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Tips for potty training twins

When should I start Potty Training my Twins? 

Children should be at least 18 months of age and showing signs of readiness for potty training before you start. If your child is looking like they are ready sooner than this it is fine to train them earlier. But follow your child’s lead. Do NOT try to start them before they are ready.
If they are expressing an interest in using the loo or big girl/boy pants, buy them a potty each and lets get started!

What happens if just one twin is ready to get potty trained first? Potty train that twin, the other one will soon want to copy and will catch up! Certainly don’t hold one twin back or try to make one who is not ready try it.

Signs of readiness for potty training:
•Removing a wet or dirty nappy because they don’t like the feel of it
•Saying that they need a wee or a poo or that they have just done a wee or poo
•Wanting to use a potty, or toilet
•Using language correctly relating to going to the toilet
•Showing an interest in using a toilet
•Wanting to wear proper pants ‘like a big boy/girl’
•Being able to pull trousers and pants down on their own confidently
•Being able to go for a while without wetting or dirtying their nappy
•Hiding in corners or under a table when they need a poo

What equipment will I need? At first the main thing you will need is two potties. You could get a couple of spare ones to keep upstairs if you live in a house, but its not vital that you do this.

It is handy to buy some good disinfectant ready for mopping up spills as they will have plenty of accidents at first
. You might want to get a potty for emergencies when you’re out and about but again this isn’t essential.
As they get more confident you might like to buy a toilet trainer seat for the loo and a stepping stool for them to put their feet on.
It is possible to buy an integrated ‘family’ toilet seat which has a second, smaller seat which flips down when needed which can be a good idea.

At first you will be keeping your twins in either nappies or pull-ups overnight, but eventually you might like to buy a plastic sheet to go under their sheet to stop accidents seeping into the mattress.
You might want to buy a heap of cheap knickers/ pants as well. Get plenty as they will go through them very quickly at first. Supermarkets normally sell them very cheaply.

Some parents ‘downgrade’ to a cheaper, less absorbent nappy just before potty training, to help them recognise that they are wet, but again this is not essential.

Before you start potty training your twins ensure that they have a good healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, and have plenty  of fresh fruit and vegetables. This ensures it is as easy for them as possible.

When should I start potty training?When they seem ready! 
But not
•When mother-in-law is coming to stay, (unless you’re going to give her the task of training them of course!)
•When you’re attempting a house move,
• Before your next baby is born (!),
•Just before a big holiday etc. Choose your time wisely.

It also helps if you are all in good health too, it is no fun trying to persuade ill twins to try using a potty!
Some parents have taken a weeks annual leave and cracked on with potty training making sure that they didn’t have anything very spectacular to achieve that week.
Summer is usually a good time to start training, purely because you have less clothing to deal with anyway, and you can always let them have nappy free time in the garden (as long as it is not very sunny of course, don’t want them getting sunburn, ouch!)

How do I start potty training twins? Firstly buy the potties and anything else you need. It can help introducing potties slowly by letting them play with them, slowly moving on to them being put on the potty before they go in the bath etc. If they manage to do a wee or poo on the potty, give them lots of praise. It is fairly likely that to begin with they won’t always manage to do anything on the potty, which is fine, just take it away without making any comment.

Once they are familiar with using the potty at bath times you can introduce the potty more often throughout the day. Theoretically, the best time for sitting on the potty is about 20 minutes after meals, so perhaps incorporate a potty trip into your routine 20 minutes after breakfast, lunch and tea. If you offer them a drink throughout the day, again offering the potty shortly after can help.
Having some books for them to look at whilst they are sat on their potties can help them sit for long enough to let something happen!  Remember to teach them to wash their hands after using the potty (or at least use some hand sanitizer).

Instant Rewards. Some parents use a star chart or instant rewards system for using the potty. Twin parents might find it useful to have a joint star chart that they both contribute to, rather than having individual ones, but this depends on individual twins. Remember to reward effort not achievement! The thing to reward is the fact they attempted to sit on the potty, not that they actually did anything on the potty!

When you’re out and about with twins in the early stage of potty training. When you are out and about whilst you are in the first stages of potty training your twins, you might prefer to put your twins into either pull up’s or nappies, as until they properly master bowel and bladder control, they are likely to have accidents in the car, on the bus, etc.
If you want to be brave and go for the proper pants approach, make sure you take some carrier bags with you (for wet/soiled clothes) and a complete change of clothes each as sometimes wee can seep up through tee-shirts and soak the child through. You might want to line your car seats with a towel placed on a bin bag or other plastic, or a purpose made pad which can be machine washed.

At night time again you will probably put your twins into nappies or pull ups until they are more confident using the potty. Once you find that they are able to wake up to use the potty or loo, or are able to keep their nappies dry overnight, they can be taken out of pull ups or nappies and be nappy free at night too.

Putting a mattress protector under the sheet is a good idea until they are totally dry at night.

Do not limit their intake of drinks throughout the evening, instead offer a drink about an hour before bed, and then make sure that they have a wee just before they go to sleep. Some parents lift their children and put them on the loo just before they go to bed, but this is very much a matter of personal choice.
In order for them to gain confidence with potty training they need to be able to pull their own clothes up and down quickly so dressing them for success is vital.

Elasticated waisted clothes are fabulous for potty training, leggings or jogging bottoms are especially useful as they don’t involve fiddly zips and buttons.

Girls are better off without tights on until they get very confident using the potty, as it is a bit complicated trying to lift the skirt up and pull the tights down quickly when they probably haven’t had much warning about needing to go!

Eventually your children will be able to sense when they need to use the potty and this will be much easier, apart from when you’re out and about and they need to go NOW!
When you get to a new place ensure you work out where the nearest loo is, and make sure you get both of them to go try, whenever you take one to the loo, otherwise your life is going to be one continuous loo trip until they get older!!
It helps to take them for a wee just before you set off, when you arrive, and before you set off, as well as after drinks, snacks and lunch!

Moving from potty to loo.Some children are fine to go straight from potty to loo, whereas others find it more challenging. Having a stepping stool and child trainer seat can help this. When you teach your child to wipe themselves, you might want to buy them some moist toilet tissue, this makes it easier for them to get it right and the ones aimed at toddlers can be flushable (check first!)

Potty training twin boys! Boys need a potty with a deeper  front lip on it to stop them splashing everywhere. Make sure you let them choose one that is comfortable to sit on, they might need a slightly bigger one than a girl.
They might like standing at the loo to wee, like daddy, which is fine, just make sure you buy a pedestal mat to absorb the drips, as at first their aim might be a bit poor. Ensure they still sit on the potty after meals and before bed to see if they have a poo that needs to come out.
It can help if they do a poo at a similar time each day, as then you can introduce sitting on the potty around that time, to aid success and stop them feeling bored at the idea of sitting down for long!
If they are having problems aiming, you can buy ping pong balls and see if you can persuade them to wee on the ping pong ball. You can buy a special device which is similar, but more expensive than a ping pong ball. Or try buying a blue block for the loo to see if they can ‘turn it green’

Bladder control but not bowel? It is not unheard of for children to be in control of their bladders but not their bowels (or vice versa) It should come eventually, if you are concerned see your GP or Health Visitor for advice. or visit They offer advice about all aspects of continence. Making sure that you offer them plenty of fruit or vegetables, along with plenty of drinks and exercise can help.

How long should potty training take? This depends on your child and both your twins might take a different length of time. It can take any length of time from a day to many months for them to become completely dry and clean day and night. The more ready they are when they start, the quicker it will be.
Recent research has suggested that leaving it until they are nearer 3 years old can make the process quicker, but as each child goes through on average 49 nappies a week each, this might not be a viable option for parents of twins!
Just take your time, try not to rush them, praise any successes, ignore politely any mishaps, and you will get there in the end.

Good Luck!

If you are having problems with potty training, get advice and help from your GP or Health Visitor. They are used to this kind of thing, so don’t feel embarrassed about it.

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How to survive the supermarket with twin toddlers

Supermarket Nightmares.

Take your children to the supermarket with you only when they are well fed, not tired, not ill, and are not thirsty! If you take them with you when they are tired, hungry, thirsty, or ill, you’re simply asking for trouble! In fact the best possible solution would be to do online shopping for groceries.

If you take them with you enlist their help looking for items, or counting things out etc. Keep them occupied and they shouldn’t run off so often. If they manage to get all the way round without running off, having a tantrum, etc offer them some kind of reward. It could be a snack in the coffee shop, a ride on a ride-on toy or an edible treat. Praise them whenever you catch them doing something you like, or behaving well.

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Should toddlers have an afternoon nap (or not)

Afternoon Nap or not?

This largely depends on your individual children. They may still need an afternoon sleep, or they might be fine to go without. If you find that they are sleeping too long in the afternoons and not wanting to settle or have a place at school nursery in the afternoons you might find that they need to have a shorter nap or skip one full stop. If they are cranky in the afternoon but finding it difficult to sleep at night, they might need a short nap. Sometimes sleep problems are caused by lack of sleep rather than having too much of it! (Yes I know it sounds a bit bizarre, but adults also get too tired to sleep!)

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How to get rid of Dummies, Binkies and Pacifiers

How to get rid of Dummies/Pacifiers/ Binkies
Whatever you call them they can be useful when your children are little, but there comes a time when having a dummy to suck on for comfort isn’t a good idea anymore.

How do you get rid of them without any fuss? Some parents wait until Christmas and leave the dummies out for Santa to take, in exchange for Christmas presents. Others have left them out for the Binky fairy to take at bedtime. Usually she leaves something as a token gift in exchanged. You could tie them to your tree if you have one, and let the fairies take them overnight. Other parents simply put them in the bin!


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Toddler Proofing your home!

‘We’ve toddler-proofed our home but they’re still getting in!’ (anon)

The first thing you should consider when your babies start toddling (which may be from as early as around 9 months!) is how to keep them safe. You can buy special baby safety equipment from good D.I.Y. stores, Baby supply stores, and off the internet.

Move anything that is within easy reach of your toddlers. This includes your:
•Dvd / BluRay collection,
•Cleaning products,
•Medicines including vitamin tablets and other supplements
•Loose food ingredients such as flour, cereals, sugar, rice, pasta etc.
•Washing powder and fabric conditioner
•Toilet rolls.
•Toiletries etc.
•Pens and crayons should also be put well out of reach as the more creative of twins can make wonderful works of art all over the walls, floor and furniture!
•Make sure you and any of your guests put handbags out of reach especially if they contain painkillers, or any easy to swallow items.
•Move nail varnish, nail varnish remover and make up right out of the way too.
•Buy plug socket covers so they can’t amuse themselves sticking forks and fingers into the plug sockets.
•A lock for cupboards can be very useful too.
•Buy baby gates for over the top and bottom of the stairs. Cook on the back rings if at all possible or buy a play pen to put them in whilst you’re cooking or  buy a baby gate for the kitchen door, so that they can’t try to pull things off the rings or burn themselves on a hot ring.
•Always put cups with hot drinks well out of reach (bear in mind that roving toddlers tend to try to pull themselves up on coffee tables too).
•It is possible to buy protectors for furniture so little ones can’t fall and bang their heads on things like tables etc too.
•Any furniture that is very tall should be strapped to the wall so if the twins try to pull themselves up on it they don’t pull the furniture on top of them.
•If you have a yale lock for your door, make sure you have a key somewhere accessible in case you get locked out!
•Buy window locks so that they can’t fall out of open windows.
•Buy fire guards to put round any open fires or wood burning stoves in winter

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Twin Toddlers

Twin Toddlers need routine! They need to know (roughly) what comes next! 

Some of you will be sending your children to a childminder or to day nursery so they will be used to being in a set routine from Monday to Friday anyway. It can help to loosely stick to their routine at weekends, so that they have their meals at roughly the same time, and any afternoon naps at a similar time.

If your children are not going to day nursery or a child minder it would be a good idea to have them in a routine so that they eat at similar times each day, take a nap at similar times and go out at the same sort of times each day.

Also having a night time routine that is also the same can help them settle better at night.
If you observe them carefully you should be able to work out when your toddlers are at their most alert, and when they like to sleep, and when they get hungry and fit their routine around this.

Do things your twins would find most challenging during the times that they are least tired and not hungry. If you wait until it’s almost meal time or nap time you’re setting yourself up for a tough time! If they’re happy and fed, and had a drink then they are likely to be in a better mood and cooperate more. It is a good idea to tell them what is coming next, even if they have no real concept of time.

Terrible two’s x 2!
Most parents find that their children become more challenging when they are around two, hence the term ‘terrible twos’. Don’t worry this is a normal part of their development and simply a phase that they go through. The best way of dealing with the terrible twos is to set clear boundaries. Make sure they always know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Then be consistent. If you laugh when they do *whatever* today, laugh again when they repeat the behaviour tomorrow. Don’t laugh at something today and then tell them off for it tomorrow or they will get confused.

Ignore  any behaviour that is only mildly unacceptable. Have a planned consequence for any behaviour that is very unacceptable, such as biting, fighting, hair pulling, pinching, spitting tantrums etc. Let them know that they will be going to the naughty step for a time out, or having something taken off them (or whatever) if they do the particular behaviour. The rule is they go to the naughty step for one minute per year of their life, up to a maximum of ten minutes. Should they refuse to go to the naughty step or leave before their allotted time is up, the time starts over again. Once time out is completed, they should then acknowledge why they were there  and apologise to you.

Often when children are badly behaved they want attention, and any kind of attention will do, they don’t care whether it is positive attention or negative attention. So the best way to avoid them constantly wanting your attention by doing naughty things is to praise them profusely for anything GOOD that they do. If they sit nicely, eat nicely, play nicely, share, etc, praise them. Praise them when they come back to you when you call them. Notice what they do that you’d like them to do again.

Give them positive feed back that they are behaving well, that you were really happy that they looked out for their friend earlier, or that they said ‘Please’ when they asked for a drink. If you would like to you can reinforce this by having an instant rewards jar (filled with cheap fun toys that you give out when someone does something nice). Star charts also work well, particularly if you have one that they share, rather than them having a competition.

If your toddlers are encountering a new situation for the first time, you will have to explain to them what is going to happen and how they should behave. Unfortunately they don’t come pre-programmed knowing how to behave at a place of worship, airport, another persons house, a restaurant, etc.
Make sure that you don’t have all your children’s toys out at once, put a couple of big boxes away for another day, so when they get bored of one set, you can swap over the boxes and have a whole ‘new’ set to play with. It also stops your living room/ play room / their bedrooms from getting very messy. Joining your local toy library can also be a great idea. Here you can borrow a toy each, usually for a small fee. They can have them to play with for a week or two and then take them back and get a new one. They sometimes hire bigger toys for parties and other events which is a real bonus.

It can also help if you keep your sentences very simple, often when faced with lots of words small children ‘switch off’! This particularly applies if you are trying to get them to do things. Ask them only to do one thing at a time.

A little time apart occasionally? 
It can be really good for twin toddlers to occasionally spend some time apart from each other.  This can be a simple thing like one twin going with mummy to collect a takeaway/ newspaper/ run an errand whilst the other one stays with Daddy/ Grandparent/ Trusted friend and does something else. It helps them to be able to be separate. If they do seem a little anxious at first, reassure them. It is quite common for twins to be a little anxious at first as they are so used to having their twin just there the whole time. Some twins go to nursery one day a week on their own, so they can have some quality one to one time with their parent. This can work well for some twins. However some do become quite stressed at first, so play this one by ear. If you find that they hate being separated you could simply do something in a different room one to one for a little while and build up slowly to going somewhere.

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Weaning Twins

What is Weaning?

Weaning is a gradual process where babies move from getting all their nourishment from milk to having solid food like other family members.

At first babies are offered bland, smooth, runny foods, gradually getting more lumpy and more tasty. Eventually you will be able to finely chop their food and offer them drinks from beakers.
It is really important not to rush the whole process, starting only when the individual child is ready to be weaned.

It is not a race – it may be that a friends child of a similar age is ready to be weaned earlier than your child, or it may be that you have a hungry baby who will need a little more food than your friends child.
It may be that one of your twins is ready to be weaned first or they may be ready at the same time.

When Shall I start Weaning my Twins?

Are my twins ready to be weaned? How will I know?
If your babies are nearly 26 weeks of age and showing the following symptoms they may be ready to be weaned.
If they are younger than 26 weeks  please consult your health visitor for advice. Also if your twins were premature it would be worthwhile speaking to your health team before weaning. Please note that the current WHO recommendation is for babies to be breastfed exclusively for the first 26 weeks of their lives.
There are a few indicators that your twins may be ready for weaning.

Please note that very young babies showing these symptoms should NOT be weaned early, in this instance please contact your health visitor or GP for guidance.

•May not settle contentedly after giving a full breast or bottle feed when the same amount had previously left them happy for 3 hours or more.
•May be hungry within 3 hours of last being fed
•May start waking after sleeping through
•May be gnawing on hands in hunger
•May start showing an interest in what other people are eating
•May have doubled their birth weight

What do I do if one twin is ready to be weaned and the other one isn’t?
If one appears ready and the other one isn’t just wean the one who is ready. The other one will soon catch up.

What equipment do I need to wean twins?

•Some soft spoons
•A couple of soft spouted beakers
•Some small bowls. We found that ones with a lip on them made them a lot easier to hold
•If you are planning on making your own purrees you will need a hand blender, mouli, or liquidizer, and some ice cube trays or small pots to store prepared food in.
•It would also help if you had a plastic mat or old towel to go on the floor and a couple of bibs with arms for your twins.
•It is probably easier for you to offer them their food with them sitting in something to let you have your hands free. You can either use a bouncy chair if it is a fairly upright one, or a car seat or a high chair, or even sat up in their side by side buggy.

What is a good first food for my babies?
Many mums use baby rice as a first food. You can buy packets of baby rice at supermarkets, good food stores and chemists.

It is always really important to follow the directions on the packet. Never add any baby rice (or anything else) to a milk feed in a bottle.

The nice thing about baby rice is that it is fairly bland tasting and if you mix it with a little breast or formula milk it will taste fairly familiar to your baby. You can also make it nice and runny so it is easy for your baby to eat.

How do I start weaning my twins?
Firstly ensure that you choose a really good time of day to start – different families have different “good” times of the day. A mid morning, or lunchtime or mid afternoon feed might be a good time to start weaning.
Sterilize a couple of small pots. If you use babies bottles you can sterilize the lids and use those at first.

Give your twins half of their breast or bottle feed as you would normally do. Give their backs a gentle rub to get any wind up and then offer them a tiny amount of baby rice made really runny using some of your babies usual milk (or a small amount of cooled boiled water if you prefer) You will only need a really small amount of baby rice to begin with. Your babies will probably only want a teaspoon of baby rice or two at the first attempt. That is absolutely fine. Finish off the breast or bottle feed as usual.

For the rest of the first day give them milk feeds as usual.
The next day do the same again, offering a couple of teaspoons of baby rice at one meal.

How much baby rice should I give my babies at first?
At first they will need probably only a couple of teaspoonsful but all babies are slightly different so you will have to use your judgement as to how much each of your individual babies need.
Aim to slowly build up the quantities given.

One bowl and spoon or two bowls and two spoons?
I know that some mums do use just the one bowl and spoon, finding it easier. However for hygiene reasons it may be better to use two bowls and two spoons.
Also if you use two bowls and two spoons you will be able to gauge how much each baby has had where as it will not be as clear if you use just the one bowl and spoon.
When your babies are a little older you might want to offer them a spoon each. If you dip the spoon into their food they will occasionally get some in their mouths and this is the first step to them feeding themselves.
If you have someone to help you you can feed them both at the same time, but if not you will have to decide whether to feed one twin or triplet first and then the other(s) or to feed them each one spoonful at a time.

Introducing new tastes to your baby
Once your babies have got used to taking baby rice you can start to introduce different tastes.
Try at first giving a little cooked pureed apple or pear or a little raw pureed banana. Carrot or sweet potato cooked and pureed is also a popular choice with mums as a first taste.
If the consistency is too thick you can make it runnier by simply adding a little of their usual milk to it
Be patient with your baby, it can often take a while for a baby to like a particular taste.
Gradually increase the amount of food you are giving at each meal according to your babies appetites. Ensure they still get a good quantity of breast or formula milk. Babies should have around a pint or 500-600 ml of milk a day even when weaned.

If you are weaning your twins between 17 and 26 weeks of age avoid

•Citrus fruits
•Shellfish (not before 12 months)
•Nuts (not before 12 months)
•Honey (not before 12 months)
When your babies are around 6-9 months old
Once your babies are 6-9 months old you can introduce pasta, bread, meat, dairy products, cooked eggs, and some fish.

When your babies are 6 months + it is fine to stop boiling tap water unless of course you are on holiday abroad or if there is a problem with your water supply. In this case it is still best to boil it.

Also at 6 months + you are able to use cows milk in cooking.

It is always a good idea to avoid salt and sugar in cooking if possible. Watch out for foods which also have a high salt content such as soy sauce, and ready made stock unless you buy the sort especially designed for babies.

Moving on to Family Food
As your babies get older they will be able to begin having their food mashed rather than pureed. It is a vital skill to be able to chew food but can take a little while to learn.

Introduce finger foods. Once your babies are around 7 or 8 months old you can begin to introduce finger foods. Finger foods can be anything that can be picked up and eaten using fingers.
At first your baby may chew on the food or attempt to suck it, don’t worry they will soon get the hang of it. You could offer a slice of toast cut into soldiers or a chunk of cheese, or a piece of bread. Small sandwiches can be made with soft fillings.
Ensure you stay with your babies when eating especially when introducing finger foods as there is always a  danger of choking.
By 12 months old your babies are likely to be eating similar food to the family and having it chopped up for them. They will still need around a pint of formula milk or breast feeds each day as well as a mid morning and mid afternoon healthy snack to keep their energy levels up.

Dropping a night feed. 
Once your babies are eating around 3 meals a day and are having plenty of daytime drinks you will probably find that they you will be able to drop a night feed. If you find they wake up and want to be fed, try to work out whether they are hungry or whether they are just needing comfort. Obviously if they are hungry they need a night feed so feed them.

If they do wake up hungry it may be worth trying to adjust the amount of food they eat in the daytime to prevent them being hungry in the night. Try offering them a slightly larger portion at tea time, or give them supper or a late night bottle / breast feed before YOU go to bed so that that you are not woken up in the night.

If they are waking up in the night wanting a bottle or breast feed and you think they are not hungry you could try offering them a bottle of milk but with less formula powder than usual (dropping one scoop of formula powder per night until it is just boring plain water) That often deters them from midnight meanderings! Never leave a bottle in your child’s cot.

If you have any questions about weaning contact your health visitor or GP for advice
You can also post a question or send a PM on Facebook

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