Twinning: Potty Training Twins Is As Messy As It Sounds

“No hands in the potty!” “Sit still while I clean this up!” “I said ‘Stop touching the pee’!” My husband and I lost the super-supportive parental tone of voice you’re supposed to maintain during these moments and started barking commands. Our twins stopped looking so triumphant and started to look upset. Then, like most episodes of twin chaos, things eventually got back to normal—the pee was cleaned from the floor, Alexandra’s hands were washed, Nick’s feet were washed, we flushed everyone’s pee down the toilet and made more promises of M&Ms.

By their second sitting a half-hour later, all notions of sanitary potty training had been flushed down the toilet. There was pee everywhere, and there was nothing I could do about it. We had a truly victorious moment after lunch when Allie pooped in her potty on the first day! I wasn’t that proud since I’d given birth.

As expected, Nick waited until his diaper was on during naptime to poo. I knew he was not ready for this, but from what I’d read about training twins, it’s best to give them both a shot and if one has to stay in diapers, they’ll only do so for a short while because they’ll see their twin getting M&Ms every day.

For the next week, I lived in potty training hell. I changed diapers in the morning, and then washed soiled undies and shorts all day long. I mopped floors and sanitized potties. I cleaned poo-covered hands and pee-covered feet. I would get one child clean only to turn around and see the other one sitting in a puddle. I handed out M&Ms like they were going out of style. I watched and sang “Go Potty Go” more times than any self-respecting adult should ever have to. I was a long, difficult week.

By Week Two, no one had made it a whole day without an accident, and I was ready to throw in the towel. I had optimistically thought this would be over in a weekend. My cousin said her twin boys were trained within three days. My friend said her daughter decided at two that she didn’t want to wear diapers and never had another accident. How foolish I was for listening. I felt captive to the house, overwhelmed by the thought of venturing out with diaper-less twins.

Our turning point came on Day 11—the first day with no accidents for both. I was pretty sure Allie had it down, but Nick was still a hit or miss. He was really just in it for the M&Ms, but I was proud of him all the same.

What surprised me was when it was all over, I had more of a hassle taking the kids out when they were potty-trained than when they were in diapers. Going out only required a couple of diapers thrown in my bag. Now with two kids in undies, I had to bring two entire outfits out with me. I also couldn’t figure out a remotely sanitary process for taking twins with you in a public restroom, and I don’t believe I ever will.

(photo: chippix / Shutterstock)

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  • Carinn Jade

    Hysterical! I am looking at potty training my second this summer (it really is better to keep them mostly naked) and I am not looking forward to this fun all over again. It’s not as wonderful a milestone as you wish it would be. At least it all makes for a good story!

  • Mary Barbieri

    Public washrooms are a challenge. The trick is to use the handicap stall. I have a hands on your head rule at all times – they look like convicts but it works :-) ,

  • Erica

    Funny. We are finally done with potty training. They can hold it and go when they need to without reminding from me. We are still working on the ‘big’ public toilets. They are scared of the flush. In public they will only use the miniature kids toilets you can sporadically find in the mall and walmarts.

  • JJBJMom

    LOL, I have boy/girl twins with much the same personalities as yours. At 2 1/2, my daughter is developmentally ahead of my son EXCEPT with numbers. I am just starting the potty training process and our house is a pee/poop carnival exactly like yours was!! They are both resistant to doing “number 2″ in the potty so I am researching some training methods to resolve that issue. I have two older children and, so far, training the twins is far more than twice as hard as training either of the others!!!

  • Jill Jones

    What a lovely story to read!
    Got my twins potty trained with the help of Carol Cline, see a interview with her on

  • Nancy P.

    Jill Jones, that is a spam and you know it!