First-a little introduction! My name is Katie and my husband Josh and I live in Fargo, North Dakota with our 2 ½ year old identical twin boys, Max and Eli. Josh and I have been married for 4 ½ years, he is a marketing manager for Republic National Distributing Company for the state of ND and I am a stay at home mom.
I have started writing this and stopped so many different times because I am certainly not an expert and I don’t want to come across as one…so I am just going to tell you about our experience potty training Max and Eli. Please keep in mind that what has worked for us may not work for you and again that I am a stay at home mom which means I did this solo (with the help of my husband on the weekends) for the most part…but that I was also able to devote an entire week to staying at home and doing this.
Max and Eli turned 2 on May 15th and while they would occasionally use their potty chairs-it was nothing close to consistent and it was only when we would put them on the potty-never initiated by them. We decided shortly after their birthday that because we were SO busy this summer we would wait until September to officially potty train them. In the meantime-I asked almost every single friend and family member I have about their experiences in potty training and tried to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. The thing I heard most often was that girls are easier to potty train than boys-awesome! Not only that but I had TWO to train! I knew I wanted to potty train them together-they’ve done everything together their whole life and I didn’t want this to be any different. Looking back I can see that Eli was more ready than Max but I still don’t regret training them together.
A few days before we were going to start we took them to Target and let them pick out underwear-they thought this was great and they were SO excited about their CARS underwear (it’s the little things, right?!)…We had initially started with potty chairs but Max would sit on it for 5 seconds and then get up and run away so we bought the seats that sit on the toilet-mainly to keep him on the toilet but also because they take up much less room. We started out training them to pee while sitting down and will stick with that method until they are a bit older and have a better aim. ;) We have 2 different ones-pictured below! We also grabbed a big bag of peanut butter M&M’s (a favorite but rare treat in our house)! I should note that we started with 24 pairs of underwear and that seemed to be perfect-we also chose to start on a Friday so that Josh would be home during the first few days (Saturday & Sunday). We talked a LOT with them about not wearing diapers anymore and going pee on the potty…I have no clue if this prepared them at all but I wanted them to know it was coming.
Day 1 - Friday
My kiddos are NOT morning people (neither am I so they come by it honestly) so we watched an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and they ate their breakfast. After they had “woken up” and eaten we ditched the diapers.
I let them pick out their own underwear, decided against wearing pants and the fun began! In case you are confused-that was complete sarcasm. I set the timer on my phone for every 15 minutes, encouraged them to drink lots (and lots) of water and focused on keeping them busy while also being in close distance to the bathroom. The morning was a DISASTER-there is no other way to put it. I was already doing a load of laundry by 10:30am. I lost track of how many accidents they had-combined I think they only actually went pee on the potty 4 times! All 3 of us were frustrated and in tears by the time lunchtime rolled around. They were crying every time I brought them into the bathroom, they wouldn’t “go” but as soon as they got down they would have accidents and within 3 hours I wanted to quit and put the diapers back on. I knew this would happen-expected it to happen but when you are actually in the moment it can be so SO overwhelming. Josh came home right around the time they were waking up from nap and that was a huge game changer-I was no longer doing this solo! Josh kept Max upstairs, I took Eli downstairs and we set the timers for every 20 minutes. They had fewer accidents and I definitely had renewed patience which helped considerably. We went into this knowing we didn’t want to traumatize them so we never scolded them for having accidents-just firmly told them it was not ok to pee in their underwear and that they needed to pee on the potty. We also realized that our excitement when they actually went on the potty overwhelmed them and they were much happier with a high five and an M&M. I think angels sang when bedtime rolled around-we tucked them in tight and fell into bed ourselves. I was not at all prepared for how physically and mentally exhausted I would be after just one day!
Day 2 - Saturday
As not to confuse them-when they woke up on Saturday morning we immediately put underwear on them. They weren’t thrilled but quickly calmed down-Saturday mornings are their mornings to help daddy make homemade waffles so that was a welcomed activity/distraction!
Almost right away Eli started getting antsy and when I asked him if he needed to go potty he yelled “YES” and ran towards the bathroom…I could have cried tears of joy! We set the timer for every 20-25 minutes and kept a close eye on them-trying to watch for signs that they needed to go. We were still giving them lots of liquid and although neither one of them were telling us they needed to go I could recognize the signs…this was fine but obviously I needed it to click for them and for them to recognize those signs of needing to go-not solely depend on me to watch, recognize and bring them every single time. They were actually going almost every single time we brought them and there weren’t nearly as many tears. Our first causality of Potty Training happened Saturday mid-morning. We were trying to find things to keep them busy and entertained since we were stuck in the house so we were letting them play Elmo on the iPad’s…I made the terrible mistake of letting Eli hold onto it while sitting on the potty and he dropped it on the tile-shattering the screen…ouch! They had 7 accidents total all day-most of them happened before naptime. I really feel like once they woke up from nap and we put the underwear back on them (they wore diapers for nap and bedtime-still do) it finally dawned on them that this was in fact happening-for real. During dinner on Saturday night Eli jumped out of his booster seat and ran for the bathroom while saying, “c’mon mama-potty potty”…he was getting it!
Day 3 - Sunday
Max had 1 accident all morning-Eli had none! We were still setting the timer for every 25 minutes but Eli was running to the bathroom on his own so I started to use him as a guide and would just take Max after Eli had went. During nap I left Josh at home to run a few errands (aka get out of the house to regain some of my sanity with a little retail therapy). While I was gone they woke up and he was solo with them for over an hour with NO accidents! We host family dinner every Sunday with 3 of my cousins and my brother so we had a full house-this was a regret of mine because there was way too much commotion/distraction and they each had a few accidents.
I should also mention that while they were peeing on the potty-they were NOT going #2 on the potty. Luckily (?) they would wait until we put their diapers on them to do their business-at least I didn’t have to clean it out of their underwear! Max did poop on the potty finally on Sunday night right before bath time-he was SO proud of himself!
Day 4 - Monday
The morning started out rough-Max pooped in his underwear-I take back what I mentioned above about not having to clean out their dirty underwear. SO GROSS. I took it as a good sign that he immediately told me and wanted me to take him potty. I consider myself very lucky that this was the ONLY “poop” incident I had throughout the entire process-at least if they weren’t going in the potty they would wait until I put their diapers on for nap/bedtime. Eli was consistently telling me he had to go and although he wouldn’t give me much of a warning-we were making it on time! Max had 2 accidents aside from the poop accident but I was still using Eli as my guide-Max wasn’t telling me he had to go.
Days 5-7 were very similar to Monday-minus the pooping accident. FINALLY on day #8 it clicked for Max-this was also the first time we took them out of the house so it was a big day! We had a birthday party to attend at our local Zoo and I was SO nervous! I think I packed an entire weeks’ worth of underwear and extra pants but I was thrilled when I didn’t need them-AT ALL! The boys did great-telling us when they had to go and even if we weren’t close to a bathroom they held it until we made it.
The one thing we realized is that we needed a portable/collapsible potty seat. They were intimidated by the big toilets and we were struggling to hold them on them plus help them aim ;) Throughout the entire process I can honestly say this was our best purchase-it’s been a lifesaver for us when we’ve been out and about with the boys!
We are back to our normal routine-going out and about and the sound of the timer is a distant memory-thank goodness! They do really well when we aren’t home and I no longer feel the need to pack a weeks’ worth of extra clothes every time we step out the door (I still pack extras of course-just not as many). We took our first road trip (3 hours to my hometown) a few weeks ago-about 10 weeks into this-and they did great….although the 3 hour trip took close to 4 hours, we stopped 4 times AND they didn’t nap. We put their underwear on them and then pull ups over their underwear-just in case! After our little road trip they spent an entire week at my parents’ house-I was pretty nervous they would regress but my mom was/is a champ and they did great!
To sum this all up-here is what I learned about potty training twin boys:
- Collapsible potty seats are necessary-trust me.
- Boys don’t automatically know they need to “shake it off”…and dancing around the bathroom signing T. Swifts latest jam doesn’t teach them…I made Josh teach them this little trick-it’s saved me from wiping pee off the floor every time.
- You need a potty chair/seat with a “splash guard” if you don’t want to be changing their clothes and YOUR clothes every time they go.
- CONSISTENCY is the key! I told Josh when we started this that we had to be “all in” or it was never going to work and I really feel that is true.