Well, it’s been a while now and I’ve promised to deliver a potty-training post. Now many people called us crazy for trying to potty train twins at 29 months. Even many of those who were supportive gave us crazy-eyed looks and spoke of the horrors of potty training one child… let alone twins. Lauren and I went into it planning to be committed for a week and then adopt a “wait and see” approach. If the boys weren’t ready and simply just wet and soiled themselves with no understanding of what to do, we’d just give it up and try again later.
We started this “project” just before Christmas as I was on my two week mandatory vacation leave at the Bank and we figured that we would need all hands on deck to manage the chaos. Lauren had read books & solicited advice from other moms who had survived training already so therefore we had a game plan. We could tell the boys were showing signs of readiness (especially Lane) because they’d tell us when they needed to go & want to be changed immediately. They could communicate it, they followed directions well, & they were starting to HATE (& fight) diaper changes, and even wearing diapers. Lots of stripping down naked at any time, along with a few random potty successes. We were ready to give it a try.
Extreme nudity – let the boys run around naked all day and try to determine their signals for potty. (there was a bit of prep work involved as we rolled up the rug in the living room and put towels on the couches to prevent any mishaps – also, thank goodness for all hardwood floors downstairs… and a steam mop!)
Results – As you can imagine, lots of messes. We did have some semi-successes, but for the most part we were just carrying a peeing child to the potty and at best getting a couple of drops to make it into the toilet. We gave the boys lots of juice water (certainly a treat in this house) and tons of positive reinforcement (chocolate chips for a pee, and a cookie for poop–#2 was harder to convince them to deposit in the potty so we had to go big or go home). Lane actually picked up on the idea pretty quickly but we couldn’t convince Cullen yet… until he started seeing his brother racking up the treats & star stickers on his chart. The Pyles competitive nature again rears its ugly head – this time to our advantage!
Big boy underwear – We made a big deal about them getting to wear big boy underwear (just like DADDY!) and how they needed to let us know if they needed to go to the potty. Still gave them lots of juice and treats for successes. Asked them if they needed to go often but then realized they were doing better when we just shut up & let them tell us. (If we asked Lane, he’d get really annoyed & shout “I NOT! I NOT NEED TO GO!”)
Results – To my great surprise, it all just “clicked” and they started getting it almost right away once they had underwear on. After a couple of accidents, they realized they didn’t like the way that it felt and did a great job of telling us when they needed to go (not always in enough time to get to the potty, but for the most part we were really successful). They really got the idea of wanting to stay dry!
I was absolutely stunned that this worked the way it did… maybe our boys are all-stars (we can hope!), but the process sure seemed to work for others too. We were told to make sure we had the following on hand to make the process work: treats (for the boys when they went potty), lots of juice (to make them have to go) and plenty of booze (obviously for us).
- The joy on your sons’ faces when they went on the potty: “Mommy! Daddy! I went peepee on the potty!”
- The boys asking each other to go to the potty- “Lane, you go potty with me?” & cheering each other on- “Bro bro went peepee in the potty!”
- Not needing diapers during the day – a serious cost/time savings depending upon whether you use cloth or disposable diapers. “We don’t need NO diapers anymore!” (It’s so crazy to put away the cloth diapers for good… well, at least until the next child. *No, this isn’t a pregnancy announcement. The diapers should be hanging out for a while.)
- Having your boys read books on the potty while they are trying to go… pretty cool moments.
- Cleaning up poop on the floor and/or the body of your sons
- Not getting to said poopy fast enough and having your dog attempt to “help” dispose of it (I’m throwing up in my mouth just thinking about it)
- Having to sing the “Super Pooper” song to encourage your son to push it out. (a song I made up to the tune of the “Super Why” theme song… Lane was a bit scared at first to go poop on the potty but this song was magic for getting him to laugh, relax, & therefore have a success! Lauren definitely considers listening to me sing this a massive/hysterical highlight, not a lowlight.)
- Getting peed on while you’re trying to get a boy situated on the potty “Daddy, I pee on you” – said while laughing hysterically.
I’d like to say that we’re just really awesome parents & that’s why this worked, but let’s be serious–the boys were just ready & are rock stars. They get all the credit. And the process has been proven to work in many cases (if of course they’re ready. If they aren’t, I would totally just wait & try again later!). I think we caught them right when they were really interested/able (for our boys that meant waiting until 28/29 months – we’ve had friends train much earlier, but they had singletons… we were too scared to try! Obviously others aren’t ready then & need to wait – especially boys). Their preschool teachers were really proud of them too, so that was fun for them when they went back after break & shocked them all with their big boy underwear!
In summary, expect the worse & you might be pleasantly surprised. But you’ll be very thankful it’s all done, no matter what. WAY TO GO BOYS!!