You have decided it is time to actively potty train your twins. You may have already read countless articles about how to potty train a child and decided on a method that best fits your life and parenting style. But now you are thinking “okay, but how do I do this with twins?” This article is for you.
I will explore 5 tips to make potty training your twins together easier. At the end of the article, I also include 10 additional potty training hacks that I learned during our journey.
Before we get started though, I want to be clear that this article is not about which potty training method you should use, whether your twins are ready to start potty training, or if you should train them in tandem or separately. There are lots of online articles and books discussing how to potty train children and the various methods that can be used. Which method you choose is a personal decision and should be based on what is best for your twins, and what fits your life and parenting style. What works for one family and set of twins will not necessarily work for another.
Who This Article Is For
This article is for you if you have decided that your twins are ready to potty train, and you have decided to train them simultaneously using a method that has them running around diaperless. As I was prepping to potty train my twins, I discovered that much of the information available online about potty training twins is generic. Meaning that although it is perhaps good advice in general, it is not necessarily specific to potty training twins. It is the same advice that could be given to someone potty training a single child (e.g., when to start potty training, how to prepare your child, how to prepare your house, whether to use rewards, etc.). But potty training two kids simultaneously IS different. In this article, I focus on ideas that are specific to potty training twins or multiple children simultaneously. Now let’s dive in.
#1 – Get Lots Of Potty Chairs
I recommend having two stand-alone potty chairs in whichever room that your twins will spend their time in. I don’t know if it is the power of suggestion or that their bodies are just generally in sync, but inevitably they always seem to need to use them at the same time. I can’t tell you how many times one twin had an accident while I was helping the other. When you initially start training, toddlers don’t have the physical ability to hold their pee for very long (a few seconds, maybe). In our experience, it was not long enough to make it to the bathroom, and certainly not long enough to wait until the other child was off the potty. So, at minimum get two stand-alone potty chairs.
You will also want to move these potties with you from room to room. So you’ll have them in whatever room you are containing your twins in during the day. And then you can move the potties up to their bedroom for naps and bedtime (if you are nighttime training). You will also want to have two potty solutions in your bathrooms. These could be more stand-alone potty chairs, a seat reducer with ladder attachment, or a seat reducer ring and step stool. Or a combination of these options.
Our Potty Training Set-Up
We ultimately ended up with a lot of potties as I was able to acquire many second-hand and sterilized them well. It made life slightly easier as I did not have to remember to transfer them between floors of our house. When we began potty training, we had two stand-alone potty chairs in our main living room/play area on our first floor, as well as one stand-alone potty and one seat reducer with an integrated ladder in our first-floor bathroom (the bathroom is on the opposite end of the house as our main living area). On our second floor, we had two stand-alone potty chairs in the twins’ bedroom for naps/bedtime, as well as a seat reducer ring and a step stool in the upstairs master bathroom.
So, when we began potty training, we had five stand-alone potties, one seat reducer ring, and one seat reducer with an integrated ladder. I also had a portable potty that I kept in my backpack for when we were outside away from home (e.g., playground, hikes, etc.). And also a travel owl seat reducer for use in public restrooms and airline travel when I didn’t want the portable potty to take up so much space in my bag. Yes, we had a lot of potties! Could we have gotten away with fewer? Probably. Maybe? But having more did make life easier, and we were training two kids simultaneously after all.
The Types of Potty Chairs and Seats You Need
There are a lot of different styles of potty chairs and seats on the market. What you need will likely change over time as your twins progress farther in their training. Below are some styles that you might find useful.
- Stand-alone potties
- Portable potties/travel potties
- Seat reducer with step stool ladder attachment
- Seat reducer ring
- Integrated adult/child toilet seat
If you would like to read more about how various types of potty chairs and seats can assist in potty training twins, check out this article: Potty Chair Dilemma: 7 Useful Seats For Every Occasion.
#2 – Keep a Daily Tracking Log When Potty Training Twins
Remember back to the newborn days when (if you were like me) you kept a daily log that tracked when each twin ate, slept, peed, or pooped? Unless you have a crazy good memory, a daily tracker is going to be your friend again as it will help you identify trends and progress. By recording each event, you will be able to identify how frequently each of your twins pees so that you know when to expect the next one. You will also become more familiar with your twins’ poop schedules. Fun, I know. But do they go every day around the same time? Every other day? Multiple times per day? Knowing your twin’s potty trends will be helpful, especially if they have other caretakers (e.g., daycare, nanny, grandparents, babysitter, etc.).
A daily tracker is also a helpful tool in gauging progress. In addition to writing down when each event happens, I also recommend documenting how successful it was:
- Success: all pee/poop made it into the potty
- Partial success: some pee made it into the potty but some did not
- Miss: no pee made it into the potty
Some days will be LONG and frequently it will feel like your twins are not making any progress. By recording every success, partial success, and miss for each twin every day, you will be able to see how much progress is being made week-over-week. This is so important for your sanity and staying motivated to keep going. Even if you are still having several accidents per day, seeing proof that those accidents are trending in the right direction is reassuring. For example, going from having mostly complete misses to more partial successes to mostly complete successes, shows that the concept is clicking with your twins. They know where they are supposed to go and are trying to get to the potty, even if they don’t always quite make it in time.
Don’t forget to grab my FREE printable daily tracker designed specifically for twins: Potty Training Daily Tracking Log For Twins.
#3 – Have Help The First 3+ Days When Potty Training Twins
If the potty training method you are following advises that your twins be bare from the waist down (so no pants or underwear) for several days, I highly recommend having at least two adults on duty for the first 3 days of potty training, ideally longer if that is feasible. An example of this type of approach is the popular Oh Crap! Potty Training method by Jamie Glowacki.
Those first few days are going to be very hectic. You will likely be cleaning up a lot of accidents, and just generally on high alert watching for the slightest sign that your twins need to go potty. After a few days, you may decide that the process is starting to “click” for your twins and you decide to graduate to adding pants. Pants, however, add difficulty. Not only do your twins now have to learn to push down their pants before sitting on the potty, but you as the parent may struggle to identify their potty signals with the additional layer of clothing. Both take practice, which means you will be back to having a lot of accidents, which is normal. For your sanity, I urge you to have another adult to help on the day that you put your twins back in pants.
We followed the Oh Crap! method and started potty training our twins on a Saturday. So my husband was home to help on Saturday and Sunday, but then I was flying solo starting Monday when he returned to work. I decided to add pants on Monday afternoon since the morning had gone fairly well. The rest of Monday and Tuesday were incredibly intense. If I had to do it again, I would plan to start over a 3-day weekend and also insist that my husband take a day off work so that I would have help for the first 4 days of potty training twins.
#4 – Leverage The Twin Dynamic
Twins can be competitive, but they can also be very supportive of each other. When one twin successfully uses the potty, give him/her a lot of praise. Sometimes this can motivate the other twin to also use the potty to get the same praise from you. They may even start clapping and cheering for each other after a potty success. It is pretty adorable when it happens.
As you get farther into your potty training journey, you can also consider leveraging a bit more twin competition, if they are motivated by that. Say your kids are excited about heading outside on some excursion, you can say “Okay, but we all need to use the potty before we leave. Who is going to be first?” Mine will frequently race to the bathroom. Parent win! A caveat, you’ll only want to try this if your kids can hold their pee until the other kid finishes, or if you have two potty options available.
#5 – Prepare & Freeze a Week of Meals in Advance
You may have done this preparation trick before your twins were born. Do it again. You are going to be exhausted that first week of potty training your twins and cooking dinner will be the last thing on your mind. Besides, it is exceedingly difficult to closely monitor two accident-prone toddlers while cooking in the kitchen.
Before you even start potty training, I highly recommend you ensure your freezer is stocked with a week’s worth of dinners – those could be ones you prepare yourself or pre-made frozen dinners you buy from the grocery store. Alternatively, if it is an option where you live, you can plan to order dinner from a restaurant and have it delivered to your house a couple of those days. Or any combination of the above options. Do some planning so that getting dinner on the table requires a minimal effort that first week of potty training.
This same idea can be applied to breakfasts and lunches as well. Before your twins get up in the morning (or the previous night after they are in bed), consider prepping as much as you can for that day’s breakfast and lunch. The less you have to multitask during the day the better.
Additional Hacks for Potty Training Twins
Below are some additional potty training tips and hacks that we learned while training our twins. Hopefully, you will find some of these useful during your journey:
- Use one room – this may be obvious but contain your twins in one room during the day. You want to always have a visual on both kids to watch for their potty signals and if they have an accident.
- Store/protect your rugs and couch – roll up any area or throw rugs and stow them away for a while. If you have carpet, temporarily cover it in plastic. Cover your couch with a water-resistant/proof couch cover.
- Keep cleaning supplies and fresh clothes nearby – have a large pile of clean-up rags and a spray bottle of disinfecting solution in the room you are containing your twins, as well as in your primary bathroom. You’ll be using them a lot. Once you put your twins back in pants, keep a pile of clean bottoms in the room with you. Running to your twins’ bedroom every time they have an accident gets old fast, especially if their room is on a different level.
- Put a little water in the potty chair – pour a small amount of water in the bowl of the potty chairs (you can keep a small water bottle nearby). It makes cleaning up poop MUCH easier. Alternatively, you can put a square of toilet paper in the bowl of the potty chair to serve the same purpose.
- Place a towel in the high chairs – when eating meals, place a small towel on your twins’ high chairs or booster seats to absorb pee when they have an accident while eating. My twins used space saver booster seats. Unfortunately, pee would drain through the buckle strap holes down onto our nice dining chairs. It was a pain to have to remove the boosters and clean everything each time they had an accident. The hand towel made clean up much easier as it absorbed the pee before it dripped through the booster.
- Use bed pads – purchase a couple of waterproof incontinence bed pads to layer on your twins’ beds for naps and night training. They cover the entire toddler bed and are super easy to whip off (especially at night) after an accident, and then you’ll have clean sheets underneath. We layered like this (from the top down): bed pad, fitted sheet, waterproof mattress cover, fitted sheet, waterproof mattress cover, mattress.
- Buy waterproof pillowcase covers – one of my twins liked to sit on her pillow in bed. You can imagine what happened. Many times. I quickly ordered waterproof pillow covers.
- Use two-piece pajamas – this is especially true when you begin night training. You don’t want to be fighting with footie pajamas if your twins desperately need to pee at night. Start stocking up on two-piece pajamas so all they need to do is push down their pants.
- Ditch the dresses and tunics – it takes practice for toddlers to learn how to gather all the material of a dress (front AND back) and hold it up while also pushing down their leggings and underwear before sitting on the potty. In my experience, this does not go well when they are under pressure and only have a few seconds before an accident will happen. We stuck to hip-length tops until my girls were more reliable on the potty. I then added tunics back into their wardrobe, and then later dresses once they managed tunics well.
- Always have a bag on the portable potty – when you venture outside the house and start using a portable potty with disposable bags, always remember to place a new bag on the potty after every use. Meaning, don’t just leave it without a bag and figure you’ll put one on later. If your other twin suddenly needs to pee too, you want that potty ready to go. You don’t want to be desperately trying to put a clean bag on it while your child has an accident.
If you know of any other twin parents with potty training on the horizon, feel free to share this article with them.
And don’t forget to print my FREE Potty Training Daily Tracking Log For Twins!
Yes, this is going to be hard. Very hard. But you are already a parent of twins. We do hard every day. You got this!