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12 Potty Training Hacks No One Tells You About

Why are there so many parts of parenting that are kept secret? Last time I checked - we are all in this together - and I want to learn from those before me so I don't repeat those mistakes.

I spent a great deal of time prepping for potty training our twins (albeit I was discouraged that nothing covered the added challenges and benefits of potty training two at the same time. I have a dedicated post for twin potty training). After our first day, second day, and end of the first two weeks - I thought about everything I read and things we did that just made sense - but weren't listed anywhere!

So here you go....

1. Learning Towers for All Meals!

I don't know why this wasn't written anywhere! We fed the girls standing up for all three meals for 7 days. Why? Because in the beginning you can catch them in the act and run them to the toilet. Once they get a bit more adjusted when they say "pee" you don't have time to remove the high chair tray, unclip the buckle, and run. With a learning tower you just GO! And lastly, when there is an accident, you can just hose it off in the yard or wipe it down. No laundry necessary.

2. Gym towels for clean up

Pee is sterile. And when you are pumping them with fluids in the early days, there will be a lot of pee. We joked that by the end of the day, they were literally just peeing out water. Rather than go through 10x rolls of paper towels (which is how I would typically clean up a mess), we had a stack of white gym towels and Spray & Wash that we kept centrally located for the clean up. We just kept a dirty pile during the day and did a quick load of laundry after the girls went to bed, so we were ready for the next morning.

3. Hair tie your kids shirts

If their shirt is a bit too long or loose, it is hard for you (and them) to see what's happening. Use a small hair tie or rubber band to tie their shirt back (just like I used to do to my t-shirts as a high school cheerleader). This allowed them to stay warm with a shirt on (instead of totally naked) and worked well with undies too.

4. Smoothies for fluids

My kids were on to me reallllll quick by day 2 and were not into the extra fluids - but you know what they are into - smoothies! Better yet - you can add some probiotic yogurt to keep things moving. This became our go-to snack for our first week of potty training.

5. Eat when they are asleep

Looking back, it seems like such a rookie mistake to have thought we could eat at the same time as them, while swallowing our food and dealing with on-demand bathrooming. We would typically eat as a family, but not during potty training. For the first 4-6 days, we ate all meals without them (breakfast before they woke up, lunch when they were napping, and dinner after they went to bed).

I don't know why - but come dinner time every night - they both felt the "urge to pee" multiple times during the meal (albeit, most of which were false alarms), but that doesn't mean you aren't running them to and from the toilet.

At two weeks in, we can now enjoy meals together - but my preference for dinner would still be to wait until they are asleep.

6. Order takeout for dinner. Drink alcohol.

Everyone says to order take out when the babies are born...we never really needed it that much then, because newborns sleep so much. Potty training is a different ball game. Since you literally have all eyes on them all day will be exhausted. Treat yo self!

7. Get pre-recorded videos of people congratulating them for going on the potty

Going pee on the potty is a big deal. Pooping on the potty is an evening bigger deal!! "Call Gramma" or "Call Daddy" became the regular ask when they had a successful bathroom break. Rather than worry about their idol not answering, we got several pre-recorded videos congratulating them that I could just pull up on my phone (Spoiler: IT WORKS! neither girl noticed when I was playing a video on my phone or if they were talking to them).

8. Sweeten the Deal / Up the Ante / Upgrade the Treats

We used rewards (1 melt for pee, 2 for poop), which worked well for the first 10 days, but then they realized they could poop in their diaper at nap and suddenly the urgency changed. It happened casually over lunch one day when I was eating Doritos and Jayna asked for one. I told her if she pooped on the potty she could have two. I also said they could watch 2 Cocomelon songs. Kinsley grabbed my hand, walked me to the bathroom, and pooped. Yup.

So what did I learn - sometimes you need to up the ante to make things work.

9. Phones Away

As we started to transition to some semblance of normalcy (around day 9), I realized we expected everything to just be good to go, which is not the case. As we had our phones out, more accidents happened, likely because we weren't paying enough attention....because the accident will happen in the two seconds you do something else.

10. Fan On

We had a constant struggle of FOMO when one sister was on the toilet and the other wasn't. This only increased when we started to have friends over to the house. I found turning the fan on during these times was really helpful to create white noise and reduce anything "fun" that may be happening in the other room.

11. The bathroom is for going to the bathroom and that is it!

We were always strict about keeping the toilets in the bathroom and no toys were to come in. Why? First, because kids put things in their mouths and thats just nasty. But mainly, it is because it helped keep them focused and "get in and get out." With twins, I barely have enough time in the day, and sitting playing dolls on the toilet is not on my to-do list. We can play dolls in the living room, when potty time is done.

12. Be their cheerleader!

If I could do it all over again, I would have taken one full week off from work to really get the girls in a good place. I am fortunate that we were potty training while I was working from home - so I tried to carve out time mid-day to sit with each of them on the toilet, especially with poop.

We celebrated all victories - with fun dances, songs, phone calls, chips, hugs, and Cocomelon - and basically anything else we could think of to make them feel proud!


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Kristen, a first-time Mom of identical twin girls who are 3. I work full-time, teach group fitness classes, and am on the wild ride of motherhood.

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