I am generally in favor of the “cold turkey” method when we need to make a significant change in our day-to-day routine. So when Mia and Miles were regularly exhibiting signs of readiness, I decided to try the “Naked Three Day” method of potty training recommended by many moms I know. I won’t go into detail here, but it basically suggests you dedicate three days to holing up at home with a naked or near naked toddler(s), taking them to the potty every 20 or 30 minutes. While I won’t go so far as to say it was tons of fun, I will say it went better than I anticipated.
Here is the true low down on potty training twins:
A few days prior to the big day, we started prepping Mia and Miles by telling them the Diaper Fairy would visit soon. I decided to start training on a Saturday morning so my husband would be home to help me. On the appointed night, we set the remaining diapers out on the coffee table for the Diaper Fairy. In the morning, Mia and Miles found big kid undies, potty charts, a prize bucket, and a note from the Diaper Fairy herself.
I thought the kids would be excited to wear their new undies, but they weren’t really into it. No problem. Much of the research I had read suggested you let the children be naked anyway. We stripped off the last diapers and tried a visit to the potty chairs right away. The first visit did not go well. There were lots of tears and both Mia and Miles kept trying to jump up off the potty. I made my first executive decision. Grabbing my iPhone, I quickly found a kids’ video of the song “If You’re Happy and You Know it.” I told them they had to sit on the potty until the song was over. This worked, and from then on we picked a song to play every time we sat on the potty.
We set the timer for twenty-minute intervals and promised one M&M for sitting on the potty, 2 for actually peeing in it. We also hung up a potty chart for each child. Every time Mia or Miles used the potty, they earned a sticker for the chart. At the end of each row, they got to choose a prize from the prize bucket. I made the first row only three boxes long so they could feel successful quickly. Each subsequent row grew a bit longer, making it more of a challenge for them to earn their prize.
Note: Before you set up your reward system, think about what will motivate your child. I was trying to train two very different personalities in one weekend. Mia was very motivated by praise and slow to catch on to the idea of earning a prize. Miles, on the other hand, caught on very quickly. He was guzzling water like a runner after a marathon so he could pee more often. I had to admire his determination!
There were a few accidents during that first morning, but we didn’t get upset. My husband or I just cleaned up the puddle and took the offender back to the potty for a quick reminder. By mid-morning, they both had the hang of peeing in the potty. By afternoon, they started to call for potty breaks on their own and run to the bathroom when necessary. High fiving, my husband and I ordered a pizza and poured a well-deserved adult beverage.
Note: For naps and bedtime, we used pull-ups. We called these special training pants you wear while you sleep. The twins seemed to accept this and had no issues going back and forth between the pull-ups and underwear (once we convinced them to put them on).
Day two dawned and it was COLD, a rare event where we live in Central Florida. We had to rethink the naked part of the three day naked training. The Donald Duck look (shirt, no pants) was all the rage in our house. We continued our trips to the potty every 30 minutes and things were moving along well. Mia and Miles consumed crazy amounts of M&Ms and had way more screen time than I generally allow, but the process was working. Both kids were peeing in the potty like champs!
Unfortunately, neither wanted to poop in the potty. They both eventually did their business in their pull-ups we put on for nap time. I knew this was a common stumbling block and decided not to stress about it for now.
On the start of day three, we had a mini rebellion on our hands. The twins decided they would rather just wear a pull up and not have to worry about this potty business every half hour. Despite the protests, I stripped off the pull-ups and put on the big kid underpants. We had a few accidents from angry toddlers, but after an hour or so they were back on track. Back on track, that is, until they both went into the closet and pooped in their underpants. I decided to laugh it off, start another load of laundry, and press on. By early afternoon my son had pooped in the potty totally on his own, only calling to (very proudly) show me once he was done.
After living like shut-ins for almost three days, I decided to live on the edge and try a trip to a local park. During nap time I planned for our outing as if I was preparing for a military operation. I packed extra clothes, underwear, wipes, and our new travel potty. As an after thought, I also tossed towels and Clorox wipes into the back of the car in case an accident led to the need to decontaminate any park equipment. I showed Mia and Miles the car potty and we practiced sitting on it. Then off we went!
And we survived! I asked if they needed to use the potty six thousand times, but they played for an hour without incident. Miles even came to me and asked to use the car potty!
We continued on this way for about a week, until using the potty became a natural part of our routine. By the end of the second week we were back to business as usual, just without diapers! I almost shed a tear as we retired the diaper genie to the curb, thoughts of how fast my “babies” were growing up racing through my head. Then I remembered how much money we were saving each month and decided this growing up thing might not be so bad after all!
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