Potty training twin boys! The name alone should have been my first clue. Training, more like boot camp! Out of the many things I dreaded since the twins were born, this was an adventure of great and stressful proportions! I went through all the usual preparations. I read all the articles and blogs I could find. I browsed the facebook groups I had joined, I read all the opinions, all the pieces of advice and all the nasty replies. And then it began…
Favorite part of the battle
My favorite part of all this battle was the logistics. I loved buying them big boys’ underwear and tons of clothes to change them around the house. The rest wasn’t so much fun. I should point out that S. and M. are really good and sweet boys, and I cannot complain about much. But they are incredibly stubborn. And I was painfully aware of it, so my expectations going into this potty training were extremely low.
When they first saw the potty they were curious, of course. It was fun to put them on their heads and even to sit on them fully dressed. But when their true purpose was revealed, the two blue potties suffered a bitter defeat, being thrown around the room until they were chipped.
Second set of potties
Then came the second set of potties. And an entire arsenal of books related to the matter. “Conni and the Potty”, “What is poo?” and so on. Unfortunately, they weren’t a huge success. What did work a little were little videos on Youtube showing children and cartoon characters using the infamous potty. Actually, their first reaction was so sweet, I will always regret not filming it. M. was so shocked by the videos, his chubby little face was frozen in a look that said “Oh, my God, why would anyone want to do that?” Luckily S. started to laugh and detoured his brother’s attention.
I have always loved watching the twins do stuff together. And seeing them sit on their potties was one of the most beautiful images I could ever hope for. It didn’t last long, of course. When the novelty wore off, the potties became the enemy again. And then came the opinions. Everyone had one.
- You should leave them without the pampers, they will get wet and hate it!
- You should take them out in the garden without pampers!
- You should take them with you to the bathroom!
And I did all of those things. As much as I “love” unrequested pieces of advice, I tried everything. But it turns out my kids don’t mind staying wet. They did come with us to the bathroom which of course set a dangerous precedent, because S. still does that. So going to the bathroom by myself is now one of my hottest fantasies. We washed so many underpants and shorts our neighbors probably thought I was running an illegal day-care.
Leave it alone
I tried blackmail, I tried turning it into a game, I even got to the point of screaming and threatening. Nothing worked. And then I decided to trust my boys. Ever since they were born, I did my best to avoid checking if they were doing everything at the same pace as others their age. The fact that I was dealing with two babies at the same time made something very clear. Every child is different. Maybe if they had been identical twins their personalities would have been more similar. Maybe not. If these two wonders took shape so close to each other and became so different, why on earth should I compare them to other children? So I decided to leave the matter alone for a while. I left the potties in a corner, went back to pampers and said nothing of it. Stressing them wasn’t getting the job done. I even got angry when other people kept asking them about the potty. And after quite a long time, the day came when S. said the magic words. Mommy, poo! Must go potty!
Another small war
It took M. a few days to follow his brother’s example. At first he watched him, not knowing what to think of his rebellion. Then he started to sit on the potty too, but without taking his clothes off. They still haven’t got to the point where they always use the potty, and they still wet their pants or leave warm puddles around the house. But they also wipe them and take their wet clothes to the laundry basket, and, I swear, I have never seen something more adorable in my life.
So if anyone wonders what it’s like to potty train twin boys, there you have it. It’s the same challenge as for a single child, only twice the “fun”. The thing about twins is you never know which direction they will follow. There is usually one who decides to be more adventurous. But that doesn’t always work in your favor. So you just need to take a deep breath and remember that this is just a phase and soon you will have to deal with another small war.