QUESTION: How do I deal with potty training twins? What if one is getting it and the other feels bad? What if they are different genders? Do I buy 2 potties? Do they each get to have their own special potty? Ahhh!!!
ANSWER: And breathe. Moms with twins, triplets or more (yikes) naturally freak about potty training. HOWEVER, remember that you, as a multiple mom, are so much more accustomed to a higher level of chaos AND organization than us regular, human moms.
Twins: You want to start them at the same time. The approach will be the same as in the book. YOU WILL NEED ANOTHER GROWN UP ON HAND for at least the first couple of days. There’s simply no way you will be able to attend to 2 children at the same time. You definitely need two potties. You have to kind of think in complete Murphy’s Law terms. If one kid has to poop and you only have one potty…the other kid is ALWAYS going to have to poop at the same time.
I recommend the simplest potty chairs you can get. I don’t recommend twins claiming a potty to be their own. Toddlers are notoriously weird about ownership and we don’t need to foster anymore weirdness beyond the naturally occurring.
DON’T PREJUDGE WHICH ONE IS GOING TO GET IT FIRST
One thing I’ve noticed in my years of doing this: when you have twins, one tends to be the leader. One is naturally more sociable or physically skilled. For lack of a better term, one twin seems “ahead” of the other. Here’s the trip: it’s usually the quieter, follower twin who “gets it” first. I know…seems weird, right?
I think what’s behind this is that a lot of parents do is sort of focus on the leader twin and the follower gets sort of put in the background. Which makes sense. You think: oh…Kid A is totally gonna get this. But then you turn around and Kid B is sitting there pooping on the potty. This relates back to the almighty RELAXED VIBE and not putting too much pressure on the child.
But it also relates to the fact that kids are weird, we will never completely figure them out, so don’t go in thinking you know anything.
Having a boy and a girl isn’t going to make too much of a difference. Remember that boys tend to be more linear and girls tend to be more visual and social. You can talk a lot more with girls and they read facial expressions with more intensity than boys. Boys respond best to short, directives in the order you want things done. “Go. Pants. Sit. Pee. Wipe. Pants. Be gone.” Boys tend to not like a lot of extraneous words and will tune you out; they like the information and that’s that. Remember as well that boys are easier to potty in pinch; a container to catch the pee or even peeing outside is just easier (a fact I have hated my entire life…seriously pissed me off when I was 5).
IF ONE TWIN IS SHOWING PROGRESS AND THE OTHER IS COMPLETELY NOT
It’s totally acceptable to rediaper one and spend your time on the one who’s showing progress. A mom recently asked what to do if the child not getting it feels bad. I don’t think that’s anything to worry about. Toddlers don’t really give a crap about others and what they think of them. Their thought process is not that expanded right now. Hopefully, you’re not rewarding with treats….THAT could make the other twin feel bad. But they are not going to have low self esteem because their twin is peeing in the potty and they aren’t.
If you do need to rediaper one, do it without fanfare. Most times, that child catches up right quick.
Triplets: in all honesty, the moms who’ve used my book for triplets have reported success with no issue. So, I don’t have any problem scenarios for you. I’m SURE they exist. I just haven’t gotten them. I think once you have triplets you function at a super human level, incomprehensible to the rest of us.
There’s just no exact science to potty training humans. This is especially true with multiples. It’s more about a routine and flow (no pun intended)….don’t drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out in a mathematical way.
And I’d like to get my hands on Octomom. But not for potty training.