How to Potty Train Twins – this is our story. I hope these tips may be helpful to you.
Our 4th and 5th children are 2-year old twin boys. They are fun and I love them. They are challenging at times and, now that they are 2 years old, they’ve become different people. One of them protest over the smallest thing; the other purrs like a cat all day long. Anyway, you get the point — they are fun, I love them, and the terrible two’s are a very real stage of life.
Potty Training is an art and I’m proud to say that our twin boys are pretty much potty trained. Here is my take on what we did that helped them be successful, Potty Trained twin boys.
Potty Training: Items You Will Need
You need the following items in order for your twins to have a successful Potty Training experience:
- Potty: Yes, you’ll actually need this — what we have is a child potty that you place on top of a toilet. We’re fortunate enough to have 4 bathrooms in our house, so we have a couple of these child potty chairs, just in case.
- Underwear: Yes, you’ll need plenty of these. Plan for 7 per twin.
- Detergent: Be sure you’re laundry detergent stock is full. You’ll be washing plenty of tinkle and poopy underwear for the first few days or weeks.
- Wet Wipes: These are very important. We bought “Big Boy” wet wipes, called “Kandoo’s” and our twins feel like big boys because we don’t use the wet wipes we used to use when they were in diapers.
- Hand Soap: We also bought “Kandoo” soap, so they can learn to wash their hands after they go tinkle or poopy. The “Kandoo” brand is novel and helps them to feel big.
- Rewards: We want to provide positive reinforcement. So, when our twins go either tinkle or poopy, they get to choose one treat from the treat bowl. They get excited over this and this helps them to remember that (going tinkle OR poopy in the potty = treat). This makes it fun for them and helps them to remember that an action — going tinkle or poopy — can equal a positive reward.
- Step Stool: This will help you twins feel big and grown-up by being able to reach the soap and wash their own hands all by themselves.
- Formula 409: In case there are accidents — there will invariably be accidents — Formula 409 cleaner will help you clean up the mess.
Learning & Experience Curves
In Operations, there is a notion of Learning Curves. That phrase, is used very broadly by many people, but it has a very formal, mathematical definition. Roughly, Learning Curve Analysis tells us that, over time, it will take an operator less time to produce the same output. For example, suppose my first week at work, it takes me 40 hours to produce n units. In my second week, it might take me only 20 hours to produce the same number of units.
The same approach can be had for Potty Training. There will be a Learning Curve — but, over time, you can expect that your twins will go potty in their underwear less and less and go potty on the toilet more and more.
Psychology of Learning & Operant Conditioning & Scheduling
With our twins, we use words and phrases that help them to get familiar with the potty excercise. For example, we take our twins potty after breakfast, then every two hours, after lunch, then every two hours, then dinner, then every two hours. During these potty breaks, we tell them to go “tinkle into the water” and we also say phrases like “go poopy, as big as a fire fighter truck”, “oh, that poopy is as big as a helicopter”. Saying words and phrases like that has helped our little boys. It’s novel for them and it’s exciting. And, when they do go poopy or tinkle, we really celebrate it with hugs and a reward.
Scheduling is a challenge with twins. With our twins, one of them has learned to “hold it” better than the other. So, if we ever had a choice of who to take potty first, it’ll be the one who has learned to “hold it.”
Following a schedule and doing the same gestures, saying the same phrases will help your twins begin to expect the routine and they can begin to do the expected behavior. Soon, they will come to you and say phrases like “potty”, “poopy”, or “tinkle” — which should be a signal to you to quickly run your child to the bathroom and help them be a big boy or girl.
Doubletons Are Different Than Singletons
The same steps need to be take with one child than you would with twins. The big difference with twins is that you have to coordinate the potty breaks, such that when one is going in the potty (or you’re taking her to the potty), you don’t want the other one going in his or her pants. So, we have learned that with our twins, one twin has learned to “hold it” better than the other. We take that twin to the potty after. This works for us. Pretty soon, maybe in the next year, our twins will be able to go potty on their own, which will help a lot and will make us really proud parents.
More Art Than Science
My wife has really led this effort in teaching our little boys. She tempers my science with a lot of art, softness, gentleness, and is such a wonderful teacher to our kids. Raising and caring for twins isn’t easy, but my wife does it with grace and a lot of style. Our twins and the rest of our kids are growing up to be good people largely because of her. Thanks, babe.