Potty training twins in eight easy stages

We knew that the time would come when we would need to potty train our twins. Oh yes – potty training and twins are not words that go together happily, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Most of my friends seem to sail through this potty training business – apparently the trick is just to wait until your children are ready, then they’ll get the hang of it in two days.

This doesn’t seem to apply to my boys and I am starting to think that I breed difficult-to-potty-train children.

I would love to apply the ‘they’ll do it when they’re ready’ rule, but if I’d left my eldest to do it when he was ready I have a feeling he’d happily still be in a nappy now. Going to the toilet is normally an unwelcome interruption to whatever activity he is currently busy with. Some children, it seems, need a bit of a push and nappies are clearly a bit too convenient. After all, why would you want to be sitting on a potty when you could be practising your tumbling skills or emptying out the fridge?

Given that potty training was not an easy job the first time around, I was not looking forward to repeating it. With two. But surely it couldn’t be harder than the first time could it? Surely they will have seen their brother using the toilet and they’ll want to copy, just like they want to copy everything else he does. They’ll learn from each other, they’ll spur each other on. I told myself all these things, and yet potty training has gone something like this…..

Stage 1 – making a plan:

We set aside a week during the Easter holidays and husband booked time off work. I don’t buy any nappies with the weekly shop. How amazing to think that by the end of the week we should be nappy free – hurrah! I’m all set, let’s do it.

Stage 2 – here we go: 

We remove the nappies, they’re in their pants – the puddles are constant, as are the tears. We run out of pants and spare clothes. The boys hate it. Twin #1 (Trouble) flings himself around on the floor whenever the potty is mentioned. He will not even entertain the idea of sitting on it. Twin #2 (Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble) is slightly more co-operative but not happy. The boys are in tears, so am I. Clearly it’s time for Stage 3….

Stage 3 – revising the plan:

I make an emergency trip to Tesco and return with a car full of nappies. We gave it all of four hours with Trouble but couldn’t take any more – clearly he wasn’t ‘ready’. Revised plan: leave Trouble until May half term but press on with Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble. Perhaps he will spur his brother on.

Stage 4 – the one-twin-at-a-time approach: 

Everyone is much happier. Trouble has got his own way and Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble isn’t doing too badly – he will at least do wees on the potty. He’ll get the hang of the poos……or so I told myself as I attempted to deal with yet another pair of soiled pants.

Stage 5 – almost back to where we started: 

Several pairs of soiled pants later, I decide it’s time to invest in pull ups for Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble. We don’t seem to have come very far. May half term rapidly approaches and Trouble is still disgusted at any suggestion that he might like to use a potty.

Stage 6 – invest in new equipment: 

‘Have you tried one of those musical potties?’ a friend asked. No we hadn’t, I answered; although funnily enough, having previously thought a singing potty was slightly unnecessary, I had been wondering whether it could be just what we needed for Trouble. I read some reviews –  they all sounded like they were written about our boy, the musical potty sounded amazing. This will work, I told my husband.

The musical potty arrived – it talks, it plays music, it flushes, it has stickers. It is simply ridiculous. But if it worked, it would bepotty one of the best things I had ever spent far too much money on.

Stage 7 – try again: 

Not-Quite-So-Much-Trouble enjoys the musical potty, which is ideal for Trouble because it means he can dance along to the music WITHOUT HAVING TO SIT ON THE POTTY HIMSELF. How did I not predict this is what would happen – all the benefit with zero effort.

Stickers and treats were at the ready – I had arms full of Smarties, Buttons and marshmallows in case Trouble felt inclined to co-operate. But they made not the slightest bit of difference.

Once again, we run out of spare clothes.

Once again, we don’t last beyond lunchtime.

Stage 8 – admit defeat and enjoy the rest of half term: 

Well done boys, you win.

Empty potty = empty reward chart

Empty potty = empty reward chart


One thought on “Potty training twins in eight easy stages

  1. I feel your pain, we managed this with our just 2 almost 3 year olds (ish, one still would rather poo on the floor) only by the fortune of having both come down with chicken pox and being housebound for 2 weeks..


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