Potty training is one of those milestones that every parent anticipates with excitement and a lot of anxiety.
Have you ever heard a mom gush about her love of changing diapers? Nope, never happened!
You may fantasize about a diaper free future, but know that potty training is hard and will test your patience to the ultimate limits.
Once your twins begin to show signs of being ready to potty train…get your game face on. If you think you are ready for some miraculous 3-day potty training boot camp experience….
Reel in your diaper-free fantasies, take a step back and arm yourself with some basic potty training knowledge.
Knowing what mistakes to avoid will help you troubleshoot your twins’ potty training before you ever begin.
7 Major Potty Training Mistakes to Avoid:
DON’T Start Too Early:
Potty training is a major developmental milestone, a big step that your child takes out of toddlerhood towards being a “big kid”. It isn’t something to rush or attempt to accomplish within some unrealistic timeline that is set because you have a need to have your child potty trained for convenience (expecting a new baby, travel, etc.).
The key to successfully potty training your twins lies in knowing exactly when they are ready to begin. Look for cues and signs of readiness in each of your children and let them be your guide. This isn’t about you or the fact that you are more than ready to be done with diapers. If that becomes your motivation to potty train, it will be challenging, messy and likely unsuccessful.
DON’T Take People’s Advice:
People LOVE to give new and inexperienced parents unsolicited advice about everything related to parenting…and sometimes MORE.
Erase from your memory all the stories and advice you have heard, simply use it as an encyclopedia of ideas to try. Start potty training with a fresh perspective, listen to your gut and follow your child’s cues.
For every story you hear about a mom who potty trained her 18 month old in 3 minutes with absolutely no accidents, there will be a mom who’s child isn’t potty trained until 3 and a half and experimented with rather unsanitary finger paints along the way!
DON’T Make It a Power Struggle:
One of the biggest mistakes to make while attempting to successfully potty train is thinking that you, as the parent, are in control. This is a learning experience for your children, where they need to learn from their mistakes (accidents).
Approach potty training as a partnership with your child, giving them a sense of control over their own bodies.
When they have an accident, don’t get angry. Show them how sad you are, have them help in the cleanup process and quickly move on. Kids are motivated by praise and encouragement, they will want to do better the next time.
Choose your language wisely and be consistent. When it is time to go potty, take the struggle off of your hands and put it in the hands of the timer by saying, ”the timer says it’s time to try and go potty.”
Be sure to give them choices of which underwear your toddlers want to wear, which bathroom they want to use or even which candy they want to choose if they go. Choices give your child control, even when you are in control of the choices they are making.
Forcing your child into potty training will only backfire and can lead to more challenging physical or psychological consequences. The fact of the matter here is, if your child isn’t intrinsically motivated to be using the big kid potty on their own, but are instead doing it out of obligation, they won’t internalize process and have long term success.
DO Be Consistent:
The thing about having a successful potty training experience is consistency. You are working with your child to form new habits, so once you start a new routine, there is no turning back.
Your child will be confused, and likely have more accidents if they wear diapers on certain days but not others (nap and nighttime are a little different).
When you are considering a good time to start, get your own mind set, rip off the bandaid and go. New routines take time, but can be easily adapted to when they are consistent.
DON’T Take A One Size Fits All Approach:
Potty training is not something that you can approach with a universal strategy. Each child is different and will respond to learning to use the toilet very differently.
Your child’s personality will change your approach. More confident, outgoing children will thrive on the challenge, some kids will need tons of praise and encouragement, and others will need extra motivation and excitement to take interest in using the potty amidst their busy play schedules.
Whatever type of personality your child may have, you may have to use a couple of different strategies and reward systems to find what motivates your little ones.
DO Expect Setbacks, Messes, and a TON of laundry:
There will be messes on the floor, on the walls and even on the side of your couch. Some kiddos may even try to use “it” as art supplies or mistake it for a chocolatey treat.
You will have moments when they sit on the potty for an eternity only to have an accident right afterwards and periods when they have more accidents than normal. Kids having to adjust to new things (new classroom, new house, new baby) will regress in their potty training slightly, it’s completely normal…so don’t freak out. Continue to give your little ones lots of encouragement and bring back a reward system here and there as you need it.
DON’T Stress About Nighttime:
Waking up dry at night can be a sign of potty training readiness, but night time potty training is a whole different beast. It can come quite a bit later.
For the time being, look for dryness after nap as a heavier contender in your child’s readiness to potty train. Figure out what motivates your child, work towards successful days and then brace yourself to tackle nights.
Potty training is no easy task for parents. Regardless of the stories people tell you, we guarantee that they struggled with it too. Know that you are not alone and that, regardless of how frustrating or unsuccessful you may feel, your child won’t be going to college in diapers!
We want to hear all about your potty training experiences! What is going well? What are you struggling with?
Chat with us in the comments below so that other mamas can learn from you too!