Potty Training Twins

Together or Seperate

This questions is asked by every twin mom - "Should I potty train them at the same time or separately?" It really depends on your twins.  Girls are often, but not always, ready before boys. Identical twins are usually ready around the same age.  With fraternal twins, it can be either way.  In any case, you will want to ask yourself whether you want to deal with potty training two at a time or with doing it twice.  I did not want to deal with doing it twice and found that my twins motivated each other to be successful.  For me, the right answer was doing it together.  That may not be the case with your twins.

Before You Start

Once you have decided your twins are ready to start potty training you need to get them on board with this whole going to the potty thing.  To get the ball rolling, start by getting a children's book on potty training and read it with them.  Afterwards discuss with them how big kids use the potty and see if they are receptive to the idea of trying to use the potty themselves.  You will want to get them really excited about it then take them shopping to pick out potty chairs, underwear, and stickers and/or treats to use as rewards when they are successful.  It is really important to have them pick out the underwear.  You'd be surprised how not wanting to pee on "My Little Pony" (or whatever character they love) will motivate a child to use the toilet.

Read, Set, Go!

Pick a day when you can stay home the entire day as your first potty training day.  Let them pick out the underwear they want to wear that day.  Put up the sticker rewards chart and get out the stickers and treats you plan to hand out for successes.   Treats can be anything from M&Ms to smarties, to a small toy.  Pick something that will motivate your twins. 

Now that you are all set, get out the potty chairs.  Do everything you can so they have a success.  Sit them on the potty chairs in front of their favorite tv show.  Take the potty seats in your backyard and have them run around and play, but with the potty right there if they need to go.  Have them try to use the potty every 20 minutes or so.  Eventually, they will have a success.  Make a huge deal about it. Give him/her a sticker to put on their chart.  Let him/her pick out a treat.  Make it exciting for them when they go in the potty. 

When they have accidents, don't make a big deal about it.  Clean it up, put on clean underwear and keep trying.  It should get easier everyday with more and more successes and fewer and fewer accidents.  At the beginning when you have to leave the house, put on a "traveling pull-up".   Day to day life with twins is hard enough as it is, don't make it harder on yourself by having to deal with accidents when you are not at home.  It won't be long before they no longer have accidents and you can eliminate the pull-ups.

When Nothing Works

Having potty trained 5 kids, including a set of twins, you would think I would be an expert at this.  Think again!  Child number 6 was a huge challenge.  A month went by and she was still having mostly accidents with very few successes.  We used a sticker reward chart, M&M's for successes, and Princess panties. None of that was enough motivation for her to use the potty.  She was 3 1/2 at the time and very much ready to potty train.  She was just very, very stubborn about it. 

After weeks of this, I came up with the idea to make a "treasure chest" with cheap toys I picked up at the 99 cent store.  Every time she had a success, she got to pick out a toy from the "treasure chest".    A week later she was completely potty trained with no accidents.  The lesson here is to find what motivates your child.  Even with identical twins, this could be something completely different. 

If after a few weeks, one or both of them are having more accidents than successes, take a step back.  One or both twins may not be truly ready and you should wait a few months and try again.   If you don't feel that is the case, you may need to find a different reward system that will work for each one.  You may find that what motivates one of your twin doesn't motivate the other. 

Don't give up!  Eventually they will both be accident free all the time.  

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