Potty Training Twins

Tips for Potty Training Twins

Potty training twins is neither easier nor harder than potty training single kids, although it does have its own set of twin related issues.  As you have no doubt already noticed, twins always present a special set of conditions.  Let’s go over the basics:

When to Begin Potty Training?

This is always a difficult question.  Some guidebooks say it is best to start no later than the second birthday and that if you have not found a natural opportunity before that, then that should be the beginning date.  Other guidebooks are more flexible, and still others advocate the method where you start introducing potty training ideas as early as one  to slowly get toddlers thinking about going to the bathroom.

A general rule of thumb is that when a toddler starts to become interested in sitting on the pot you should begin.  With twins, of course, this might only happen in one of them at a given time.  You should, however try to train both of them at the same time, since this will have a higher probability of success as we will discuss below.

Using Twin Behavior as an Aid for Potty Training Twins

Because twins like to copy each other’s behavior, it is a good idea to start them both potty training at the same time.  Some people object to this on several grounds.  First, some people say that they want their twins to feel individually attended to, and having them both start potty training when one shows interest seems to treat them both as if they are a unit rather than separate individuals.  The second objection is that they don’t want to rush the less interested one into a developmental phase he or she may not be ready to tackle.

The reason, however, that you want to start both of your twins at the same time has to do with twin behavior.  Twins will tend to copy each other anyway, and since you are already going to be spending so much time getting one ready for potty training, you might as well put this time to dual use—a blessing when it comes to the time difficulties involved in dealing with twins.

Beyond the argument of efficiency, it is also more effective potty training twins at the same time.  This is because the tendency to copy can go both ways.  Therefore, if only one twin is going potty, while the other is still in diapers, the potty-trained twin may start regressing to be like his or her reluctant sibling.  This back and forth may cause all sorts of confusion for both.

It’s My Potty and I Can Pee if I Want To

In regards to the question of individuality, the way to handle this is to get a pair of potties and to label each with the twin’s name.  So there will be less chance of fighting over one potty, it may be wise to get identical versions rather than have both fighting over them.  This will cut down on time spent sitting in the bathroom waiting for the magic bowel movement.  Both twins will be seated on their individual potties next to each other, possibly mirroring each other.


Of course, things never go as smoothly as they are described in help guides like this.  You may get twins who don’t want to mirror each other, or one twin who learns while the other just sits there and then slides back when his brother or sister seems to get the easy way out.  The key to all of these problems is patience.  Don’t make a big deal about it.  Don’t make it seem like they have failed.  Make up funny potty songs, reward attempts, and wait.  Eventually they will get there.