How to Potty Train Twin Boys – A False Start

The first two biggest life lessons for your child are learning to sleep and use the toilet. My boys and I have had their sleeping under control for some time. It’s a work in progress, but on the whole, we’ve got that part nailed. Now it’s time to figure out when and how to go potty.

Oh, the joys of parenting. You can never truly appreciate the amount of poop coming your way: squirted on you, wiped on you, oozed on you and smeared on you. Also, the never-ending amount that seems disproportionate and improbable given the smallish size of your child, where is it all coming.  

Don’t forget the wees, not as bad as being pooped on, but it’s a close second. I’ve been dreaming about when we can dump the diapers for good, walk past that aisle in the supermarket and never look back.  

Now, that the time is nigh, and I’m not sure I’m ready. The boys are all set, and I’m apprehensive. I’m a tired mum of twins, and I’m not sure I have the energy or the patience that I feel is required. But I’ve got to put my big girls pants on and get started.


Tips for Boys I’ve gathered to help us Mums Out

    1. For potty training, boys are ready later than girls. Children are usually good to go for potty training between 18 months and three years.
    2. Boys will also still start by learning to sit down first, as wees and poops often happen at the same time.
    3. It’s easier for boys to learn to sit first then stand and aim once they get the idea of the potty.
    4. Let them watch Dad go for wees so they can learn.
    5. When your boy is ready to learn to stand up to wee, put ping pongs balls or other small floating devices in the toilet for your child to aim at it. It’s fun and helps them get the wee in the bowl. I think this is going to be a real winner.
    6. Have a step, a toilet seat and a potty. Give them all the chances they could have to get comfortable with the transition.
    7. Read some potty training books. I’m looking forward to ‘Potty Superhero – Get Ready For Big Boy Pants’ by Mable Forsyth and ‘Everyone Poops’ by Taro Gomi.  I like the idea of books that makes sure there is no shame in going to the toilet. 

The first time my son realised he needed to poop…

He wanted to be alone and was yelling at me to get away from him. Since then I’ve let my boys watch me poop every day. Well, let’s be honest. They’ve been in the bathroom with me since they could move around.

    1. Get cool underwear that they will like. Make a huge deal of wearing big boy pants, just like Daddy.
    2. Let them go naked! I love this idea, and I think it’s the best way to help your little one realise when they need to go. I also don’t want to wash a hundred pairs of underwear every day.
    3. Make it fun, give lots of praise, and lots of rewards for every little success. It is a tough tip too. I’m feeling this process is going to take a lot of patience and if I know my little independent boys potty time will be on their time.

These are ten tips I like and want to implement.

I will let you know if I find any new ones during our potty training time. I’m keen to find out if potty training in three days is achievable; this feels like a dream timeline. I’m sceptical and optimistic at the same time.

We will see. The boys are ready, and I’m ready, and I thought we had the perfect time to start.  I’ll be keeping a diary of our progress, the wins, the fails and everything in between. A little spoiler alert, we begin with a fail. You can only fail forward though, right. 


10 Signs Your Child is Ready to Potty Train

    1. They can take their pants off.
    2. Your toddlers can say wee and poo.
    3. They are interested when you go to the toilet.
    4. Your toddlers have tried to copy you on the toilet.
    5. He is around 18 months to 3 years old.
    6. Your child has generally stopped pooping at night.
    7. He is going longer between wees and doesn’t need as many nappy changes. They may wake up with from naps or night time with a dry nappy.
    8. Your child is pooping at regular times, and they are well soft and well-formed.
    9. Not wanting to wear a nappy anymore or showing discomfort when wearing one.
    10. They understand when you ask if they need to go to the potty.

I knew that the boys were ready because they were doing all of the above. Also one night at the grandparents the boys were having dinner. We sat with them, and one of my boys lifted the side of his bum, farted and then laughed hysterically.  

None of us could keep a straight face, and all burst into laughter as well. Then he lifted the side of his bum and farted again, laughing his head off.  He repeated this another two times, and we could not stop laughing.

My husband correctly stated, “Well if he can make himself fart he’s ready for potty training.” My failed foray into potty training was not because the boys weren’t ready. They are ready, and I thought I am too.

Preparing to Start Potty Training

To be ready, you need:

    1. A potty, two if you have twins, three if you have triplets 
    2. A toilet seat and step
    3. Nappies for naps, bedtime, and extras just in case
    4. A sticker chart
    5. Stickers
    6. A few little rewards for the sticker chart
    7. Special drinks that are a treat for your child
    8. New undies
    9. Activities to keep your kids occupied. You’ll be spending a few days at home, and that is tough for both your kids and you.
    10. Patience
    11. Lastly, be prepared for the unexpected. I was not!

The day before, I looked for stickers for our potty training sticker chart. I couldn’t find any anywhere, and the shops were all shutting up early for Nyepi.  Clearly, I was woefully unprepared. I should have taken this as a sign.

But, I decided to persevere, not be deterred and come up with a plan B. So, I found mini whiteboards, markers, sequins, and double-sided tape. The old teacher in me came flaring to the surface. I could make a sticker chart substitute.

Also, I found some little cardboard puzzles I thought I could use too.

As planned, I want to give them both a mini whiteboard and use the sequins and double-sided tape as substitute stickers. The puzzles would be a little reward for reaching a certain amount of stickers – yet to be decided.  

The night before I decorated the mini whiteboards and had my sequins ready.  But we never got that far. Next time, I’m not starting until I have proper stickers and an appropriate chart of the sticker, something that will make the boys more excited.  

They did, however, enjoy drawing on the whiteboards which were a small win in a day of mothering fails.  For potty training take two I’ll be better prepared and expect the unexpected if that’s even possible.

The Plan

I had planned first to give the boys breakfast, and they get hangry quickly.  Then I’d show them my makeshift sticker chart and do some role play with the potty, so they understood how the sticker chart worked, we haven’t used one before.  

I was going to change them, make a huge deal about their new undies, then practise pulling their underwear down sitting on the potty for a sticker. That’s why I bought milo drinks ( a special treat to fill them up with liquid and more wees).

I planned to try and get them on the potty every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, I was going to try and get them to sit on the potty while watching TV. Once that first wee went in, I was sure it would be smooth sailing. I had a potty seat ready to go as well so they could try on the actual toilet if they wanted.   

Potty Training – Day 1

Today is Nyepi – a day of silence in Bali. The whole of Bali has shut down: shops, restaurants, internet connection, everything – even the airport. Everyone has to stay inside. It’s a day of silence and reflection for the Balinese.

I thought this was the perfect opportunity to start potty training my boys officially. But, I was wrong! And I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had felt so confident and so sure that the boys were ready. They are ready. They hit every one of the tens signs below, and there were other indications they were good to go.  

I am not prepared enough, and life decided to throw a little extra challenge my way. A little curveball, to make the experience more interesting, more testing, and more hilarious to share with you all.    

6:45 am

Both my sons woke up, and one was very cranky and very stinky.  Not the best start. I got him changed and made an exciting deal of wearing underpants (I had to change my plan). He was not impressed and threw himself on the floor in a flood tears.  

I got a feeling that this might not be the best day. I gave him a little space, he chilled out and brought the undies to me to put on. Ok, good, again I made sure I was very excited. He stood them with his face scrunched up, less than impressed.  

He took a long time to come to the breakfast table, feeling sorry for himself on the floor. At that stage, I wasn’t sure what was going on and just gave him a little space.  He eventually climbed up and started eating.

Ok, I thought, after breakfast, he’s going to feel much better.  

Then he stood up crying and jumped out of his chair, and I could see he had wet his underpants. Already? It was going to be a long day. “It’s ok baby. It’s just a wee; come, let’s take your undies off.” He ran away crying. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I just let him have a little space.

He settled down, and I took his undies and saw runny splattered poop everywhere and wet legs.  Oh no, he has diarrhea. I needed a moment to think and put a movie on for the boys. It was not the start I had prepared for or imagined.  

I decided that it would be ok, and I only had 6 six nappies, so there wasn’t much choice, but to keep going. Then he cried and ran away again leaving a brown puddle on the mat in front of the TV. It is not good I thought.  

We got cleaned up as well and not a moment a later, another brown puddle appeared. Cleaned that up as well and my son. He was distracted by the movie so not as upset now. I looked at the clock, it was only 8 am, and I’d cleaned up three poops.  It was not going to work today.

8:30 am

I had six nappies to last till the next morning, and establishments in Bali were all closed today. What I’m planning was not going to work. I looked at my whiteboards and stickers substitutes that I would not use.

I’ll admit I sighed with relief, and I needed a better sticker chart with actual stickers. Then I remembered the nappy bag – 4 more nappies!! I could work with ten nappies till morning. It was time to throw in the towel and not a moment too soon. My first foray into potty training had lasted two hours. Two hours of stress, excrement and tears.

9 am

Nappies were on, and it was all over.  There were things out of my control, and the comfort, health, and security of my boys were now at the forefront of the day. Potty training would have to wait.  


Mistakes I Made That You Can Avoid

  • I did not prepare appropriately.

  1. I’m going to make a proper sticker chart with actual stickers next time.
  2. New potties. I think the ones we have been hanging around too long. The boys are more interested in putting them on their head. Also, the inside of one of the potties was missing. I looked everywhere for it in between cleaning up brown puddles.
  3. New undies
  • I didn’t have any activities prepared for the day.  

Staying at home all day is hard for two-year-olds.  It also happened to be raining all day. I swear the universes was against me. I had planned to spend the morning in the pool with the boys, but I should have had back up indoor plans. So much planning being a parent!

  • Having help.

My husband was working away.  I should have waited until I had back up and an extra person to play with the boys. Aid never goes astray.

  • Not being prepared for the unexpected.  

I didn’t expect my boys to be sick, but I should have had back up nappies in case something like that happened.  It would have been so much less stressful.

  • Don’t plan potty training on holiday.  

Even though we stayed in the house, I could have designed an enjoyable day instead. Live and learn.   

I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I hope it will help you too.  Stay tuned for Potty Training Twin Boys Take-Two. The next instalment will be starting on Day 1 again. I’m about to go to bed, and I’m thinking about that saying, ‘The days are long, but the years are short.’  

Tonight I cried while the boys were in the bath; it just felt like everything fell apart. The boys didn’t quite know what to do. I’ve never cried in front of them before. It was quite sweet. They got silly playing peek-a-boo trying to make me laugh. We’ll be ready to go again, but when daddy’s home.  

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