles, but they’ll become aware of their urges very quickly. Not so brave? There are waterproof trainers that will help contain the mess.

    6. Always be calm and encouraging. Don’t get upset over accidents (tall order, I know). Even if you want to scream, just say, “That’s ok, sweetie. Next time, you can use the potty.” Don’t shame your kids or punish for accidents. They’ll just lose confidence, which will drag potty training out even longer.

    7. Sometimes it’s ok to take a break from training if life has become uber stressful and your child is having strings of accidents. Just come back when you’re ready to try again.

    I was terrified of potty training from the time my child was born, but it turned out to not be so bad. Good luck!

    Like

    • John Pseudonymous

      Wow, this is awesome! Thanks so much. Totally know what you mean about stickers. My kids are sticker fanatics and we find them everywhere. My wife even finds them on her work clothes while she’s sitting in her office. We actually have bought the Elmo sound-effects book and the kids at least love making noise with it. I do think they’re ready. It’s just a matter of biting the bullet and going for it.

      Like

  5. kristinmyers5

    April, you sound just like me with my first. He had the book basket, the sticker chart (no way on candy!), and constant positive encouragement. It worked, too. But when there were two to contend with they fought over the books and the sticker charts only created drama. It was more of a let’s get in and get out type of atmosphere in their potty room. Twins keep score better than any referee out there. So it’s a tough rope to walk at times. It’s especially tempting to give a reward to the upset one just to make him/her feel better. Then that just leads to more temper tantrums and no lessons learned. Because if one twin went potty and got a sticker and the other twin didn’t – it turned into me consoling one instead of praising the other. An M & M was a quick out of sight/out of mind solution to the problem. And wouldn’t you know it? My singleton is the one who has had 2 cavities filled and the girls are cavity free? Ha! Go figure.

    Ya do what ya gotta do when you’re outnumbered. :)

    Like

    • John Pseudonymous

      Good point on the competition. I’m already seeing that. We’ve been doing a sort of trial run with the potties every night just before baths, and I’ve found that whichever of my kids isn’t able to go when it’s time gets super frustrated. Definitely something to keep in mind. I like the idea of the M&Ms being quick versus the stickers, which are more permanent (and easier to be jealous of).

      Like

  6. kristinmyers5

    It was so fun to write. My husband and I laughed as we reminisced…especially about the deodorizer in the urinal. To see him relive the horror was hilarious! Thanks to JP for sharing his page with me! :)

    Like

  7. Pingback: Kristin Myers looks forward to the future raising her kids. | Kristin Myers

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