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!
•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 www.eric.org.uk 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.
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.