Little girl potty training, sitting on the potty with toilet paper everywhere

I captured this moment when training Princess M. This photo was worth every second of the training.

Recently I was given the task to potty train twins. Easy, right? (Trick question. The answer is, “heck no!”) Well, for one half of the participating members it was—for the other…not so much. For the purpose of this blog I shall refer to them as Princess M and Little L.

I chose to train them separately for a few reasons: 1. They are boy/girl twins and there is something to be said about girls sometimes being easier than boys. 2. I wanted each of them to have their own special time with this like they deserve. They spend 24/7 of their time together as is, so if they are going to accomplish something great like potty training before the age of 2, they deserve to be rewarded individually. 3. Potty training can seem like a daunting task, but if you think of it as an opportunity to bond with your child, it can be rewarding and a lot more enjoyable. It was fun to bond with each of them as individuals, rather than twins. 4. I wanted to maintain my sanity.

Princess M was a champ with the training, and was peeing on the potty regularly after one hour, never looking back. I trained her first when she was 21 months old because she was showing signs of readiness. She didn’t have many words yet, but was still able to communicate with me in various ways. Just because your child may not be talking yet doesn’t mean they can’t communicate and aren’t ready to be potty trained. Princess M would pat her diaper when she was wet and made it very obvious that she wanted to be changed. Since that was how she communicated with me, I carried that through when putting her in underwear, and she would pat her underwear when she needed to go pee. Voilà! No talking involved on her part.

I started training her brother, Little L two months later when he was 23 months. Whatever Princess M had been doing on day one of the training, Little L didn’t pick up until day three. After day two I was exhausted and ready to give up. For some reason, upon waking on day three I had an epiphany, and decided to change up several aspects of my method on days one and two. Day three worked! It has now been one week for Little L and he is doing great, with occasional accidents (maybe one every other day) when I am not paying close enough attention.

The moral of this story (there are a few, actually):

  1. Don’t give up! When making big changes with your child, you are supposed to wait around 10 days before you give up, which is then a good point to reassess what has been going on and see what kind of changes could be made to make you and your child more successful with the task.
  2. Just because your child cannot speak full doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to potty train.
  3. The younger they are the better! The ideal time for potty training a child is about 22 months, give or take a little. Each child is different and may be ready at different times. With that said, it is a lot easier to train a 2-year-old than a 3 year old. 3-year-olds have started to become attached to their diapers, and will have more of a difficult time saying goodbye to them, especially when it comes to pooping on the potty.
  4. Focus on pee first! When we are potty training our kids, we are asking a lot from them. It’s better to start with peeing on the potty, get them to understand that process, and then tackle pooping on the potty. That doesn’t mean you should condone pooping in underwear or anything, but it is best to keep neutral and wait a few weeks/month or two for a child to poop on the potty comfortably. (This is my opinion and how I have trained in the past).
  5. Every child is different. The way I trained Princess M worked for her. I tried that same way with her brother for two days without great results, and needed to change it up to find something that worked for him. Which, coincidentally, almost instantly worked, validating that I had made the right choice.
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