This week has definitely been a busy one. We bought a house (YAY!) and will be moving in two months. While we are moving to a bigger home, the kids bedrooms will be smaller, so I figured I would try potty training the twins before we get there so that we can ditch the change table. You aren’t supposed to potty train during big life changes, so I figured two months before moving will be fine if I can get them to master the art of peeing in a toilet within the next couple weeks. I may have been a little ambitious… I will tell you that after 5 days of training, I decided that the girls aren’t quite ready for potty training and we will revisit the lesson after we have moved into our home and are settled.
Typically, children are ready to be potty trained between 18 months and 3 years of age. Some kids are earlier, some are later. I’ve noticed that twins tend to be a bit later in terms of age (between two and a half and three and a half according to other blogs and such), but I think that is mostly because potty training twins is a VERY daunting task. Twice the pee. Need I say more?
It’s always hard to know exactly when to start training your kids. When I trained my son, he was 28 months (two and a bit). We had been getting him to sit on the toilet every night before bathtime for a couple months, and he had started peeing in the toilet those nights. We ran out of diapers, and said “Okay. You’re done diapers. Time to pee in the toilet!” And that was that. While it was still a challenging experience, he learned quickly and we moved on with our lives.
Telltale signs that a child is ready to be potty trained are that the child stays dry for extended periods of time, they show interest in the toilet, they are running off to pee/poop by themselves in a corner. My girls have been showing interest in the toilet, and Eva does go off to pee in a corner, so I figured, why not? Let’s try potty training. They are 21 months, so it is on the earlier end of the potty training scale, but they also say that girls tend to be potty trained earlier than boys.
Having done potty training with my son, I started on a Friday, which gave me a whole weekend to sit with the girls and train them. I found that staying at home and doing a solid weekend of peeing and not leaving the house worked really well for my Jack. I tried a variety of different methods of potty training, from rewards, to sitting in the bathroom for hours, lots of positive reinforcement, different potties, different locations. Panties on. Panties off. No matter what I did, the girls would sit on the toilet for extended periods of time, and the subsequently pee on the floor. Every time. In 5 days, I had less that 5 successes with each girl. Some days they wouldn’t even pee in the potty once.
I consider myself to be a very positive and optimistic person. I am also very stubborn, patient, and determined. These are all very beneficial traits to have when potty training children, but I found myself struggling with the debate as to whether I should continue the potty training when most of my days had little to no successes. I am the type of person who holds onto the good, and then will continue to move forward with that tiny ray of sunshine. I didn’t want to give up on them. I wanted to be successful in training them. I wanted to believe they could do it. I wanted to be supportive of them and encourage them to sit on the potty, despite them consistently peeing on me, my floor, the toys, and anything in a one meter radius of them. Or more, as I carried dripping children to the potty.
I also wanted to make sure that I wasn’t stopping the potty training for selfish reasons. Your lifestyle changes pretty drastically when potty training a child. You don’t leave the house, and when you do, it’s very briefly so that you can get back home and back onto the potty. When I potty trained Jack, it was in November. The weather was cold, and I had no where to be and no desire to spend time outside. As it is April, I have started going on 2-3 hour walks with the kids. The weather is warm and it’s nice to spend hours outside. It’s hard losing those long walks, and the ability to go anywhere without rushing home. It’s much easier just to wait until the weather is cold to try again.
Knowing that I would benefit from deciding that they weren’t ready, and being the determined person I am, I was reluctant to throw in the towel on the potty training until I was sure that they needed more time.
I don’t know if we ever know for sure whether our kids are ready for potty training. All we can do is give them the chance, and see if they rise to the challenge. This goes for parenting in general. Most of the time, you just have to wing it. It is never easy for us as parents, but once our children learn the lessons we are trying to teach them, our lives become easier too.
Things I learned this potty training round:
Set up a solid foundation to build on before potty training
The girls didn’t really have much experience with the toilet prior to this training, and I think that may have hindered our training a bit, as neither girl had peed in the toilet when we started. When we trained Jack, he was already peeing in the toilet before bath time. He knew how it felt to pee in a toilet, and I definitely think it helped.
All kids are different
What worked really well for my son, didn’t work as well with the girls. I forget sometimes that all kids learn on their own time, and in their own different ways. I think that is important to remember when going into teaching your kids things. The lessons and experiences I share with you, are to help give you ideas and options for when you teach your children. I will never guarantee that my methods will work with other children. But they are experiences that worked, or didn’t work, for my life.