Potty Training Twins/Triplets

by Linda Jones

The thought of toilet training twins, triplets or more is enough to panic even the most laid-back of parents. I approached this parenting milestone with a heavy heart – fearful of the ensuing chaos and mess. Horror stories I had heard about twins tipping used potties over each other’s heads catapulted around my brain. So, while some brave souls reckon it’s worth getting their babies “dry” as soon as possible, others (including me) understandably, delay it for some time. There is no right or wrong time to start the process, you have to do what feels right for you and your family.


Personally, I had been told a million times “they’ll do it when they are ready.” Talk about stating the obvious! But it’s still one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard. It’s worth pointing out that although for singletons most parents seem to begin the process around two to two-and-a-half you should not feel pressured if yours aren’t quite there yet – as twins tend to be nearer three.

More than anyone parents of multiples know that different children develop at different rates. Always remember potty training is not a competition – either between the children in your family or with their peers. By the time your children reach the age where they are ready to begin potty training, you will have long ago banished any notion that they will “fall into place” with each other from your mind.

You can encourage potty training by giving each of out children a brightly-coloured individual potty. Praise them when they do things right but don’t get cross when things go wrong as it can put them both off. One twin may be beside themselves if her sister or brother gets heaped with praise for something they are not ready to do yet.

My daughter Emily took a fair few weeks to get the hang of knowing when to poo – despite showing an interest in a potty and wearing “big girl’s pants” from a relatively early age. Her sister Melissa just didn’t fancy it. We despaired often with Emily as her face turned red and the air filled with a foul stench – but were told: “Don’t go back now – forget the accidents and move on.” Melissa, meanwhile, simply couldn’t be doing with mucking about with pants. Then one Friday she decided she didn’t want nappies any more -and hey presto – by Monday was dry. Emily took just a few more weeks. And, lucky for us, when you consider the cost of all those nappies, as soon as they were dry in the day they were dry at night too. And not once did either of my little girls empty a potty over her sister’s head…

Top toilet training tips for multiples :

  • Don’t start too early
  • Buy some potties and have them just around the place to play with / sit on so they get used to them
  • Work on the wees first and the poos later – though it may all happen together
  • Don’t get cross when little Ann or John wets his/her pants – well at least not for the first week or until you know they do understand and have just been too lazy to shout out “I need to do a wee wee”.
  • Try not to get cross at all as it doesn’t help (even if it is frustrating or ruining your favourite carpet) and they then get too nervous and then it all goes pear shaped
  • For the first few weeks / months keep reminding them to do a wee wee – as it is hard for them to get into the habit of thinking about it after wearing nappies for so long
  • Really reward them when they have managed their first wet free day
  • Always take a potty or two or three in the car with you when you go out – there is rarely time to get to a public convenience, let alone stop the car!!
  • Don’t spend a fortune for them to spend a penny…the cheapest potty will do
  • Don’t feel you have to buy the more expensive “pull-up” nappies – the ones you already use can be pulled up and down just as easily.Have the potty well in advance of serious training.

  • If you can, start seriously training during the summer.
  • If possible you may feel it would be easier to train one first then the other can follow their lead.
  • If and when they have accidents (and they will) it seems that to chastise them only leads to more pressure on them so a quiet “oh well better luck next time” can work better than a reprimand.
  • Don’t lose heart or patience, it can take a while to get it right! If you are more relaxed about it the kids will be too.
  • For quick access have potties both downstairs and upstairs.

Comments are closed.