Potty training a single child is stressful enough – the tantrums, the toilet paper, the Turkish rug now covered in urine. But potty training twins is even more difficult. Twins compound joy in many ways, yet bodily functions isn’t one of them. It’s not double the pleasure; it’s only double the poop.
And yet, it’s not impossible to potty train twins in a short amount of time. In fact, in some ways, it’s beneficial – the motivation of the double diaper bill might be all you need to grow determined in the fight against the doodie.
So, to get your two to tinkle, consider the following:
Treat them as individuals:
It might be easier to potty train two kids at once, but this isn’t always possible. Twins are individuals though they may look alike and act alike. It’s possible for one twin to be ready when another twin isn’t. Boy and girl twins are likely to be on different readiness schedules. If that’s the case, don’t keep the ready twin in diapers waiting for the other one to catch up. Just divide and conquer, one child at a time.
Know the benefits and drawbacks of tag teaming:
It’s possible that both your twins will be ready for potty training (this is more likely for identical twins), allowing you to train two for the price of one. The biggest benefit to this is sibling rivalry. Twins are born competitors and often exhibit this competitive spirit in any situation, including those that involve crap. If one twin poops in the toilet, the other twin becomes compelled to do the same – only his is bigger and smells way, way worse!
However, this rivalry backfires on occasion. Twins have trouble escaping the idea that they’re twins and this leaves them striving for individuality. If one twin conquers potty training, the other might not simply in an act of defiance. If you see that happen, tone down the competitiveness and be patient. The twin who isn’t potty trained eventually puts individuality on the back-burner in the name of hygiene. They’ll return it to the forefront when they get their nose pierced in middle school.
No article on potty training is complete without the mention of wonderful bribery: it’s a staple of parenthood, as you know. Yet, not every bribe work with twins. If one twin gets a present for peeing in the potty and the other gets nothing for peeing in the pants, a sticky situation may occur. Not all children connect their actions with consequences. Thus, you run the risk of looking as though you’re playing favorites.
If you can parlay this into a comparison – “your brother got a present and you will too if you use the potty” – the results are more rewarding.
Have Two Toilets:
Twins are often saddled with presents and things they have to share – “Thanks for the hat, Grandma. We can’t wait to take turns wearing it.” A toilet isn’t something that works on a communal level when potty training. Each child needs their own potty, something they view as theirs and, as a result, want to crap inside.
Stick to the basics:
Sticking to the basics is important when toilet training twins because of the extra work involved – deviating opens yourself up to a longer learning process. So, remember to stay on schedule (encourage your children to use the potty consistently); be flexible (what works for one twin might not work for the other); dress them in easy-to-access clothing (stay away from the onesies that require you to set aside fifteen minutes to open the twenty-six snaps); and expect a mess (as mentioned above, it’s double the poop).
Parenting any child is hard; parenting twins ups the ante – there’s no way around it, twins outnumber you. And potty training in regards to multiples is one of the most difficult tasks. But it’s also one where you’ll feel great self-satisfaction afterwards. Potty train your twins, and then go and climb Mount Everest.