By: Cheryl Maguire
I’m a Germaphobe. The last thing I wanted to do was toilet train, not one, but two kids at the same time. Yes, I’m the proud mother of twins. I was fully prepared to let them wear diapers until they figured it out themselves. I definitely didn’t want to clean up urine from the floor or use public restrooms.
They didn’t exactly train themselves, but they started taking off their diapers and throwing them at one another. At this point, cleaning an accident up seemed more appealing than allowing my children to throw dirty diapers at each other. It was time for me to intervene.
After toilet training twins, I consider myself an expert on the topic. And yes it was worse than I could have possibly anticipated. I would like to pass along some tips and tricks so, hopefully, you will have better initial success than I did.
Get Toilet Training DVDs/Books
Go to the library with your aspiring toilet user and check out every DVD and picture book regarding the topic. The idea behind this is to create some exciting anticipation along with learning some actual training tips. Before a holiday like Halloween or Christmas, we always do this so it makes the actual day more fun. You might also find it entertaining as well, some of the DVDs could be an SNL skit.
Ditch ALL the Diapers
This is probably one of the most difficult tasks and yet the most important one. You need to get rid of all the diapers in your house, even the overnight ones. If you use diapers occasionally (which is tempting to do so get rid of all of the diapers to avoid the temptation) for a long car rid or other similar situation, it will confuse your child and create bad habits because it’s easier to just go in a diaper than hold it and find a bathroom. The more chances your child has to use the toilet the more it will become a habit.
At first I allowed my twins to still wear overnight diapers. I noticed every morning my son would have a full diaper. I didn’t think he would ever be trained during the night. One day, I put waterproof bedding underneath him and he wore underwear. Guess what happened? He didn’t wet the bet; instead he got up and used the toilet. It was easier for him to just use the diaper, so I was allowing him to create bad habits.
Make it Fun
If you don’t want to toilet train them, they won’t want to do it. If you make it a fun event it will encourage them to try and keep trying. On the potty training DVDs from the library, you will find a lot of the shows have songs. Start singing the songs with them before and while they are in the bathroom. Also let them drink lemonade, juice or drinks you might not normally allow—this will also create a fun atmosphere.
One of the most difficult aspects of toilet training is leaving the house since often you will not have much warning before they tell you they need to go and who knows where the closest bathroom will be? First, I always asked if they need to use the bathroom before we left the house. Then I packed at least two changes of clothes along with some wipes and trash bags, in case they have an accident. I ended up purchasing a small portable toilet for the car which was helpful for long car rides or when visiting places without a public restroom like a playground.
You child is going to have accidents. It is part of the learning process. The more patient you are about this process, the easier it will be for both you and your child. At times you might think your child is fully trained since they will go without an accident for weeks and then they will have one. This is normal. Often young children are so involved with their play that sometimes they may not realize they need to use the bathroom or they might not plan enough time to get there. Don’t worry, there will come a time when they are fully trained, it just might take a while.