Transitioning Twins Part 3: Bye Bye Diapers

As the girls’ second birthday rolled around, the idea of not having to change any more diapers was extremely appealing! It also seemed extremely intimidating. I had heard horror stories of potty training one kid at a time and wasn’t very sure of my abilities to handle two at once.  But SPOILER ALERT…WE DID IT!

We did it before they showed all the signs.

We did it before they were very vocal.

We figured it out in about 3 days.

And most importantly

We did it without losing our minds!

I was outnumbered and survived, so if I could do it, you can too! All you NEED to be successful are the following two items.

1)       ‘Oh Crap Potty Training’: A dear friend and twin mom told me to buy this book and do what it said. I didn’t bat an eye. I bought it on Amazon during my lunch break and started reading it 2 days later.

2)      2 training potties: While you don’t need 2 of everything as a twin mom, 2 training potties will make your life MUCH easier. It really doesn’t matter which kind, find two on sale!

Optional items:

1.       Collapsible travel potty to make traveling and emergency stops a little simpler.

2.       Potty books: some people swear this help encourage going potty, but really any book will do.

 

That’s it, you don’t even need stickers for a reward! With a good attitude, a little optimism, lots of encouragement and patience, you will be there before you know it.  

Our adventure started with me reading ‘Oh Crap Potty Training’. Fortunately, it is a quick and easy read. Unfortunately, I quickly realize that I couldn’t fumble my way through this.  I needed to dig in, cancel plans and dedicate the time necessary to get it done right. However, as I looked at my calendar, we had plans every weekend for the next 2+ months.

Lo and behold the stars aligned.  The week of their 2nd birthday, the girls caught hand, foot & mouth and I ended up with 6 days off of work in a row. (I didn’t say they were fun stars, but they aligned nonetheless). I decided that if we were quarantined and our plans were cancelled; we might as well be more miserable and potty train.  I didn’t have much time for the build-up/prep phase, so as I was tucking the girls into bed the night before we started, I let them know that they were going to be BIG girls tomorrow! 

Day 1: Clean-up Aisle 3

We woke up, threw away* all of our diapers, pulled out two princess potties and got naked.  I tried to keep everything pretty normal for them. I on the other hand, put all the distractions away and channeled my inner Navy SEAL to watch 2 naked babies for the slightest sign. When they would start to dribble, I’d calmly say, ‘hold it hold it’ and quickly place them on the nearest potty chair.  We weren’t terribly successful right at first for a couple reasons. First of all, it takes time to learn. They had always been in diapers and were clueless to peeing. Awareness comes in steps. It takes time and accidents to transition from ‘totally clueless’ to ‘I’m peeing’. It takes even more accidents to recognize the signs that they have to pee. The second reason we had so many accidents is that twins on the same eating and sleeping schedule are on the same potty schedule. As I helped one to the potty, the other would often go on the carpet.  

I didn’t have enough hands, but I had to keep my head up, clean up and get ready for the next round. I hoped that even if they didn’t get any in the potty that they were becoming more aware and that they were learning from one another. Every time one of them got some dribble in the potty, the potty sang a little song and we would all cheer and dance. It didn’t take long for them to want to sit on the potty in hopes of hearing more music. By that afternoon I could see the girls start to transition from totally clueless. They were making progress!

 

*Please don’t actually throw away diapers. I was able to pass mine to my sister, but foster homes and women’s shelters are great places to make donations as well. 

Day 2: Full of Hope

 

We got one of the morning pees in the potty! It was a good start to the day.  We were all hopeful and not fully sick of the potty books yet.  The girls continued to play naked, sat on the potties, and even potty trained their stuffed animals. It was on day 2 that they started to say when they had to pee.  It was also the day we got our first #2 in the potty. While I was helping with the first poop, the other pooped right on the floor. I told you they were on the same schedule. By that afternoon I added a dress. We were still commando underneath, but they were starting to get it and I was starting to relax.

Day 3: We’ve got this!

 

By the afternoon of the 3rd day, we added pants and ventured out of the house! The book talks about giving them little victories and celebrating their success so our outing was just a short walk, but it was fresh air and it did us all good. It’s called a 3-day method for a reason. By the end of day 3 you are just a little too confident.

Day 4: FRUSTRATION!

I woke up on day 4 feeling GREAT. The girls on the other hand woke up feeling like they didn’t want to be ‘big girls’ any more. They knew how to put pee in the potty yet they refused to sit on it. The more frustrated I got, the worse it was. I had to take a step back to breathe and relax. I even took their pants back off for fear that this was contributing to their struggle.

Day 5: Forward Progress

 

After the hurdle of day 4, day 5 seemed like a breeze and they started to be more consistent again. They were holding their bladder longer, getting some poo in the potty, and we took a short and successfully dry road trip. 

Day 6 : Peeing in Public

This was my last day at home with them before heading back to work and they were truly getting the hang of it. They were initiating by telling me they had to go or would even put themselves on the potty. We even attempted trying to pee in a public restroom.  Neither of them went, but they tried.  The hardest part of having 2 littles loose in the bathroom is keeping the one NOT on the potty from touching everything.

Day 7: New Boss in town:

 

After a week, I had to go back to work and our nanny took over.  She was a great sport and really supportive but she did things a little differently. There was a little battle of wills because her method was to set a timer to remind them to try to sit on the potty and they weren’t fond of going on command.  But everyone survived and they continued to make forward progress. 

At this point I considered us fully potty trained!  There were still occasional accidents but they became further and further apart. Accident free days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Soon I didn’t have to carry a diaper bag or change of clothes and I felt like a free woman with a normal sized purse.

 

It was an adventure and I have to admit that it was more fun than I anticipated. I loved seeing the pride in their eyes when they were successful. I loved seeing them cheer one another on. And I loved giving them my undivided attention. I wish you all the best of luck as you attempt this in your own household. 

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